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The country of Assyria derived its name from Asshur, the
son of Shem, by whom it was first peopled, Gen. x 11. Its
boundaries varied with the limits of the empire, but the geo-
graphical limits of Assyria Proper, which formed the nucleus
of that empire, nearly corresponded with those of the present
Koordistan, being bounded by Armenia on the north, Baby-
lonia and Lusiana on the south, part of Media and the moun-
tains called Zagros on the east, and the Tigris on the west.
In its most extensive signification, both in sacred and profane
history, it comprehended not only this tract of country, but
Aram, or Syria, eastward and westward of the Euphrates.

In Scripture, Assyria Proper was called Kir, 2 Kings xvi.
9; Amos i. 5; ix. 7; which name may be still traced in that
country. Thus the Karduchian or Koordistan mountains,
Kiare, the name of the loftiest ridge; and the large town of
Kerhook, evidently retain the original word Kir, with some
slight variation. This was a rich and fertile, though moun-
tainous region, whence it was called by the Greeks Adiabene,
"impassable," finely watered by the springs of the Tigris,
the greater and lesser Zab, the Diala, and the Mendeli.

Aram, or Syria, eastward of the Euphrates, was divided
into two districts, the northern and the southern. The north-
ern district is denominated in the sacred writings, Aram
Naharaim, " Aram between the two rivers ;" and by the

Greeks, Mesopotamia, a term bearing the same signification, Gen. xxiv. 10; xxxi. 20; Numb. xxiii. 7; Deut. xxiii. 4. This district extended from Mount Masius to the wall of Media southwards, including all the fertile tract between the two rivers. The lower part of this division was called Padan-aram, or "the champaign Aram," Gen. xxv. 20.

The southern district, called "the land of Shinar," or Babylon, Gen. x. 10; xi. 2; "the land of Nimrod," Mic. v. 6 and Babylonia, by the Greek and Latin writers,-reached from the wall of Media, or contracted the space between the two rivers, about 300 miles down to the Persian Gulf, never exceeding four-score miles in breadth.

Aram, or Syria, westward of the Euphrates, is divided in Scripture into Aram Zobah, which reached from the Euphrates to the north and east of Damascus, 1 Sam. xiv. 47; 2 Sam. viii. 3; and Aram of Damascus, which lay to the south and west of the former, 2 Sam. viii. 5. These corresponded to the Upper Syria, north of Mount Libanus, including Cœlo-Syria, or Hollow Syria, so called from its situation between the two great ridges of Libanus and Anai-Libanus, and Syria Palestina, which included the Holy Land, and that maritime border on its north-western side, which the Greeks called Phenicia.

A late writer on the physical features of Assyria says, that the country, including Taurus, is distinguished by its mountains, plains, and vegetation.


This feature of Assyria comprises the country of mountains and hills called Taurus, and which is composed of many different chains. The Taurian range encircles the whole of the interior; presenting a bold precipitous front round the whole coast of this peninsula, and so lofty as to be visible at one-third of the whole breadth of the Mediterranean, or upwards of 130 miles. Strabo described Taurus as beginning to rise from Pamphylia, and, in advancing to the east, to send off two branches; on one side Amanus, and on the other Anti-Taurus; but he says that its elevation is not great till it reaches Lycia. The chief summits mentioned by him are, Mount Dadala, on the western extremity; Anti-Cragus and Cragus, which latter is a steep range fronting the sea, having eight promontories or lofty capes; Olympas; the mountain and valley of

Chimæra; Solyma ; and, finally, Climax, between which mountain and the shore Alexander marched with his army.

Concerning the mountain Chimæra, which is celebrated in poetic mythology, its existence till lately was doubted; but this doubt arose solely from our ignorance of the coast. It is now called Taktalu, and is in the vicinity of Deliktash, about five miles from the shore. A recent traveller examined the whole of this coast, and ascended its summit, which he states to be elevated 7,800 feet above the sea. The mountain emits a constant and brilliant flame during the night, which consists of ignited hydrogen gas. The flame is most brilliant during the time of heavy rains, or previous to their approach ; a phenomenon resembling the Pictra Mala of the Apennines.

This flaming mountain (as physical phenomena were generally in former times ascribed to preternatural causes) has been converted by the ancient poets, Homer, Hesiod, Lucretius, and Virgil, into a monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a serpent, which was vanquished by the famous Bellerophon and his steed Pegasus. Thus Homer, describing the more than mortal feats required to be performed by him, by his host the king of Lycia, says:

“First, dire Chimæra's conquest was enjoin'd,

A mingled monster of no mortal kind;
Behind a dragon's fiery tail was spread;
A goat's rough body bore a lion's head;
Her pitchy postrils flaky flames expire;

Her gaping throat emits infernal fire." Bochart imagines this triple monster to represent the three deities worshipped by the Solymi, the ancient inhabitants of Lycia. Others say, that it signified the kind of enemies with whom Bellerophon had to contend: the Solymi, Amazons, and the Lycians, adumbrated by the lion, the goat, and the serpent. But this is contradicted by the poet in the lines im. mediately following the description. They read thus : .

“This pest he slaughter'd (for he read the skies,

And trusted heaven's informing prodigies,)
Then met in arms the Solymæan crew,
(Fiercest of men,) and those the warrior slew.
Next the bold Amazons' whole force he tried,
And conquer'd still; for heaven was on his side.
Nor ended here his toils; his Lycian foes
At his return a treach'rous ambush rose,
With levell’d spears, along the winding shore;
There fell they breathless, and return' no more."

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