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ASSYRIANS, CHALDEANS, ETC.
THE ASSYRIANS AND CHALDEANS.
THE PHYSICAL HISTORY OF ASSYRIA.
THE Country of Assyria derived its name from Asshur, the
In Scripture, Assyria Proper was called Kir, 2 Kings xvi.
Aram, or Syria, eastward of the Euphrates, was divided
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
Chimera; 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,
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,