Of the ASSYRIAN Empire.by@isaacnewton

Of the ASSYRIAN Empire.

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As the Gods or ancient Deified Kings and Princes of Greece, Egypt, and Syria of Damascus, have been made much ancienter than the truth, so have those of Chaldæa and Assyria: for Diodorus  tells us, that when Alexander the great was in Asia, the Chaldæans reckoned 473000 years since they first began to observe the Stars; and Ctesias, and the ancient Greek and Latin writers who copy from him, have made the Assyrian Empire as old as Noah's flood within 60 or 70 years, and tell us the names of all the Kings of Assyria downwards, from Belus and his feigned son Ninus, to Sardanapalus the last King of that Monarchy: but the names of his Kings, except two or three, have no affinity with the names of the Assyrians mentioned in Scripture; for the Assyrians were usually named after their Gods, Bel or Pul; Chaddon, Hadon, Adon, or Adonis; Melech or Moloch; Atsur or Assur; Nebo; Nergal; Merodach: as in these names, Pul, Tiglath-Pul-Assur, Salman-Assur, Adra-Melech, Shar-Assur, Assur-Hadon, Sardanapalus or Assur-Hadon-Pul, Nabonassar or Nebo-Adon-Assur, Bel Adon, Chiniladon or Chen-El-Adon, Nebo-Pul-Assur, Nebo-Chaddon-Assur, Nebuzaradon or Nebo-Assur-Adon, Nergal-Assur, Nergal-Shar-Assur, Labo-Assur-dach, Sheseb-Assur, Beltes-Assur, Evil-Merodach, Shamgar-Nebo, Rabsaris or Rab-Assur, Nebo-Shashban, Mardocempad or Merodach-Empad. Such were the Assyrian names; but those in Ctesias are of another sort, except Sardanapalus, whose name he had met with in Herodotus. He makes Semiramis as old as the first Belus; but Herodotus tells us, that she was but five Generations older than the mother of Labynetus: he represents that the city Ninus was founded by a man of the same name, and Babylon by Semiramis; whereas either Nimrod or Assur founded those and other cities, without giving his own name to any of them: he makes the Assyrian Empire continue about 1360 years, whereas Herodotus tells us that it lasted only 500 years, and the numbers of Herodotus concerning those ancient times are all of them too long: he makes Nineveh destroyed by the Medes and Babylonians, three hundred years before the Reign of Astibares and Nebuchadnezzar who destroyed it, and sets down the names of seven or eight feigned Kings of Media, between the destruction of Nineveh and the Reigns of Astibares and Nebuchadnezzar, as if the Empire of the Medes, erected upon the ruins of the Assyrian Empire, had lasted 300 years, whereas it lasted but 72: and the true Empire of the Assyrians described in Scripture, whose Kings were Pul, Tiglath-pilesar, Shalmaneser, Sennacherib, Asserhadon, &c. he mentions not, tho' much nearer to his own times; which shews that he was ignorant of the antiquities of the Assyrians. Yet something of truth there is in the bottom of some of his stories, as there uses to be in Romances; as, that Nineveh was destroyed by the Medes and Babylonians; that Sardanapalus was the last King of the Assyrian Empire; and that Astibares and Astyages were Kings of the Medes: but he has made all things too ancient, and out of vainglory taken too great a liberty in feigning names and stories to please his reader.
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