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Chapter 4 THE STORY OF THE DELUGE

  • ### THE REMARKABLE DISCOVERIES OF MR. GEORGE SMITH
  • Interesting Particulars Respecting the Translations of the Assyrian Tablets i_he British Museum—Newly Discovered Facts About the Flood and Noah, Togethe_ith Some Light on the History of the Senator from Maine and the Settlement o_rooklyn.
  • Boston, April 26—Mr. Jacob Rounds of London, one of the assistant curators o_he British Museum, in a private letter to a distinguished Orientalist of thi_ity, gives some interesting particulars regarding the progress which has bee_ade in the arrangement and translation of the sculptured tablets and latere_octiles brought from Assyria and Chaldea by Mr. George Smith. The results o_he past three or four months are gratifying in the extreme. The work, whic_as begun three quarters of a century ago by Grotefend, and pursued b_rchaeologists such as Rask, St. Martin, Klaproth, Oppert, and th_ndefatigable Rawlinson, each of whom was satisfied if he carried it forward _ingle step, has been pushed far and fast by Mr. George Smith and hi_cholarly associates. The Assyrio-Babylonian cuneiforms, the third and mos_omplicated branch of the trilogy, may fairly be said to have found thei_edipus.
  • The riddles of Accad and of Sumir are read at last. The epigraphs on tablet_ug from the earth and rubbish of the Ninevite mounds are now translated b_r. George Smith as readily as Professor Whitney translates Greek, or a fifth-
  • term schoolboy, the fable of the man and the viper.
  • It is not many years since the learned Witte declared that these sphenographi_haracters, arranged so neatly upon the slabs of gray alabaster, or th_arefully prepared surface of clay—like specimen arrowheads in the museum o_ome ancient war department—were entirely without alphabetic significance,
  • mere whimsical ornaments, or perhaps the trail of worms! But their exegesi_as been perfected. The mounds of Nimroud, and Kouyunjik, and Khorsabad, an_ebbi Yunus have yielded up their precious treasures, and are now revealing,
  • page by page, the early history of our globe.
  • Mr. Smith and Mr. Rounds are both confirmed in the belief, first entertaine_y Westergaarde, that the cuneiform character is closely akin to the Egyptia_emotic; and also that its alphabet—which contains over four hundred signs,
  • some syllable, some phonetic, and some ideographic—is of the most complicate_nd arbitrary nature. As already intimated, the inscriptions which Mr. Smit_nd his colaborers have deciphered are in the primitive or Babylonia_haracter, which is much more obscure than either of its successors an_odifications, the so-called Persian and Median cunei.