The Berean Expositor
Volume 9 - Page 125 of 138
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#26. The Nineveh Gallery.
Grammatical Tables and Syllabaries, etc.
pp. 171 - 175
It must be remembered that the Assyrians were not the original inhabitants of the
country, and that the warlike Assyrians were indebted to the vanquished Accadians for
the basis of their written language. The Accadian or Sumerian used a picture writing,
which became conventionalized and simplified in course of time. The Assyrians took the
signs from the Sumerians, disregarded their original meaning, and retained only their
sound value. In the ancient Sumerian language the sign that represented "heaven" was
pronounced an.  This sign and sound was taken over by the Assyrians without its
meaning. The sign simply stood for the sound an in whatever Assyrian word such
syllable might come.
In Table Case B are portions of various Syllabaries, Nos. 9-11 being of the first
class, viz., those which give (1) the Sumerian value, (2) the sign, and (3) its Assyrian
name. Nos. 12-15 are of the second class, viz., those which give (1) the Sumerian value,
(2) the sign, and (3) its Assyrian meaning. Nos. 16 and 17 are of third class, viz.,
those which give (1) the Sumerian value, (2) the sign, and (3) its Assyrian name, and
(4)  its Assyrian meaning.
Nos. 22  and  23  give a list of Assyrian words of
synonymous meanings. Nos. 24-26 give Assyrian words and phrases used in legal
documents.  Nos. 27  gives grammatical examples in Sumerian, with Assyrian
translations, the phrases being those found in incantations. There are forty-one lists in
this case dealing with a great variety of philological subjects. In Table Case C we have
a collection of explanatory lists of words, names of gods, of utensils, of stars, rivers,
countries, cities, temples, birds, animals, etc. As one begins to realize all that these
grammatical tables and syllabaries mean, one can appreciate the following comment of
Prof. Sayce:--
"The Assyrian Scribes themselves have provided us with the most abundant materials
for interpreting the inscriptions."
"Every great Babylonian city had at least one library, scribes were kept constantly at
work there copying and re-editing old tests, and sometimes writing new ones."
Table Case D contains a number of tablets dealing with Chronology, rich in material for
Assyriologists, but not of a nature of interest the ordinary reader. One of the lists tells us
that in the month Sivan an eclipse of the sun took place, and recent astronomical
calculations prove that an eclipse of the sun, visible at Nineveh, took place on
15th June, 763, B.100: This gives a fixed point for assigning correct dates over a long
period. No. 41 is an inscription of Tiglath-Pileser III, mentioning "Ahaz, king of Judah"
as among tributary kings.
Table Case E contains a large number of Assyrian letters relating to public and
private affairs, selections of astronomical reports, contract tablets, and commercial