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The subsequent history of the empire is involved in almost as much obscurity as that of its origin and rise. The Medes had already shaken off the yoke, and the Chaldæans soon appear on the scene as the dominant nation of Western Asia; yet Assyria, though much reduced in extent, existed as an independent state for a considerable period after Esarhaddon. The last monarch was 'Sarac, or Sardanapalus II. (B.C. 636), in whose reign Cyaxares, king of Media, and Nabopolassar, viceroy of Babylon, combined against Assyria, took Nineveh, and, dividing what remained of the empire between them, reduced Assyria Proper to a province of Media (B.C. 606).
of Assyria seems now to have reached its
Sennacherib was succeeded by his son Esarhaddon, or Assarhaddon, who had been his father's viceroy at Babylon (2 Kings xix. 37; Isa. xxxvii. 38). Hales regards him as the first Sardanapalus. The only notice taken of him in Scripture is that he settled some colonists in Samaria (Ezra iv. 2), and as (at ver. 10) that colonization is ascribed to the great and noble Asnapper,' it is supposed that that was another name for Esarhaddon, but it may have been one of the great officers of his empire. It seems to have been in his reign that the captains of the Assyrian host invaded and ravaged Judah, carrying Manasseh, the king, captive to Babylon.
In this brief sketch of the history of the Assyrian empire, we have mainly followed the writers of the Old Testament, from whom alone any consistent account can be derived.
The political constitution of the Assyrian empire was no doubt similar to that of other ancient states of the East, such as Chaldæa and Persia. The monarch, called 'the great king' (2 Kings xviii. 19; Isa. xxxvi. 4), ruled as a despot, surrounded with his guards, and only accessible to those who were near his person. Under him there were provincial satraps, called in Isa. x. 8, princes' of the rank and power of ordinary kings. The great officers of the household were commonly eunuchs. The religion of the Assyrians was, in its leading features, the same as that of the Chaldeans, viz. the symbolical worship of the heavenly bodies, especially the planets. In Scripture there is mention of Nisroch, Adrammelech. Anammelech, Nebchaz, Tartak, &c., as the names of idols worshipped by the natives either of Assyria Proper or of the adjacent countries which they had subdued.
ASTRONOMY, that science which treats of the laws of the stars, or heavenly bodies, considered in reference to their magnitude, movements, and respective influence one upon another. Astronomy may be divided into empirical and scientific; the first being founded on the appa
phenomena and movements of the heavenly bodies, the second upon their real phenomena and movements. The knowledge of the ancients was limited to the first; or if they possessed any truths connected with the second, they were nothing more than bold or fortunate guesses, which were not followed out to their legitimate consequences, nor formed into a systematic whole.
The cradle of astronomy is to be found in Asia. The few and imperfect notices which have come down to these times give a concurrent testimony in favour of this statement, and therewith agrees the fact that the climate, the mode of life, and the occupations of the Oriental nations that were first civilized, prompted them to watch and observe the starry heavens. The Chaldæans are accounted to have excelled in astronomical knowledge.
Pliny, in his celebrated enumeration of the inventors of the arts, sciences, and conveniences of life, ascribes the discovery of astronomy to Phonician mariners; and in the same chapter he speaks of astronomical observations found on burnt bricks among the Babylonians, which ascend to above 2200 years B.C. Alexander sent to Aristotle from Babylon a series of astronomical observations, extending through 1900
Some portion of the knowledge which prevailed on the subject would no doubt penetrate to and become the inheritance of the Hebrews, who do not, however, appear to have possessed any views of astronomy which raised their knowledge to the rank of a science, or made it approach to a more correct theory of the mechanism of the heavens than that which was generally held. Nor, if the Bible is taken as the witness, do the ancient Israelites appear to have had extensive knowledge in the matter. They possessed such an acquaintance with it as tillers of the ground and herdsmen might be expected to form while pursuing their business, having, as was natural, their minds directed to those regions of the vens which night after night brought before their eyes: accordingly, the peculiar Oriental names of the constellations are derived from circumstances connected with a nomade people. A peculiarity of the greatest importance belongs to the knowledge which the Israelites display of the heavens, namely, that it is thoroughly imbued with a religious character; nor is it possible to find in any other writings, even at this day, so much pure and elevated piety, in connection with observations on the starry firmament, as may be gathered even in single books of the Bible (Amos v. 8; Psalm xix.).
which stands in a line with the Pleiades. The Orientals seemed to have conceived of Orion as a huge giant who had warred against God, and as bound in chains to the firmament of heaven (Job xxxviii. 31); and it has been conjectured that this notion is the foundation of the history of Nimrod; 4. Arcturus (Job ix. 9), the Great Bear; 5. (Job xxvi. 13, the crooked serpent'), Draco, between the Great and the Little Bear; a constellation which spreads itself in windings across the heavens; 6. Castor and Pollux (Acts xxviii. 11), Gemini, or the Twins, on the belt of the Zodiac, which is mentioned in 2 Kings xxiii. 5, under the general name of 'the planets.' The entire body of the stars was called the host of heaven' (Isa. xl. 26; Jer. xxxiii. 22).
No trace is found in the Old Testament of a division of the heavenly bodies into planets, fixed stars, and comets; but in Jude 13, the phrase wandering stars' is employed figuratively.
After the Babylonish exile the Jews were compelled, even for the sake of their calendar, to hea-attend at least to the course of the moon, which became an object of study, and delineations were made of the shapes that she assumes.
At an early period of the world the worship of the stars arose from that contemplation of them which in every part of the globe, and particularly in the East, has been found a source of deep and tranquil pleasure. Men by nature' 'deemed either fire or wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the violent water, or the lights of heaven, to be the gods which govern the world;' with whose beauty being delighted, they took them to be gods' (Wisdom xiii. 2). Accordingly, the religion of the Egyptians, of the Chaldees, As early as the days of the patriarchs the Assyrians, and the ancient Arabians, was nothing minds of pious men were attracted and enrap- else than star-worship, although in the case of tured by the splendour of the skies (Gen. xxxvii. the first its origin is more thickly veiled. The 9); and imagery borrowed from the starry world sun, moon, and seven planets excited most attensoon fixed itself firmly in human speech. The tion, and won the greatest observance. We thus sun and moon were distinguished from other find among the Babylonians Jupiter (Belus, Isa. heavenly bodies, in consequence of their magni- lxv. 11), Venus (Isa. lxv. 11, where the first is tude and their brilliancy, as being the lights of rendered in the common version ‘that troop,' the heaven and earth (Gen. i. 16); and from the second that number'). Both these were concourse of the moon time was divided into parts, sidered good principles. Mercury, honoured as or months, of which the oldest form of the year, the secretary of heaven, is also found in Isa. xlvi. the lunar, was made up. Every new moon was 1, Nebo stoopeth;' Saturn (Amos, v. 26); Mars greeted with religious festivities. While, how- (2 Kings, xvii. 30); the two last were worshipped ever, the sun in his power, the moon walking in as principles of evil. The character of this worbrightness, and all the stars of light conspired to ship was formed from the notions which were excite devotion, their influence on the hearts of entertained of the good or ill which certain the ancient Israelites, who were happily in-stars occasioned. Astrology found its sphere structed in a knowledge of the true God, the one principally in stars connected with the birth of Jehovah, the sole Creator of the world, stopped individuals. It concerned itself also with the short of that idolatrous feeling, and was free determination of lucky and unlucky days: so from those idolatrous practices to which, among in Job. iii. 3, Let the day perish wherein I nations of less religious knowledge-and espe- was born; and Gal. iv. 10, Ye observe days. cially among their own neighbours, the Babylo- and months, and times, and years.' The Chalnians, for instance-it is unhappily known to dæans, who studied the stars at a very early have led. period, were much given to astrology, and were celebrated for their skill in that pretended science (Isa. xlvii. 13). In Daniel ii. 27 ; v. 11, the calculators of nativities are named. Comets were for the most part considered heralds of evil tidings. The Orientals of the present day hold astrology in honour, and stipendiary astrologers form a part of their court.
AT'AD, the person on whose threshing-floor the sons of Jacob and the Egyptians who accom
As early as the time of the composition of perhaps the oldest book in the Bible, namely, that of Job, the constellations were distinguished one from another, and designated by peculiar and appropriate names (Job ix. 9; xxxviii. 31). In the Bible are found-1. the morning star, the planet Venus (Isa. xiv. 12; Rev. ii. 28); 2. (Job ix. 9; xxxviii. 35; Amos v. 8), the Pleiades ; 3. Orion, a large and brilliant constellation,
panied them performed their final act of solemn mourning for Jacob (Gen. 1. 11); on which aocount the place was afterwards called Abel-Mizraim, the mourning of the Egyptians.'
AT'AROTH. Several places of this name (which means crowns) occur in the Scriptures. 1. Ataroth-beth-Joab, in the tribe of Judah (1 Chron. ii. 54). 2. Ataroth, on the borders of Ephraim (Josh. xvi. 2, 7), which some identify with, and others distinguish from, the AtarothAddar of the same tribe mentioned in Josh. xvi. 5; xviii. 13. 3. Ataroth, in the tribe of Gad, beyond the Jordan (Num. xxxii. 3, 34). 4. Ataroth-Shophan, in the same tribe (Num. xxxii. 35), which some identify with the preceding; but it appears more likely that the addition was used to distinguish the one from the other.
ATERGA'TIS is the name of a Syrian goddess, whose temple is mentioned in 2 Macc. xii. 26. That temple appears, by comparing 1 Macc. 7. 43, to have been situated at Ashteroth-Karnaim. Her worship also flourished at Mabûg (i. e. Bambyce), afterwards called Hierapolis according to Pliny.
There is little doubt that Atergatis is the same divinity as Derketo, which was worshipped in Phoenicia and at Ascalon under the form of a woman with a fish's tail, or with a woman's face only and the entire body of a fish; that fishes were sacred to her, and that the inhabitants abstained from eating them in honour of her.
Atergatis is thus a name under which the ancients worshipped some modification of the same power which was adored under that of Ashtoreth. The fish-form shows that Atergatis bears some relation, perhaps that of a female counterpart, to DAGON.
this Athaliah had acquired much influence in public affairs, and had used that influence for evil; and when the tidings of her son's untimely death reached Jerusalem, she resolved to seat herself upon the throne of David, at whatever cost To this end she caused all the male branches o the royal family to be massacred (2 Kings xi. 1); and by thus shedding the blood of her own grandchildren, she undesignedly became the instrument of giving completion to the doom on her father's house, which Jehu had partially accomplished, B.C. 884. One infant son of Ahaziah. however, was saved by his aunt Jehosheba, wife of the high-priest Jehoiada, and was concealed within the walls of the temple, and there brought up so secretly that his existence was unsuspected by Athaliah. But in the seventh year (B.C. 878) of her blood-stained and evil reign, the sounds of unwonted commotion and exulting shouts within the temple courts drew her thither, where she beheld the young Joash standing as a crowned king by the pillar of inauguration, and acknowledged as sovereign by the acclamations of the assembled multitude. Her cries of Treason!' failed to excite any movement in her favour, and Jehoiada, the high-priest, who had organized this bold and successful attempt, without allowing time for pause, ordered the Levitical guards to remove her from the sacred precincts to instant death (2 Kings xi. ; 2 Chron. xxi. 6; xxii. 10-12; xxiii.).
A'THENS. This celebrated city, as the birthplace of Plato, and through him so widely influential on Judaism and Christianity, deserves something else than a geographical notice here. We shall briefly allude to the stages of her history, and remark on some of the causes of her pre-eminent greatness in arms, arts, and intellectual subtlety.
The earlier and more obscure period of the Grecian province named Attica reaches down nearly to the final establishment of democracy in it. Yet we know enough to see that the foundations of her greatness were then already laid. To a king named Theseus (whose deeds are too much mixed with fable to be narrated as history is ascribed the credit of uniting all the countrytowns of Attica into a single state, the capital of which was Athens. This is the first political event that we can trust as historical, although its date and circumstances are by no means free from obscurity.
ATHALIAH (whom Jehovah afficts), daughter of Ahab, king of Israel, doubtless by his idolatrous wife Jezebel. She is also called the daughter of Omri (2 Chron. xxii. 2), who was the father of Ahab; but by a comparison of texts it would appear that she is so called only as being his grand-daughter. Athaliah became the wife of Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. This marriage may fairly be considered the act of the parents; and it is one of the few stains upon the character of the good Jehoshaphat that he was so ready, if not anxious. to connect himself with the idolatrous house of Ahab. Had he not married the heir of his crown to Athaliah, many evils and much bloodshed might have been spared to the royal family and to the king-its dom. When Jehoram came to the crown, he, as might be expected, walked in the ways of the house of Ahab,' which the sacred writer obviously attributes to this marriage, by adding, for he had the daughter of Ahab to wife' (2 Chron. XXI. 6). This king died B.C. 885, and was succeeded by his youngest son Ahaziah, who reigned but one year, and whose death arose from his being, by blood and by circumstances, involved in the doom of Ahab's house [AHAZIAH]. Before
The population of this province was variously called Pelasgian, Achaian, and Ionian, and probably corresponds most nearly to what was afterwards called Æolian. The first name carries the mind back to an extremely primitive period. When the Doriaus, another tribe of Greeks of very different temperament, invaded and occupied the southern peninsula, great numbers of Achaian inhabitants took refuge in Attica Shortly after, the Dorians were repulsed in an inroad against Athens, an event which has transmitted to legendary renown the name of King Codrus; and thenceforward Athens was looked upon as the bulwark of the Ionian tribes against the barbarous Dorians. Overloaded with population, Attica now poured forth colonies into Asia; some of which, as Miletus, soon rose to great eminence, and sent out numerous colonies themselves; so that Athens was reverenced as a
mother of nations, by powerful children scattered along the western and northern coasts of
Dim tradition shows us isolated priesthoods and elective kings in the earliest times of Attica; these however gradually gave way to an aristocracy, which in a series of years established themselves as a hereditary ruling caste. But a country 'ever unravaged' (and such was their boast) could not fail to increase in wealth and numbers; and after two or three centuries, while the highest commoners pressed on the nobles, the lowest became overwhelmed with debt. The disorders caused by the strife of the former were vainly sought to be stayed by the institutions of Draco; the sufferings of the latter were ended, and the sources of violence dried up, by the enactments of Solon. Henceforth the Athenians revered the laws of Solon as the groundwork of
their whole civil polity; yet they retained by the side of them the ordinances of Draco in many matters pertaining to religion. The date of Solon's reforms was probably B.C. 594.
The usurpation of Pisistratus and his sons made a partial breach in the constitution; but upon their expulsion, a more serious change was effected by Cleisthenes, head of the noble house of the Alemæonida (B.c. 508), almost in the same year in which Tarquin was expelled from Rome. An entirely new organization of the Attic tribes was framed, which destroyed whatever remained of the power of the nobles as an order, and established among the freemen a democracy, in fact, as well as in form. Out of this proceeded all the good and all the evil with which the name of Athens is associated; and though greatness which shot up so suddenly could not be permanent, there can be no diffi
culty in deciding that the good greatly preponderated.
infinitely the worst result of it, and they were transmitted to succeeding generations. It was substantially a civil war in every province; and, as all the inhabitants of Attica were every summer forced to take refuge in the few fortresses they possessed, or in Athens itself, the simple country men became transformed into a hungry and profligate town rabble.
Very soon after this commenced hostilities with Persia; and the self-denying, romantic, successful bravery of Athens, with the generous affability and great talents of her statesmen, soon raised her to the head of the whole Ionian confederacy. As long as Persia was to be feared, Athens was loved; but after tasting the sweets of power, her sway degenerated into a despotism, and created at length, in the war called the Peloponnesian, a coalition of all Dorian and Eolian Greece against her (B.C. 431). In spite of a fatal pestilence and the revolt of her Ionian subjects, the naval skill of Athenian seamen and the enter-ness of the lawyer was grafted on the imagination prise of Athenian commanders proved more than of the poet. These are the two intellectual elea match for the hostile confederacy; and when ments out of which Athenian wisdom was deAthens at last fell (B.C. 404), she fell by the veloped; but it was stimulated and enriched by effects of internal sedition more truly than by extended political action and political experience. Spartan lances or Persian gold, or even by her History and Philosophy, as the words are underown rash and overgrasping ambition. The de- stood in modern Europe, had their birth in Athens moralizing effects of this war on all Greece were about the time of the Peloponnesian war. Then
From the earliest times the Ionians loved the lyre and the song, and the hymns of poets formed the staple of Athenian education. The constitution of Solon admitted and demanded in the people a great knowledge of law, with a large share in its daily administration. Thus the acute
That Athens after the Peloponnesian war never recovered the political place which she previously held, can excite no surprise-that she rose so high towards it was truly wonderful. Sparta and Thebes, which successively aspired to the leadership' of Greece, abused their power as flagrantly as Athens had done, and, at the same time, more coarsely. The never-ending cabals, the treaties made and violated, the coalitions and breaches, the alliances and wars, recurring every few years, destroyed all mutual confidence, and all possibility of again uniting Greece in any permanent form of independence; and, in consequence, the whole country was soon swallowed up in the kingdom of Macedonia. With the loss of civil liberty, Athens lost her genius, her manly mind, and whatever remained of her virtue: she long continued to produce talents, which were too often made tools of iniquity, panders to power, and petty artificers of false philosophy.
A Christian church existed in Athens soon after the apostolic times; but as the city had no political importance, the church never assumed any eminent position.
ATONEMENT (See Rom. xi. 15; 2 Cor. v. 18, 19). In ecclesiastical writers, and in the canons of Councils, the word rendered atonement is employed to signify the reconciliation of offenders to the Church after a due course of penitence. Of this there are said to have been two kinds: the one consisting merely in the remission of punishment; the other, in the restoration of the penitent to all the rights and privileges of communion. For the doctrine of Atonement, see articles SACRIFICE, REDEMPTION,
The other duties of the high-priest on that day consisted in frequent washings, changing his clothes, lighting the lamps, burning incense, &c.; which operations commenced soon after midnight of the 10th of the seventh month (Tishri). The ceremonies of worship peculiar to this day alone (besides those which were common to it with all other days) were: 1. That the highpriest, in his pontifical dress, confessed his own sins and those of his family, for the expiation of which he offered a bullock, on which he laid them; 2. That two goats were set aside, one of which was by lot sacrificed to Jehovah, while the other (Azazel), which was determined by lot to be set at liberty, was sent to the desert burdened with the sins of the people (Lev. xvi.).
On this day also the high-priest gave his blessing to the whole nation; and the remainder of the day was spent in prayers and other works of penance.
ATONEMENT, DAY OF (day of pardon, Lev. xxiii. 27; xxv. 9). Though perhaps ginally meant as a temporary day of expiation for the sin of the golden calf (as some would infer from Exod. xxxiii.), yet it was permanently instituted by Moses as a day of atonement for sins in general; and this day-the 10th of Tishri (our September)-is indeed the only fast ordained by Moses. This great fast commenced at sunset of the previous day, and lasted twenty-four hours, that is, from sunset to sunset. The ceremonies observed on this occasion are minutely described in Leviticus xvi., and were of a very laborious character, especially for the high-priest, who had to prepare himself during the previous seven days in nearly solitary confinement for the peculiar services that awaited him, and abstain during that period from all that could render him unclean, or disturb his devotions. The most remarkable ceremony of the day was the entrance of the high-priest into the Sanctuary, a thing not allowed on any other day, and to which Paul alludes, Heb. ix. 7.
Among the present orthodox Jews, for the scape-goat of old, a cock seems to have been substituted, which they call pardon, atonement, and which, on the eve of the day of Atonement, they turn three times round their head, each time saying (in Hebrew) that the cock is to be sacrificed instead of them, after which it is slaughtered and eaten. Towards evening of the 9th of Tishri, and before they take the last meal for the next twenty-four hours, they repair to the synagogue, and each inflicts upon his neighbour thirty-nine blows with a piece of leather. Most of the Jews on that day (of atonement) wear a white gown-the same shrouds in which they are buried; while all of them are obliged to stand the whole day without shoes, or even slippers.
ATTALIA, a maritime city of Pamphylia, in Asia Minor, near the mouth of the river Catarrhactes. It derived its name from its founder, Attalus Philadelphus, king of Pergamos. It was visited by Paul and Barnabas, A.D. 45 (Acts xiv. 25). It still exists under the name of Adalia, and extensive and important ruins attest the former consequence of the city.
ATTITUDES. The allusions in Scripture to attitudes and postures expressive of adoration, supplication, and respect, are very numerous. From these we learn enough to perceive that the ori-usages of the Hebrews in this respect were very nearly, if not altogether, the same as those which are still practised in the East, and which the paintings and sculptures of Egypt show to have been of old employed in that country. These sources supply ample materials for illustration, which it may be well to arrange under those heads into which such acts naturally divide themselves.
ADORATION AND HOMAGE.-The Moslems in their prayers throw themselves successively, and according to an established routine, into the various postures (nine in number) which they deem the most appropriate to the several parts of the service. For the sake of reference and comparison, we have introduced them all at the head of this article; as we have no doubt that the Hebrews employed on one occasion or another nearly all the various postures which the Moslems exhibit on one occasion. This is the chief difference. In public and common worship the Hebrews prayed standing; but in their sepa