Babylonia and Assyria were two of the greatest nations the history of mankind has brought forth. These two great Mesopotamian civilizations were best known for their massive armies and instruments of war. This is not surprising, since they were rarely at peace with one another. They were, however, heavily influenced by each other, as well as their predecessors, the Sumerians. Much of what we taken for granted today, the arts and science of industry and invention, were bequeathed to us from these ancient cultures. This two-volume series is remarkable in that it offers an exceedingly comprehensive and detailed looked at ancient Babylonia and Assyria. The way in which these reference works were compiled and written will bring noteworthy enjoyment for the curious reader.
These two volumes are based mostly on the archaeological discoveries of the late 19th Century, and are well-referenced and cited with footnotes from that period. As a result, much of what they have to say is timeless, in a sense, because of nature of how the information is presented. For example, randomly thumbing through this 900 page tome and stopping to read a passage will normally result in the reader being completely preoccupied in whatever annal of history is being revealed. As a professor of ancient Oriental literature at Princeton University at the turn of the twentieth century, professor Robert William Rogers provides a competent perspective concerning the past history of Babylonia and Assyria. This book was skillfully written from the author's vast scholarship and understanding on these subjects.
Volume one begins with a discussion of the earliest European explorations of the Middle East. It began in 1320, when a wandering friar made contact, and continued into the 15th and 16th centuries, when a number of explorers took a closer look at some of the ancient ruins that dot the Arabian landscape, but did not pay particular attention to them. It wasn't until the early 1800s that scientifically minded men began to detail a history on the great archaeological discoveries found throughout the Middle East. As a result, there were a number of cursory explorations conducted from 1820-1834, but it wasn't until 1842, when the French established a consulate at Mosul, that excavations began. Also included in this volume is story concerning the decipherment of the Vannic, Sumerian and Assyrian scripts. This volume also includes the additional explorations conducted in the Middle East from 1872 to 1900. Beginning in 1872, a new round of excavations began after nearly 20 years of dormancy. In times past, excavations were conducted slowly, or even halted, because the work of translation and decipherment many times failed to keep up with new discoveries. In these cases, artifacts that had become unearthed were but meaningless curiosities. It wasn't until the late 1800s that learned people were able to make sense of what was found. Several chapters within this volume detail the various sources which scholars used to establish the chronology of the Kings list, as well as the characteristics of the land and of the peoples who inhabited the Mesopotamian valley. Also included is a history of Babylonia to the fall of Larsa, the Kassite tenure, and the dynasty of Isin. 429 + xx + 2 illustrated pages o illustrated. See also volume two ISBN 1-59016-317-6.