Boekgegevens
Titel: First English reading book: Engelsch leesboek voor instituten, gymnasiën en hoogere burgerscholen: met Nederlandsche woordenlijst
Auteur: Herrig, Ludwig
Uitgave: Arnhem: J. Voltelen, 1869 *
Auteursrechten: Zie auteursrechten
Citeerinstructie: Bijzondere Collecties van de Universiteit van Amsterdam, UBM: IWO 513 H 21
URL: https://schoolmuseum.uba.uva.nl/bookid/LCSM_204683
Onderwerp: Taal- en letterkunde naar afzonderlijke talen: Engelse taalkunde
Trefwoord: Leesvaardigheid, Engels, Leermiddelen (vorm)
* jaar van uitgave niet op de gebruikelijke wijze verkregen, mogelijk betreft het een schatting
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•242
were permitted to sink a well in the mound,
and at a small distance from the surface
they came to the top of a wall, which on
digging deeper, they found to be lined with
sculptured slabs of gypsum. M. Botta, on
receiving information of this discovery, went
at once to the village, which was called
Khorsabad. Directing a wider trench to be
formed, and to be carried in the direction
of the wall, he soon found that he had en-
tered a chamber connected with others, and
surrounded by slabs of gypsum, covered
with sculptured representations of kings,
warriors, battles, sieges, and similar events.
His wonder may be easily inmagined. A
new history bad been suddenly opened to
him — the records of an unknown people
•were before him. He was equally at a loss
to account for the age and the nature of
the monument. The style of art of the
sculptures, the dresses of the figures, the
mythic forms in the walls, were all new to
him, and allbrded no clue to the epoch of
the erection of the edifice, or to the people
who were its founders. Numerous inscrip-
tions, accompanying the bas-reliefs, evident-
ly contained the explanation of the events
there recorded in sculpture, and, being in
the cuneiform, or arrow-headed character,
proved that the building belonged to an
age preceding the conquests of Alexander.
It was evident that the monument apper-
tained to a very ancient and very civilised
people, and it was natural from its position
to refer it to the inhabitants of Nineveh —
a city which, although it could not have
occupied a site so distant from the Tigris,
must have been in the vicinity of these
ruins. M. Botta had discovered an Assy-
rian edifice, the first, probably, that had
been exposed to the view of man since the
fall of the Assyrian empire.
The discovery of Botta was made known
to the French Academy of Fine Arts, whose
members lost no time in applying to the
Minister of PubUc Instruction for pecuniary
means to carry on the excavations. Ample
funds were guaranteed to the happy dis-
coverer, and an artist of acknowledged skill
was sent to take sketches of such objects
as could not be removed. The success of
the Frenchman heightened the desire of
our own devoted countryman to turn his |
attention to the ruins and antiquities of As-
syria. His thoughts were fixed on Nim-
roud. In the autumn of 1848, through the
liberality of Sir Stratford Canning, he was
in circumstances to enter on his grand en-
terprise. He left Constantinople without ac-
quainting any one with the object of his
journey, and in twelve days he found him-
self in the town of Mosul. He presented
his letters to the governor of the province,
but concealed from him the object which
he had in view. Nimroud was seven hours'
journey from Mosul; but he hastened
thither, took up his abode in the hovel of an
Arab, to whom he revealed the object of
his visit, and to whom he held out the pro-
spect of regular employment, and assigned
him fixed wages as superintendent of the
workmen. This pleased the Arab; and the
shadows of night having fallen upon the
world, our traveller retired to rest. He
could not sleep. 'Hopes, long cherished,
were now to be realised, or were to end
in disappointment. Visions of palaces un-
derground, of gigantic monsters, of sculp-
tured figures, and of endless inscriptions,
floated before him.' Morning dawned, and
his host, who had walked to a village three
miles distant in the middle of the night,
stood without with six Arabs whom he had
brought with him to be employed in the
works. The ruins were no longer covered
with verdure, and the absence of all vege-
tation enabled him the more successfully to
examine the remains. Broken pottery and
bricks inscribed with the cuneiform charac-
ter lay scattered all around. The Arabs
watched his every movement, and brought
him handfuls of rubbish for examination.
To his inexpressible joy, he found the frag--
ments of a bas-relief, and concluding that
sculptured remains must exist in some part
of the mound, he sought and selected a
place where he might commence his opera-
tions in earnest and with the hope of suc-
cess. His first day's efforts were rewarded
with the discovery of slab after slab —
then of a chamber, and then of a wall, all
enhanced by the inscriptions which they
bore. This was enough. Next day, having
increased the number of his men, he re-
newed his labours with increased interest.
Before the evening he found himself in a
room panelled with slabs, about eight feet
in height, and varying from six to four feet
in breadth. The bottom of the chamber
was paved with smaller slabs than those
which lined the walls. At his feet he found
several objects in ivory, with traces of
gilding.
Amid manifold difficulties, discourage-
ments, interruptions, self-denials, and more
than common sacrifices, he prosecuted his
labours, but much of his time was spent in
merely clearing away the rubbish which sur-
rounded or concealed the ruins. His grand
ambition was to bring the tools of his work-
men into contact with some sculptured fi-
gures. He succeeded. By perseverance his