254 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
those of some other countries. Nevertheless they were produced in great numbers. Herodotus
narrates that the stables of one of the Babylonian kings contained no fewer than eight
hundred stallions and sixteen thousand mares. The prevalent breeds, if we may judge by
the delineations which have been left in Assyria, were large-boned, large-headed, strong,
and heavy muscled rather than elegant or swift-adapted rather for the brick-yards of the
plain than for fleetness or beauty.
The sheep and goats of Mesopotamia were like those of other countries. Of the former
animal several breeds were reared, of varying grades as it related to flesh or fleece. The
latter yielded its flesh to the Babylonian butcher-stalls-its milk and cheese to the
peasant. Next in importance of the domestic animals was the dog. The tablets show them of
many species and in the performance of various services. The breeds presented ranged from
the elegant greyhound to the heavy mastiff.
It is not known that the camel was native to Babylonia. In several of the neighboring
countries, however, the beast was an efficient agent in the affairs of life, and his
importation into the Babylonian provinces was easy and natural. The caravan trade
then-as ever-depended for its efficiency upon the ship of the desert. The commercial
communication between the countries bordering on the valley of the Euphrates and those
lying along the Mediterranean was maintained, perhaps originally suggested, by the
abilities and temper of the camel. In war and in common travel this remarkable creature
became indispensable to the wants and caprices of men.
On the Babylonian cylinders are found certain representations which seem to indicate the
buffalo as an animal native to the country. The creature thus delineated differs from the
ox, and corresponds very well with the buffalo of Europe. The animal appears to have been
domesticated, and to have been subsisted in the same manner and for the same ends as the
Babylonian cattle. Oxen are represented "on. the same tablets, and the uses of the two
species, whether of labor in the fields, or slaughter for the markets, or of sacrifice to
the gods, seem to have been identical.
Such is a brief sketch-as supplemented by what is said in the histories of Chaldaea and
Assyria-of the general aspects of Nature as she appeared to the ancient Babylomans, and of
the principal gifts which she gave them out of her treasure.
CHAPTER XXI- PEOPLE AND CITIES.
IT is difficult to define properly the race-character of the Babylonians. From the
earliest times the people inhabiting the low plains of Chaldaea were a mélange of diverse
tribes. Here the old Cushites had had their abode. Here certain of the Semitic family had
found a home. Here perhaps some of the primitive Aryans had intruded among their elder
brethren. Here the great Arab Dynasty had been established, and had ruled from the middle
of the sixteenth century to the year B. C. 1300. At the latter date the Semitic Assyrians
of the north swooped down on Babylon, and took the land, bringing in the customs and blood
of Upper Mesopotamia. Here the plan of colonizing the conquered but insurrectionary
populations of foreign countries was fully and unreservedly adopted; and here the tides of
war, sweeping back and forth from the east and the north and the west, drew in with their
ebb and flow a vast debris of humanity, and left it as a sediment in the countries about
Babylon. From all these causes a mixture and agglomeration of races took place within the