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Nebuchadnezzar, the like of which could not be found in any other portion of the ancient

world. The Babylonian nation was composite.

The three dominant race elements in the people of the Empire were the Semitic, the

Cushite, and the Turanian. By the first the Babylonians were allied with the Hebrews and

Phoenicians; by the second, with the Arabs and ancient Egyptians; by the third, with the

wild races of Northern Asia. With the progress of time, however, and the assumption of

afixed national type, the Semitic element in the Babylonian people became more and more

predominant. After the conquest of the country by the Assyrians this tendency was

increased. It was like the influence of the Normans among the Celtic inhabitants of

Western France. The race-type assumed in Babylonia became assimilated to that of Assyria

and the West. In the times of the later Empire the old antecedents had in a great measure

been lost in a fixed form, hardly discriminable by a common observer from the well-known

type of Assyria. It may, therefore, be assumed that the Babylonians of the time of

Nebuchadnezzar and his successors were a race of Semites, varied and modified by many

diverse lines of ancient descent.

In the physical appearance of the ancient Babylonians the historian must trust rather to

the delineations found on the Assyrian monuments than to representations left us by native

artists. Of the latter only a few portraits, drawn on cylinders, have been preserved; and

even these seem to present the Babylonian form and features such as they were in the times

of ancient Chaldaea, rather than at the high noon of imperial distinction. According to

these delineations the people of Old Babylonia were slender and lithe-a rather thin visage

and meager person. In later times, however, owing to the race-mixture already described,

and especially to the ascendancy of the Assyrians, this slight personal aspect of the

ancients was greatly modified. The Babylonians, like their northern masters, became strong

and massive-a big- muscled, strong-limbed race, whose bone

and brawn were the impersonation of strength and endurance.

It can not, of course, be ascertained how faithful are the representations made by the

Assyrian artists of the citizens of Babylon, or to what extent those artists merely used

the conventional types which they had been accustomed to chisel in the stones of Nineveh.

At any rate, the later Babylonians as depicted by their northern conquerors have the same

form and features as did the men who carved their portraits. A full account of the

personal appearance of the Ninevites has already been given in a chapter of the Third


In so far, then, as the physiognomy of the Babylonians differed from the well known

Assyrian type, the difference seems to be this: the eyes of the former people were larger

and not so almond-shaped as those of the latter. The Babylonian nose was shorter and more

depressed than the Assyrian, and the general expression was less determined and spirited.

No doubt these slight departures from the type prevalent in its best development at

Nineveh were the result of climate, and perhaps of some old inherited characteristics from

the ancient Chaldaeans.

In the country of Susiana there seems not to have been any such amalgamation of races as

existed in Babylonia proper. In the former province the old Cushite race remained

comparatively pure down to the times of the Empire. In this case, also, our knowledge of

the person and features of the people is due rather to Assyrian sculpture than to the

native art of Susiana. The delineations found amid the ruins of the Ninevite palaces prove

that there were two Susianian types, quite distinct and striking: the one, the ancient

Cushite just referred to, and the other, a heavy southern face, having the leading

peculiarities of the Negro. The two types are found side by side in the sculptures, the

one face being high and Caucasian in its general contour, the other marked with thick,

I As a general rule a northern climate raises the features into greater prominence; a

southern, depresses them. But in extreme latitudes the rule seems to be reversed, and in

the high north the features fall.