256 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
protuberant lips, a receding forehead, a broad, thick nose, and having the head covered
with the short crisp hair of Africa. Perhaps the people thus represented were the
primitive people of Susiana, originally derived from the south, and yielding at a later
date to a northern race represented in the other delineation.
Like most of the ancient peoples, the Babylonians wore their hair long. It does not
appear, however, that to the matter of head adornment they gave so much attention as did
the Egyptians and Assyrians. The sculptures show that the hair of the Babylonian was
generally arranged in a single heavy curl, which hung stiffly over the shoulders.
Sometimes the natural locks were left loose and allowed to fall about the neck. In some
figures the hair descends to the waist, and is braided or bound in a sheath. In other
cases the Assyrian fashion of a cluster of curls about the neck and shoulders, or a close
mass on the back of the head, is followed. Perhaps the time was when the dandies and
belles of Babylon looked to Nineveh for their styles as the world of absurdity now turns
to Paris in the matter of personal adornment.
After the manner of Arabia most of the Babylonians wore long, flowing beards. A
patriarchal appearance was thus given to many of the portraits. Sometimes the beard, when
not curling, fell nearly to the waist, and sometimes when crisp clung closely to the face.
The practice of shaving was common, and many of the delineations show the face smooth from
the razor. As compared with the Assyrians the prevalent complexion of the Babylonians was
dark and swarthy. Here again their old descent from the south had cooperated with the
current effects of climate to give to the features that bronzed and tropical aspect which
until to-day prevails in the country about the head of the Persian Gulf. Babylon lies four
degrees nearer the equator than Nineveh, and the prevalence of the intense summer heats of
the low plains of that region gives to the face a strong suggestion of Ethiopia.
Turning then from the personal habits and appearance of the people to their intellectual,
and moral traits, we find much to admire and not a little to contemn. In mental abilities
they surpassed most of the ancient races. They had inherited from their ancestors, the old
Chaldaeans, a large store of primitive learning. The attainments of the Chaldaeans in
astronomical and mathematical knowledge have been proverbial in all ages, .and this
scientific lore was transmitted to the Babylonians. The latter people not only maintained
but promoted the knowledge thus received from their predecessors. Their fame for learning
resounded through all Western Asia, and echoes of it were heard in the eastern parts of
Europe. The Greek historians and philosophers acknowledged their indebtedness to Babylonia
for many valuable inventions and much abstract learning. The scholars of the Empire were
in good repute, and their attainments appear to have been fully up to the measure of their
times and opportunities. The age was unscientific and unscholarly, and the maintenance by
any people of a respectable body of learning brought them deserved preeminence.
The Babylonians, however, were unable to rise above that superstition- which has been the
besetting sin of the human mind. They poisoned their scientific teachings with a vast mass
of groundless imaginings deduced from their own vague fears and conjectures. Astronomy
thus sank to the level of astrology, and science in general remained without a fixed limit
of certainty. The same degeneration of learning took place as afterwards occurred among
the Arabian philosophers of Baghdad, Cairo, and Cordova. For this reason the purposes had
in view by the scholars of Babylonia fell below the ends of true science. To determine
some occult or mysterious thing appeared to be the highest aim of their investigations. To
interpret dreams, or to determine from the aspect of the stars and planets the destinies
of human life, was the chief work of the Babylonian philosophy. The scientist became a
soothsayer, and the sage degenerated into a rhapsodist or prophet. The mind had not yet
learned in its investigations that in