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Friday, May 23, 2014

Episode R5 - Behistun Hat-Trick

“The Major constantly and indefatigably employed himself, from daylight to dark, revising, restoring and adding to his former materials.  This was a work of great irksomeness and labour in the confined space he was compelled to stand in, with his body in close proximity to the heated rock and under a broiling September sun.” – Felix Jones, 1844

After the debacle of the First Anglo-Afghan War, Henry Creswicke Rawlinson made two more excursions to Behistun.  His attempts to copy the remaining inscriptions nearly cost him his life.
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_R5_Behistun_Hat-Trick.mp3

Friday, May 16, 2014

Episode R4 - Dwelling of the Lions

“What can all this mean?  Who built this structure?  In what century did he live?  To what nation did he belong?  Are these walls telling me their tales of joy and woe?  Is this beautiful cuneiformed character a language?  I know not.  I can read their glory and their victories in their figures, but their story, their age, their blood, is to me a mystery.  Their remains mark the fall of a glorious and a brilliant past, but of a past known not to a living man." – Paul-Emile Botta

The excavations of Botta and Layard brought the majesty of ancient Assyria into the modern world.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Episode R3 - The Place of God

“My antiquarian studies go on quietly and smoothly, and despite the taunt which you may remember once expressing, of the presumption of an ignoramus like myself attempting to decipher inscriptions which had baffled for centuries the most learned men in Europe, I have made very considerable progress...I aspire to do for the cuneiform alphabet what Champollion has done for the hieroglyphics.”  - Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, July 1836 (writing to his sister Maria)

In 1836, Henry Creswicke Rawlinson - British soldier, adventurer and Orientalist – first encountered the Behistun Inscription.  He would devote the next few decades to deciphering its three cuneiform scripts.
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_R3_The_Place_of_God.mp3