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foundations. Historical discovery and the illustration of obscure points of ethnology and chronology are no doubt more attractive studies than dry disquisitions on grammar and etymology,-more attractive in their nature, and more likely to command the attention of the public; but the dry studies, nevertheless, are, or ought to be, a necessary preliminary to the others, whose very attractiveness, indeed, is almost in an inverse ratio to their philological value. While I congratulate, therefore, Mr. George Smith on his great achievements in recovering the lost history of early Babylon ; in bringing to light the primitive traditions which the Babylonians held, in common with the Hebrew colonists who migrated from Chaldæa to Palestine; in fixing by means of Assyrian records the chronology of Western Asia, and giving for the first time a consistent and continuous account of the Assyrian Empire ; and while I also congratulate Mr. Sayce on the general accuracy of his readings, and especially on his success in partially explaining the astronomy and astrology of the early Chaldæans; I do most earnestly recommend both of these scholars to pay more attention in future to the rudiments of the study than to its higher branches. It would be desirable, I think, in all future publications, to accompany the translation of every sentence with its grammatical and etymological analysis, especial care being taken to compare the corresponding roots and inflections in the cognate languages, not at random or from a fancied resemblance of sound, but according to the established rules of euphony and grammatical change. As matters stand at present, we are far from having overcome the elementary difficulties of phonetic representation. Notwithstanding, indeed, the numerous alphabets and syllabaries that have been published, there are still many cuneiform characters of doubtful power, while the vernacular names of the gods, which enter so largely into the composition of Babylonian and Assyrian proper names, and are thus essential to historical identification, are for the most part rendered conventionally and provisionally. For my own part, I should hail the determinate reading of these names--a result, which in default of direct evidence can only be obtained by a very large and laborious induction—as a more substantial advance in Assyriology than the discovery of a new dynasty of Kings or the complete explanation of the whole series of astronomical tables.

Let me, then, impress upon all young Semitic scholars who desire to take up the study of the Cuneiform Inscriptions to begin at the beginning; to learn thoroughly the alphabet and grammar of the Assyrian language before they attempt independent translation; and only gradually to ascend into those higher regions of inquiry which will be brought before the Section by the experienced scholars around


In the mean time we are doing good service in this country to the common cause in accumulating materials. Mr. George Smith, during his last two visits to Assyria, has added several thousand fragments of tablets and cylinders to the already large collection deposited in the British Museum ; and our fourth volume of the Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia is now on the eve of publication.

It is a satisfactory proof of the high place which Assyriology has now taken in the estimation of Semitic scholars that the communications which are promised for our Section are all, with one exception, connected with the study of the Cuneiform Inscriptions; and, indeed, as I make no pretension myself to any extensive or critical knowledge of the Semitic languages, it can only be to my early connexion with Cuneiform decipherment and the interest which I have ever taken in the subject that I am indebted for the high honour of being called to preside over this Section. I now declare this Section to be open, and invite the members to proceed to business.






[Principal Assyrian Authorities.-1. Dr. Hincks's Specimen Chapters of an Assyrian Grammar, Royal Asiatic Society's Journal, December, 1866.—2. Dr. Oppert, Grammaire Assyrienne, seconde edition, 1868.-3. Rev. A. H. Sayce's Assyrian Grammar, 1872.-4. Prof. Schrader's Die Assyrisch-Babylonischen Keilinschriften, 1872.]

As not a decipherer in Cuneiform, I should feel bound to apologize for this paper, were I not convinced that specialists in that line will find it impossible to bar the judgment of the general philologist upon the linguistic facts they present to him. If this is not desired, it

. were better not to transliterate; for they can hardly decline his comments upon that to which they invite his attention by rendering it legible for him. Of course the non-decipherer must confine himself rigorously to that the reading of which is undisputed. For instance, in Assyrian, the only language here concerned, I simply pass by the word which Dr. Hincks and the Rev. A. H. Sayce read salțak,' while Dr. Oppert and Prof. Schrader give salta epus ;? but, as a matter of fact, the mass of unquestionably ascertained Assyrian words and forms is so large, that there is ample material for the non-deciphering philologist to work upon.

| Hincks, chap. v. $ 16; Sayce, Gram. p. 66. ? Oppert, Préf. p. xxi.; Schrader, p. 359.

• Let me here express my cordial concurrence in Prof. Schrader's desire that some uniform system of transliteration could be adopted. Throughout I have, as far as possible, preserved each author's peculiar method; but the result is, that the same word appears in different parts of the paper in different forms, as sarraku, sarracu, I have to acknowledge some assistance from Mr. Sayce, given with the more kindness and candour because I am unable to accept certain conclusions of his excellent and copious Assyrian Grammar.


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When, in 1850, the process of Assyrio-Babylonian decipherment opened with Sir H. C. Rawlinson's' description of the third column at Behistun, no statement excited more astonishment than the following: that the language, closely allied as it was to Hebrew, exhibited nothing corresponding to the perfect "A", -397, etc., i.e. a tense constructed only by affixes without preformatives. The Persian forms, which were evidently preterites, were represented on the Semitic side by the manifest analogues of Sopa, biops, etc. The progress of research, however, discovered something that looked a little like the Semitic perfect. There appeared forms in -ku clearly connected with the first person singular, as sarraku 'I am king;' and since -ku is the afformative of that person in the Æthiopic perfect, as Inch: gabar-ku I made,' Dr. Hincks,in 1866, assuming a theme bus, placed a form paglaku, with Babylonian variant paglak, at the head of a tense which he named the “Permansive." Then, as there were other forms which seemed like third persons, he set these at the bottom, and filled up the gaps with so-called “restorations,” i.e. with imaginary combinations of his theme with personal pronouns, as, from SD+atta, second person singular pagilta, etc., etc. Thus did he construct something which, though corresponding in form with a Semitic perfect tense, did not so in power; since it bore no reference to time, but merely affirmed the connexion of a certain base as predicate with the personal pronouns as subjects. For he did not pretend that sarraku was the precise temporal equivalent of makin, though he maintained it was just as much a verb;' while that it etc. What Hincks and Schrader write salțak, would be with Oppert 7050, and is with Mr. Sayce saldhaq. His c=k of H. and Sch., and 2 of 0.; his k=0.'s P, H.'s q, and Sch.’s ķ; while his q, introduced in the middle of the Grammar, represents the indefinite character whereby in Cuneiform 2, 3, and p are alike expressed at the end of a syllable. Would not, for the consonants, the Hebrew alphabet be most convenient, with some modification of the points for the vowels ?

| Royal Asiatic Society's Journal, vol. xii. part ii. p. 413. 2 Chap. v. § 8. 3 This is implied in his comparison of it with malakta, II. Sam. ïïi. 21, chap. v. s 15.


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answers in meaning to the Assyrian anaku sarru, Heb. 1739 IN 'I am king,' is admitted on all hands.

Against this figment of a tense, foreign Cunealogists raised a protest, in which I am compelled in some measure to join. First, they objected decidedly to the “restorations”; next, they denied that sarraku was a verb at all, and, consequently, that it was any part of a tense.' But here let me at once define the position I propose to maintain, which is that of conciliation between the two parties, viz. Dr. Hincks, with his latest follower Mr. Sayce, on the one side ; and Dr. Oppert, with his ally Prof. Schrader, on the other. I hope to prove that while the foreign scholars are quite justified in refusing to Hincks's sarraku, etc., the title of “verb,” they are not borne out in their rejection of certain other instances produced by him and Mr. Sayce; and that while Mr. Sayce is quite right in claiming for these examples the designation of “ verb,” he went too far in asserting it for certain of those to which his colleagues abroad deny it. We shall then essay a definition of the use of the afformative -aku, broad enough to reconcile these seeming discrepancies; and shall, lastly, show that this usage, such as

we describe it, is by no means unique in Assyrian, but capable of illustration and confirmation from other Semitic languages.



Rejecting, then, all words of which the reading is contested, as salțak, uzbaku, zibáka, let us turn to the series of eleven forms in -aku referred to by Hincks, and printed at length as, "for this mode of expression, the classical passage," by Prof. Schrader. Among them we have : 1st, sarraku 'I am king;' 7th, ristanaku ‘I am foremost;' 11th, sikaraku 'I am manful.' How Hincks, with these words


Oppert, Préf. p. xix. ; Schrader, pp. 304, 391. : Ch. v. $ 15; Schrader, p. 305—“ sarraku bilaku nahdaku gisraku kabdaku surtuhaka (sic) ristanaku ursanaku karradaku [? karradaku, qar-rad ili,warrior of the gods, Mr. G. Smith's Assurbanipal, p. 217, inscript. 1. 5.) dannaku va zikaraku Assurnaşirhabal sarru dannu sar Assur..... anaku.

3 Hincks’s misconception of the grammatical value of sarraku, etc., seems to have arisen from a notion in his mind that because every proposition implies a verb, it must explicitly exhibit one. Hence, chap. v. $ 17, he talks of a passage where anaku is “ used as a verb, there being no other in the sentence.” This annihilates at once the distinction between verb and pronoun; because in such phrases as

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