Austen Henry Layard's Account of the Black Obelisk Discovery

"I mounted my horse; but had scarcely left the mound when the corner of a monument in black marble was uncovered, which proved to be an obelisk, about six feet six inches in height, lying on its side, ten feet below the surface. An Arab was sent after me without delay, to announce the discovery; and on my return I found, completely exposed to view, an obelisk terminated by three steps or gradines and flat at the top. I descended eagerly into the trench, and was immediately struck by the singular appearance, and evident antiquity, of the remarkable monument before me. We raised it and speedily dragged it out of the ruins. On each side were five small bas-reliefs, and above, below, and between them was carved an inscription 2l0 lines in length. The whole was in the best preservation. The king was twice represented followed by his attendants; a prisoner was at his feet, and his vizier and eunuchs were introducing captives and tributaries carrying vases, shawls, bundles of rare wood, elephant's tusks, and other objects of tribute, and leading various animals, among which were the elephant, the rhinoceros, the Bactrian or two humped camel, the wild bull, and several kinds of monkeys. In one bas-relief were two lions hunting a stag in a wood, probably to denote the nature of one of the countries conquered by the king. From the animals portrayed, particularly the double-humped camel, and the elephant, which is of the Indian and not of the African species, it is natural to conjecture that the obelisk was sculptured to commemorate the conquest of nations far to the east of Assyria, on the confines of the Indian peninsula. The name of the king, whose deeds it records, was the same as that on the center bulls." - Austen Henry Layard . (A Popular Account of Discoveries at Nineveh. Austen Henry Layard. J. C. Derby. New York. 1854).

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