Assyrian Discoveries;. An Account Of Explorations And Discoveries On The Site Of Nineveh, During 1873 And 1874..


Bound in original brown cloth, gilt, decorated with black borders and patterns and bright gilt antiquities on spine and front boards and blind stamped borders and patterns on rear boards and black endpapers with binder's label, Burn and Co. at rear. Endpapers in the inside front hinge split, but otherwise a near fine copy. Very occasional foxing but otherwise clean interior. An inscription 'From the Right Honourable Sir David Dundas May 1875' on verso of first free endpaper and printed bookplate of A.D. Passmore of Callas House Wanborough Wilts. on front paste-down endpaper. A handsome printing by Whittingham and Wilkins at the Chiswick Press.





Sampson Low, Marston, Low and Searle, Crown Buildings, 188, Fleet Street, London,




By george smith, of the department of oriental antiquities, british museum, author of 'history of assurbanipal,' etc. etc. with illustrations.

Item Description

First Edition. 8vo. 6 inches x 8.75 inches. xvi + 461 + [1] pp. + 12 pp. advertisements sewn in at end. [8], B-Z8, 2A-2G8. Illustrated with nine plates, including four woodbury types and two maps, one folding, serving as frontispiece.


George Smith (1840-76) was apprenticed to a London banknote engraver but his early interest in the history of the Old Testament and the success of Layard and Rawlinson in deciphering the cuneiform inscriptions of Nineveh and Babylon, inspired him to learn the script himself and employment at the British Museum followed. His work on the tablets and the discoveries of many further fragments he made at Kuyunjik in Mesopotamia confirmed the story of an ancient deluge and led him to conclude that the story in Genesis was based on a Babylonian flood myth. Other discoveries suggested that the biblical accounts of the creation, the fall of man and the Tower of Babel were similarly inspired by earlier Babylonian sources.
The Assyrian Discoveries went into four editions in its first year of publication, with a seventh edition, appearing in 1883. It provides an account of Smith's first two expeditions and excavations (he did not survive the third) with translations of the texts he discovered, including the flood legend, which he compares with the biblical and with the Chaldean account, transmitted by the Greeks.
The 1875 inscription is of Sir David Dundas QC (1799-1877), a Scottish lawyer and Liberal MP for Sutherland who held the offices of Solicitor-General and Judge Advocate General. He was a Trustee of the British Museum from 1861-67 and was presumably acquainted with Smith and his work. Dundas lived in the Inner Temple and was an accomplished scholar, possessing a fine library. The volume later came into the possession of Arthur Dennis Passmore (c.1877-1958), antiquarian and archaeologist, whose research activities ranged from Wiltshire to Egypt and the Sudan, which had become a focus of interest for members of the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities of the British Museum. He served in both the South African and First World Wars and moved into Callas House, his parents' former home in 1928.
Scarce first edition of this important and influential work with an interesting provenance, illustrated with engravings and early photographs and finely bound.

[Stock No. 19891]



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