Saturday, April 05, 2014

Sennacheribs Archimedes-Like Screw Depicted in Principle at Rawlinson Plate 52, Figure 1, Virtually Proving Location of Hanging Gardens of Babylon at Nineveh

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon at Ninevah are in our opinion depicted in a relief found at Plate 52, Figure 1 in Rawlinson, The Project Gutenberg EBook of George Rawlinson, The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World: Assyria, Volume 2 of 7.

Unless it is mentioned and we have missed a reference in the text, Stephanie Dalley in The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon does not reference or picture that relief at Plate 52, Figure 1 in Rawlinson.

That should in no way detract from Dalley's pioneer achievement in concluding that the Hanging Garden(s) of Babylon were in fact at Nineveh or in suggesting the invention of a type of Archimedes Screw prior to Archimedes in the era of Sennacherib.

Dalley found no visual proof of the Archimedes-type screw she suggested at Nineveh -- but it may in fact be significantly documented in principle in the very strange relief found at Plate 52, Figure 1 in Rawlinson, Vol. 2:

This is the original relief:



Here is our marked version of that relief:



Here is our explanation based on our motto that you have to LOOK carefully:

If one in fact looks at the relief carefully, it becomes apparent that it has very strange features that virtually demand explanation and which suggest that Sennacherib was hiding much of his invention while revealing here its engineering "machine" principle.

At the top of the relief is a stream of water of some kind filled with fish, almost like an ancient roller coaster. Very strange. Is this an exaggerated representation of the river water that has been drawn from the river to the top of the hanging gardens? We think so.

Below that stream of water on a "viewing platform" are a group of three people, very plainly dressed it seems to us for that era (unless this is a reconstruction), apparently showing and being shown the wonder that they see -- perhaps they are in their "private" clothing (?), father Sennacherib, mother Semiramis and son Esarhaddon.

The apparent -- what we have labelled -- "conduits" could be representations of pipes or channels of some kind being used to draw water to the top of the terraced gardens. Otherwise, what could they possibly be?

The perspective of the relief could be deceiving, as the building to the right could be the palace of the king in the far background, while the building in the foreground would be the "irrigation building" Nebi Yunus.

Strangest of all in terms of the "theme" of the relief is the river and fish found at the front of the relief. The fish are normal. All the rest is strange. We see an object that can only be a "drawing compass", a "twisted swimmer", and what we will show to be an "octopus". To what purpose?! What are those figures doing placed in this relief, where they would not seem to belong normally, and yet they appear to have been given the major roles!

Here is our answer: All three in our opinion are subtle hints at the invention working in the background in the irrigation building, an Archimedes screw of some kind, with the drawing compass representing the "revolving" element of the screw, the twisted swimmer -- with toes otherwise pointed in the wrong direction (!) -- representing the "twisted" principle of action of the revolving element, and the octopus showing the fan-type "shape" of the multiple blades of the Archimedes-like screw.

We were lucky to see an octopus like this during a vacation to Greece many years ago, and are particularly indebted to a fantastic photograph of an octopus that we found at Spetses Photography in Greece which is found via this page at this link and shows an octopus that has arms in fan-type "blades" as on an "Archimedes screw" and corresponds to the octopus image on Plate 52.

In the image below we have zoomed a clip of the presumed Plate 52 Nineveh "octopus" to a larger size, then traced its main lines and reduced the image to those main lines. Below that reduced image is then a similarly reduced outline of the octopus photograph at Spetses Photography via this page at this link


If we were skeptical about Stephanie Dalley's idea that Sennacherib and his engineers actually had invented such a screw many hundreds of years prior to Archimedes, it dissipated totally upon seeing that octopus photograph, an octopus that must have served as a model for the engineer who invented it.


Ancient Nineveh Palace Grounds as a Park with Waters Fed by the Jerwan Canal and Khosr River at Plate 29, Figure 4 Rawlinson

Although the relief shown below is not nearly as important as the relief presented in the next posting,

based upon the map in the previous posting,

one can speculate that Plate 29, Figure 4 from Rawlinson shows Nineveh as a palace park of sorts, with a river "lake" fed by the Jerwan irrigation canal and the Khosr River.

That conception would also explain why archaeologists have found "walled" ancient Nineveh to be much smaller than retold in ancient accounts of the city and why Nineveh contains no cemeteries and little evidence of the buildings of a large city beyond the palaces found there in the modern day.

The walled area was conceivably only "palace grounds" and the rest of the city must then have been located outside of the walls of the palace grounds.


In the above image of Plate 29, Figure 4 from Rawlinson's book showing a relief found at Koyunjik, Nineveh, we have added red, blue and green encircled areas and explanatory labels for what appear to us to be the matters portrayed in the relief. Our general interpretation that this is Nineveh corresponds to the similar conclusion drawn by Dalley. We do differ on details.

The whole relief certainly creates a park-like atmosphere, with the water sources shown as two streams in the upper right hand corner. We take these to be the Jerwan (or other) Canal and the Khosr River.

However, our identification of the dimly seen outlines of "a palace" and "a temple" are highly speculative, and are in fact unnecessary to our identification of this as being ancient Nineveh, as the artist's intention here does not concentrate on buildings.

What one sees are humans engaged in water sports together with boat(s) or boat-like objects, animals and fish. The main palace "could" be shown figuratively as a large figure (of the king?) at the upper right -- maybe, but by no means clear. Also unclear are the "temple" and "boat" underneath what we have labelled as "irrigated terraces".

As in the next to previous posting, there is at the right in the relief a line of six large trees and six small trees which we again take to be an artistic representation of the ancient cuneiform sign for irrigation.

There is an indisputable what we view to be 3-level terrace "plot" in the middle of the relief (Dalley sees it as a level walled enclosure of 3 rows), that could represent an elevated terraced "high garden", which would then mark Nebbi Yunus and the "hanging gardens" of Babylon at Nineveh. That speculative view becomes much more probable when we view the next posting.

(Alternatively, we also might mention that the entire walled area of Nineveh, and not just the mound at Nebi Yunus, might in their day have been viewed as "the wondrous gardens". Certainly by size that would make sense).


Map of Nineveh at Rawlinson Plate 36 Figure 2 with Koyunjik, Nebi Yunus and the Ancient Bed of the Khosr

Useful for subsequent postings is this posting which shows an ancient map of Nineveh from George Rawlinson, Plate 36, Figure 2 with Koyunjik, Nebbi Yunus and the ancient bed of the Khosr River.

Plate 36, Figure 2 from The Project Gutenberg EBook of George Rawlinson, The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World: Assyria, Volume 2 of 7, 1876 (2011) is a map of the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh, showing the mounds marking the "Palace of Sennacherib" at Koyunjik and the "Supposed Tomb of Jonah" at Nebbi Yunus, both in ancient Nineveh, today's Mosul.


The above map by Rawlinson on Plate 36, Figure 2 shows the ancient bed of the Khosr River passing right by Nebi Yunus, an essential geographic viz. topographic fact without which it would otherwise not be possible to consider the Tomb of Jonah as a candidate for being the location of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon at Nineveh, since those gardens of course had to have a nearby river or canal for irrigating water supply.

Additionally in the map, a "swamp" is marked out as a specific area near Nebbi Yunus, which in ancient days of a greater supply of both river and irrigation canal water could conceivably have been a river-lake, fed by a Khosr River in turn fed by additional water from the Jerwan Aqueduct. This is not the case today, so that the River Khosr has a different bed.

The importance of the above map can be seen in the following postings.

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