Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson and the Lost Languages of Babylon ペーパーバック – 2004/10/4
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How 19th-century soldier, adventurer and scholar Henry Rawlinson deciphered cuneiform, the world's earliest writing, and rediscovered Iraq's ancient civilisations. This is the exciting, true adventure story of Henry Rawlinson, a fearless soldier, sportsman and explorer. From 1827 he spent twenty-five years in India, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. A brilliant linguist, fascinated by history, he became obsessed with cuneiform, the world's earliest writing. An immense inscription on a sheer rock face at Bisitun in Iran was the key to understanding the many cuneiform scripts and languages, and only Rawlinson had the skills to achieve the perilous ascent and copy the monument. In her gripping account, Lesley Adkins relates how Rawlinson triumphed in deciphering the lost languages of Persia and Babylonia, overcoming his bitter rival, Edward Hincks. While Rawlinson was based at Baghdad, incredible palaces with whole libraries of cuneiform clay tablets were unearthed in the ancient mounds of Mesopotamia, from Nineveh to Babylon - the great flood plain of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers that had been fought over by so many powerful empires. His decipherment of the inscriptions resurrected these lost civilisations, revealing fascinating details of everyday life and forgotten historical events. By proving to the astonished Victorian public that people and places in the Old Testament really existed, Rawlinson assured his own place in history.
Praise for `Empires of the Plain': `A colourful account of a fascinating and little-known story. It combines scholarship with high adventure, and is enlivened by the larger-than-life character of Henry Rawlinson.' Sunday Times `A welcome addition to history writing on the archaeological exploration of the Near East.' The Times Praise for `The Keys of Egypt': `A fascinating and elegantly written biography of Champollion, doing justice to one of the great stories of academic heroism.' Simon Singh, Sunday Telegraph `A first-rate blend of high scholarship and great narrative pace, this is one of those rare, wondrous books which turns an intellectual adventure into high drama. It deserves a huge audience.' Douglas Kennedy, The Times `A fascinating account of the race to unlock the cryptic language of the pharaohs.' Giles Milton, Daily Mail商品の説明をすべて表示する
As Stephen Jay Gould has written, science is often a matter of slow consensus-building rather than eureka moments, and the author seems to be making the case that cuneiform worked this way. But surely there were moments of realization when Rawlinson and others first recognized that the Babylonian king chronologies overlapped with the Bible, or that some tablets were over 3000 years old. These moments are only hinted at in the narrative. Worth reading if you really want to know about the subject. Will hesitatingly keep my purchase, but it's better to skim this book at the library.