By Robert William Rogers
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Extra info for A History of Babylonia and Assyria, 2 volumes
None before had ever told the story of their experiences or of their discoveries in words so full of color, life, and movement; none had ever displayed so much of enthusiasm and so great a power of description. In another respect Layard becomes a successor of one of the earliest of English travelers and explorers. Like Shirley, he knew how to make all that he saw bear upon the words of the Bible. He could quote the very words out of the Scriptures and make the dust covered monument reflect a bright light upon them.
In 1823 Julius Mohl came from Tubingen, where he had taken in the previous year the doctor's degree, to Paris, to become the pupil of the greatest Arabist of the day, Silvestre de Sacy, whose name has already appeared in the story of decipherment. In 1840 Mohl became one of the secretaries of the Societe Asiatique, and thus became permanently attached to the French capital. Though his masters had taught him the Arabic classics rather than the learning of the older Orient, he was, nevertheless, full of a desire to know of its history, language, and literature.
That showed, as by prophetic instinct, the very line which would be pursued for the decipherment of the literature of Babylon. As definite knowledge of the site of Nineveh, as Abbd Beauchamp had achieved of the site of Babylon, was now soon secured by a French physician, Guillaume A. Olivier, who was sent into the East for the purpose chiefly of scientific study. He had no such knowledge of the ancient world as the abb6, and therefore failed to make any independent contribution to the progress of knowledge respecting Nineveh.