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We wish the very respectable author of this work had con. tented himself with convicting Dr. Hurd of plagiarism: that is consistent with the plan and title of his book; but the polemical spirit and the personal dislike which he indulges are unworthy' his own character. The eye is offended by the invidious appellation of the LEARNED CRITIC in every page, and every where forced into notice by capitals. These disputes are to literature what electioneering broils are to our home politicswhat the jarrings of the petty Italian states and Swiss bailiwicks are to history.
ART. XIII.- Observations on some Medals and Gems, bearing In
scriptions in the Pahlavi or ancient Persick Character. By Sir William Orseley. 410. 55. sewed. Harding. 1801.
INDEFATIGABLE in his researches into oriental literature, sir William Ouseley has here entered into an explanation of several curious monuments of antiquity, which continued obscure till the learned M. de Sacy successfully offered an interpretation.
The present dissertation is introduced by the following advertisement.
• Having been informed, by a letter received last month from a very learned foreign orientalist, that the study of Persian antiquities is widely diffused over the continent of Europe, and that a gentleman attached to the embassy from Vienna to Constantinople is enployed on the subject of Sassanian coins, I became apprehensive that some remarks and conjectures which had suggested themselves to me, whilst decyphering various Pahlavi inscriptions might be anticipated, and the merit of having first explained some gems and medals might be disputed by another. :
• That I may secure my claim to priority, I have extracted, in the following work, some passages from the manuscript materials of a Treatise on the Numismatick and Miscellaneous Antiquities of Persia, which, although I have been several months employed in the compo. sition of it, from the delay in cutting types and engraving plates, cannot be ready for publication before the spring of next year.
• In the present work, afier M. de Sacy's example, I have expressed the Pahlavi in equivalent Hebrew characters, and must refer my readers to the alphabet which that celebrated orientalist has given in his Mémoires sur diverses Antiquités de la Perse.
• To this alphabet I am enabled to add, by the study of several rare gems and medals, a variety of forms in different letters. - All these shall be exhibited at one view on a copper-plate annexed to my future volume; for which, also, I am now preparing morcable types, to express the true and ancient Pahlavi character; as those which were used by the learned Hyde, of Oxford, imitate only the hand.. writing of the modern Parsis, or fire-worshippers.' P. iii.
But as M. de Sacy has an undoubted claim to the priority of discovery, it cannot be a matter of much consequence whether sir William Ouseley, or the foreign orientalist here alluded to; appear in the second or third rank. M. de Sacy seems even to have felt that there was some little degree of injustice in any claim of antecedence to which he himself is alone entitled; and in a French journal he has published a critique on this work, in which there are some slight symptoms of displeasure-though, as a man of candour and science, he expresses satisfaction at the efforts of our learned kıright: he does not however approve of all our author's conjectures. A question is started, whether those medals of the Persian kings which bear the simple title of iran, or those which bear iran and aniran, be the more ancient? As these coins commence in the third century, and proceed down to the seventh, we should conclude it to be a common medallic question, and that those of the best workmanship are the most ancient. The question may also be estimated by the superior thickness of the more ancient coins, and a comparison of the more modern with those of the kalifs *, M. de Sacy supposes that those with the title of iran only are the most ancient: he doubts the interpretation of a gem from the cabinet of Gorlæus, nor can he find the name of Khosrou on the coins mentioned by our learned orientalist. He also differs in some other minute circumstances.
M. de Sacy justly observes that the medal discussed in the second section of sir William Ouseley's work is the most cus rious and important of all, as it presents three heads, of a king, queen, and prince; and he perfectly approves the interpretation which sir William Ouseley has given. For this reason, and as the section is short, we shall select it as a sufficient specimen of this excellent dissertation.
• In the annexed plate are representations of two medals ; that marked fig. 1. copied from the third supplement to Pellerin's Recueils de Médailles, the other taken from the coin itself, preserved in Dr. Hunter's museumt. Of this, Mr. Pinkerton, a most able and ingenious antiquary, perceived the value, when he selected it from the entire collection as a specimen of Sassanian coinage I.
* Those with a full face must also be the most modern.-REV, • Mr. Tassie, a very ingenious young artist of London, has lately obtained permission to take moulds of all the Sassanian, as well as many other ancient medals belonging to this admirable collection, from which the impressious, in paste or sulphur, exhibit with such accuracy the minutest features, as to render any inspection of the originals almost unnecessary for the purposes of a decypherer.'
• I See his Essay on Medals, vol. i. plate i. fig. 10—from which work an engraving of this medal has been copied in the Encyclopædia Britannica, lately printed at Edinburgh. -Article Medal.'
The first is of gold, and was deposited in the Cabinet du Roi at Paris. “Those who apply themselves to the study of ancient history,” says M. Pellerin,“ may perhaps discover on this golden medal some character or feature which shall enable them to ascertain the king and queen whose heads it exhibits, closely touching, or joined one to the other, with the bust or half-figure of a young man opposite, who offers them a crown *.” ... Of this very curious medal M. de Sacy informs us that the le. gend is composed of characters so small and badly expressed, that his endeavours to decypher it were vain t. My own attempts on this subject would no doubt have proved equally fruitless, had not the silver Hunterian medal, which bears the same device, and incontestably belongs to the same king, presented the following inscription in characters distinct and legible.
"On the obverse,
מזדיסן בה ורהראן מלכאן מלכאן איראן מנוגתרי
י מן יזרא
Mazdiesn beh l"arharan malkan malkan airan minochetri men Yezda (n)I. “ The worshipper of Ormuzd—the excellent Baharam, king of kings--of Iran-celestially descended from the Gods."
! On the reverse, 3871, 7097 Varhar (a) n resdani,“ or, Baharam the divine 8,”
The reader will perceive that the letter n in the second maikan is superfluous: the Sassanian medals afford many instances of similar inaccuracies and mistakes ; some of these M. de Sacy has pointed out, and others shall be noticed in my future publication : the last word of the inscription on the obverse (Yezdan) wants the final n; and in this respect the gold medal agrees with the silver, if M. Pela lerin's engraving of the former has been executed with fidelity.
"*“Ceux qui s'appliquent à l'étude de l'histoire ancienne pour ront peut-être aussi y trouver quelque trait propre à donner connoise sarice du roi et de la reine dont les têtes sont accolées sur la médaille d'or au devant desquels est la figure d'un jeune homme à mi-corps qui leur présente une couronne.”Trois. Supplém. aux Recueils des Méd. p. 36.'
it" mais les caractères sont si petits et si informes que je n'ai rien pu y distinguer, &c.”--Mém. sur diverses Antiq. 193..
+ مزدیسن به در مران ملکان ایران منوچنري من پردان .
.. و ورهران یزداي
CRIT. Rey, Vol. 34. Jan. 1802.
Although we are enabled to assign these medals to Baharam, yet they furnish no information 'on the subject of the queen and youth whose portraits they exhibit. The king appears 'wearing his winged tiara, as one supporter of the fire-altar on the reverse'; whilst a fe. male (most probably the 'queen) is represented as the other. On the Hunterian medal the sex of this figure is perfectly discernible, and particularly marked by the projecting head-dress, which resembles that of the queen on the obverse : but Mr. Pinkerton's engraver *, like the artist whom Pellerin 4 employed, 'has metamorphosed the fe. male supporter into a bearded man, and omitted the wing, which on 'the other supporter's head is evidently one of the regal ornaments.
• My reasons for attributing those coins to Baharam'the Fifth, rather than to any other prince of that name, shall be hereafter men. tioned.
• I cannot however proceed to the next section without remarking that a gold medal of the Sassanidæ is in itself a numismatic treasure of uncommon 'value'; 'because, according to Procopius, “it was not lawful for the Persian kings, or any other monarch of the Barbarians, to stamp their images on pieces of gold, whatever quantities of that metal they might possess, since money of such a description was not used in the commercial dealings even of the Barbarians themselves f."
The reader must determine whether the discovery of a single me. dal should invalidate the evidence of Procopius. I know not of any other exception to the general rule; and even this may perhaps have been stricken as a proof-piece, and never intended for general circuIation.
o I shall examine, in another place, all that can be collected from 'the works of Tabari, Ferdusi, and Nizami, respecting the Sassanian as well as the more early coinage of Persia : but I cannot here sup. press, although by quoting them I encroach on the materials of my future work, one passage from a very ancient and excellent historian, Assim of Cufa, and another of much greater strength, from Tabari. In relating the conquests of the khalif Omar, Assim informs us that Hormuzan, prince or governor of Ahwaz, and a general of the Persians, having been taken prisoner by Abu Musa Alashari, the Arabians entered his palace, and one of them perceived a statue of marble, representing a human figure pointing with both hands to a certain spot on the ground. The sagacious mus. sulman soon 'conceived that this attitude of the statue indicated the concealment of some treasure
« * See Essay on Medals, vol. i. pl. 1. fig. 10.' • + See Troisième Supplem. aux Recueils des Méd. pl. 2. fig. 1.'
"I “Xapartypor door eu sur leo bat orary xpuo' BTE AUTOY θεμις, οτε δε αλλον ονλινα Bν βασιλεα των παντων βαρβαρων και ταυτα, μαλλον οντα χρυσά κυριον επει δε τοις ξυμβαλλεσι προίεσθαι το νομισμα τατη οίιτε εισιν, καν βαρβαρας τες ξυμβαλλοντας είναι Eu u Salves.” Procop. de Bello Gothico, lib. iii. c. 33. or, according to some copies, cap. 17.'
" Awhile he contemplated the statue, and thought within him. self that since it was so fixed against the wall as to point with its hands towards the ground, there must, by all means, have been something hidden there. He hastened to Abu Musa, and informed him of the circumstance. Abu Musà immediately sent some trusty persons to dig up the ground;--they discovered a great basket fagtened by a very strong lock; and Abu Musa having ordered them to lift up the cover, they found in it money coined in the name of the Kesri *, with many trinkets of gold, such as ear-rings or pendants, collars or necklaces, ornaments f for the feet of every kind, all set with jewels, besides a considerable number of beautiful rings, &c.”
• The word ; which have here equivocally translated money, signifies, in its primitive and proper sense, gold; but as it is often used, in familiar conversation and writing, to express coin of silver as well as of gold, I shall not infer more from this passage than a very strong probability that it alludes to money of both metals—an inference sufficiently justified by the following extract from Tabari, who, describing a great battle in the time of Omar, between the Arabs and Persians, introduces the following anecdote:
And the Persians waited until the day became warm, and after that a breeze arose from the west, and blew upon the faces of the Persians, so that they could not discern one another-and Rustam (their general) had placed his throne on the brink of a rivulet, and a thousand camels laden with diremns and dinars (silver and gold money) were standing near his throne; and above his head was suspended a curtain or awning to yield him shade! this curtain the wind carried off, and it fell into the water. The sun's heat being very powerful, Rustam arose from his golden throne, and sheltered himself at the feet of a camel, and the Arabs had penetrated to the
«* This word, although originally applied by the Arabian authors to Nushirvan, must be here transiated the Persian king; for in this sense it frequently occurs in other parts of Assiin's Chronicle. Thus, speaking of Shad the son of Azad, one of king Yezdegerd's offi
cers, he styles + him Santo o hindi il sole " a general of the generals of the Kesri." — In Tabäri also we find 977.5 pod Kerti Pezdegerd'
(7) و theبر مجری is sometimes writer ورنجن The word +
being changed into lö), as in many other exainples. Verenjin, according to Ferhungs Jehangiri, and Borhan Kattea (see article
a) signifies the clasps or rings of gold or silver which women wear upon their wrists and ankles.'