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The French diplomat and archaeologist, whose face bore the fine lines of the scholar rather than the marks of a man of the world, found himself in a place little suited to one who had lived in Paris, or even in the comparative comfort of Alexandria. Mosul was a mean little city, built more of mud than of stone, lying upon the right or western bank of the Tigris. It had once possessed an extensive commerce with the East, of which it still retained the remnants. Botta seems to have cared little for the town or its fanatical inhabitants, and were it not for the comments of Layard, we should know little of what it was at this time.

At about the time of the pause in the progress of Babylonian exploration Mohl visited London, and there saw the inscribed Babylonian bricks which the East India Company had brought together. He was filled with an overmastering belief that these little bricks were the promise of an immense literature which lay buried, awaiting the excavator's spade. He returned to Paris to read of mounds in Babylonia and Assyria, and to reflect upon the untold treasures which must come to light if properly sought.

Rich had already achieved enough to gain fame, but he was to do still more for oriental study, not, indeed, at Babylon, but at the other chief center, the city of Nineveh. In April, 1820, he set out from Baghdad to escape its heat by a journey in Kurdistan, and this was productive of valuable results in the geography of a land then but little visited by Europeans. In this journey Mr. Rich reached Mosul on October 31, 1820, and there spent four months. The experience which had been gained in his work at Babylon was now splendidly used.

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A History of Babylonia and Assyria, 2 volumes by Robert William Rogers


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