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Document number: 6203
Date: 03 May 1862
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: OPPERT Julius
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 2nd February 2018

Paris, 65 rue de Grenelle St. Germain
3 May 1862.

Dear Sir,

I had really sent to England my work, but it came back to me, as I had put my adress [sic] on the paper. I have received your interesting paper, and I am very happy to agree with you in so numerous and so important points. Only, I have a reserve to make of the Naksh-i-Rustam inscription, I published with the Persian text in 1855, in Germany and 1858 with the cuneiform text, in my great work on cuneiforms. These two texts have been discussed and accepted in France, Germany, and I dare say, also in England, by numerous authorities, as [Benfey?], Lassen, Hollzmann, [Bollansen?], Rödiger, Brockhaus, and lastly by Spiegel, who published all achemenian [sic] inscriptions. You say in note, that you did not see n any other translation. But you ought to do so, dear Sir, for then you would not have proposed new translations of passages, which have been elucidated by the concord of so many and so respectable scholars. For instance, line 9 sa aldaku; but there is sa al ta ak, and it is to read salta ípus Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203p.jpg. I do not stay at the Qakâ Namirri karbel etc, we must evidently take care of the Persian Tigrakhaudâ; also Takan Carâ, means Sail-bearing, and magÂn in Hebrew is shild [sic] and not helmet. In [Tata?] and Cusa Hitzig, since 1846, saw the [Tuth?] and Chus of the Bible. Your Issidu is to be read Macía in persian [sic] and Na[special character]-îi-ya in assyrian [sic]. Karsa is evidently Karka. L. 20 ki imuru, is the translation of the persian yathâ [avaěna?], “when he saw”. I pass over all the following. Then you read eptivas. Anni. iptúkid anni, “he bestowed to me” the word you find so often in the babylonian inscription. The sense is: “When Ormazd saw all these provinces addicted to heretic doctrines, he gave me them, he bestowed to me the royalty on them” l. 24. libbu sa amaku îibŞ éris, sicut mea voluntas jubebat. ka is no peculiar form to assyrian; it is explained by the verb Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203o.jpg, to please, in the syllabaries (k.197). L. 25–27 is altogether erroneous; the sense of the two texts does not raise leave now the slightest doubt. “And if you when thou thinkest thus: “How numerous are the lands that possessed the king Darius,” then look upon the images of the peoples who bear my throne1/

[footnote inserted:]

1/ Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203n.jpg in persian [illeg] gâthum basańt[illegible]

[transliteration beneath cuneiform:]

sa. kuííń. na-su u.

(as it is figured on the sculpture), and you those will know them.” L. 28 in yumisuva immagdakka, the second sign is Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203a.jpg , nin or mak. The word is the Niphal from Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203b.jpg, to know, in assyrian. “And then it will be known to thee, that the spear of the Persian man reached far, and then it will known [sic] to thee, that the Persian man bore the war far from his country.” All that has been made out long time ago [sic], and the proposed senses have passed through the [illegible] of the scientific world. Ask on this subject, dear Sir, the meaning of the Sir Henry, and he will give you the same answer.

I have perused with a great pleasure your explanations of the [illeg del] unilingual babylonian and ninivite [sic] inscriptions, there are many ingenious meanings opinions, and what is more worth than that, many true ones. You have a particular instinct in finding the real meaning of the a phrasis, but and I admire sincerely very often you [sic] successfull [sic] sagacity. But my conscience obliges me to say, and I will certainly be pardoned by you, that the grammatical proofs let much to are not so sufficient. I had already occasion, dir Sir [sic] and collaborator, to speak of these difficulties, the assyriologists have to struggle with. But beyon there are many other people, theologers, hebrew scholars, orientalists who have a word to say when we present to themselves our philologicical reasons; and because these men, at last, establish and destroy the scientific reputations, we must reckon with them. But there are not a single very few notes of yours, that may not be attacked on this point. For instance, the first: ashar la khari, you allegue [sic] the hebrew [Hebrew text]. But this word says only meeting, and you cannot seek here [Hebrew text]1/,

[footnote inserted:]

1/ Also you allegue [Hebrew text] for akhar, what you translate exactly “I read”. This word is to be found in assyrian akri, “I invoked”. At least you ought to have akhri. Akhar can only derive from a verb finishing in r. But it is to read amur, “I said, I read”

but [Hebrew text]. And then the word is not la khari, but la’ ari, and will say desert. – You read nishat rashdu, but it is not nisat but î almat, and risdu, is [special characters], the hebrew [special characters] vertex[?]. You say “reshdu, the head”. But nobody, dear Sir, will accept that; in all semitic languages the d is not to be found. The du is a mere phonetic complement, to design that word, denoting head and finishing in d. In the Sargon bull-inscription, for instance, you find this permutation. – Edish you derive from [hebrew text]; but you would have [Hebrew text] hadis then: The word is [Hebrew text] and signifies secretly. – You make a long note on khurisun. Don’t you know Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203c.jpg occurs frequently for pa ak, and one syllabary (k. 62) gives this value; the word is pagrisun; “their corpses” (hebrew [Hebrew text]). I will show you now an example, where your translation is unattackable, but where your note suscites [sic] the doubt of every philologer s – “I rode on horseback.” You say “aredu, the radical syllable is red: it belongs no doubt to the Indo-Germanic family. – Never you may seek a [sic] assyrian verbal root of common use in the arian family. But there is: Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203d.jpg ar-kab. I rode. The printed text has Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203e.jpg; but this is no syllabic signe [sic], and replaces istín, Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203g.jpg with the phonetic complement Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203f.jpg, and after made in one Sign Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203h.jpg ,. and After wards this you have translate and “for a [sic] had left my chariot in the plains below”. But the text has in tikkati usassi; usassi means “I caused to bear”, in tikkati in pieces ([Hebrew text]) and never any body with [sic] agree with the explanation drawn from [Hebrew text], Sometimes you efface [illegible] make the [Hebrew(?) text] [illegible] away sometimes you identify it with k; it has in assyrian a very distinct individuality, and in no name, no word, you will find it defaced. Compare ŤazakiŞn, MinaĘ immi, [illegible], Sennacherib, AwarĘ a[illegible]don, and other names, you will never find disappear ing this articulation. – Page 150 3/ eppashak, from [Hebrew text] to cross over. But the word is ípparis, as it occurs in the inscriptions very often; you have even the plural ipparsu in this very texts [sic], and the documents of Sargon give the two forms ipparis or ip-pa-ri is – in this very locution. But this is not the fact question, because only assyriologists are able to read; but every semitic Semitic scholar will have the right to say “Because the word is eppashak, it cannot come from [Hebrew text], but must come from [Hebrew text] or [Hebrew text]. either the reading is erroneous, or the etymology.”

As to the word Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203i.jpg , I am happy to give you a discovery of mine, but little, although it takes away a puzzling obstacle. You know, dear Sir, that Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203j.jpg has the ideographic values of doing ([Hebrew text]), totality ([Hebrew text]) create giving ([Hebrew text]). After the publishing of my great work I found the direct proof, that this s]gn has the value of kak or [special character]ak; untill [sic] that epoch that value was unknown. You have no justification whatever for eb or ep, as believed Rawlinson, or for ak as I believed myself. You are aware of the changement of ninivite [sic] [special characters] into babylonian g you have for [special characters] babyl. gagadu, and for [special characters] babyl. gagar in the same locutions. The word of the achemenian text is kakkar you know the hebrew kikkar which signifies earth, cercle [sic], universe. The word [Hebrew text] in hebrew has the meaning of dust. – The character Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203k.jpg is Ęul, and permutes with Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203l.jpg. Also Cuneiform sign FTCuneiform06203m.jpg is lib, and there is not, I believe, any reason to make it sib or tsib. The [Ts?] is a very imperfect transcription, I have adopted î, as did formerly Rawlinson. “Le premier mouvement est Souvent le meilleur.”

I shall send you soon my book on [Borsippa?], when I Shall have a copy, having disposed of that which came back. I should be very delighted if you would see my great work, that has lately procured to me the title of member of the royal Prussian Academy. I am sorry that I cannot send it to you, but it is in the British Museum. If M. Fox Talbot does not read me, who shall do it?

Mr Birch will have told you, that a copy of the Hammurabi inscription is at the British Museum; we sent a cast, to be published in the collection of Sir Henry Rawlinson, M. Menant and I made also translations of it. With the best feelings

yours most faithfully
J. Oppert:

[address panel:]

H. Fox Talbot Esq.
Athenćum Club
London S.W.
[readdressed in another hand:]
Millburn Tower<1>


1. Millburn Tower, Gogar, just west of Edinburgh; the Talbot family made it their northern home from June 1861 to November 1863. It is particularly important because WHFT conducted many of his photoglyphic engraving experiments there. The house had a rich history. Built for Sir Robert Liston (1742-1836), an 1805 design by Benjamin Latrobe for a round building was contemplated but in 1806 a small house was built to the design of William Atkinson (1773-1839), best known for Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford. The distinctive Gothic exterior was raised in 1815 and an additional extension built in 1821. Liston had been ambassador to the United States and maintained a warm Anglo-American relationship in the years 1796-1800. His wife, the botanist Henrietta Liston, née Marchant (1751-1828) designed a lavish American garden, sadly largely gone by the time the Talbots rented the house .

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