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Document number: 05377
Date: 01 Apr 1875
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: BOSCAWEN William St Chad
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 1st September 2003

April 1st 1876

Sir Dear Sir

I see by the notice of the papers for next meeting that you are going to read one on the VIth Isdubar legend <1> – and as you may wish to make your copy complete I have copied a small fragment of a tablet which restores the ends of the first 13 lines of Col II and gives the first 9 lines of Col III – The legend is very curious and I have been for some time engaged on it my self and I intend to publish my translation – It appears to me to bear some resemblance to the legends of Circe – Though I think partly of a lunar character

The lion and the <cuneiform> or leopard were both sacred to Istar the goddess of light as shewn by <S.?> 954. and I believe the Horse also – because in the fable of the Horse and Ox the Horse is going to relate the story of Istar which is probably a version of the one given here – but unfortunately the tablet ends here –

Jar zi or rather Paru.zi is the Jaur mus of the Phoenicians and in one inscription in Vol IV he is called the “husband of Istar. The whole of that tablet the war between Bel and the dragon appears to me to be a myth of the dawn – Amar-ud or Marduk being the “Light of the Sun” expelling the dark serpent “zir nursi” who coils round the Earth. And the breaking up of the “kir.kir” is the scattering of the black clouds. – Marduk here I think is not the Sun but the messenger of the Sun – “Sulpa uddu” is one of his titles and this appears to me to mean the “Messenger of the rising” <cuneiform> being explained by atsu to rise That is the first streak of light before the rising Sun – How beautiful the Assyrian mythology is and how intensely interesting to the see the long lauded Aryan origin of Greek mythology losing some of its best points i.e. the Hercules myth is but an echo of the Isdubar legends. The three Solar heroes of Isdubar Nergal – and Marduk – continuing to make up the legend. The Heracles on the Cypriote dishes is but another form of Isdubar and of a strong Assyrian Character. Mr Gladstone <2> wants to identify Apollo with the Phoenician Baal – but we know from the liturgical tablet of Pali that the Cypriote Apollo was the same as the Phoenician <Hebrew text>

Hoping you will pardon my rambling letter but wishing you every success in your researches – and health to continue them.

I remain
Yours Very Truly

W Boscawen

H Fox Talbot Esqre, FRAS


1. Isdubar (also Izdubar) assasinated Istar’s love Tammuz, and she descended to Hades to find him. WHFT wrote several papers on the descent of Istar (also Ishtar), in this instance, ‘Ishtar and Isdubar, being the Sixth Tablet of the Izdubar Series. Translated from the Cuneiform’, read 4 April 1876, Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, v.5 part 1, June 1876, pp.97–121.

2. William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898), statesman and politician, authored numerous books on classical subjects and translations.