Over the ruins at Nimrod, Mr. Layard dis covered ancient tombs, of a race unknown, and of which he could not assign any date. Many of the vases, necklaces, and ornaments obtained there have a resemblance to those of the Egyptian tombs. Two or three purely Assyrian cylinders were also discovered in the tombs. Mr. Layard considers that the mode of burial which is there evidenced, more nearly resembles that adopted by the early Persians. Cyrus and Darius were buried in sarcophagi in troughs. The Egypt;an alabaster Tian, or tub, in which Darius was buried, is mentioned by Theophrastus. The Assyrians, like the early Persians, may have buried their dead entire, and preserved the bodies in honey or wax (Herod. lib. i. c. 140, Arian de Bello, Alex. Theoph. de Lapid. c. xv.). Accord ing to fElian, when Xerxes opened the tomb of Belus, be found the body in a coffin filled nearly to the brim with oil. Mr. Layard infers that these tombs belonged to an intermediate people or race who occupied Assyria after the building of the most ancient palaces, and before the founda tion of the most recent.
In British India, and in all the south and east of Asia, interment, cremation, and exposure are all practised by one or other of the races occupy ing it. Java, in the Archipelago, seems to have been peopled from the continent of Asia, and its people have three modes of disposing of the body of a deceased person. By fire, termed obong ; by water, termed larung ; or by exposing it up right against a tree in a forest, where it is left to decay, termed setra. When the body of a chief or person of consequence is burnt, it is usual to preserve the ashes, and to deposit them in a chandi or tomb.
The Ninevites, in all their various monuments, have left us no trace of their ideas concerning the dead, while the sepulchral urns obtained in Babylonia contain the remains of the dead, with jars and utensils for food and water made of baked clay, and with remains of date stones, the head of the dead reverently laid on a sun-dried brick as a pillow. Amongst the urns found on the plain of Bushire each had a pointed end, and at its mouth a bowl or basin without bottom ; not united to the main part by means of agglutination, but very closely fitted, and supported in its place by the general bed of earth. These urns lay hori zontally, not parallel with each other, but on a straight line, and in the direction of east and west. In one urn was a quantity of sand, with the bones of a full-grown person, completely filled, and very heavy. The skull was placed about the middle or widest part, not in the basin, which contained only sand. Of this urn the greatest circumference was 2 feet 9 inches, its length 3 feet 4 inches, including the bowl or basin, which separately was near 8 inches. The urns, made of clay, are about 1-3d of an inch thick, and solid at the pointed end, but the bowls without bottoms. The insides
had evidently been coated with some bituminous substance; but the urns nowhere exhibited in scriptions nor any other mark by which their degrees of antiquity might be ascertained.
The ancient coffins of the Chaltheans were of clay, some of them shaped like a dish cover, the head being placed on a pillow of sun dried brick, and jars and utensils for food and water. There were also jar coffins, and they seem to have been interred in artificial mounds.
Their ancient tombs, rare in Assyria and Upper Babylonia, are chiefly in Chaldtea proper ; and the Rev. G. Rawlinson (i. 107) suggests that the dead may have been conveyed to the sacred land of Chaldtea, similarly as the Persians even now send their dead to harbila and Meshid Ali, and as the Hindus from remote India send the bones, or the entire bodies, to the Ganges at Benares. , There, Chagda or Chackrada, near Sooksagur, isan abyss said to have been made by the chariot wheel of Bhagirath. The place is a great Golgotha, where the dead and dying are brought from a great way off to be burnt and consigned to the Ganges. The deceased is seldom conveyed by any of his relations, unless from a short distance. Poor people generally send for ward their dead for incremation in charge of bearers, who never betray the trust reposed in them.
The Romans generally burned, but they some times buried their dead ; and children who died in infancy were interred in the immediate neighbour hood of their former homes. Their sepulchral urns, with the ashes of the dead, were commonly buried about two feet below the surface, and their memorial stones were often inscribed. They used the sarcophagus, or massive stone-coffin, and also the tumulus or barrow. They bore their dead with much lamentation to the funeral pile, on which, after being lighted, they east the robes and arms of the deceased, as well as the slaughtered bodies of his favourite animals.
The ancient Greeks, in laying out their dead, always placed an obulus or Greek coin in the mouth, to pay Charon's fare across the rivers Styx and Acheron, and a cake made of flour and honey to appease Cerberus. Amongst them men cut off their hair when they attained the age of puberty, and dedicated it to some deity. Theseus is said to have repaired to Delphi to perform this ceremony, and to have consecrated his shorn locks to After this it was again allowed to grow long, and only cut off as a sign of mourning. Thus at the funeral of Patroclus (Iliad, xxiii.) the friends of Achilles cut off their hair, and 'On the corse their scattered locks they throw.' In some parts of Greece, however, it was tomary to wear the hair short, and to allow it (Cassandi. 973) to grow long when in mourning.