The Babylonian Woe
The growth during the early years of the first Millennium B.C. of the use of hardened iron tools in the mining industry(1) and the development of a highly efficient system by the Phoenicians, for smelting calamine and other silver bearing ores, as shown by the almost complete absence of silver in the slags or scoria left by their mining operations at Laureion,(2) released a heavy flow of silver on to the bullion markets of the Near East; with the consequence that silver, further than being a standard for money accounting between merchants and also the temples "in relation to staples, other metals, and customary services..."(3) became an actual means of payment "... and as currency of all levels of transaction."(4) This practice, with all the possibilities inherent therein towards the virtually unlimited private creation of money in opposition to that money which had originated as entry in the temple ledger, spread westward with all its attendant evils during the first half of the first millennium B.C., as already pointed out in respect to Greece.
While certain temple organizations still survived as previously mentioned and were strongly maintained, the instances quoted being those of the temples of Sippur and Uruk (Oppenheim; P.46), the flood of privately issued and controlled money which in reality was this new silver in circulation, together with the pyramid of ledger credit page entry money raised thereon, had almost completely effaced even the memory of that law in relation to exchanges, that was the word and order of the god of the city himself, and that had been the issue of kings and priesthood of former times... These kings may have been aware that the source of all their powers was the power inherent m the creation and emission of the units of exchange, which was the power to discriminate, the power to reject or prefer from amongst their subjects; and of course they may not have been so aware.
Of the evidence revealing the steps by which this god-power was undermined, the first and most important was the establishment of internal values in the exchanges within any state to the same standard as the value of silver in the international exchanges, which did not happen overnight as it were, and may have slowly taken place over several thousand years; for at least 1500 years before what was supposed to be the invention of coined money in Lydia, silver ingots already circulated in Babylonia bearing the stamp of the issuing and guaranteeing authority, whether temple, state, or merchant... Before this time "Silver was used in many instances as a standard of value even though it was not actually employed in payments."(5)
It is not until the Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, and Persian eras that clear evidence can be traced of the total degeneration of kingly power and of kings and so-called emperors as quite often being little more than gloriously be-medalled front men for private money creative power striving to create world-wide hegemony ... They still continued to be needed principally as a point towards which the eyes of the people might be diverted in order that the people might not realize that all was not well in that direction towards which their loyalties naturally leaned, nor glimpse the destructive forces that were gnawing at the roots of the Tree of Life itself. Even as far back as 2500 B.C. Sargon of Akkad proceeded into Anatolia to chastise the city of Ganes on account of the commercial community of Mesopotamia;(6) probably to enforce payment of interest on loans, or repayment of principal... One of the reasons of the success of Cyrus, though but a petty Persian prince formerly to 550 B.C. when he deposed his sovereign, Astyages the Mede, is clear from the circumstances of his victory over Croesus of Lydia in 546 B.C.
Croesus had offended international money powers by seizure of their treasure held by their agent Sadyattes(7) and by the total assumption of monetary issue by the state. Example had to be made of him to deter other princes from similar action, and the eager and ambitious Cyrus was obviously the one chosen for this purpose. According to the article an Babylonia in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th Edition, by Professor Sayce, Croesus had rashly joined battle with Cyrus without waiting for the arrival of his Babylonian allies under Nabu-Nahud(8) the father of Belshazzar of the Book of Daniel. It is more than likely, however, that a truer reading of these events would be that international money power, patron of the rise of Cyrus both through organization of his supplies of mercenary soldiers, and of the best of weapons, had been the principal influence in these events as in other enterprises of Cyrus, such as the siege of Babylon 14 years later. Thanks to its influence, while the progress of Nabu-Nahud towards junction with the forces of Croesus would have been sabotaged, Croesus himself would have been misinformed of the intentions and strength of both Cyrus and Nabu-Nahud.(9)
Cyrus won the day, and Croesus was totally humbled. Having thus proven his "suitability", and his readiness to promote the policies of his financial backers, the relatively easy conquest of Babylon was arranged for Cyrus some fourteen years later.(10) Cyrus from then on was designated "The Great", and assumed the title of "Great King" of the vast Persian domains over which he now ruled...
As the most valuable by-product of their being and existence, kings and "conquerors" were also needed towards the maintenance of the steady inflow of slaves, sufficient to take care of the fearful death rate in the mines, and no doubt, to permit of the opening of new mines due to the rapid expansion of the mining industry on account of the growth of the use of hardened iron tools and improved methods of exploration.
This growth of bullion supplies, also meaning growth of the money economy, meant growth of industry. Such growth of industry meant further demand for labour, which labour then was principally slave, as money economy had not arrived at the totality of its modern development. Therefore not only was an increasing and continuous flow of slaves needed for the mines, but also for the industry to which the products of the mines gave rise.
There were two ways alone by which new supplies of precious metals became available to rejuvenate a monetary circulation withering, and even disappearing from wear and tear, exportation or hoarding, with the economic collapse that such condition could bring about: one was through mining using slave labour as mining with free labour was rarely profitable,(11) and the other was through sack and plunder. For the first method "Conquerors" were needed for free men did not willingly become mine slaves; for the second method "Conquerors" were obviously needed again, for to cause a people to reveal and surrender their hidden hoards of precious metals, would only be possible as a result of the nights of terror immediately following on the "Conquest," and the abuse and rapine infected by a lust crazed soldiery such as followed such conquerors and achieved such "Conquests"... For instance, according to the Iliad, (Book IX), promise of the gold and bronze plunder (of Troy) was the principal lure used by Agamemnon (besides the return of Briseis), to bring Achilles back into the fight.
For further instance, may be accepted the main information in respect to Shalmanezer the Assyrian and his campaigns in 858 B.C., leaving no doubt of the purposes of the hidden forces who guided him, and wherein lay their chief interest... The conquest of Damascus, in 803 B.C., yielded 20 talents of gold and 2300 talents of silver, not to speak of 300 talents copper and 5000 talents of iron. The sack of Carchemish by Sargon, 717 B.C., yielded 11 talents of gold and 2100 talents of silver.
The following table reveals what was extracted from several lesser cities and their rulers.
Ruler & City Gold Silver Annual Indemnity Indemnity Tribute Hattinean 3 Talents 100 Talents 10 Talents of Silver Sangar of Carchemish 3 Talents 70 Talents 1 m. gold, 1 t. silver Harii of Sam'al 10 Talents 16 minas of gold Arame son of Bitaqusi 6 Talents Katazil of Kummuh 20 minas of silver
Tyre, Sidon, and Jehu of Israel, though clearly sitting on the fence as it were to secure the best advantage as might be offered out of these events, without openly committing themselves as ally of Assyria, hastened to pay tribute when after the battle near Wadi Zerzer in 842 B.C. in which Hazael, usurper King of Damascus was finally put to flight with the slaughter of some 6000 Arameans,(12) and likely the enslavement of many more, Shalmanezer, victorious but totally exhausted, came down to the coast unable to continue with the investment of Damascus(13)... It would be an interesting speculation as to what was really in the mind of Shalmanezer in turning towards the coast. What money power had armed Hazael to the point that he could be such a real threat to the Assyrian? Had Shalmanezer planned bloody revenge? ... Then realizing that in the destruction he planned, he might further destroy his own source of arms, and those slave traders who organized the sale of his captives, had he hesitated, finally deciding to settle for tribute?
The States of Arvad, Symyra, and Ushana in the fact that they paid no tribute to Nineveh,(14) while being much closer than the Aramean States, revealed themselves as ally; the absence of any savage thrust by Assyria at that time against Israel, or Tyre, or Sidon, in the first phase of Assyrian conquest, would suggest such states, if not actually as ally, as harbouring forces in one form or another which would be controlled by agents of that highly secret international bullion broking fraternity, which indubitably existed, and which was connected to the extensive organization of camp followers and slave traders that must have been yet another host behind the Assyrian host, and therefore, profitably, enemy of the Aramean ...
Money power, international in scope, being that it sought at this time, to institute precious metals as the governing factor of exchanges over the rest of the known world, was deeply lodged in the heart of the Assyrian, a people to whom it had early imparted the secret Hittite skills and processes in iron working, and who, in their home land, had the necessary materials for such industry. Assyria for the time was their sword arm. Whether the Assyrians were aware of its significance or not, they must have been closely connected with that fraternity whose business was mining of the precious metals, trade in certain staple commodities and manufactures, and slaves, and who must have conducted their operations in all the cities of Babylonia, Aram, whether enemy or not, and especially, Phoenicia. Considering that Phoenician mining operations extended as far North as Britain where was mined the tin so necessary in bronze manufacture, it may be assumed that Phoenicia, above all, dealt in Assyrian war captives. In places as distant as Cornwall where they would have been in a relatively weak position so far from home, they would have relied on imported slaves, rather than on local conquest. There is no missing the connection between the floods of slaves as released on to world markets by the Assyrian conquests, and the rapid expansions of that which is now known as "Credit", the same silver and gold mining that was taking place all over the known world at that time.
Of some interest is the story of the easing of the pressure on Damascus by the departure of Shalmanezer in 839 B.C. during the first phase of Assyrian conquest, to more pressing business in the North... "Hazael, King of Damascus was able to turn again to Israel..."
Once Assyria, abandoning the Israelites whose alliance they must have been accepting at that time, either to assure themselves of a source of supply of mercenary soldiers or of slave-master camp followers, turned a deaf ear to the pleas of Jehu, the Israelite king, the Philistines, the Idumeans, the Amorites, and even their ancient ally, the Tyrians, viciously turned on them(15) ... Could it be to seize a share of the plunder gathered off the battlefields of Shalmanezer?
The renewed stream of precious metal money that must have followed the sack of all those cities of Aram at this time, flowing through the coffers of the international money power located in the cities of Nineveh or Babylon or Ur, would have been accompanied by vast expansions of that which is now known as "Credit", the same being emitted in all the major cities of the Near East. Also(16) Bills of Exchange, Letters of Credit, but above all the ubiquitous receipts for valuables reputedly on deposit for safe custody, came into being: clay "Promises to Pay": all forming expansion in one form or another of the working money supply. By manipulation of such abstract monetary units in relation to what might have been described as the visible symbols of the monetary unit such as was gold or silver money, powerful business houses combining the operations of banker, goldsmith, silversmith etc., with branches in all major cities, were certainly able to manipulate the destinies of so-called empires, just as they have so done in this day. That Babylon itself should have been able to rise again, and lead a frightened world against Assyria to form the so-called Neo-Babylonian empire, is proof, however, that international money power at that time was not monopoly of the Hebrew who now whatever his origins, as ally of the Israelite who had come out of Egypt, appears clearly in history, a distinct entity; even if the part he plays as native of Palestine was relatively insignificant.
It seems the fall of the Assyrian in finality in the defeat of Ashur-Uballit by Nabopolassar in 605 B.C, was also the fall of the Hebrew. No sooner had Nabopolassar destroyed the last remnant of Assyrian military power, than, at Carchemish, his son Nebuchadnezzar destroyed that of a resurgent Egypt under Pharaoh Necho, recently victor over Josiah of Judah on that ominous place of battle Meggiddo,(17) better known as Armageddon, (II Chronicles; 25, 20-27.), and where eight hundred years previously Tahutmes III had put the confederate armies of Syria to flight.
In this battle of Carchemish in which Pharaoh Necho had suffered complete defeat, was destroyed the last protector of Israel, and as a consequence, in 586 B.C. Israel itself was totally destroyed. Its leaders, overtaken by the same fate as its Aramean blood relatives, if not co-religionists, were carried off to servitude at Babylon; where in the case of some, they were used to keep the wheels of industry and finance turning in that great city, while in the case of others, they seem to have been permitted settlement in the region of the river Chebar, a large irrigation canal near Babylon, where they were allowed to establish homes, to farm, and to maintain themselves as a racial and religious group, clearly living a national and exclusive life, as was shown by the very fact that an intensely nationalistic prophet such as Ezekiel could exist in the settlement at Chebar, preaching amongst his own people without restriction.(18)
During this time the city was yet again sold to the new imperial power risen out of old Elam and the Persian Highlands, and in 536 B.C., the Persian forces under Cyrus, "The Great", quietly entered the city by night march down the drying river bed after they had completed diversion of the river. According to the book of Daniel, the proud Belshazzar, King in Babylon, was slain that night.(19)
It is interesting to note that shortly after the entry of the Persian forces into the city, the "Children of Israel" were permitted to return to that which they considered their homeland, and every assistance was given them towards renewal of their national life and the rebuilding of their temple, which, of course, was its heart. In the very first year of his reign at Babylon 536 B.C., Cyrus issued a decree permitting the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem, and the gold and silver vessels carried away by Nebuchadnezzar supposed to be 5400 in number, were returned to Sheshbazaar, the Prince of Judah who was leader of the migration.(20) Although the proclamation of Cyrus had been addressed to all servants of God throughout the Empire, the 42,000 or so who responded to the call and went with Sheshbazaar, were but a small part of the Hebrew population of the total dominions of Cyrus... The special concessions made by Cyrus to the Hebrew almost on entry into the city of Babylon, would certainly suggest that he had received their substantial assistance, perhaps through financing towards the purchase of the finest of military accoutrements such as would only be obtainable through the good graces of the Babylonian commercial and banking houses, or through that information with which the Hebrew may have kept him constantly supplied such as the state of military preparedness within the city, etc.
It may reasonably be assumed that the Babylonian money power was completely international in outlook, whatever its outward profession, and totally unsympathetic towards the ancient faith of the Ziggurat and the worship of Marduk,(21) and towards the intended effects of the restoration of the Ziggurat of Ur, at that time, by Nebuchadnezzar. If in earlier Assyrian times such money power certainly was not the Hebrew, though possibly linked thereto through members of the latter Israelitish Confederacy such as the Habiru or even those who derived from the Hyksos, the fact of the existence of powerful Hebrew influence in international finance in Neo-Babylonian times, seems a reasonable supposition...
The Hebrew, being aggressive and intelligent, may have risen to especially privileged position in the Babylonian money industry, if that is what it can be called, and may have come to learn at that time those secret practices of the money changers craft, which he was certainly forbidden in his native land, according to the Laws Moses. In Babylonia the law No. 7 of Hammurabai has long since become a dead letter...
That ungodly and cruel order of Ezra compelling the Israelites divorce their foreign wives after their return to what was considered their ancestral homeland,(22) might very well have been related to the needs of total religious, racial, and commercial security, as indeed might the ordinance existing today amongst English Quakers forbidding them to marry outside their own sect,(23) whose leaders, any brief study will show, were deeply involved in the growth and control of modern banking,(24) which had lead, and still leads mankind along a road that offers little peace or rest, and finally, exhaustion and calamity; a road of non-return...
One thing becomes clear out of this turmoil of rising and falling "Empires" of the first millennium B.C., particularly that calamitous succession of Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, and Persian "Empires", from 933-605 B.C., 625-538 B.C., and 538-332 B.C., respectively, and that is: in a world where treasure had become totally equated in the peoples minds with "Wealth," as expressing relatively large sums of the monetary unit, no sooner had one power gathered all such treasure in a given area into its store houses and safe deposits, by conquest, plunder, and sack, than such treasure, temporarily creating boom, moved on again, as likely as not to form the base of those "credits" granted by international money power towards the purchase of arms and the best of mercenary soldiers by that next power destined to arise and be the new "conqueror".
Dealing in money, and bullion which was the foundation of the money system, had become a highly specialized and closed trade now able to operate quite apart from the temples; even if in many cases the temples still continued to permit themselves, and that which they stood for, to be used as front, and so had offered sanctity to those most sinister and destructive operations of the money, bullion, and slave brokers; in themselves and their attitude towards mankind, the antithesis of God, the Anti-God.
The money masters had only one purpose besides maintenance of secrecy: which was growth of themselves and those through whom they worked. Those through whom they worked were too often the criminal castes of the civilizations; criminal because the nature of so much of their activities, such as fencing, counterfeiting of coinages, clipping and sweating of coins, was criminal; as it had to be. Towards this purpose, consciously or not, they sought the total destruction of that natural order of life of god, king, priesthood, and temple and the devoted, and its eradication from the Book of Life itself. For piety and love and man living with hope and will for the future, guided by his trained shepherds had to be substituted an order of the exploitation of mankind. The rulers in such an order would be its previous rejects, its outcasts. God, king, temple and the devoted were to become a thing forgotten, and man, into whom was to be injected raging animal passions, was to be left wandering without guide, except such thrusting hither and thither by such as could only be called living sores of man-hatred and which were embedded in mankind itself, could be called guidance.
The unfortunate masses of the Ancient Orient, who had so trusted their rulers, had no idea or understanding of the new reality, and that the ruler they saw, far from being the Son of God on Earth, was in reality a puppet manipulated by that conspiratorial force exerted by those controllers of precious metal bullion particularly, that lurked in the Aramaic speaking middle class mentioned by Professor Oppenheim.(25) These powerful classes could have had no more than a secret contempt for the gods, kings, priesthood, of the peoples amongst whom they lived, able as they were by this manipulation, to bring about the decay or growth of power, without reference to such "State" power structure, of those whose undoing or otherwise, they planned...
They themselves, through triumph of their system of private money issuance, had now in reality come to sit in the place of the gods. From this time on it seems, there was not even that periodic interference of the king against the money-lender, which gave the people respite from time to time, as in the old Babylonian period,(26) and the Kingdom of Israel of record.(27)
Cruel private monopolization of wealth and capital grew, and where the people had been sheep in the flock, and the king their loving and devoted guide, now that kings concerned themselves with those false policies prepared for them in the interest of the private money creators, the people became lost and disheartened, driven hither and thither as they were by the crazed wolf masquerading in the place of the shepherd's diligent sheep dog.
In this time, as today, the people were almost entirely at the mercy of the private persons controlling their money, who then controlled the inflow of precious metals, silver and gold, the foundation of the people's money. The policies of these controllers from their standpoint as internationalists, were necessarily directed towards the stimulation of war against the well-being of mankind. Frequently wars were above all the prime essential, firstly towards the destruction of the natural system of rule(28) previously defined, which had been the protection of the people; secondly towards the reinjection into the system of hoarded coin and bullion, and consequent reinflation of the money supply; thirdly, but not the least important, the gathering of a new crop of slaves to replace those stocks of silver and gold, so necessary to the foundation of their money power, and the maintenance of their international hegemony in consequence...
1. Alexander del Mar: History of the Precious Metals, P. 45.
2. Miner's and Smelter's Magazine, Vol. VI, pp 286-322. (A. del Mar: History of the Precious Metals, P. 46.)
3. Leo A. Oppenheim: Letters from Mesopotamia, P. 46: Chicago: 1967.
5. Paul Einzig: Primitive Money, P. 206. Also as according to the records of the city of Kish as pertain to the Azag-Bau Dynasty (3268-2897 B.C.). See page 1 of this work.
6. Sir Charles Woolley: Abraham, P. 122.
7. Ernest Babelon: Les Origines de la Monnaie, P. 106; Paris; 1897.
8. Herodotus: The Histories, Book I.
9. The Nabonidus of modern books of reference who reigned in conjunction with Belshazzar.
10. Actually through his general, Gobryas, 558 B.C.
11. Alexander del Mar: History of Monetary Systems, pp. 413, 425, 410, 441, 442.
12. Emil G.H. Kraeling: Aram and Israel, P. 80; Columbia. 1918.
14. Emil G.H. Krealing: Aram and Israel, P. 80, Columbia, 1918.
15. Emil G.H. Kraeling, Ph.D.: Aram and Israel, pp. 83-84 Columbia: 1918.
16. Paul Einzig: Primitive Money, P. 225; Oxford, 1949.
17. According to II Kings, 17, 6, "In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes," and according to the records of Sargon of Assyria: "Samaria I looked at, I captured; 27,280 men (or families) who dwelt in it I carried away."
As a completely new population was brought to the now empty land (II Kings, 17, 24), it is curious that 120 years later a so-called Jewish prince should go out of his way to seek battle with Pharaoh Necho, vigorous king of a resurgent Egypt, who according to the Biblical record (II Chronicles, 36, 21) "sent ambassadors to him, saying, what have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste (to Carchemish): forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not."
18. Ezekiel, Chapter I, V.1,3. Chapter 3, V.15, 23. Chapter 10, V.15, 22. Chapter 11, V.4, (Prophesy) 25, (Expounding Prophesy to Chebarites).
19. Daniel, Chapter 5, V. 30.
20. William Smith: History of the Bible, P. 476 London, Ont. 1885.
21. Marduk was the national God of Babylon, just as Nannar was National God of Ur, and second only to Énlil.
22. Ezra, King James Version; Ch. 10.
23. ..."Membership in the Society is now either by 'convincement' of the Spiritual Truths to which Friends witness, or, in England, by birth if both parents are Friends"... James Hastings in Vol. 12 of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, (New York 1914.).
24. Sir Ernest Cassel: Lloyd's Bank in the History of Banking, P. 20 et seq. Oxford, 1933.
25. Leo A. Oppenheim: Letters from Mesopotamia, P. 51; Chicago; 1967.
26. Ibid., P. 46
27. Leviticus, Chapter 5, King James version.
28. The nobility have always been the first to disappear in major warfare. As leaders of their men in battle, their young men are the first to die. During the recent first "Great" war, it may safely be said that the best part of the young men of the natural aristocracy of Europe had perished by 1917.