Obrazy na stronie

of which bitumen bubbles up, and oil of naphtha on the much a punishment for this attempt, as a proper and obother. Mr. Rich remarks, that bitumen was by no means vious measure for giving effect to the intended dispersion so generally used in the structures of Babylon as is com and distribution of the human race. monly supposed. This is demonstrated by the fact, that It may be observed, that the idea of preventing disperbitumen is only found in the ruins as a cement in a few sion by such means, is applicable in a most remarkable situations, generally towards the basement, where its manner to the wide and level plains of Babylonia, where power of resisting wet rendered it valuable. Before it can scarcely one object exists different from another to guide the be used as a cement, it must be boiled with a certain propor stranger in his journeying, and which in those days, as at tion of oil, and this troublesome and expensive process was present, formed a sea of land, and the compass unknown. not likely to be used exclusively in such a pile as the Tower The effect of these high-places, cbaracteristic almost everyof Babel, particularly when cements abound, all of which where of some Babylonian or Chaldæan site, remains to are more easily prepared, and one of which at least is much this day as striking as ever: superior to bitumen. These consist of three kinds of cal

Chaldæan beacons, over the desert sand careous earth found abundantly in the desert west of the

Seen faintly from thick-towered Babylon, Euphrates. The first, called noora, is, in present use,

Against the sunset, mixed with ashes, and employed as a coating for the lower or rising from the horizon's verge like giant pillars, departs of walls in baths and other places liable to damps. ceiving the weary traveller in their distance, yet still Another, called by the Turks karej, and by the Arabs jus,

faithfully guiding him to one point in his destination. is also found in powder mixed with indurated pieces of

Leaving a matter, in which we have only conjectures the same substance and round pebbles. This forms even

and doubtful interpretations to guide us, let us inquire now the common cement of the country, and constitutes

what became of this famous tower in after-times, and the mortar generally found in the burnt brick-work of the

whether any traces now remain of its existence. most ancient remains. When good, the bricks cemented

There is no statement that this great work sustained any by it cannot well be detached without being broken, whilst

damage at the Confusion : it is simply said, that the buildthose laid in bitumen can easily be separated. The third

ing of the city, and doubtless of the tower also, was dis. sort, called borak, is a substance resembling gypsum, and

continued. What were its precise dimensions it is imis found in large lumps of an earthy appearance, which,

possible to determine, where different authorities make it when burned, form an excellent plaster or whitewash.

range from one furlong to five thousand miles in height! It Pure clay or mud is also used as a cement; but this is

is generally admitted, and it is indeed in the highest degree exclusively with the sun-dried bricks.

probable, that the fabric was in a considerable state of 4. A tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.'The forwardness at the Confusion; and that it could have suslatter clause of this phrase is literally and its top in the tained no considerable damage at the time when the skies'-a metaphor common in all languages and nations, for building of Babylon was recommenced: and therefore, a very elevated and conspicuous summit; and which exone- finding that this great city was in later periods famous for rates the builders from the imputed stupidity of attempting | a stupendous tower, described as an object of wonder comto scale the heavens. Whether there was any or what parable to the Egyptian pyramids, it is not unsafe to infer bad intention in this erection, has afforded much matter of that the original Tower of Babel formed at least the discussion, into which we cannot enter. It is probable nucleus of that amazing structure which, in the time of enough that some design to frustrate the appointed dis- the early authors of classical antiquity, stood in the midst persion of mankind was involved in the undertaking; and of the temple which was built by Nebuchadnezzar, in it does not appear that the confusion of tongues was so honour of Belus. It seems that this splendid prince, whose

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]


From a Drawing made on the spot, by J. B. Praser, fsq.

[ocr errors]

reign began about 605 years B. C., took the idea of render- | this famous tower to its former condition; and, as a preing this old ruin the principal ornament of the city which paratory step, he employed 10,000 men, for two months, it gave him so much pride to embellish. Whatever ad in removing the rubbish which had fallen from the superditions he made to it, there is no room to doubt that the structure in consequence of the Persian king's dilapidaoriginal form was preserved; for not only would it have tions. This circumstance alone would induce us, at this taken enormous labour and expense to alter it, but the distant time, in looking for the remains of this earliest form it afterwards bore is that which would hardly, in great work of man, to be content with very faint traces of such comparatively late times, have been thought of, being what we may suppose the original structure to have been. in its simplicity and proportions characteristic not only of The distinction of being a remnant of the Tower of Babel, very ancient, but of the most ancient constructed masses has been claimed for three different masses ; namely, for which have been known to exist on the earth. Our ear Nimrod's Tower at Akkerkúf; for the Mujelibe, about 950 liest authentic information concerning this tower is from yards east of the Euphrates, and five miles above the moHerodotus, who however did not see it till thirty years dern town of Hillah; and for the Birs Nimrúd, to the after the Persian king Xerxes, in his indignation against west of that river, and about six miles to the south-west of the form of idolatry with which it had become associated, Hillah. The Tel Nimrúd at Akkerkúf has already been did as much damage to it as its solid mass enabled him, mentioned as denoting the site of Accad. Many travellers with any tolerable convenience, to effect. Herodotus de have believed it to be the Tower of Babel, having perhaps scribes the spot as a sacred enclosure dedicated to Jupiter their imaginations excited by the name of Nimrod atBelus, consisting of a regular square of two stadia (1000 tached to it: but the people of the country certainly do feet) on each side, and adorned with gates of brass. In not believe it to be the Tower of Babel, the site of which the midst of this area rose a massive tower, whose length they always indicate by a reference to Hillah, on the Euand breadth was one stadium (500 feet); upon this tower phrates. arose another and another, till the whole had numbered The Mujelibe was first described, in the conviction of eight. He does not say how high it was; but Strabo, who | its being the Tower of Babel, by Della Valle, who exconcurs with him in the dimensions of the basement-flat, | amined the ruins in 1616, and characterizes this mass as adds, that the whole was a stadium in height. Taking | 'a mountain of ruins,' and again, as `a huge mountain.' these proportions of 500 feet high, on a base of 500 feet on The name means overturned; and as either this or the each side, we have a structure as high as the greatest of Birs Nimrúd must present the remains of the famous tower, the Egyptian pyramids, but standing on a much narrower if such still exist, we shall give a short description of both base; as the dimensions of the pyramid may (on an ap- from Rich's Memoir on the Ruins of Babylon, compared with proximation from various statements) be reckoned at 480 the accounts furnished by Ker Porter, Macdonald Kinneir, feet in height, on a base of 750 feet each way. Herodotus Fraser, Ainsworth, and others. Kinneir concurs with goes on to say, that, on the outside steps were formed, Della Valle, D'Anville, Rennell, and other high names, winding up to each tower; and that in the middle of every in considering it the Tower of Babel; but it is to be borne flight a resting place was provided, with seats. In the in mind, that none of them except Kinneir, had any highest tower there was a magnificent chamber, expressly distinct information concerning the Birs Nimrúd. sacred to Belus, furnished with a splendid couch, near The Mujelibe is second only to the last-named pile, in which was a table of gold. But there was no statue, the being one of the most enormous masses of brick-formed god being supposed to inhabit it at will. About 150 years earth raised by the labour of man. Its shape is oblong, after the devastations committed by Xerxes, it became one and its height, as well as the measurement of its sides, very of the mighty projects of Alexander the Great, to restore | irregular. Its sides face the four cardinal points; the mea



From a Drawing made on the spot, by J. B. Fraser, Esq.

[ocr errors]

surement of that on the north being 200 yards in length, | At the foot of the mound a step may be traced scarcely the southern 219, the eastern 182, and the western 136 ; | elevated above the plain, exceeding in extent by several while the elevation of the highest or south-east angle is feet each way the true or measured base; and there is a 141 feet. The summit is a broad, uneven flat. It ascends quadrangular enclosure around the whole, as at the Mutowards the south-eastern point, and forms an angu

| jelibe, but much more distinct, and of greater dimensions.' of peak, sloping gradually down in an opposite direction It may be observed that the grand dimensions of both upon the bosom of the mound to a depth of about 100 feet. the Birs and the Mujelibe correspond very well with that The mass of the structure, as in that at Akkerkuf and the of the Tower of Belus, the circumference of which, if we other Babylonish remains, is composed of bricks dried in take the stadium at 500 feet, was 2000 feet; that of the Birs the sun, and mixed with broken straw or reed in the pre is 2286, and that of the Mujelibe 2111, which in both inparation, cemented in some places with bitumen with re stances is a remarkable approximation, affording no greater gular layers of reeds, and in others with slime and reeds. difference than is easily accounted for by our ignorance of In most Babylonish structures, several courses of brick in the exact proportion of the stadium, and by the enlargement tervene between the layers of reeds; but in this the reeds which the base must have undergone by the crumbling of are interposed between every single course of bricks. The the materials. Sir R. K. Porter seems to show that three, outer edges of the bricks having mouldered away, it is and part of the fourth, of the original eight stages of the only on minute inspection that the nature of its materials tower may be traced in the existing ruin of Birs Nimrúd; can be ascertained. When viewed from a distance, the and, with regard to the intense vitrifying heat to wbich ruin has more the appearance of a small hill than of a the summit has most evidently been subjected, he has no building; and the ascent is in most places so gentle, that a | doubt that the fire acted from above, and was probably person may ride all over it. The bricks are larger and | lightning. The circumstance is certainly remarkable in much inferior to most others; nor indeed do any of those connection with the tradition that the original Tower of in the ruins near the Euphrates equal those in the ruins at Babel was rent and overthrown by fire from heaven. Akkerkúf. Deep ravines have been sunk by the periodical Porter thinks that the works of the Babylonish kings conrains in this stupendous mass, and there are numerous long cealed for a while the marks of the original devastation ; narrow cavities, or passages, which are now the unmolested and that now the destructions of time and of man have retreats of hyænas, jackals, and other noxious animals. reduced it to nearly the same condition in which it apQuantities of kiln-burnt bricks are scattered about at the peared after the Confusion. At any rate, it cannot now be base of the fabric; and it is probable that this, as well as seen without recollecting the emphatic prophecy of Jerethe other recesses which only now exhibit the inferior miah (li. 25): 'I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, material, were originally cased with the burnt bricks, but and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a which, in the course of ages, have been taken away for the | burnt mountain.' purposes of building; a practice which is known to have been in operation for more than 2000 years.

9. · The Lord did there confound the language of all the Every one who sees the Birs Nimrúd feels at once that,

| earth'- We have no distinct information as to the extent of all the masses of ruin found in this region, there is not

in which this remarkable event operated on the languages one which so nearly corresponds with his previous notions

| of men; and accordingly this verse has occasioned much of the Tower of Babel ; and he will decide that it could be | discussion. It is certainly not necessary to suppose that no other, if he is not discouraged by the apparent difficulty

the confusion of languages was then so great as at present. of reconciling the statements of the ancient writers con Some learned men, who consider that the present diversity cerning the Temple of Belus, with the situation of this ruin of languages is not greater than would naturally arise in on the western bank, and its distance from the river and

the lapse of a long time, and in changes of climate and the other ruins. That this difficulty is not insuperable, has

country by migrations, think that the Confusion operated been shown by the writer of the article BABYLON, in the very slightly at first, consisting merely in the introduction Penny Cyclopædia ; and without giving any decided opi of various inflections and some new words, which sufficed pion, we cannot but subscribe to the view that the Birs to make the people misunderstand one another. This is Nimrúd must probably be identified with the tower in

the opinion of those who think that all existing languages question, if the latter is to be identified at all.

are derived from one parent stock. But others, who believe We give Mr. Rich's description, referring to Sir R. K. that the existing diversity is too great to allow the doctrine Porter for a more detailed account. •The Birs Nimrúd is of their being all derived from one common source, think a mound of an oblong form, the total circumference of that new languages were formed at the Confusion, to each which is 762 yards. At the eastern side it is cloven by a 1 of which it is possible to trace the various derivative lan

of which it is possible to trace the various deep furrow, and is not more than 50 or 60 feet high : but guages which have been formed out of it in the lapse of on the western side it rises in a conical figure to the eleva. time, by removals, intermixtures, and refinements. It is tion of 198 feet; and on its summit is a solid pile of brick, allowed, however, that the formation of two new languages, 37 feet high by 28 in breadth, diminishing in thickness to or strongly marked dialects, for two of the families of Noah, the top, which is broken and irregular, and rent by a large

while the other retained the primitive tongue unaltered, fissure extending through a third of its height. It is per

would be alone sufficient to account for all existing dif. forated by small square holes, disposed in rhomboids. The ferences. What these original tongues or dialects were, is fire-burnt bricks of which it is built have inscriptions on another point which has excited large debate. Sir William them; and so excellent is the cement, which appears to be

Jones being a very good authority in this matter we may lime-mortar, that it is nearly impossible to extract one

give his opinion, as collected by Dr. Hales from different whole. The other parts of the summit of this hill are volumes of the Asiatic Researches. He discovers traces of occupied by immense fragments of brick-work, of no de three primæval languages, corresponding to the three grand terminate figure, tumbled together, and converted into solid | aboriginal races, which he calls the Arabic, the Sanscrit, vitrified masses, as if they had undergone the action of the

and the Sclavonic. fiercest fire, or had been blown up with gunpowder, the 1. From the Arabic or Chaldee spring the dialects used layers of brick being perfectly discernible. These ruins,' by the Assyrians, Arabs, and Jews. continues Mr. Rich, stand on a prodigious mound, the 2. From the Sanscrit, which is radically different from whole of which is itself in ruins, channelled by the weather the Arabic, spring the Greek, Latin, and Celtic dialects, and strewed with fragments of black stone, sandstone, though blended with another idiom, the Persian, the Armeand marble. In the castern part, layers of unburnt brick, 1 nian, and the old Egyptian, or Ethiopic. but no reeds, were discernible in any part : possibly the “3. From the Sclavonic or Tartarian, which is again absence of them here, when they are so generally seen radically different both from the Arabic and Sanscrit, under similar circumstances, may be an argument of the spring (so far as Sir William could venture to pronounce inferior antiquity of the building. In the north side may upon so difficult a point) the various dialects of northern be seen traces of building exactly similar to the brick pile. | Asia and north-eastern Europe.'






[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

Some other writers require a greater number of mother- | culties which it creates. They are such, that the computatongues; while others are content, as we have seen, with tion is now every where rejected by sensible chronologers. that ancient Hebrew language into which the later Hebrew, • The more I have considered the matter,' says the Rev. G. the Chaldee, and the Syriac may be resolved.

S. Faber, the more I am convinced that the Oriental

Christians did well in rejecting it as palpably absurd and 12. • Arpharad .... Salah.'- It is upon the generations erroneous. The sum of the difference, before the Deluge, is specified in this chapter that chronological computations for 606 years; after the Deluge, 788 years; together, 1394 years, the period from the Deluge to the birth of Abraham are which seems too much good time to be lost from the history founded. The diversity between the existing Hebrew text of the world. If we add this sum to the 4004 years which and the Septuagint continues to be very great, and has been the shorter chronology allows for the interval from the brouglıt about partly by the same process that has been Creation to the birth of Christ, we extend that period to described in the note to ch. v. 1, and partly by the exist 5398 years, and add nearly fourteen centuries to the age of ence of a whole generation iu the Septuagint and the New the human race. Testament (Luke ii. 36) which does not appear in the The differences thus indicated are all that are important; Hebrew. The tendency of the latter is still to shorten the for the computations of the chronologers who follow the times; and this is done to such purpose as to render the Hebrew, and of those who follow the Septuagint, seldom period from the Deluge to the birth of Abraham ridicu differ but by a few years from each other; and arise chiefly lously inadequate for the purposes of history. The in from different computations of the interval from the Exode trinsic fitness of the larger account is so manifest here, and to the foundation of Solomon's temple. The following table the violation of historical probability by the shorter account involves the points on which all these differences rest : is so outrageous, that the Samaritan Pentateuch, which coincided with the Hebrew for the more ancient period, does not bring down the process below the Deluge, but for the remainder coincides very nearly with the Septuagint. What value, therefore, the corroborating testimony of the Samaritan may have added to the Hebrew account in the first instance, is completely neutralized by its concurrence

Years. Years. Years. Years. with the Septuagint account in the second. From the Deluge to the birth of Abraham the number of years, accord. Creation to Deluge . . . 1656 1656 2256 2256 ing to the

Deluge to birth of Abraham


1072 1002

Birth to leaving Haran.
Hebrew text, is . . . . 292

Leaving Haran to Exode

430 430 Samaritan Pentateuch . . 942

Exode to foundat. of Temple

621 Septuagint . .

. 1072

Temple to birth of Christ 1013 1014 1014 1027 Josephus . . . . . 996

5426 The following table will show how this astonishing difference arises :

With respect to the generation of Cainan, which in the

Septuagint we find interposed between those of Arphaxad
Total of

and Salah, and which alone adds 130 years to the account, Paternity. Paternity Like.

much has been written and argued, which we cannot here even recapitulate. Many persons will think it quite sufficient that it is used by St. Luke in his genealogy of Christ.

This shews that it was in the Septuagint when the EvanShem, two years after

gelist wrote; and it is hard to say how it could have got the Flood, begat. )

into the Septuagint, if it had not been then found in the Arphaxad .

original Hebrew. The object of such an interpolation is Cainan . . . Salah

as inconceivable, as the means by which it could be pro. . .

301 130 130 403 303 303 433 433 433 Eber

34 134 134 4301 270 270 464 404 duced; whereas its having been dropped out of the Hebrew Pelegi

30 1301 130 2091 109 209 239 239 239 text can be easily accounted for. The silence of Josephus Ren . 32 132 132 207 107) 207 239 239 339|

used to be urged against the claims of this generation ; but Serug

30/ 1301 130 200 100 200 2301 230 330) Nahor 791 79 1191 69 129 148 1481 208

it has been shown that Josephus receives into his account Terah

135 205 145 205 the years belonging to this generation, though he does not

name the person. An earlier writer, Demetrius, who com292 942/1072

posed a history of the Jewish kings about 220 years before

Christ-only 66 years after the Septuagint translation was The abrupt and violent reduction of the age of paternity, made, and when it doubtless agreed with the Hebrew textic the Hebrew account, to little above its present standard, uses the chronology of the Seventy, and includes the gewhile the total of age still remains very high, is a most neration of the second Cainan. A similar history, composed suspicious and annatural circumstance, and contrasts dis about fifty years later by Eupolemus, exhibits the same advantageously with the sober and consistent statement in characteristics. For a knowledge of the former work we the Septuagint. It suggests the idea that, having so much are indebted to the quotations of Alexander Polyhistor reduced the generations before the Deluge, the operators to and of Eusebius; and of the latter to those of Clement of whose agency the corruption of the genealogy must be Alexandria. Let it also be remarked that in these and ascribed, found that they had no room for further reduction other histories, counted ancient in the times of Josephus, after the Deluge, but by outraging consistency and proba Eusebius, and Origen, Abraham is described as the tenth bility in the way this table exhibits. Besides, there is this from Noah, whereas, if the generation of Cainan had no self-convicting circumstance, that the shortening process is | existence, he would be only the ninth. On these and other abandoned so soon as the history itself begins to supply grounds, we have no hesitation in believing that the gematerials for contradiction. And' is it at all credible that neration existed from the first in the Septuagint, and in the Arphaxad and his five immediate descendants should have ancient Hebrew copies from which that version was made. children at the age of 30, when the others who succeeded On the topics indicated in this note the reader may consult them, and whose lives were not half so long, did not become Usher, Chronologia Sacra ; Jackson, Chronological Antiparents till they were more than double their age; Nahor | quities ; Hayes, Dissert. on Chronology of Septuagint ; at 79, Terah at 70, Abraham at 87; and still further down, Hales, New Analysis of Chronology ; Russell, Connect. of Isaac at 60, and Jacob at 84? It is impossible in this place Sacred and Profane History, Prelim. Dissert. 1827; Clayto indicate even a tithe of the absurdities which the shorter ton, Chronoloy. of the Heb. Bible Defended ; Vossius, De postdiluvian chronology involves, or the historical diffi- | Vera Ætate Mundi, and De Sept. Inter. eorumque trans.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



Totals 134

et Chronologia : Scaliger, De Emendatione Temporum, and Crusaders, the Tartars, and was ultimately conquered by Thesaurus Temporum; Perron, L'Antiquité des Juifs the Turks. It is now the seat of a pashalic, and is a large établie, and Défense de l'Antiquité des Juifs ; Petavius, and tolerably well. built town, containing a population De Doctrina Temporum.

which Buckingham states at 50,000; an estimate which we 28. · Ur of the Chaldees.' –This seems to have been rather

have reason to believe much too large. It is a place of a district than a town, and it probably coincided with or was

considerable trade, enjoying the advantage of being one of

the principal stations on the great caravan route between contained in the modern pashalic of Urfah; the chief town of which, of the same name, is indeed locally regarded as

Aleppo and Bagdad. the Ur of Abraham. This town, denominated by the Sy

31. Haran.'—This name affords one instance of the rians Urhoi, by the Arabs corrupted into Urfah or Orfah,

confusion which has arisen in the proper names of our is situated in Upper Mesopotamia, at the foot of the moun translation, from its having been chosen to give the letter tains of Osrhoene, in 38° 51' E. long, and 37° 9' N. lat. ch, a power equivalent to Jh. It ought to be Charan, Local tradition ascribes the foundation of the town to and it is so given in Acts vii. 2, where the Greek text. Nimrod; and the Arabs, according to their usual custom,

after the Septuagint in this place, properly represents the consider as his palace some remarkable ruins, with subter Hebrew inn by Xappáv. It is proper to observe that raneous apartments, apparently of great antiquity. The the translators have generally taken this course with Jews still call the place by the name in the text, Ur Kas the 17, as the practice sometimes makes such an alteration dim, or “Ur of the Chaidees;' and it is a place of pil that it is difficult to recognise the names. The place in grimage as the birth-place of Abraham, in whose honour | question is supposed to have derived its name from Haran the Moslems have a fine mosque, in the court of which is a (Charan), the father of Lot, and brother of Abraham. It lake teeming with fish, preserved there in honour of the was called Charræ by the Romans. Its situation is fixed patriarch. The town was called Edessa by the successors | by Rennell in 39° 2' 45' E. long., and 36° 40 N. lat., being of Alexander, from a city of the same name in Macedonia, 29 geographical miles S.S.E. from Urfah. It is situated and under that name was the capital of a territory called in a sandy and flat plain. It is now a poor place, in the Osrhoene, occupying the northern and most fruitful part of occupation of a few families of Bedouin Arabs, who have Mesopotamia, and which, for about eight centuries before been drawn thither by the good supply of water froin seChrist, formed an independent kingdom. Its last king was veral small streams. Their presence renders a visit so Abgarus, of whom there is a well-known tradition, that he unpleasant an undertaking, that no travellers have recently wrote a letter to Christ, and received an answer, printed been there. The ruins of an old town and castle are still translations of which are common in many parts of Eng to be seen. The city must have fallen to ruin at an early land, and have a superstitious value attached to them, being | period, for it seems to have been quite desolate when the considered to bless the house in which they are contained. Jew, Benjamin of Tudela, travelled through Mesopotamia The kingdom of Abgarus was appropriated by the Romans, | in the twelfth century. See Buckingham's Travels in and the king himself sent in chains to Rome. The place Mesopotamia ; Kinneir's Geographical Memoir of the afterwards passed through the hands of the Saracens, the Persian Empire ; and Ainsworth's Rescarches in Assyria.

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]
« PoprzedniaDalej »