Obrazy na stronie

neveh, and that it received its name in honour of its founder Belus.

Now, it seems to us much more probable that the city was called Babel, either from having been itself, or from having had its principal temple, dedicated to the god Bel, or El, the deified personification of the sun. The word Babylon is of modern introduction; the only name ever given to that city in the Bible, either in the Hebrew or Chaldee, being Babel, which all the commentators on the Bible have explained to mean confusion. We shall shortly state our reasons for adopting a different signification.

In the first place, there is no such word either in the Hebrew or Chaldean language as Babel ; that which comes nearest to it is, sasa, Bilbel, which means confusion : and the verb 539 Balal, to mic or confuse ; whereas 592 Babel, is distinctly written in the same way, both in Hebrew and Chaldee, and must therefore be considered as a proper name derived from some other language, probably the Syriack. The original language spoken at Babylon certainly was not Hebrew; for that was not introduced till after the Jewish captivity: Neither was it Chaldean, for that was confined to the learned men; thus Nebuchadnezzar commanded Ashpenar, the master of his eunuchs, “to bring certain

of the children of Israel, in whom there was no blemish,' and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chal

deans,' (Daniel, i. 4;) and accordingly Daniel, who was one of those selected, bad his genuine Hebrew name of Daniel changed into the Chaldean name of Belteshazzar. The common language of the country appears to have been Syriack; for when Nebuchadnezzar called the magicians, and sorcerers, and astrologers, and Chaldeans, before him to interpret his dream, the Chaldeans addressed him in Syriack. (Daniel, ii. 4.) It is extremely probable that the first builders of the city should name it in the language that was most familiar to them, and the singular coincidence between Babel and J. Bab-el, (Arabic,) is strongly in favour of the supposition that the Arabio word is the original language of that country. Now the Arabic word, „U Bāb signifies Gate, and is familiarly compounded with other words in giving names to cities or remarkable places.

Thus, oli ots Hub Bāb-el-Khalafāt, the Gate of the Ca• liphs,' a name given to the Palace at Bagdad by Almanzor, the founder of that city. Ow44 Bab-a-in, the • Two Gates,' a town in Arabia, in the district of Bahrain, on the point of the

,Dur-issalam در الاصلم ;Dur-bund در بند . .applied to towns

Persian Gulf. Willy Bab-el-mandeb, the Gate of Tears,' the strait, or passage into the Red Sea, vulgarly called Babelmandel.* V Bāb-el-abuwāb, “the Gate of Gates,' Büjdi Bāb?-z'-zukāk, “the Gate of the Way,' the original name of Gibraltar, Gibelu’l'Tarek,- for the mountain of Tarek, being the spot where the Arabian general Tarek first landed in his descent upon Spain. In like manner, in Persian, the word - Dur, or gate, is also

; , • the Door of Peace,' the name first given to Bagdad, by Almanzor, whence the Greek writers called Bagdad Irenopolis. Jo Jl El-Dur, the modern name of the ancient city of Thapsacus, on the Euphrates.t In like manner, we find x;leju Durwāzeh, a city of Turkey, and ; Sju Dur-guz, a town of Irak.

In the next place, Belus, or Bel, is a name which, in the East, has been universally applied to a superior, lord, God, or master, It is the Bel of Scripture-in Hebrew, Sy], Bel, or Baal—denoting the great idol adored at Babylon. "Bel boweth down.' Isaiah, xlvi. 1. Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is 'broken in pieces. Jeremiah, 1. 2. The destruction of the idol being always mixed up with the destruction of the city. And • I will punish Bel in Babylon; and I will bring forth out of his

mouth that wbich he bath swallowed up; yea, the wall of Baby• lon shall fall.' Jer. li. 44; also Isaiah, xxi. 9. It is the same as the Baal, or Baalim, or Baali of the Scriptures, originally signifying God, but being also applied to idols, it became a term of reproach, and offensive to the Almighty. And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi, and shalt call me no more Baali; for I will take away the names of • Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered • by their name.' Hosea, ii. 16, 17. It is the Brn, or Bnaos, of the Greeks. Διός, όν καλεσιν οι Βαβυλώνιοι βηλον. Φοινικες και Συροι Κρονον Ηλ

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* These straits derive their name from the danger that was supposed to attend the passage ; and it was in former times a custom among the Arabs, to mourn as dead such of their friends as attempted it.

+ This city, which was memorable in the campaigns of Xenophon, Cyrus, Darius, and Alexander, was visited by Balbi, a Venetian merchant, in the year 1580. Upon this subject, see D'Anville. L'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 45.

I Diod. Sic. lib. ii. p. 69. Perizonius, c. v. 73.

naci Bna, noul Boradny ÉTovmuar. Damascuis (apud Phocium.) Baalbek, the city sacred to Baal, or Bel, was called by the Greeks HwoTONS. It is identical with the Beel-samen, or Lord of Heaven, of the Phoenicians; the Beal of the Druids, and the Ha of the Greeks, i. e. the sun, in honour of whom the festival Hria was established at Rhodes, an island sacred to the sun.t So also, Servius in Virg. Omnes in istis partibus Solem colunt, qui istorum lingua

Hel dicitur.'1 Hence, whether we take di Bāb-el, or du Bāb-bel, to be the original word, it seems certain that Babel is not a word, in any known or unknown language, signifying confusion or mixture, but a natural and obvious term, applied by the original founders, and signifying the Gate or city of Bel-most probably in allusion to the Tower or Temple of Belus, commonly called the Tower of Babel, the most remarkable building in the city, and dedicated to the chief God of their idolatry. Vocem Babel,' says Hugo Grotius, "ex linguâ primævå, videtur serva• ri, adeoque tot ejus in linguis variis extare vestigia.' We shall only further add, that the country in which the remains suppo: sed to belong to Babylon are found, is called by the Arabs of the present day, dl w JI El aredh Bābel, The land of Bābel," precisely as, in the Bible, it is called, 529 rqx Eretz Babel, • The whole earth, or territory of Babel.'

Babylon was situated, as we have already seen, in the plain of Shinar; and it would appear that its founders were the first settlers in that part of the country, and that they had no connexion with the inhabitants of the great city of Nineveh, which lay due north from Babylon. And the whole earth was of one • language and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the East, that they found a plain in the land of • Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another,

Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And (they had brick for stone, and slimeg bad they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name,' &c. Genesis, xi. 1-4. But there is nothing to be found in the Bible which enables us to fix upon the precise spot where Babylon stood.

* Euseb. Prop. Evan. lib. i. c. 9. + Diod. Sic. lib. v. p. 327,

Servius, Æneid, lib. i. de Belo Phænice. For a more full etymology of the word El, the Sun, see Bryant's Mythology.

$ The word on which is translated slime' in Genesis, is properly • pitch,' or bitumen.' See Exodus, ii. 3, and Buxtorf, Lex. Hebraic, et Chald. Basil, 1621, in voce.



All we know is, that it was in the land of Shinar, and upon the banks of the Euphrates.* It has indeed been contended by some learned antiquaries, that the sites of Calneh, Erech, and Accad, are to be found at Ctesiphon, Orfah, and Misibeen,t chiefly on the authority of Pliny, who says, that the Partbians built Ctesiphon, ‘in Chalonitide ;'I but whether the Calneh of Genesis stood where the ruins of Ctesiphon now stand, is as little known as that it stood on any other spot on the eastern side of the Tigris, Chalonitis being the district and not the city. As to the topography of Erech and Accad, it rests on no better authority; so that the situation of Babylon can no more be deduced from the supposed sites of those cities, which, with it, “ were in the land

of Shinar,' than from the topography of Troy, or any other place of doubtful existence; and indeed, how is it to be expecte ed that the position of such obscure cities as Erech, Accad, and Calneh, should be now discoverable, when even the great Nineveh, and the mighty Babylon, the daughter of the Chaldeans,' the ' beauty of the Chaldees excellency,' are scarcely to be distinguished from the nameless heaps of the desert ?

We must have recourse, therefore, to Herodotus; and as he describes Babylon from his own observations, taken upon the spot, his account forms, after the Bible, not only the most ancient, but the most authentic description we possess of that city. The following is the most literal translation we can give of the passage in question :

• There are many great cities in Assyria ; but the most illustrious and the best fortified, and that wbich, since the fall of Ninus, has been the seat of government, is Babylon. It was thus constructed: The city lies in a great plain. Its extent on each side, for it is square, is one hundred and twenty stadia. Its circumference is, therefore, four hundred and eighty stadia. Such is the magnitude of the city of Babylon. It was embellished as no other city of which I have any knowledge. A deep and wide trench full of water encircles it, next to which is a wall fifty royal cubits in breadth, and two hundred cubits in height, (the royal cubit exceeds the ordinary cubit by three fingers.) It must be observed, that the earth out of the trench was employed for this purpose, and the wall was constructed in this manner : When they dug the ditch, they removed the earth and made it into bricks, and having made a sufficient number of them, they baked them in furnaces; then making use of heated bitumen by way of mortar, and interposing layers of reeds throughout

* Gen. x. 10. Jer. li. 61-64. + M. Brosses, Mem. de l'Academie Royale, xxvii. p. 31. # Ctesiphontem juxta tertium lapidem, in Chalonitide, condidere Parthi. Plin. vi. c. 26.

thirty courses of bricks, they first built the sides of the ditch, and then the wall itself in the same manner. * .: Upon the wall, along its extreme margin, they built small houses of one story,t facing each other. They left sufficient space between these houses for a chariot, drawn by four horses, to turn round. There were an hundred gates in the wall, all of brass ; and the posts and lintels of the gates were of the same metal. There is another city, eight days' journey from Babylon, of the name of Is, where there is a large river of the same

* This is a most important passage, and as a different translation has been given of it, we must state our authorities for the one we have adopted. The words are, μετά δε τέλματι χρεώμενοι α φάλτο θερμή, και διά τριήκοντα δόμων πλινθου παρσους καλάμων διαστοιβάζοντες. clio 79.

Some commentators, and amongst them Wyttenbach, (Select. p. 353,) give to do terýkovtu dopw a hevbou, the interpretation, de tricesimo quoque

laterum ordine,' in every thirtieth row ; and this has been adopted by Rennell, Rich, Buckingham, and others. Now, it is certain that the interposition of reeds with bitumen was intended not only to strengthen the building, and therefore most naturally used nearest the foundation, but more particularly to protect the lower part of the wall which lined the ditch, from the action of the water, and also the lower part of the city wall, or any other of the buildings, from the damp of the ground. This was the chief use of the bitumen, which, we shall find hereafter, was inferior as a cement, to the fine lime mortar which was employed in the higher parts of the buildings. Hence, it is difficult to see why the obvious translation is to be departed from, and this passage rendered by every thirtieth row.' Accordingly, Wesseling, in his commentary, translates this,'per triginta . imis ordinibus,' the thirty lowest courses. In which also Schweighaeuser agrees, (Herod. Schweig. v. 179, 1816,) on the ground that in this way the superstructure would be better supported. See also Samasius. Exercit. Plin.


1230. There is indeed no warrant for introducing the word imis into a literal translation ; but there can be no doubt Herodotus means the thirty lowest courses, if he means the thirty courses to be consecutive; and it appears to us the passage must bear this interpretation. There is a description of an ancient wall

, in which layers of reeds were laid in the cement, in Tavernii Itinerario, lib. ii. c. 7, p. 295, 8vo ed.

+ Another controverted passage-xuata povyóxwe dritav. The correct meaning of oxumata is small buildings. It has been translated towers ; but that is a term borrowed from Strabo, Lib. xvi. p. 738, which is not sufficient to change the usual acceptation of this word : povróxwxx, unius membri, according to Gronovius, of which Wyttenbach approves, Select. p. 354 ; and also Schneider. Schweighaeuser differs ; and after a learned discussion concludes, Quare oxýuata powróxwho intelligenda putavi, do6 munculas, unum continuum latus, unam continuam superficiem, offer.entes, id est, contiguas et uno tenore continuatas,' (Herod. Schweig. v. 179,) that the small buildings had their frontage in continuation, or flush, with the wall. It appears to us, that buildings of one story is the best translation.

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