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name, running into the Euphrates. This river Is brings large clots of bitumen with its stream, from whence the bitumen was brought to the wall of Babylon. Babylon was built in the following manner :-the city is divided into two portions, for a river separates it in the middle, the name of which is the Euphrates ; it flows from Armenia, and is great, deep, and swift; it discharges itself into the Red Sea. Now the wall stretches out its arm on each side to the river, from the extremities of which there ex. tends an embankment of furnace-baked bricks, winding along each bank of the river. * The city, which contains several houses of three and four roofs, (i. e. stories), is divided into streets, some of which are straight, some otherwise, and cross streets leading to the river. By the river side, opening to each of these streets, there are gates in the wall
, to the same number as the streets. These are all brazen, and they all lead to the river. The wall forms a sort of breastplate ; another wall encircles (the city) within, not much weaker than the other wall, but more narrow. In each of the two divisions of the city, in a conspicuous situation, there is a walled enclosure. In the one is the palace, within a large and fortified enclosure ; in the other, stands the temple of Jupiter Belus, which has brazen gates, and which was extant in my time, being altogether a square of two stadia. In the middle of the temple a solid tower was built
, which was one stadium in length and breadth. Upon this tower another tower
• To ir da trīxos, &c. (Clio. 180.); this passage is somewhat obscure. From the best consideration we can give it, we conceive it means, that the city wall extended to each bank of the river; and from the point where the extremity of each branch of the wall met the bank, another wall, forming an angle with the city wall, extended along the side of the river, making an embankment.
+ Εν δε φάρσί εκατέρων της πόλιος τετειχιστο εν μέσω. The current translation of this passage has been, “In the centre of each division of the city * there is a fortification. Now let it be observed, that in this place in peétan is used adverbially, and does not govern any other word; consequently, it will not bear the translation, . In the centre of each division,' which belongs rather to the construction, by piou tou Págrov ixatse; as, for example, v písw xdurns, . In the middle of the couch,' Hecuba, 1150; a pesu πυρός τε και γης, inter ignem et terram, Plato, έν μέσαις
Μούσαις 'Aπόλλων, in the midst of the Muses, Pindar, Nem, 5, 42. Now, we have the bighest authority for saying, that is véow, used as it is in the text, is very frequently applied to things that lie in the way, or are conspicuous objects, or exposed to public view; for Schneider, speaking of this word, says,
• Sehr häufig ist i piom, besonders bey den Atticen von Personen und Sachen, die im Wege Stehn offenbar vorliegen, gemeinschaft
lich sind.' Schneider's Greek Lexicon. By Passow. Leipsic, 1826. Accordingly, the correct translation in the passage of the text is, in a conspicuous situation. '
Maxos. This was unaccountably translated « height,' until Bochart Phaleg. I. 13, corrected the error, and gave the true meaning, length Major Rennell, by following Beloe, got into the predicament of making
stood, and another upon that, up to eight towers. The ascent to them was made in a circular form, leading round all the towers on the outside. In the middle of the ascent is a landing-place, and seats to rest upon, on which persons ascending it sit down to rest. On the summit of the tower there is a large temple. In this tower is a large bed, beautifully decorated, and by it a golden table. There is neither any image whatever in the same place, nor any man to keep watch there at night, only a woman of the country, whom this god has the power of selecting from the whole population, according to the doctrines of the Chaldeans, who are the priests of this god. These persons say, what to me is incredible, that this god comes into the temple and lies on the couch, under the same circumstances as occur in Thebes in Egypt, according to the Egyptians ; for there a woman is bedded in the temple of the Theban Jupiter. And the women who have undergone this ceremony in both countries, all say,
that no man has sexual intercourse with them. And the same thing occurs in Pateris in Lycia, to the interpreter of the god, when there is any, for the oracle is not always there ; but when there is, the woman is shut up duing the night in the temple. There is, in this Babylonian temple, also another cell underneath, and in it stands a large golden image of the god, and by it a golden table, and the pedestal and the pediment are both of gold ; and the Chaldeans say, that these are made out of eight hundred talents of gold. On the outside of the temple there is a golden altar; but there is another altar, where the sheep, which are of a mature age, are sacrificed. On the golden altar all sacrifice is prohibited, except of sucklings. On the greater altar the Chaldeans offer up a thousand talents of frankincense every year, when they solemnize the festival of this god. There was, in this enclosure, at that time, a statue of solid gold, of twelve cubits; but this I did not see. I merely repeat what is said by the Chaldeans. Darius Hystaspes, who had designs upon this statue, did not dare to take it; but Xerxes, his son, took it, and slew the priest who resisted its removal. This temple is thus embellished. There are also many offerings from individuals.'-Clio. 178, et seq.
Such is the account given by Herodotus of Babylon, as it existed when he saw it; about 450 years before the Christian era, half a century before the expedition of Cyrus, and the retreat of the ten thousand, and upwards of a century before Alexander crossed the Hellespont. 'He is careful to distinguish between what he saw, and what was related to him; and so detailed is his description, that we might rest satisfied without calling in the aid of any other ancient writer. At the same time, while we declare our faith in Herodotus, we do not by any means think it fair to try his account, even to the most minute particular, by the severe standard which is applied to the descrip
the first tower, or basement, 500 feet high, upon which seven other towers were built, which, if any regard was paid to proportion, would have made the Tower of Babel upwards of 3000 feet in height !
tions of writers in the present day-where critical accuracy, in topographical inquiries especially, is most properly required ; but without resorting to this test, it is enough to know that the general veracity of the ancient historian is unimpeachable, while the circumstances of his having been an eye-witness of what he describes, heightens our belief in the details which he presents to us.
Although we are not disposed to lay much stress upon the testimony of the ancient writers, who only retail what others have told them, we cannot pass them over in silence. We have already stated from what sources Diodorus derived his information. In like manner, Strabo and Quintus Curtius formed their opinions upon the reports of the followers of Alexander, many of whom kept journals of the expedition. Strabo, indeed, was on the spot; but, by his own account, he was not there until after the area had been ploughed over, and when the walls were reduced to fifty cubits in height, and twenty-one in breadth.
The substance of what is stated by these writers, and by Pliny, Abydenus, and Berosus, is as follows:-tbat Semiramis, when she built the city, collected together two millions of workmen; the extent of its walls was 385 stadia, according to Strabo; 368, according to Quintus Curtius; and 365, according to Diodorus; the buildings were not contiguous to the walls, but a considerable space was left all round. The enclosed space, covered with houses, did not exceed a square of eighty stadia ; neither did the houses join, as in modern streets, but were, most of them, surrounded by gardens and extensive pleasure grounds. A large extent of the whole enclosure was cultivated; so that the inhabitants, in the event of a siege, might not be compelled to depend upon supplies from without. Avast space was taken up by the palaces and public buildings, the enclosure of a park of one palace alone being no less than a square of fifteen stadia. The Euphrates at Babylon was one stadium in breadth. The hanging gardens, which were adjacent to the river, and were watered from it by means of hydraulic machines, formed a square of four plethora, (400 feet,) and were supported by twenty walls, eleven feet distant from each other. They contained between three and four acres, and were fifty cubits, or seventy-five feet, to the top of the highest terrace. An outer wall, of sixty stadia in extent, surrounded the great palace and the gardens; there was also an inner wall of forty stadia in circumference, highly ornamented with painted tiles, representing animals, hunting pieces, and astronomical devices. The embankment of the river was the
pamp says, he discovered on part of a wall of a house, figures
work of Nebuchadnezzar, for the purpose of keeping it within its channel ; and consisted of a very strong wall of brick and bitumen, extending from the Nahr-Malcha, or Royal Canal, (which joined the Euphrates and Tigris,) down to this city, and some way below it." Wherever the cross streets encountered this wall, a brazen gate was erected, with steps leading down to the river, so that the inhabitants might cross in boats from one side of the river to the other. These gates were open by day, but shut during the night. While this embankment was building, the river was turned into a prodigious lake, dug on purpose to receive it, and which, at the lowest computation we can assign to it, was one hundred and sixty miles in compass, and in depth thirty-five feet, according to some, and seventy-five, according to others! In this lake the waters of the Euphrates were received until the embankment was completed, when the river was turned into its old channel.* This story of the lake is too monstrous a lie for the most credulous to swallow, to say nothing of the incredible absurdity of digging a lake, when the obvious expedient of merely diverting the river into another channel must have suggested itself. The real truth probably is, that the Nahr-Malcha, which tradition has always pointed out as a work of Nebuchadnezzar, was made for the purpose of carrying the stream of the Euphrates into the Tigris, until the embank
of a cow, and of the sun and moon, formed of varnished tiles ; and he found one brick, on which there was a lion, and on another a half-moon, in relief.
* For these particulars, see Diodorus, lib. ii. c. 1. Strabo, p. 733. Quintus Curtius, lib. v. c. 4. Pliny, lib. vi. Prideaux, p. 82, who cites Berosus apud Joseph. Abydenus apud Euseb. and Megasthenes.
+ Perhaps some of our readers may be curious to know how long it would take to fill this lake. Taking it at the lowest dimensions, of a square of forty miles by thirty seet deep ; and supposing the Eupbrates to be five hundred feet wide, ten deep, and to flow at two miles an hour, it would require one thousand and fifty-six days to fill the lake, allowing no absorption to the sides ; but if absorption and evaporation are taken into the account, we may put the time at four years, or thereabouts, which no doubt would be sufficient, considering the number of hands employed to complete the embankment. By way of comparing this with a work of modern times, we may notice, that the Bristol Ship Canal, one of the late projects, was intended to have been eighty miles long, one hundred feet wide, and thirty deep; and the estimated cost was four millions sterling. To be sure, labour was cheaper at Babylon than in London—and well it might be ; for if the Babylonian lake were to be made now in England, it would cost the trifling sum of four thousand two hundred and twenty-one millions sterling.
ment was completed. The position of the Nahr-Malcha is perfectly well known; it extended in a south-easterly direction, from the Euphrates, above Babylon, to the Tigris, which it joined nearly opposite the city of Ctesiphon.
There is nothing in the foregoing account which at all affects the description of Herodotus, with the exception of the discrepancy between the extent of the walls, as stated by him, and that given by Strabo. Now, this difference is by no means so great as it appears at first sight. We have already seen that the stadium used by Strabo is to that of Herodotus as 700 to 750; consequently, reducing their measurement to one standard, it will be found that the wall, as given by Strabo, falls short of the extent given by Herodotus, by seventeen stadia only; and when we further consider, that neither of those writers was very likely to have actually measured the wall himself, but that they had their information, the one from the people of the city, wbile it was actually inhabited, the other at a much more distant period; we may fairly conclude, that neither account is very far from the truth, although, for the reasons already stated, we incline to adhere to that of Herodotus. We may add, that according to the Theodosian Tables, the distance from Babylon to Seleucia was forty-four Roman, or thirty-two geographical miles : And then we may assume the position and appearance of Ancient Babylon to have been nearly as follows.
The city was situated within an enclosed area, surrounded by a ditch and wall, in the form of a square, of which each side was eleven British miles in length. This area was divided (but not bisected) into two portions, by the Euphrates, which flowed through it in a direction nearly north and south. The city of Is, (now called Hit,) also upon the Euphrates, lay to the westward of north, at the distance of 130 geographical miles. The city of Seleucia upon the Nahr-Malcba, and very near the Tigris, lay to the north-east, at the distance of thirty-two geographical miles. Within the great wall, another wall of smaller dimensions enclosed the part of the area which was built upon. It is not perfectly clear from Herodotus whether this interior wall extended on all sides parallel to the great wall, so as to form a complete enclosure; but this is most probable, as, in describing it, he uses Epigen, in opposition to TeTeixisto. This also confirms Quintus Curtius, who says, that a considerable space intervened all round, between the buildings and the wall.* The space built upon was an
* Quint. Curt. lib. v. c. 4.