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olis, we must have recourse to other sources besides Scripture; for, although we find in the Sacred Volume many direct allusions to the great power of the empire, and the magnificence of its capital-its walls, its palaces, its temples, and its idols of massy gold-to give a detailed description of Babylon in its high and palmy state, formed no part of the design contemplated by the inspired writers. We must therefore turn to the pages of Herodotus, Ctesias, Strabo, and Diodorus, where we shall find ample materials.

These authors all describe the city as having been in form a square, each side of which, according to the first of them, extended 120 stadia, or about fifteen miles. But, as the accounts differ greatly in regard to the dimensions and extent of the walls, the following table, taken from Rennell's Geography of Herodotus, will serve to give at a glance the results of the several authorities:


Circuit of Walls. Height of Walls. Breadth of Walls.

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Pliny. .......480.

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Clitarchus .......365..

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Strabo...........385............ 50 75............

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The walls, according to the old historians, were protected from approach by a large wet ditch, the mud from which served to form the bricks that were used in the building. These were cemented together with melted bitumen, and the moat was lined with the same materials. In each side of the square there were twenty-five portals, making 100 in all, which were furnished with gates of brass. On the summit of the wall, between each two of these gateways, were built three towers: there was one at each corner, and three between each corner and the first gate, all of them rising ten feet above the parapet of the wall. In some parts, however, where the line led through a morass, these towers were omitted, as unnecessary for defence, so that there were but 250 in all. Within the walls there was left a space of 200 feet clear of houses, forming a spacious pathway all round. The city was intersected by straight streets, running from each gate on either side to that corresponding opposite, so that the

* Fifty orgya are given; it should probably be fifty cubits.

whole area of it was divided by fifty streets-each fifteen miles long, and crossing each other at right angles-into 676 squares. Around these stood the houses, not contiguous, but with spaces between them, and all three or four stories high, having their fronts ornamented in various ways. The interior of each square was laid out in fields and gardens, so that more than half the space within the walls was occupied by cultivated land.

Babylon was intersected by a branch of the Euphrates, which, running from north to south, divided it into two parts, each of its banks being lined by a breastwork or wall of burned brick, in which were small portals furnished with gates of brass corresponding to each of the streets. These parts were united in the middle of the city by a bridge thirty feet in breadth, and not less than a furlong in length, and built with much ingenuity. At each end of this bridge, according to some authors, there was a palace, the old and the new; the former, on the east side, occupying four of the square divisions, that is, being three miles and three quarters in circumference; the latter, on the west, covering nine of them, that is, having a circuit of seven and a half miles. The Temple of Belus, which filled a single square, rose near the former. Herodotus mentions but one of these palaces, stating that it stood in an enclosed circular space at one end of the bridge; the Temple of Belus, with its brazen gates, standing in the other. The new palace, according to Diodorus, was a place of vast strength, surrounded by three walls, having considerable vacancies between them, and each, as well as those of the old palace, being embellished with a variety of sculptures. To this new structure, which, it is pretended by Berosus, was but the work of fifteen days, were attached what have been called the hanging gardens, built by Nebuchadnezzar to gratify his wife Amytis, a Median lady. These occupied a square of four plethra, or 400 feet on each side, and are described as rising in terraces one above another, till they attained the height of the city walls; the ascent to each terrace being by a flight of steps ten feet wide, the pile resting upon a series of arches, tier above tier, and strength

* Diodorus states that it was five furlongs in length, while, according to Strabo, the Euphrates at Babylon was only one furlong broad. The bridge may, however, have been of such a length as to connect the two portions of the city in the event of a flooding of the river.

ened by a surrounding wall twenty-two feet thick. The floors were formed by a pavement of stones, each sixteen feet long by four broad, over which two courses of brick, cemented together with plaster, were laid in a bed of bitumen; over these were spread thick sheets of lead; and on this solid terrace was placed suitable mould, deep enough to nourish and support the largest trees. On the highest of these terraces was a reservoir, which, being filled by an engine from the river, served to water the plants. Such, according to Diodorus, were thę celebrated hanging gardens of Babylon erected by Nebuchadnezzar. The Temple of Belus, which, at all events, was enlarged and embellished by that monarch, is described by Herodotus as two furlongs square, in the midst of which rose a tower of the solid depth and height of one furlong, upon which, resting, as a base, seven other turrets were built in like manner and in regular succession. The ascent, which was on the outside, winding from the ground, was continued to the highest tower, and in the middle of the vast structure there was a convenient resting-place. In the last tower was a large chapel, in which was placed a couch, magnificently adorned, and near it a table of solid gold; but there was no statue. No man was suffered to sleep there; but the apartment was occupied by a female, who, as the Chaldean priests affirmed, was selected by their deity from the whole nation as the object of his pleasures. "They themselves," adds the historian, "have a tradition, which cannot easily obtain credit, that their deity enters this temple, and reposes by night on this couch."

In the temple there was also a small chapel, which contained a figure of Jupiter, in a sitting posture, with a large table before him. These, with the base of the table and the seat of the throne, were all of the purest gold, and were estimated to be worth 800 talents. On the outside of the chapel there were two altars; one was of gold, on which only young animals were sacrificed; the other was of immense size, and appropriated to the sacrifice of those which were full grown. Upon this, too, at the annual festival in honour of their god, the priests are said to have consumed incense to the amount of 1000 talents. In this temple there was formerly a statue of solid gold, twelve cubits high; a fact the historian mentions from information given by the Chaldeans, not from his own knowledge, which would seem

to imply that his other descriptions were drawn from personal observation. Darius, the son of Hystaspes, he adds, endeavoured by sinister means to obtain possession of this statue, not daring openly to take it; but his son Xerxes afterward seized it, putting to death the priest who endeavoured to prevent its removal.

Besides those gigantic works, there were others of less show, but much more important to the prosperity of the capital and its surrounding territory, which were constructed or completed by Nebuchadnezzar, or other sovereigns of the Chaldæo-Babylonian dynasty. Such were the noble system of canals, which are alluded to by Herodotus, and several of which are mentioned by ancient historians-the Nahr Malikah, the Pallacopas, the Nahrawan, and the Dijeil of later times. To these may be added the great artificial lake, the huge embankments, and the subterraneous passage or tunnel under the Euphrates, attributed by Diodorus, on the authority of Ctesias, to the great Semiramis; by Berosus, Abydenus, and others, to Nebuchadnezzar; and by Herodotus to Queen Nitocris, who, we have reason to believe, was the wife of Evil Merodach, although the historian mentions neither the name of her consort nor of her predecessor.

Of these canals Herodotus speaks in terms of approbation, but seems to consider them as formed rather as a means of defence than of agricultural improvement; for he says that, by their disposition, they rendered the Euphrates, which before flowed to the sea in an almost even line, so complicated in its windings, that, in its passage to Babylon, it arrived three times at Ardericca, an Assyrian village, at which all persons wishing to go from the sea to the capital were compelled to touch on three different days. The banks, too, which she raised to restrain the river on each side, were, he says, really wonderful, from their enormous height and substance. The earth used for them was taken from an immense lake which she dug, the circumference of which was not less than 420 furlongs (about forty-two miles), and the banks were strengthened by stones brought from a distance.

One use of this lake, he remarks, was to receive the waters of the Euphrates, which were turned into it, so that, the bed below becoming dry, she was enabled to erect a bridge over the channel; previous to which period, all per

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sons desiring to cross from the one half of the city to the other were forced to make use of boats. To have been available for this purpose, the lake must doubtless have communicated with some of the low marshy tracts to the southward, by which the water made its way to the sea, or was absorbed by the sand; and it may now be represented by some of those very tracts southwest of Babylon, as, however large, it could scarcely have absorbed the river for a time sufficient to admit of the construction of a bridge over so broad a stream. It proved, in the sequel, a fatal work to the city, as it was by a repetition of that very operation that Cyrus gained an entrance, and wrested it and the empire from King Labynetus.

With regard to the population of this great metropolis, and the extent of inhabited ground contained within its walls, a great deal has been written, and various opinions entertained. D'Anville, upon a calculation of what he conceives to be the most probable data, reduces its area to thirty-six square miles; while Rennell, following a similar method, inclines to assume for its extent a square of eight and a half British miles, or seventy-two square miles, observing that even this estimate is far below the one in Herodotus, which would give an area of 126 square miles, or about eight times that of London. It is not, however, to be imagined that the whole of this enclosure was covered with houses; on the contrary, we learn that the interior of every division was occupied by gardens; and Quintus Curtius, particularly, limits the space under building to eighty stadia, adding, “nor do the houses join, perhaps from motives of safety; the remainder of the place is cultivated, that, in the event of a siege, the inhabitants may not be compelled to depend upon supplies from without." What the eighty stadia of Curtius may have meant, it is by no means certain; but this much is sure, that a great limitation was intended of the inhabited space within the walls. It is very well known that most Oriental cities usually contain a large space of garden-ground within their circuit; and when we find Nineveh called a city of three days' journey, we may be sure that this description comprehended a vast extent of orchards, or even fields. Those who desire to see what has been written on this subject by a deservedly esteemed writer, may consult Rennell's Geography of Herodotus, section xiv. It will there be seen that the

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