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graduated and regular rise of the Euphrates, in order
to receive the overflow in the years when the inunda-
tion was higher, and apply the water thus stored in
the years of drought, — in a word, in order to have the

1 Vol. I. p. 301. Abydon. fragm. 8, 9, ed. Miiller. The position of
tlie ^aaiXtiog TroTajxog is fixed by Ptolemy, 5, 17. That Nebuchadnezzar
caused the Nahr Malka to be excavated follows from the words of
Abydenus in Eusebius (" Chron." I. p. 37, ed. Schone) : Armacalen
■fluvium ex Arazane (Euphrate) derivavit : cp. *' Pr£©p. Evang." 9, 41.
Armacale must obviously be the same name as Nahr Malka. Cp. Plin.
"Hist. Nat." 6, 26 (30). On the position of the Nahr Malka, Xen.
: *' Anab." 2 — 4. Ammian. Marcell. 26, 6; and that it was navigable,
Herod. 1, 193. '-. ,


water of the Euphrates completely under control,
Nebuchadnezzar took in hand, and com^^leted, one of
the most magnificent of hydraulic works. Above Baby-
lon, and the four canals which connect the Euphrates
with the Tigris on the northern border of Babylonia
proper, lay the ancient city of Sippara (I. 257). Near
this, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, was exca-
vated a vast basin, not inferior to the artificial lake of
Amenemha. The circuit of this basin is said to have
been 420 stades (i. e. 50 miles) ; the depth reached 35
feet. The trenches and dams, which formed this
basin, were cased, on the inclines, with masonry, and
the excavated earth was used for the embankment of
the Euphrates. According to the excerpt in Abydenus,
Berosus allowed a circuit of 40 parasangs, i. ^.150 miles,
for this basin, with a depth of 20 fathoms, and added
that the sluices, which opened and shut of themselves,
according to the level of the water in the basin of the
Euphrates, irrigated the level land. If the circuit of
the basin was really 50 miles, we must suppose that
here, as in the lake of Amenemha, a low-lying strip
of land was changed by embankment into a basin or
wide reservoir.^ With this great undertaking were

^ Abydenus in Eusebius, he. cit. '* Prsep. Evang." 9, 41. Diod. (2, 9)
ascribes , this basin, as he does all the buildings of Babylon, with the
exception of the hanging gardens, to Semiramis. Herodotus describes
the basin, and considers the maker of it to be, not Semiramis, but
Nitocris, who lived five generations later. To the same queen he
ascribes the works in the bed of the Euphrates, the embankment of
the river, and the bridge over the Euphrates, 1, 184 — 188. He fixes
the date of Nitocris more precisely when he states that Cyrus marched
against her son, who like his father was called Labynetus, and took
Babylon. We know for certain that no woman reigned over Babylon
from Nabopolassar to the overthrow of the kingdom. Herodotus'
knowledge about the kingdom of Babylon is extremely scanty; he
obtained his information, it would seem, chiefly through the Persians ;
and it is restricted chiefly to these two names, Nitocris and Labynetus,
for he denotes by the same name the Babylonian, who arranged the
peace between the Medes and the Lydians (supr. p. 260). In the one case


connected other hydraulic works erected at Ardericca.
At this place Nebuchadnezzar caused a new bed to be
excavated for the Euphrates, with sharp curves, either
to lessen the force of the current, and make naviga-
tion up the current possible, or, which is more pro-
bable, because it was necessary to moderate the flow of
the river in order to conduct the inundation into the
basin at Sippara.^ By means of this basin at Sippara
Nebuchadnezzar really brought the Euphrates into his
power. Even though the excess of the water of the
stream might be too much for its large dimensions
in any single year, the canals leading to the Tigris
provided the means of carrying off the excess into
that river, and at the same time it was possible
owing to the connections to counteract by means of
the Euphrates the inequality of the water in the lower


The regulation of the inundation, of the bed and
level of the Euphrates, and of the level of the Tigris,
was not only an assistance to agriculture, but to trade
also, inasmuch as it facilitated the navigation in both

Nabopolassar is meant by Labynetus, in tbe other Nabonetus ; and
so Nitocris can only be Amjate, the daughter of Cyaxares, the consort
of Nebachadnezzar (p. 285), The statement of Berosus in Abydenus,
putting the extent of the basin at 40 parasangs (it is also found in
Diodorus, 2, 9, viz. 1200 stades), is so exaggerated that in this par-
ticular the statement of Herodotus, who allows an extent of 420 stades
to the lake, deserves the preference. Diodorus, loc. cit, gives the
depth as stated in the text ; according to the Armenian Eusebius it
was 20 cubits; according to the " Prsep. Evang.," which also quote
Abydenus, it was 20 fathoms, i. e. 120 feet.

i' Herod. 1, 185. It is clear from the account of Herodotus that the

artificial bends in the river-bed lay above Sippara. The object which

Herodotus ascribes to these works in the river— that the long and

winding navigation and the large lake were intended to hinder the

Medes from coming to Babylon and seeing what took place there— is

.. enough. The Ardericca of Herodotus is, no doubt, identical

'th the Idikara of Ptolemy, which he places more than three-fourths

f a decree higher up the Euphrates than Sippara. Ptolem. 5, 17, 19.


streams. In this way trade received considerable
support, and Nebuchadnezzar also paid attention to it
beyond the borders of the Babylonian land. To his
time apparently belongs the foundation of the Baby-
lonian colony of Gerrha on the Arabian coast of the
Persian Gulf. For the trade of Babylonia with South
Arabia and the products of India which came to South
Arabia (I. 305), it was important to avoid the trans-
port by land and the middle trade of the Arabians,
and to obtain those wares by direct marine trade
with Babylonia. The building of the harbour city of
Teredon at the mouth of the Euphrates, 400 miles
below Babylon, which became the chief centre of the
trade in Arabian spices, is, as we are definitely informed,
the work of Nebuchadnezzar, and the Dedanites in
whose land lay the colony of Gerrha (the modern
Chatif) opposite the Bahrain islands, at a distance of
300 miles from Teredon, had been subjugated by
Nebuchadnezzar (p. 329). The Gerrhseans brought
the products and the incense of Arabia on board ship
to Babylon ; from hence it was sent up the river to
Thapsacus, and from thence carried by land in every
direction.^ In this way the lucrative trade with
South Arabia by the sea-route of the Persian Gulf
must have been gained for Babylon. Hence it ap-
pears that Nebuchadnezzar built Teredon and founded
Gerrha with the same object with which the Phenicians
— in order to avoid the middle trade of the Arabians,
and the difficulties of the caravan trade — arranged
their navigation from Elath to South Arabia, in the
time of Solomon, Jehoshaphat, and Uzziah of Judah.
The Babylonians were already or subsequently became

^ Aristobulus in Strabo, p. 766. Eusebius, " Cbroii." 1, p. 40,
ed. Scbone; " Prsep. Evang." 9, 41. Dionys. *' Perieg." v. 982.
Ptolem. 5, 19. Movers' some what different view on Gerrha is given,
" Phoenizier," 2, 3, 308.


acquainted with the navigation on the Persian Gulf.
Their voyages extended to the bold headland of the
mountains of Maketa (Cape Mussendom), where it
was possible to enter into direct communication
with the Indians.^ At a later time we hear only of
the Gerrhseans as middle-men in the trade with the
Sabseans, while in the Hebrew Scriptures the Rheg-
maeans and Dedanites carry on trade with Sabaea.
,The Gerrhseans carried the products of Arabia to
Babylon by sea ; then they passed not merely up the
Euphrates, but also across the desert in a slanting
direction to Syria. It must have been one of the
most beneficial results of the hydraulic works of
Nebuchadnezzar that the Euphrates could be navi-
gated up the stream ; and triremes could advance
as far as Thipsach. Trade was greatly facilitated by
the fact that the wares of India and Arabia could not
only be brought by water to Babylon, but could also
be conveyed along with the products of Babylonian
industry to that city where the most crowded caravan
routes from Cilicia, Syria, and Phoenicia, touched the
Euphrates, 2 while, on the other hand, the wares
brought along these routes from Syria could be carried
in return to Babylon. By the Nahr Malka the ships
of heaviest burden could then pass from the Euphrates
into the Tigris. If the cities of the Phenicians lost
their sea trade on the Persian Gulf by their depend-
ence on Babylon — in case the Egyptians closed that
gulf to the subjects of Nebuchadnezzar — they were
compensated by the fact that they could obtain the
.products of South Arabia, not only by the caravan
route by Elath, but also in Babylon itself. Moreover,

1 Isaiali xliii. 14. ^sch. " Pers." v. 52—55. Arrian, "Ind." 32.
Strabo, p. 766.
' 2 Strabo, loc. cit, Diodorus, 14, 21, 81. Vol. II. p. 297.


the Arabian tribes on tbe Euphrates and in the Syrian
desert, the Kedarites and their neighbours, were sub-
ject to Nebuchadnezzar, and the construction of the
roads which led from Babylon through the desert to
the West, to Sela and Elath, which provided a far
shorter means of connection with Syria than the old
caravan routes by Damascus and Tadmor to Thipsach,
and by Eiblah and Hamath to Karchemish, must
certainly be ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar.^

Under the protection of the common head the
caravans of the Phenicians travelled in peace along
Fecure roads from the Syrian Sea to the Euphrates, the
Tigris, the Persian Gulf, and the east coast of the Red
Sea. The impulse which the trade thereby acquired
might cause the supremacy of Nebuchadnezzar to
appear to the Phenician cities not only tolerable, but
advantageous. The easier and more secure connection
with Babylon might, at any rate, teach them to forget
in part the loss which their market had suffered by
the fall of Nineveh. The increased productiveness of
agriculture, the livelier trade, and consequent growth
of industry, could not but raise the power and resources
of the Babylonian kingdom. The more lively the
intercourse between the two great halves of the king-
dom separated by the desert, the more passable the
desert became, the easier was it for troops to march
from Babylon to Gaza, from Harran to Hamath.. And
if the canals of the Babylonian plain carried the ships
of the Euphrates to the Tigris, and left no field without
irrigation, they at the same time largely increased the
means of defence in the native land.

The numerous invasions which Babylonia had

1 Movers, " Phoeiiizier," 2, 3, 306, This road certainly cannot be
carried back to the Phenicians ; the nearest way, from Nineveh to
Syria, often traversed hy the Assyrian kings on their campaigns, passed
by Karchemish on the lo-wcr Oroutes,


suffered from the Assyrians must have been held in
lively recollection, and the founder of the new king-
dom could not omit to bestow his earnest attention on
the mode of preventing such dangers for the future.
They were only possible on the side of Media. So far
as the difference of force in comparison with Media
was not removed by the better frontier, the more
homogeneous population, and the greater productive
power in Babylonia, it was necessary to attempt to
remove it by the erection of fortresses in the land.
As the attacks of the Assyrians had taken place from
the North, the attacks of the Medes were also to be
expected from that quarter. Mesopotamia might, in
case of necessity, be abandoned, if the native land
were made secure. Babylonia had excellent bulwarks
on the East and West in the Euphrates and the Tigris ;
in the North the line of canals, especially the new
and broad canal, Nahr Malka, formed a similar pro-
tection. The basin of Sippara was not merely con-
structed with a view to the cultivation of the soil and
the navigation ; it was at the same time calculated that
the supply of water contained in it was sufficient to
change the most northern of these canals into deep
watercourses. The sluices were guarded by the fortress
of Sippara.^ How destructive this basin would one
day be to his metropolis, how it would render vain
the fruit of all his labours, Nebuchadnezzar never
dreamed. If every hostile power in the East and
West had to cross a wide river in the face of the
Babylonian army, the two rivers from Sippara down-
wards could now be filled by opening the great
reservoir and by closing the sluices of the Pallakopas
in such a manner that it became more difficult than
ever to cross them. The same was the case with the

1 Plin. *'Hist. Nat." 6, 26 (30).


canals. But the difficulties here were not so great,
and they did not satisfy Nebuchadnezzar. In order
to strengthen the defence of the northern border, in
order to protect the basin of Sippara, on which depended
the filling of the upper canals and the feeding of the
lower course of both streams, to make more secure the
fertile part of Babylonia, Nebuchadnezzar built a strong
wall, extending from the Euphrates to the Tigris, above
the four canals and the fortified Sippara. This fortifi-
cation the Greeks call '*the Median wall.'^ It was, in
fact, intended to meet the attacks of the Medes. Had
Nebuchadnezzar chosen for the line of the wall the
point at which the two rivers most nearly approach
each other, the length of it would have been little
more than 25 miles ; but as Sippara and all the land
of the canals had to be protected, the wall must have
been placed farther to the north. It appears to have
left the Euphrates at Ssifeira below the modern
Feludsha, and, extending in a north-easterly direc-
tion, it reached the Tigris at some distance above the
modern Bagdad. The length was thus from 60 to 75
miles. The wall was constructed of burnt bricks joined
together by mortar of asphalt ; according to Xenophon,^

1 Eratosthenes in Strabo puts the length of the wall at 200 stados
(25 miles) only, Xenophon at 20 parasangs (75 miles), '* as it is said : "
in his time a part of the wall was still standing, " Anab." 2, 4; cp.
Joseph. " c. Apion." 1, 20. But it is at the same time clear from the
whole narrative of Xenophon that the Median wall was not situated
at the narrowest point, but far higher up, where the distance between
the rivers is far wider, i. e. above Sittace. Wo have no definite
evidence that this wall was built by Nebuchadnezzar. If Strabo
ascribes it to Semiramis, that means no more than the fact that the
modem inhabitants give the name Sidd Nimrud to the remains. A
wall against attacks from the North, against attacks of the Modes,
would have no meaning before the rise of the power of the Modes ; its
origin and importance are entirely due to anxiety in regard to the
Medes, and that such anxiety did exist, was due to the experience
which Babylonia had had of Assyria, and the relative power of the


who saw parts of it still standing, the breadth was 20
feet and the height 100 feet. The native land, the
centre of the kingdom, was thus protected ; and even
when it was lost, in spite of the protection of the two
streams, the canals, and the long wall, the metropolis
was intended to present impregnable fortresses to the

Babylon had no doubt suffered the most severe
wounds in all the land of Chaldsea through the capture
by Assurbanipal. Berosus says : '' Nebuchadnezzar
restored the old city, and also built a new one, and
that the besieger might not enter the city by averting
the stream, he surrounded the inner city as well as the
outer with three walls, one of burnt bricks, the other
two of unburnt bricks and bitumen, and thus he forti-
fied it in a very striking manner, and adorned the
gates with great splendour."^ Herodotus, who saw
the city more than one hundred years after the death
of Nebuchadnezzar, when it had been four times cap-
tared by Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes, describes it thus :
"The city is situated in a wide plain, and forms a
square of 120 stades on each side, so that the whole
circuit reaches 480 stades. It is divided into two
parts, and the river Euphrates flows through the
middle. It is surrounded by a broad and deep trench,
which is always filled with water. The soil taken
from this trench was made into bricks, and burnt ;
and these bricks were applied, first to lining the trench

two kingdoms ; and it is also shown in the statements of Herodotus
about the object of the windings in the river and the lake. The suc-
cessors of Nebuchadnezzar were hardly in a position to undertake such
works. This could be done at most by Nabonetus ; but as Josephus
(" c. Apion." 1, 20) quotes from Berosus a comparatively unimportant
building of this king, the Median wall would not have been forgotten
if it had arisen from him. On the direction of the wall, cp. Grote,
*'Hist. of Greece," 9, 89.

1 Beros. fragm. 14, ed. Miiller.


and tlien to building the wall. The wall is 50 Baby-
lonian cubits in thickness and 200 cubits in height. The
bricks are held together by bitumen-mortar, and at every
thirtieth course they are separated by a layer of reeds.
On the wall are houses of a single chamber, built on
either side opposite each other, and yet sufficient space
is left between them for a chariot and four to pass.
In the wall are one hundred gates, all of brass, with
brazen lintels and side-posts. The wall has wings
which run alons: the river on either side, and the banks
are cased with masonry of burnt bricks. The city
itself is filled with houses of three and four stories,
throuo'h which are straio:ht streets — both those which
lead to the river and the rest. Those which run down
to the river have each a brazen gate in the masonry
on the river, through which you pass on steps of burnt
brick into the water. ^ And within this wall, which
is as it were the corslet of the city, is another wall,
not much inferior in strength to the other, but less in
extent. Of the two parts of the city the centre of the
one is occupied by the royal citadel, the centre of the
other by the temple of Belus with the gates of
brass." ^ In another passage Herodotus gives the
names of some of the gates of Babylon ; he mentions
the gate of Belus, the gate of Semiramis, the gate of
Ninus, the gate of the Chaldseans, and the gate of the

That gates in Babylon could not be named after
Ninus and Semiramis, i. e. after fictitious rulers, and
hardly after the Chaldaeans, needs no proof in detail.
But the narrative of Herodotus, in which these names
are found, goes back in other respects to Medo- Per-
sian poems, which, as we already found, could tell of
Ninus and Semiramis. The Babylonians were better

1 Herod. 1, 186. '^ Herod. 1, 178, 179.



acquainted with the history of Assyria. It is more
striking that in the description of the city Herodotus
speaks of the walls and gates of Babylon as if they
were uninjured ; and yet, some twenty years after the
death of Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus took Babylon by
storm ; and scarcely twenty years afterw^ards Darius
overcame the city, after a siege which lasted nearly
two years. A new rebellion quickly followed, to be
crushed by a third capture of the city ; and even after
this a new rising of the Babylonians was again repressed
by Xerxes. After this series of struggles the walls
and gates could not have remained uninjured, and
Herodotus himself tells us that Darius destroyed the
gates after the long siege. ^ Were Cyrus, Darius, and
Xerxes likely to allow the Babylonians, after each
capture of the city, to restore the walls in which the
city trusted ? — were they not rather likely to take care
that after each capture long portions of the wall should
be destroyed, and so remain ?

Next to Herodotus in point of time, Xenophon and
Ctesias are our informants about Babylon. Xenophon
did not see the city ; he only came within 45 miles of
it. He contents himself with remarking that Babylon,
the wealthiest city in Asia, was surrounded by strong
and lofty walls ; that the Euphrates flowed through it ;
that it contained a palace and citadels, that the doors
of the houses were made of palm-wood.'^ Ctesias,
who had been in Babylon, gives to the wall of the
city, '' through which the Euphrates flows," a circuit
of 360 stades (45 miles). The wall, built of burnt
brick and bitumen, broken by numerous large towers,
was 50 fathoms in height ; and on either bank of the
river ran a protecting wall, equal in strength to the

1 Herod. 3, 159.

2 Xenoph. ^'Anab." 2, 2, 6. ''Inet. Cyr." 7, 5, 7, 21.


city wall. The length of these walls was alDont IGO
stades. His description of the two royal citadels,
" both of which lay on the river/' one on the west side,
the other on the east — the former was surrounded bv
a triple wall, and had a circuit of 60 stades, while
the other on the east side was only half the size — his
description of the golden statues of gods in the temple
of Belus, and the golden altar and furniture, is already
known to us (I. 293). About half a century after
Ctesias, Cleitarchus and the companions of Alexander
of Macedon inform us that the wall of Babylon had
a circuit of 365 stades ; the height they give at 50
cubits ; the width allowed ample room for two wagons
to pass each other. Two hundred and fifty towers
rose above the wall, of a corresponding height and
thickness. Between the wall and the houses was left
a clear space of two plethra.^ That the number of
towers was so small in comparison with the circuit of
the wall is no reason for wonder — so Diodorus or his
authority adds — for the city was surrounded by a
wide belt of marshes, and it did not appear to be
necessary to build towers where the marshes afforded
sufficient protection.^

The accounts which have been preserved of the stay
of Alexander of Macedon in Babylon also prove the
existence of two royal citadels, one on each bank of
the Euphrates. In the last days of his life Alexander
lived in the king's palace, from which the house of
Bagoas, with whom on one occasion he banqueted,
was distant ten stades.^ From the banquet-hall in
this palace, where he had given his commands to his

1 Diod. 2, 7. Cp. Arrian, '*Anab." 7, 17, 6. Pseudo-Callistlienes
ascribes to Babylon a diameter of no more than 12 stades and 220 or
206 feet : he ascribes to the city of Alexandria in Egypt a diameter of
16| stades; 1, 31.

2 Died. 2, 7. 3 Eumcncs in 2E\. " Var. Hist." 3, 23.

B B 2


generals, and rested till the dusk of the evening, he
was carried in a litter to the river, and conducted on
board ship to the park on the other side of the river,
where he bathed and rested. After spending three
days there in his chamber — on the first day he played
at dice with Medius ; on the second he listened to the
account of Nearchus about the voyage from the Indus
through the great sea ; on the third he bade his
generals enter to receive instructions for setting out in
three days — he caused himself to be brought into the
house near " the large bath ; " he gave orders for the
generals to keep watch in the portico, and the Chili-
archs and the Pentacosiarchs before the doors. When
more seriously ill he was conveyed from the garden
into the more distant royal palace, where the generals
entered, and the soldiers forced their way into his

Leaving out of sight what may have remained, and
did remain uninjured, of the outer walls and towers of
the city, when Herodotus and Ctesias were in Babylon,
and when the Macedonians of Alexander saw the city,
it is clear that in the fifth and fourth century B.C. so
much remained standing that the line of the trenches
and the wall could be clearly traced. If the circuit of 365
stades, given by Cleitarchus, is clearly a fiction derived
from the number of days in the Babylonian year, we
shall still be able to give the preference to the 360 stades
of Ctesias over the 480 stades of Herodotus, thouofh
Aristotle remarks, '' Babylon reached the extent of a
nation, not of a city." ^- Since, as Ctesias also tells us,
the two walls on the Euphrates were nearly 160 stades
in length, the wall on each bank would be nearly 80
stades in length, i. e. about 10 miles. Supposing that

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