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Ruins of ancient cities : with general and particular accounts of their rise, fall, and present condition (Volume 1) online

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a third he destroyed not less than four thousand.
" Nothing," say the historians, " was now talked of
but the condition and success of Zopyrus." This
was, indeed, so much the case, that he was at length
appointed commander-in-chief. The whole matter,
as we have stated before, was a stratagem between
Zopyrus and Darius. Now, then, as Zopyrus had
become master of the forces, he sent intelligence to
the king. The king approached with his army.
Zopyrus opened the gates, and the city was delivered
into the king's hands.

No sooner did Darius find himself master of the
town, than he ordered its hundred gates to be pulled
down, and its walls to be partly demolished * : but,
in order to keep up the population, he caused fifty
thousand women to be brought from the several
provinces of his empire to supply the place of those
the inhabitants had so cruelly destroyed at the be-
ginning of the siege ; and for having perpetrated that

Porily, not entirely. "Herodotus nates iliut Duriu* 1I>-
taspes, on the taking of Babylon by the stratagem of Xopvrns,
* IcTellcd the wall* and took away the gnte*, neither of \vliirh
Cyrus had done.' Rut let it be remarked that Darius lived a
century and u half before Alexander, in whose time the walls
n|i|K-ar to have been in the original state ; or, at least, nothing is
said that implies the contrary; and it cannot be believed, if
Darius had taken the trouble to level thirty-four miles of so pro-
digious a rampart as that of Ruby Ion, that e'Ver it would have been
rebuilt in the manner described by Ctcsias, Clitarchus, and others,
who describe it at a much later period. Besides, it would have
been quite unnecessary to level more than a part of the wall ; and
in this way, probably, the historian ought to be understood."


horrific act, he caused three thousand of the most
distinguished of the nobility to be crucified*.

Babylon remained in the possession of the kings
of Persia for several generations t. But it soon
ceased to be a royal residence, the sovereigns having
chosen to reside either at Shusan, Ecbatana, or Per-
sepolis ; and, the better to reduce it to ruin, they
built Seleucia in its neighbourhood, and caused
the chief portion of its inhabitants to remove to

The course of our subject now descends to the
time, when Darius Codomanus became sovereign of
Babylon, in right of being king of Persia. This
prince was conquered at the Granicus by Alexander.
Not long after, he lost another battle ; viz. that of
Arbela : after which the conqueror made what is
called his " triumphant entry" into Babylon. He
entered, we are told, at the head of his army, as if
he had been marching to a battle. " The walls,"
says the historian, " were lined with people, notwith-
standing the greatest part of the citizens were gone
out before, from the impatient desire they had to see
their new sovereign, whose renown had far out-
stripped his march. The governor and guardian of
the treasure strewed the street with flowers, and
raised on both sides of the way silver altars, which
smoked not only with frankincense, but the most
fragrant perfumes of every kind. Last of all, came the
presents, which were made to the king ; viz. herds
of cattle and a great number of horses ; also lions
and panthers, which were carried in cages. After
these the magi walked, singing hymns after the

* Herod. Tiiaiia. c. v. ch. ix.

T" Cyrus ; Cambyses ; Sinerdis Magus ; Darius the son of Hys-
taspes ; Xerxes I.; Artaxerxes Longimanus ; Xerxes II.; Sog-
iluinus ; Darius Nothus; Artaxerxes Mueiuon ; Artaxerxes (Jehus ;
Arses ; and Darius Codoinnnus.


manner of tlieir country; then the ChaldaMM,
paniedbythe Babylonian soothsayers ami musicians.
It was customary for the latter to sing the praises of
their king to their instruments ; and tin riiaM.-rans
to observe the motion of the planets and the vicissi-
tudes of seasons." " The rear," continues the author,
from whom we quote, ** was brought up by the
Babylonish cavalry, which, both men and horsemen,
were so sumptuous, that imagination can scarce
reach their magnificence." The king caused the
people to walk after his infantry, and, himself sur-
rounded by his guards, and seated on a chariot,
entered the city, and from thence rode to the palace.
On the next day he took a survey of all Darius'
money and movables. These, however, he did not
keep to himself. He distributed a large portion of
it to his troops : giving to each Macedonian horse-
man fifteen pounds ; to each mercenary horseman
about five pounds; to every Macedonian foot- soldier
five pounds ; and to every one of the rest two
months of their ordinary pay. Nor did he stop
there. He gave orders, that all the temples which
had been thrown down by the order of Xerxes
should be rebuilt ; most especially that of Belus.

On his second visit to this city, he was met some
miles from the town by a deputation of old men,
who told him that the stars had indicated that, if he
ventured into the city, some signal misfortune would
befal him. At first the king was greatly alarmed
and perplexed. But having consulted some Greek phi-
losophers who chanced to be in his army, they threw
such contempt on astrology in general, and the
Babylonish astrologers in particular, that he resolved
to continue his march, and the same day entered the
city with all his army.

Soon after this, designing to raise a monument to
his friend Ilephaestion, he caused nearly six furlongs


of the city wall to bo beat down ; and having got
together a vast number of skilful workmen, lie built
a very magnificent monumental structure over the
part he had caused to be levelled.

That the reader may have a distinct idea of the
grandeur of this structure, it is necessary to admit a
full account of it. It is thus given in Rollin's
" History of Alexander" : " It was divided into
thirty parts, in each of which was raised a uniform
building, the roof of which was covered with great
planks of palm-tree wood. The whole formed a
perfect square, the circumference of which was
adorned with extraordinary magnificence. Each
side was a furlong, or an hundred fathoms in length.
At the foot of it, and in the first row, there was set
two hundred and forty- four prows of ships gilded, on
the buttresses or supporters whereof the statues of
two archers, four cubits high, with one knee on the
ground, were fixed ; and two other statues, in an
xipright posture, completely armed, bigger than the
life, being five cubits in height. The spaces between
the rows were spread and adorned with scarlet cloth.
Over these prows was a colonnade of large flambeaux
which, ending attop, terminated to wards eagles, which,
with their heads turned downwards, and extended
wings, served as capitals. Dragons fixed near, or
upon the base, turned their heads upwards towards
the eagles. Over this colonnade stood a third, in the
base of which was represented, in relievo, a party of
hunting animals of every kind. On the superior
order, that is, the fourth, the combat of Centaurs was
represented in gold. Finally, on the fifth, golden
figures, representing lions and bulls, were placed
alternately. The whole edifice terminated with mili-
tary trophies after the Macedonian and Babylonian
fashion, as so many symbols of the victory of thf
former, and the defeat of the latter. On the enta-


146 BDIXS or AN( ii M ( i

Matures and root- \\ . i . n-prfsi-nted Syrens, tin- hollow
bodies of which were filled, but in an imperceptible
manner, with musicians, who sang mournful airs ami
dinars in honour of the deceased. This edifice waa
upwards of one hundred and thirty cubits high ; that
is, one hundred and ninety-live feet. The beauty
and the design of this structure," concludes our author,
" the singularity and magnificence of the decorations,
and the several ornaments of it, Mil-parsed the most
wonderful productions of fancy, and were all in
exquisite taste. The designer and architect of
the whole, was Stasicrates ; he who offered to cut
Mount Athos into the shape of a man. The cost of
this monument was no less than twelve thousand
talents ; that is, more than one million eight hundred
thousand pounds!"

Alexander resided at Babylon more than a year.
During this time he planned a multitude of things;
amongst which, we are told that, finding Babylon
to surpass in extent, in conveniency, and in whatever
can be wished, either for the necessities or pleasures
of life, all the other cities of the East, he resolved to
make it the seat of his empire*. With this view ho
planned many improvements, and undertook some ;
and would have, doubtless, accomplished much that
he intended, for he was still but a very young man,
when death cut him short in the midst of his career
Leaving a name, at which the world grew pale,
To point n moral, or adorn a tale f>

* " Babylon wat designed by Alexander to be not only the capital
of hit empire, but alto a great port and naval arsenal. To contain
hi* fleet, he ordrrrd a bain to be excavated, capable of admitting a
thousand tail, to which wore to be added dockt and magazines for
tore*. The *lii, of Ncarchut, at well at others from Phoenicia,
were already arrived. They had been taken to piece* on the Me-
diterranean coast, and conveyed overland to Thapsacui, where they
had been put together, and then navigated down the Kupliratcs."
Thf object of all thin wat to enable him to invnde Arabia.

t Sir John Malcolm tayt, that many tradition* still exist in


And this calls to our recollection the prophecies which
had been uttered: "I will cut off from Babylon
the name and remnant." " I will make it a possession
for the bittern." " I will sweep it with the besom
of destruction." " It shall never be inhabited; neither
shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation."

Such was the fate of this city ; insomuch that, in
process of time it became entirely forsaken, and the
Persian kings made a park among its ruins, in which
they kept wild beasts for hunting. Instead of citi-
zens, there were boars, leopards, bears, deer, and
wild asses. Nothing remained but portions of its
walls, a great part even of these at last fell down.
They were never repaired, and for many ages, so great
was the ruin, that even the remains of it were supposed
to have been swept from the face of the earth *.

Persia, in regard to this wonderful person. Amongst others,
this : " The astrologers had foretold, that when Alexander's death
was near, he would place his throne where the earth was of iron
and the sky of gold. When the hero, fatigued with conquest,
directed his march towards Greece, he was one day seized with a
bleeding at the nose. A general who was near, unlacing his coat
of mail, spread it for his priuce to sit en ; and, to defend him from
the snn, held a golden shield over his head. When Alexander
saw himself in this situation, he exclaimed, ' The prediction of the
astrologers is accomplished, I no longer belong to the living ! Alas!
that the work of my youth should be finished! Alas! that the
plant of the spring should be cut down like the ripened tree of
autumn ! ' He wrote to his mother, saying, he should shortly
quit the earth and pass to the regions of the dead. He requested
that the alms given at his death should be bestowed on such as had
never seen the miseries of the world, and who had never lost those
who were dear to them. In conformity to his will, his mother
sought, but in vain, for such persons. All had tasted the woes and
griefs of life ; all had lost those whom they loved. She found in
this a consolation which her son had intended, for her great loss.
She saw that her own was the common lot of humanity."

* In describing the overthrow, the prophet is admirable ; rising

by a judicious gradation into all the pomp of horror, g. d.

" Now, indeed, it is thronged with citizens ; 1)ut the hour is coming,

when it shall be entirely depopulated, and not so much as a single


148 nriN.s or AM II:M ci i

A short timcaftrr tin- death of Ah'.xandcr, llahyl..u
\< . 1-aiin- a theatre for hostility Ktuvrn Demetrius
and Seleucus. Seleucus had got possession of tho
city. When Antigonus learned this, he sent his son,
Demetrius, with an army to drive him out of it.
Demetrius, according to his father's order, gathered
all the force he could command at Damascus, ami
marched thence to Babylon ; where, finding that
Selencus had gone into Media, he entered the city
without opposition; but, to his great surprise ami
mortification, he found it in threat part deserted,
The cause was this: Seleucus had left the town under
the charge of a governor named Patrocles. AN' hen
Demetrius was within a short distance, this governor
retreated out of the walls into the fens, and com-
manded all persons to fly from the city. This mul-
titudes of them did ; some into the deserts, and
others beyond the Tigris. Demetrius, finding the
town deserted, laid siege to the castles ; for there
were two, both well garrisoned and of largo extent.
One of these castles he took ; and, having plundered
not only the city, but the whole province, of every
thing he could lay his hands on, he returned to his

inhabitant left. Lest yon should think, that in process of time it
may be re-edified, and again abound with joyful multitudes, it shall
never be inhabited more ; no, never to be dwelt in any more, from
generation to veneration; but shall continue a dismal waste, through
all succeeding ages. A waste so dismal, that none of the neigh-
bouring shepherds shall make their fold, or find so much as an
occasional shelter for their flocks ; where kings, grandees, and
crowd* of affluent citizens were wont to repose themselves in pro-
found tranquillity. Even the rude and roving Arabian shall not
venture to pitch his tent, nor be able to procure for himself the poor
accommodation of a night's lodging ; where millions of polite people
basked in the sunshine of profuse prosperity. In short ; it shall
neither be habitable, nor accessible ! but a dwelling place for dra-
gon*, and a court for owls ; an astonishment, and a hissing. What
was once the golden city, and the metropolis of the world, shall be
an everlasting scene of desolation, a fearful monument of divine
vengeance, and an awful admonition to human piidc."


father, leaving a garrison. The robbery, however,
did not go unpunished ; for the Babylonians were so
grievously offended at it, that, at the return of Seleu-
cus, they received him with open arms ; and thus
began the true reign of Seleucus. That prince, how-
ever, did not long make Babylon his capital. He
built Seleucia on the western bank of the Tigris,
forty miles from Babylon, over against the spot where
now stands the city of Bagdad. To this new city,
Seleucus invited the Babylonians generally to trans-
plant themselves. This they did, and Babylon became,
in process of time, so desolate, that Strabo assures
us* that, in his time, Babylon, " once the greatest
city that the sun ever saw," had nothing left but its
walls The area had been ploughed.

In the fourth century St. Jerome notes, that
Babylon was become a park for the Parthian and
afterwards for the Persian kings to keep their wild
beasts for hunting in ; the walls being kept up to
serve for a fence for the enclosure. No writer for
several hundred years has been found to mention this
city from this time, till Benjamin of Tudelat (in
Navarre) visited the spot, and related, on his return,
that he had stood where this old city had formerly
stood ; and that he had found it wholly desolated
and destroyed. " Some ruins," said he, " of Nebu-
chadnezzar's palace remain ; but men are afraid to go
near them on account of the multitude of serpents
and scorpions there are in the place."

It was afterwards visited by the celebrated Por-
tuguese traveller, Texeira, who says, " That there
was, in his time, only a few footsteps of this famous
city ; and that there was no place in all that country

* About the middle of the second century, when Strabo was
there, the walls wore reduced to fifty cubits in height, and twenty-
one in breadth.

t About the year 1169.


less frequented." In 1574 it was visited by a fJer-
nian traveller, Ran wolf. " The village of Elugo,"
says lu-, " lieth on the place where formerly old
Babylon, the metropolis of Chaldea, did stand.
The harbour lieth a quarter of a league off, where-
unto those use to go that intend to travel by land
to the famous city of Bagdad, which is situated
further to the east on the river Tigris, at a day ami
a .half's distance. This country is so dry and barren
that it cannot be tilled, and so bare that I should
have doubted very much, whether this potent ami
powerful city (which once was the most stately and
famous one of the world, situated in the pleasant
and fruitful country of Sinar,) did stand there ; if I
had not known it by its situation, and several an-
cient and delicate antiquities, that still are standing
hereabout in great desolation*. First, by the old
bridge, which was laid over the Euphrates, whereof
there are some pieces and arches still remaining, built
of burned brick, and so strong, that it is admirable.
Just before the village of Elugo is the hill whereon
the castle did stand, in a plain, whereon you may
still see some ruins of the fortification, which is quite
demolished and uninhabited. Behind it, and pretty
near to it, did stand the tower of Babylon. This
we see still, and it is half a league in diameter ; but

* The soil of Babylonia, in the time of Herodotus, may be in no
small degree judged of by what tliat liistoiian states : "Of all coun-
tries, which have come under in v observation, this is far the most
fruitful in com. Fruit-trees, such an the vine, the olive, and the
fig, they do not even attempt to cultivate; but the soil is so par.
ticularly well adapted for corn, that it never produces less than
two-hundredfold ; in seasons which are remarkably favourable it
will sometimes produce three hundred ; the car of their wheat as
well as barley is four digits in size. The immense height to wliirh
millet will grow, although I have witnessed it myself, I know not
how to mention. I am well aware that they who have not wit-
nessed the country will deem whatever I may say upon the subject,
a violation of probability." CLIO, cxcui.


so mightily ruined and low, and so full of venomous
reptiles, that have bored holes through it, that one
may not come near it within half a mile, but only in
two months in the winter, when they come not out
of their holes *."

The next traveller that visited Babylon appears
to have been Delia Valle (A. D. 1616). When
at Bagdad he was led, by curiosity rather than busi-
ness, to visit Babylon, which, says he, was well
known to the people in that city, as well by its name
of Babel, as by the traditions concerning it. " He
found," says Rennell, " at no great distance from the
eastern bank of the Euphrates, a vast heap of ruins,
of so heterogeneous a kind, that, as he expresses it,
he could find nothing whereon to fix his judgment as
to what it might have been in its original state. He
recollected the descriptions of the tower of Belus, in
the writings of the ancients, and supposed that this
might be the ruins of it." He then proceeds to give
measurements ; but better accounts have been re-
ceived since.

The remains of Babylon have been visited in our
times by several accomplished travellers, amongst
whom may be especially noted Mr. Rich and Sir
Robert Ker Porter. The former of these travellers has
given the most distinct and circumstantial account ;
but, before we state what he has afforded us, we afford
space for that passage of Sir Robert, in which he
describes his first entry into the scene.

" We now came to the north-east shore of the
Euphrates, hitherto totally excluded from our view
by the intervening long and varied lines of ruin,
which now proclaimed to us, on every side, that we
were indeed in the midst of what had been Babylon.

* There is a copy of Rauwolf's work in the British Museum,
enriched by a multitude of MS. notes by Grouovius, to whom it
would seem the copy once belonged.


From tlit* point, on which we stood, to the ki
tli" Mujelihi-, lar^c masses of ancient foundations
spread on onrri^lit, moiv iv*. milling natural hills in". than mounds covering tin- remains of
former great and splendid edifices. The \\hole view
was particularly solemn. The majestic stream of the
Euphrates wan.lcrin<; in solitude, like a pilgrim mon-
nreli through the silent ruins of his devastated king-
dom, still appeared a nohle river, even under all the
disadvantages of its desert-traekt d course. Its hanks
were hoary with rei-ds, and the grey osier willows
were yet there, on which the captives of Israel hung
np their harps, and, while J<-rit*,ili'in ims not.' refused
to be comforted. JUit how is the rest of the s
changed since then ! At that time, these broken hills
were palaces; those long, undulating mounds, str
this vast solitude, filled with the busy subjects of the
proud daughter of the East ! now, *if.v/. ./ //////
misery,' her habitations are not to be found ; and,
for herself, ' the worm if spread oner her.' The banks
of the Euphrates are, nevertheless, still covered with
willows, as they were in ancient times*."

For the following particulars we arc, principally,
indebted to Mr. Rich, several years British minister
at Bagdad. " The town of Ilillah, enclosed within a
brick wall, and known to have been built in the
twelfth century, stands upon the western hanks of
the Euphrates (latitude thirty-two degrees, twenty-
eight minutes). It is forty-eight miles south of
Bagdad. The country, for miles around, is a flat,

* By tlic livirs of B;il>ylon, there we sat down; yen, we ucpt,
when c remembered Zion.

2. We hanged our harp* upon the willows in the midnt thereof.

3. For there thcr that rarticd lit away captive required of us a
nng ; and they, that uat>tcd u, required of u mirth, tnying, Sing
u* one of the tongs of /inn.

4. II\v hall we biug the Lord's long in a strange lurid ?
PSALM cxxxvij.


uncultivated waste ; but it is traversed, in different
directions, by what appear to be the remains of
canals, and by mounds of great magnitude ; most of
which, upon being excavated, are found to contain
bricks, some of which wVre evidently dried in the
sun, others baked by a furnace, and stamped with
inscriptions in a character now unknown." " The
soil of the plains of ancient Assyria and Babylonia,"
- Major Keppt'll, '* consists of a fine clay, mixed
with sand, with which, as the waters retire, the
shores are covered. This compost, when dried with
the heat of the sun, becomes a hard and solid mass,
and forms the finest materials for the beautiful bricks
for which Babylon was celebrated." Hillah is built
of such bricks; but there are others of more ancient
appearance, which, no doubt, belonged to ancient
Babylon ; since they are stamped with characters,
which have been ascribed to the Chaldeans. Hillah,
then, stands upon the site of ancient Babylon : that
is, a portion of it.

Though this is certainly the case, there are no
ruins at Hillah ; the nearest being at a distance of
two miles to the north, 'and upon the eastern side of
the river. The first of these remains consists of a
vast mound of earth, three thousand three hundred
feet long, by two thousand four hundred feet broad,
at its base, curved, at the south side, into the form
of a quadrant. Its height is sixty feet at the highest
part : and the whole appears to have been formed by
the decomposition of sun-dried bricks, channelled and
furrowed by the weather ; and having 'the surface
strewed with pieces of pottery, bricks, and bitumen.
This mound is called Amran.

On the north of this mound is another square, of
two thousand one hundred feet, having one of its
angles, to the south-west, connected with the
other by a ridge, three hundred feet broad, and of

l.">4 RUINS 01

considerable height. The luiildin^. of which this is
a ruin, seems to have born finished in a very parti-
cular manner, for the bricks are of the tin. -t descrip-
tion. " This is the place," says Mr. Rich, " whero
lieauchamp made his observations, and it is < -ertaiuly
the most interesting part of the ruins of Hahylon.
Every vestige discoverable in it declares it to have

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