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were occupied by buildings?" Nor would the Nor would the appearance of the ruins, at this now distant period, justify any hasty conclusion thereon; first, because many of the heaps appearing as mounds formed by ruined buildings may have been caused in some other way; and next, because places not now having a vestige for building material apparent on them, may once have borne edifices which have totally disappeared; either of which data would give false results. If one were to judge from such present appearances of the ground, the conclusion, I think, would be, that not more than one third of the space at the most had been built on, and that two thirds thus remained open for cultivated land.
Quintus Curtius positively says, that the buildings were not contiguous to the walls, but that some considerable space was left all around, nor was the enclosed space entirely occupied by buildings, nor more than eighty stadia of it; neither do the houses join, (continues he,) perhaps from motives of safety. The remainder of the space is cultivated, so that, in the event of a siege, the inhabitants might not be compelled to depend on supplies from without.*
Major Rennel was in doubt whether a square of eighty stadia, or eighty square stadia, was meant by the expression of Curtius, though he adopts the former as more conformable to the idea of the space requisite for the supposed population. This is between a third and a half of a square of four hundred and twenty stadia, assigned by Herodotus to the whole, and gives us some positive data of proportion; and when it is considered, that the inhabitants really did subsist, through a long siege, on the produce of their own lands within the walls, as affirmed by Herodotus; and that, when the city was taken by Cyrus at night, the inhabitants of the opposite quarter of it did not know the fact, until three hours after sun-rise on the following morning, as reported by Xenophon;† the proportion of
+ "The Scity was taken in the night of a great annual festival, while the inha
§ Herod. lib. i. cap. 191. p. 79. Edit. Gale. Xenoph. Cyropæd. lib vii. p. 113. Edit. Steph.
open space may be thought by no means exaggerated, and consequently the extent of the circuit of the walls, however enormous it may appear when given at its highest standard, ought not to be considered as at all beyond the truth.
The conclusion then would be, as Mr. Rich suggests, that, great as the actual size of Babylon was, the number of its inhabitants bore no proportion to this, compared with the relative size and population of the capitals of our own times; and that its streets, which are said to have led from gate to gate across the area, through cultivated land, over which buildings were distributed in groups and patches, would convey, to a modern, the idea of roads through an enclosed district, rather than the division and avenues of a regular city.
If the reasonings on these numerous facts and authorities be thought to have any weight in removing the few objections which might have been urged against the extent of the walls of Babylon, and the original standard of Herodotus be admitted, then this ruined wall at Al Hheimar, which is assumed to be a portion of the enclosure of the city, will be found to be in the exact place where such fragment, if any existed, might be expected to be found.
Had the city been a perfect square, facing the cardinal points, at right angles with the river, and had that river divided it exactly in the centre, the distance of Al Hheimar, from the mound of the Mujellibé or Makloobe, would then, indeed, be greater than half
bitants were dancing, drinking, and reveling; and as +Aristotle reports, it had been taken three days, before some part of the city perceived it; but Herodotus's account is more modest and probable, that the extreme parts of the city were in the hands of the enemy, before they who dwelt in the middle of it knew any thing of their danger."Newton on the Prophecies, p. 166.
† Arist. Polit. lib. iii. cap. 3. ἧς γε φασιν εαλωκυιας τριτην ήμεραν ουκ αισθεσθαι τι μέρος της πολεως. qua tertium jam diem capta, partem quandam urbis non sensisse dicunt. p. 341. vol. ii. Edit. Du Val.
† Herod. ibid. ὑπο δε μεγάθεος της πολιος, ὡς λέγεται ὑπο των ταυτῇ οικημένων, των περι τα εσχατα της πολιος ἑαλωκότων, τους το μεσον οικέοντας των Βαβυλωνιωο, ου μανθανειν εαλωκότας. Tantaque urbis erat magnitudo, ut (quemadmodum narrant accola) quum capti essent qui extremas urbis partes incolebant, ii qui mediam urbem incolerent id nescirent.
the extent assumed for its area; as it is at least ten miles, and this on one side of the river only. But, as Rennel observes, we are not told, in positive terms, whether the four sides of Babylon fronted the four cardinal points of the heavens, or not. The only notice concerning it is, where Diodorus says, "The Euphrates runs to the south, through the midst of Babylon," which may be meant only in a general sense. Some of the early fanciful plans of that city, where it is not only made to face the cardinal points, but the river is led through it in so straight a line as to divide it into two equal parts, may therefore be justly disregarded. Herodotus merely says, "The great river Euphrates divides Babylon in two parts, and the walls meet and form an angle with the river at each extremity of the town;" without specifying either equal parts or right angles in either case.
Judging from the general course of the stream, which is now about north-east and south-west, and supposing the judicious arrangement of giving the principal streets an oblique direction to the sun, for the sake of greater shade, it is probable, that the form and direction of the city-walls were nearly those which Rennel has assumed for them, in the excellent map of the positions and environs of ancient Babylon, which accompanies his Memoir. If the stream then entered the city nearer to its north-west than its north-east angle, as there delineated, the distance of ten miles on a course of west by north half north, between the wall at Al Hheimar, would not be greater than could be admitted within the square of fifteen miles, though both these objects are on the same side of the river ; supposing the former of these to have been near the Cissian or Susian gate, in the south-east extremity of the town, and the latter to have been near the centre of the eastern division, with regard to its length, and close upon the river's bank, as it is both described and found to be.
Before we descended from the ruined wall, which had given rise to all this train of argument and speculation, we dug away some of the accumulated rubbish, to extract some fresh bricks with their
white cement, in the hope that we might be able to carry with us a more perfect specimen as far as Bagdad, for the satisfaction of Mr. Rich, whose previous valuable labours, and constant interest in all that regarded the ruins of Babylon, gave him a claim to the gratitude of every one who might visit this interesting site, the ruins of which lay so many ages in darkness, and which he was the first to render at all intelligible.
It was about one o'clock when we remounted our horses at the foot of Al Hheimar, to return to our companions, whom we had left in the Sheikh's tomb. The heat was now intense, at least five degrees above that shewn by the thermometer on our coming out, when it stood at 135° in the sun; but I was too impatient, to lose even a moment in the examination of it.
We had the sun now beating on our foreheads, and the wind blowing directly in our teeth, with a glare reflected from the yellow soil, that made the eyes ache to look upon it. My Koord guide, who was one of the bravest of men on all other occasions, was dismayed and terrified at this, for he talked of nothing but the Simoom wind, and its sudden and fatal effects. We muffled up our faces with the ends of the keffeeah and turban which we each wore, poised our lances across the saddle, to admit of our stooping forward sufficiently to avoid the sun beating on our brows, and rode slowly on, without uttering a syllable; and even when a hotter and a stronger blast than usual of the north-west wind came upon us, we turned together to receive it on our backs, without exchanging a word, while our horses sidled together for safety, as if partaking of our own sensations.
We reached the Sheikh's tomb in about half an hour, our clothes filled with sand; our nostrils, ears, and mouth with finer dust; our skin dried up to cracking; and both of us parched and fainting with thirst. Our companions, whom we had left behind, had neither of them slept, on account of the extreme heat, as they expressed it, though they were reposing under the shelter of a thick walled building. As there remained only about a pint of water in the
dregs of the leathern bottle, and our companions declared that none had been drank by them in our absence, this small portion was in justice divided among us all. It served, indeed, but barely to wash out the dust from our mouths, without swallowing a drop, which having done, we mounted again, and set out together on our way to Hillah.
The nature of our situation having made us all equal, our guide and servant gave their opinions on the steps best to be taken, with as much freedom as ourselves. It was thus that both of them insisted on our having taken a track too much to the southward, and pointed out a course, of about north-north-west, as leading direct to Hillah. The fact is, that as neither of them had ever been at this spot before, they recollected none of the few leading objects which were to be seen; and, therefore, had the most confused idea of the relative points of bearing. They seemed like ships adrift in a boundless ocean, without a compass to steer by; and, had they been alone, would probably neither have reached Hillah, nor even the banks of the Euphrates, for the night. Mr. Bellino was half inclined to follow their suggestions, and give the casting vote in the case; urging, that their local experience, and knowledge of the country generally, gave them a decided claim to be heard.
On this, as on a thousand similar occasions, perseverance was the only virtue to oppose to wavering opinions. I had taken bearings of the great heaps near the river, previous to our quitting Al Hheimar; and having again looked at my compass, when those heaps were less distinctly visible from the plain, silently pursued a steady course. The two advisers of a more northern route actually drew off, so that we gradually receded from each other; while Mr. Bellino, being at first undecided which to follow, kept a middle course: so that, in an hour after setting out, we were all as widely separated, as if we had belonged to different parties or tribes.
At length a point of union offered itself: after going over long mounds, lying in parallel ranges of two and three beside each other,