Sivut kuvina

consistent with this, "Invicem ad hanc exhauriendam Ctesiphontem in Chalonitide condidere Parthi ;" and one can hardly suppose that they had established their residence at Ctesiphon before the decline of Seleucia.*

In the expedition of Trajan, who quitted Rome in the year 112 of the Christian era, and Antioch in 114, after subduing Edessa, Osrhoene, Batnes, Nisibis, and Singāra, traversing the Tigris, on a bridge constructed under his own eye, and taking possession of

Lucan,+ Philostratus, and others. But in all those authors, and wherever else we find Babylon spoken of as a city in being after the time of Seleucus Nicator, it must be understood, not of old Babylon on the Euphrates, but of Seleucia on the Tigris. For as that succeeded in the dignity and grandeur of old Babylon, so also did it in its name. At first it was called Seleucia Babylonia, that is, the Babylonic Seleucia, or Seleucia of the province of Babylon, to distinguish it from the other Seleucias which were elsewhere, and after that § Babylonia simply, and at length Babylon. That Lucan, by his Babylon, in the first book of his Pharsalia, means none other than Seleucia, or the New Babylon, is plain. For he there speaks of it as the metropolis of the Parthian kingdom, where the trophies of Crassus were hung up after the vanquishing of the Romans at Carrhæ, which can be understood only of the Seleucian or New Babylon, and not of the Old. For that new Babylon only was the seat of the Parthian kings, but the old Babylon never. And in another place, where he makes mention of this Babylon, (i. e. book vi. v. 50.) he describes it as surrounded by the Tigris, in the same manner as Antioch was by the Orontes: but it was the Seleucian or the New Babylon, and not the Old, that stood upon the Tigris. And as to Philostratus, when he brings his Apollonius (the Don Quixote of his romance) to the royal seat of the Parthian king, which was at that time at Seleucia, then called Babylon, he was led by that name into this gross blunder, as to mistake it for the Old Babylon, and therefore in the describing of it he gives us the same description which he found given of Old Babylon in Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, and other writers."-Prideaux's Connection of the Old and New Testament, pp. 811-813.

* D'Anville sur l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 120.

Lib. i. c. 17, 18, 19.

‡ Plutarch indeed, in the life of Crassus, speaks of Babylon and Seleucia, as of two distinct cities then in being. For, in a political remark, he reckons it as a great error in Crassus, that in his first irruption into Mesopotamia, he had not directly marched on to Babylon and Seleucia, and seized those two cities. And Appian, in his Parthics, says the same thing. But Plutarch was mistaken herein, taking for two cities then in being, what were no more than two names then given one and the same place, that is Seleucia. For as to Old Babylon, it appears, from the authors I have mentioned, that it was desolated long before the time of Crassus. And as to Appian, he doth no more than recite the opinion of Plutarch; for he writes word for word after him as to this matter.

§ Plin. lib. vi. cap. 26.

Stephanus Byzantinus in Basuλáv.

Lib. i. cap. 13.

Adiabene, and Gaugamela or Arbela, he laid siege to Ctesiphon and Seleucia. Chosroes was then, it was said, occupied in quelling a revolt of his eastern provinces, so that these cities soon surrendered to Trajan, with all the neighbouring country. The Roman emperor then went down to the island of Mesene, situated between two branches of the Tigris and Euphrates, where he passed the winters of the years 116 and 117. After this, he returned again to Ctesiphon, to quell a revolt of the provinces which he had so recently subdued. The termination of this expedition, by his unsuccessful wars against the Arabs, his return to Italy, and his death, of a dis ease brought on by the campaign in the end of the same year, are well known.

Nothing can be more accurate than the actual and relative positions of these celebrated cities of Ctesiphon and Seleucia, as well as the delineation of the winding course of the Tigris between them, given in Major Rennel's map of the environs of Babylon, accompanying his Memoir on the ruins of that city, in the Illustrations of the Geography of Herodotus. D'Anville says, there is no longer any doubt regarding Ctesiphon and Seleucia, which are both nearly annihilated, though reunited at one period under the name of Madain, which, in grammatical language, is "plurale factum," being derived from Medineh, a word signifying simply a city, in the Arabic language.*

Of the succession of Madain to the two cities, on whose ruins it was built, we have this notice in the History of the Sassanides, translated from the Persian of Mirkhond, by M. Silvester de Sacy. After the wars of Shapour against the Arabs and the Greeks combined under one of the Constantines, and his recovery of Nisibeen, where he placed a colony of twelve thousand Persians, it is said, that he returned to his country, and being arrived safe in Irāk, he laid the foundations of the city of Madain, which was completed in the space of a year. This prince fixed his court here, and drew around

* D'Anville sur l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 119.

him all the grandees of Persia; and after passing seventy-two years on the throne, ended his days there.* After the death of Yezderdja, the third sovereign from Shapour, one of the descendants of Ardeschir was chosen to succeed him. He was named Khosrou, which name the Arabs have written Kesra, and being conducted to Madain, was crowned there. In the reign of this Kesra, or Nouschirvan the Just, as he was sometimes called, there arose one Mazda, the head of a sect, who preached community of women, and made it a great merit to encourage the sexual union of the nearest relations. It was one of the first acts of this sovereign's reign to destroy the leader of this sect, with all his adherents; and a remembrance of this fact, with the general fame of his actions during life, occasioned one of the Eastern poets to exclaim, on seeing his palace yet undemolished, “Behold the recompense of an irreproachable conduct, since time has not been able to destroy the palace of Kesra !”‡

This same Nouschirvan had his fame extended so far, according to the Persian historian, that the kings of the East came to do him reverence. Among the enumeration of presents sent to him from distant lands, are some romantic stories, in the true Oriental style, of palaces of gold, paved with pearls-harems of a thousand virgins, all daughters of royalty, and some supremely beautiful, which decked the bed of the Chinese monarch-castles of gold, whose gates were of precious stones—and lovely girls, whose silken eyelashes were so long as to repose upon their cheeks, devoted to the pleasures of the kings of Indoustan. The conclusion of this pompous display may, however, be more accurate, when it is said, it was during the reign of Nouschirvan, that the book entitled Colaila and Dinna was brought from India into Persia, as well as the game of chess; and a certain black dye, named Hindi, which, being applied to white hairs, stains them of a black colour even to the roots, and this so perfectly, that it is impossible to distinguish them from being originally of that colour.§

* De Sacy's Memoires, p. 316. + Ibid. p. 329. + Ibid. p. 360.
§ Memoires et Histoires de Sassanides, par M. Silvestre de Sacy, p. 374.

That Chosroes, to whom the erection of this palace at Madain is attributed, was master of great wealth, there can be little doubt; and it would appear that a commercial intercourse with India on the east, and Europe on the west, for which the central situation of his capital was admirably adapted, had contributed as powerfully to the augmentation of his treasures, as the regular tribute of his empire. Gibbon enumerates the riches deposited in the palace of Dastagherd, the favourite retreat of the Persian king; and we learn from Cedrenus,* that when Heraclius sacked this imperial residence, he found in it aloes, aloes-wood, mataxa, silk, thread, pepper, muslins, or muslin garments, without number; sugar, ginger, silk robes, woven and embroidered carpets, and bullion. The manufactured articles are also specified among the plunder of Ctesiphon, or Madain,† when Sad, the general of Omar, took this place; and both these instances are quoted to shew, that on the decline of the Roman power, the revived Persian dynasty had the trade of India, through this channel, entirely in their own hands.‡

It was sun-set when we returned to our quarters in the enclosure of Selman Puk's Tomb, where we partook of a supper, the provisions for which we had brought with us from Bagdad, and at which the old Sheikh or Guardian of the Tomb very readily joined us, the continuance of the fast of Ramazan rendering the evening meal a welcome feast to all.

In conversation with the people here, I made many inquiries about a place called "Sebat al Madain," which M. de Sacy says is near to Madain Kesra, and the name of which he conceives to be corrupted from Balashabad, or " the habitation of Balash,"§ but we could learn nothing of such a place or name.

The violence of the gale, which had blown through the day, having now subsided, we slept with much pleasure, in the open air,

[blocks in formation]

Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, vol. ii. Arabia, p. 322, in a note, by Dr. Vincent. § Memoires, p. 351.

and had a sky of more than usual brilliance, even in this climate, above us, the storm having no doubt purified the atmosphere.

AUGUST 21st. The splendid train which follows the Pleiades was already high above the eastern horizon when we began to prepare for our departure, and the moon had risen when we quitted the gate of Ctesiphon on our return to Bagdad. As we quickened our pace during the cool of the morning, we reached the Diala just at sun-rise, where I profited by the opportunity of its emerging from a plain as level as the sea, to take its amplitude by compass, finding it to be at rising, E. N. or N. 84° 23′ E. which gives 8° 44' westerly variation.*

We were detained on the southern bank of the Diala nearly an hour, by the passage of asses laden with heath and fire-wood for Bagdad, before we could get a place in the boat, and joined here a party of fifteen Shooster Arabs, who had a mixture of the Persian character in their dress and appearance. The early hour of the day enabling us to distinguish the minarets of Bagdad and the Palace of Chosroes at Ctesiphon at the same time, I took their bearings from the passage of the Diala.*

After crossing the river, we increased our speed, and entered the gates of Bagdad about seven o'clock, not having been more than two hours actually in motion from Ctesiphon to this place. The whole distance appeared, by the calculation of time and rate of travelling, on going and coming, to be about sixteen miles, which agrees nearly with the position assigned to the site of Madain by the Arabian geographer Edrisi, who places it at fifteen miles below

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« EdellinenJatka »