« AnteriorContinuar »
writing was consumed.
In the seventh year of Jehoiakim, and the second after the death of the father of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel explained the first vision of the king of Babylon, which elevated him to the highest dignities of the empire.
The other events recorded in the book of Daniel, to the expulsion of Nebuchadnezzar from society, followed in the order in which they are there narrated, and conduct us to the total overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuzaradan, in the reign of Zedekiah: which was accompanied with the most horrible circumstances of rigour and cruelty. The temple was spoiled of all it's riches and furniture, and was burned,
together with the royal palace. The slaughter
was dreadful : the city was totally dismantled: and the whole of it's inhabitants, who escaped the sword, were led into captivity. This event took place in the year of the world 8718, five hundred and eighty-eight years before Christ, and one hundred and thirty four years after the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, and the captivity of the ten tribes. Nebuchadnezzar having at length sheathed the sword, applied himself to the completion of his works at Babylon. As it will be necessary to relate the siege of this city by Cyrus, which G g 3 o
terminated the captivity of Judah, it will be proper previously to give a short description of this wonderful place. The city stood upon an immense plain, and formed a complete square. The most remarkable works in, and about it, were the walls, the temple, the palace, the bridge and the banks of the river, and the canals for draining it. 1. The WALLs. They were in thickness eighty-seven feet: in height three hundred and fifty : in compass four hundred and eighty furlongs, or about sixty miles. This is the account given by Herodotus, the most ancient writer upon this subject, who was himself at Babylon. Each side of the city was defended by a wall fifteen miles in length. These walls were built of bricks, cemented with bitumen, a glutinous slime, resembling pitch, found in abundance in that country, which binds together much more firmly than slime, and in time becomes harder than the bricks or stones themselves. They were surrounded by a vast moat filled with water. On every side of this immense square were twenty-five gates, amounting in all to one hundred, and as many bridges were thrown across the moat which encircled the city. These gates were all made of solid brass: and for this reason, when God promised to Cyrus the conquest of Babylon, he said, that
he would “break before him, the gates of brass.” At proper intervals towers were erected all along the walls, each of them about ten feet higher than the walls themselves. It seems, however, that this is to be understood only of those parts of the walls where towers were needful for defence: when three towers were between every two of the gates, and four at the four corners: but some parts of the walls being upon a morass and inacessible to an enemy were not thus defended: and the whole number of the towers were two hundred, and fifty. This economy destroying the symmetry of the city, the deficiency was afterwards supplied by Nitocris". From the twenty-five gates on each side of the *city were twenty-five streets extending in a
straight line to the corresponding gates on the
opposite side, directly intersecting each other
at right angles: so that there were fifty streets,
each of them fifteen miles long, dividing the
whole city into six hundred and seventy-six
squares, each square two miles and a quarter in
circumference. The ground enclosed within
these squares, was formed into gardens.
edit, 1745, 20 vol.
The next objects worthy attention were, e.
2. THE BRIDGE, AND THE BANKs of the River. A branch of the Euphrates ran through the centre of the city from north to south. On each side of the river were a quay, and an high * wall built of brick and of bitumen, of the same thickness with the walls which surrounded the city. In these walls, over against every street that led to the river, were also gates of brass,
and from them were descents by steps to the river. These brazen gates were always open in the day, and shut by night. The bridge thrown
over it in the middle of the city, was a magnificent structure, a furlong in length, and thirty feet in breadth. Nor must we omit
3. THE CANALs for draining the river. In 1 the beginning of the summer, the sun melting the snows on the mountains of Armenia, a vast overflow of the Euphrates takes place in the months of June, July, and August. To prevent any damage to the city and it's inhabitants, at a considerable distance above the town, were cut two artificial canals, which turned the course of the waters into the Tigris before they reached Babylon. For additional security, two immense banks were raised on each side of the river. In order to form these mounds it was necessary to drain off the water; which was done by digging a prodigious lake forty miles square, one - 7 *
hundred and sixty in circumference, and thirty-
of Belus was built on the plan of the tower of
Babel, and is by some supposed to be erected on it's ruins. Josephus says, that Babylon took it's name from Babel, a word implying confusion, in commemoration of the confusion of language, and the dispersion of the people f. This temple was higher than the highest pyra
* For this, and a more enlarged account of Babylon, see Rollin's Anc. Hist. Vol.I. p. 188, &c. Anc. Univ. Hist. Vol. IV. b. 1, c, 9. Prideaux's Connec, Vol. I. pt. i. b. ii. p. 138-148. Herod.d. l.c. 178, &c. -
t Josephus de Antiq. Jud. Tom.I. lib, i.cap. 4. Hudsoniedit. "