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sinister means to get possession of this, not daring openly to take it; but his son Xerxes afterwards seized it, putting the priest to death who endeavoured to prevent its removal. The temple, besides those ornaments which I have described, contains many offerings of individuals.
CLXXXIV. Among the various sovereigns of Babylon, who contributed to the strength of its walls, and the decoration of its temples, and of whom I shall make mention when I treat of the Assyrians, there were two females, the former of these was named Semiramis 234, who preceded
'nezzar, Evil Merodach, Belshazzar, Ahasuerus, Darius the · Mede, Coresh, and Darius the Persian ; Artaxerxes also is
mentioned in Nehemiah. Ahasuerus has been the subject of much etymological investigation. Sir Isaac Newton, by inadvertency, makes him in one place to be Cyaxares, in another Xerxes. Archbishop Usher supposes him to be Darius Hystaspes; Scaliger, Xerxes; Josephus, the Septuagint, and Dr. Hyde, Artaxerxes Longimanus.—Richardson.
23+ Semiramis.]-It may be worth while to observe the different opinions of authors about the time when Semiramis is supposed to have lived.
Years. According to Syncellus, she lived before Christ - 2177 Petavius makes the term
2060 Helvicus -
2248 Eusebius - -
1984 Mr. Jackson
1964 Archbishop Usher
1215 Philo Biblius, from Sanchoniathon, about - 1200
Herodotus about '. - - - - 713 What credit can be given to the history of a person, the time of whose life cannot be ascertained within 1535 years?
the other by an interval of five generations. This queen raised certain mounds, which are indeed admirable works; till then the whole plain was subject to violent inundations from the river,
CLXXXV. The other queen was called Nitocris : she being a woman of superior understanding, not only left many permanent works, which I shall hereafter describe, but also having observed the encreasing power and restless spirit of the Medes, and that Nineveh, with other cities, had fallen a prey to their ambition, put her dominions in the strongest posture of defence. To effect this, she sunk a number of canals above Babylon, which by their disposition rendered the Euphrates, which before flowed to the sea in an almost even line, so complicated by its windings, that in its passage to Babylon it arrives three times at Ardericca, an Assyrian village: and to this hour they who wish to go from the sea up the Euphrates to Babylon, are compelled to touch at Ardericca three times on three different days. The banks also, which she raised to restrain the river on each side, are really wonderful from their enormous height and substance. At a considerable distance above Babylon, turning aside a little from the stream, she ordered an immense lake to be dug, sinking it till they came to the water: its circumference was no less than four hundred and twenty furlongs. The earth of this was applied to the embankments of the river;
and the sides of the trench or lake were strengthened and lined with stones, brought thither for that purpose. She had in view by these works, first of all to break the violence of the current by the number of circumflexions, and also to render the navigation to Babylon, as difficult and tedious as possible. These things were done in that part of her dominions which was most accessible to the Medes; and with the farther view of keeping them in ignorance of her affairs, by giving them no commercial encouragement.
1 no commer
CLXXXVI. Having rendered both of these works strong and secure, she proceeded to execute the following project. The city being divided by the river into two distinct parts, whoever wanted to go from one side to the other was obliged, in the time of the former kings, to pass the water in a boat. For this, which was a matter of general inconvenience, she provided this remedy, and the immense lake which she had before sunk; became the farther means of extending her fame :-Having procured a number of large stones, she.changed the course of the river, directing it into the canal prepared for its reception. When this was full, the natural bed of the river became dry, and the embankments on each side, near those smaller gates which led to the water, were lined with bricks hardened by fire, şimilar to those which had been used in the
construction of the wall. She afterwards, nearly in the centre of the city, with the stones abovementioned, strongly compacted with iron and with lead, erected a bridge 235 ; over this the inhabitants passed in the day time by a square platform, which was removed in the evening to prevent acts of mutual depredation. When the above canal was thoroughly filled with water, and the bridge completely finished and adorned, the Euphrates was suffered to return to its original bed: thus both the canal and the bridge were confessedly of the greatest utility to the public.
CLXXXVII. The above queen was also celebrated for another instance of ingenuity: she caused her tomb 236 to be erected over one of the principal gates of the'city, and so situated as to be obvious to universal inspection: it was thus inscribed—“ If any of the sovereigns, my successors, shall be in extreme want of money, let him open my tomb, and take what money he may think proper; if his necessity be not great, let him forbear, the experiment will perhaps be dangerous.” The tomb remained without injury till the time and reign of Darius. He was equally offended at the gate's being rendered useless, and that the invitation thus held out to become affiuent, should have been so long neglected. The gate, it is to be observed, was of no use, from the general aversion to pass through a place over which a dead body was laid.' Darius opened the tomb; but instead of finding riches, he saw only the dead body, with a label of this import: “If your avarice had not been equally base and insatiable, you would not have disturbed the repose of the dead.”-Such are the traditions concerning this queen. *
235 A bridge.]~Diodorus Siculus represents this bridge as five furlongs in length; but as Strabo assures us that the Euphrates was no more than one furlong wide, Rollin is of opinion that the bridge could not be so long as Diodorus describes it. Although the Euphrates was, generally speaking, no more than one furlong in breadth, at the time of a food it was probably more; and, doubtless, the length of the bridge was proportioned to the extremest possible width of the river. This circumstance M. Rollin does not seem to have considered. The Mansanares, which washes one of the extremities of Madrid, is but a small stream: but as, in the time of a food, it spreads itself over the neighbouring fields, Philip the Second built a bridge eleven hundred feet long. The bridge of Semiramis, its length alone excepted, must have been very inferior to these of ours. It consisted only of large masses of stone, piled upon each other at regular distances, without arches; they were made to communicate by pieces of wood thrown over each pile. Larcher.
236 Her tomb.]—Nitocris, in this instance, deviated from the customs of her country. The Assyrians, to preserve the bodies of their dead the longer from putrefaction, covered them with honey: the Romans did the same. As to their funeral rites, the Assyrians in all respects imitated the Ægyptians.-T.
It appears from Plutarch, that the tomb of Cyrus, and of many of the princes of the East, were within the precincts of their cities.--Bryant. .
* Larcher omits this last paragraph, that the narrative, as he observes, may not be enfeebled.