Page images
PDF
EPUB

tribute upon them, appointed a strong garrison, and compelled the Babylonians to defray the charge, being desirous to keep them poor, as the best means of keeping them obedient.

But notwithstanding these precautions, they rebelled against Darius,* and in order to hold out to the last extremity, they took all their women, and each man choosing one of them, out of those of his own family, whom he liked best, they strangled the rest, that unnecessary mouths might not consume their provisions. "And hereby,” saith Dr. Prideaux,t "was very signally fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah against them, in which he foretold, • That two things should come to them in a moment, in one day, the loss of children and widowhood, and that these should come upon them in their perfection, for the multitude of their sorceries, and the great abundance of their enchantments,' - chap. xlvii. 9. And in what greater perfection could these calamities come upon them, than when they themselves, thus upon themselves, became the executioners of them ?" Or rather, this prophecy was then fulfilled a second time, having been fulfilled before, the very night that Babylon was taken, when the Persians slew the king himself and a great number of the Babylonians. They sustained the siege and all the efforts of Darius for twenty months, and at length the city was taken by stratagem. As soon as Darius had made himself master of the place, he ordered three thousand of the principal men to be crucified, and thereby fulfilled the prophecies of the cruelty which the Medes and Persians should use towards the Babylonians, Is. xiii. 17, 18; Jer. 1. 42: " and he likewise demolished the walls, and took away the gates, neither of which (saith Hero dotus) had Cyrus done before.” # But either Herodotus, or Berosus must have been mistaken; or we must suppose that Cyrus's orders were never carried into execution; or we must understand Herodotus to speak of the inner wall, as Berosus spoke of the outer : and yet it doth not seem very credible, when the walls were of that prodigious height and thickness, that there should be an inner and an outer wall too; and much less that there should be three inner and three outer walls, as Berosus affirms. Herodotus computes

* Herod. lib. 3, cap. 150, &c. p. 220, edit. Gale.
+ Prid. Connect. part 1, book 3, anno 517, Darius 5.

! Το τειχος τεριειλε, και τας συλας σασας απεσπασε» (το γαρ προτερον έλων Κυρος την Βαβυλωνα, εποιησε τοτεων υδετερον.) Muros circumcidit, et portas omnes amolitas est: quorum neutrum Cyrus fecerat prius eidem a se captæ.—Herod. lib. 3, cap. 159 p. 223, edit. Gale. [Translated in the toat.]

$ 'Υπερεβαλετο τρεις μεν της ενδον σολιως σεριβολες, τρεις δε μης εξω τατων. Ternos quidem interiori urbi, ternosque pariter exteriori murorum ambitus circumdedit.--Apuse Such was the state of Babylon under the Persians. When AlexJoseph. contra Apion. lib. 1, sect. 19, p. 1343, edit. Hudson. (He surrounded the city with three inner and three outer walls.]

[ocr errors]

the height of the wall to be 200 cubits;* but later authors reckon it much lower: Quintus Curtius at 100,+ Strabo, who is a more exact writer, at 50 cubits.I Herodotus describes it as it was originally; and we may conclude therefore that Darius reduced it from 200 to 50 cubits; and by thus taking down the wall and destroying the gates, he remarkably fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burnt with fire,'— li. 58.

Xerxes, after his return from his unfortunate expedition into Greece, partly out of religious zeal, being a professed enemy to image worship, and partly to reimburse himself after his immense expenses, seized the sacred treasures, and plundered or destroyed the temples and idols of Babylon, thereby accomplishing the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah : · Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground,' - Is. xxi. 9; Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle,' &c.— Is. xlvi. 1; • Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces, her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces,' -Jer. 1. 2, `And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up; Therefore behold the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon; and again, "Wherefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will do judgment upon

judgment upon her graven images,'--Jer. li. 44, 47, 52. What God declares, “I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth that which he hath swallowed,' was also literally fulfilled, when the vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought from Jerusalem, and placed in the temple of Bel, Dan. i. 2, were restored by order of Cyrus, Ezra i 7, and carried to Jerusalem again.

* Tbos 8e 8cm xogowy anxiwr. Cubitorum ducentorum celsitudine.-Herod. lib. I, cap. 178, p. 74, edit. Gale. [Translated in the text.]

+ Altitudo muri C cubitorum eminet spatio.-Quint. Curt. lib. 5, cap. 1. [The wall was more than an hundred cubits high.]

: “Υψος δε των μεν μεσοπυργιων, σηχεις πεντηκοντα. Altitudine intcr turres cubitorum L.-Strabo. lib 16, p. 738, edit. Paris.; p. 1072, edit. Amstel. 1707. [The height of the walls between the towers was fifty cubits.]

Herod. lib. I, cap. 183, p. 76, edit. Gale. Arrian. de Exped. Alex. lib. 7, cap. 17 p. 296, edit. Gronov. Usher's Annals, A. M. 3526, p. 129. Prideaux Connect. part 1 b. 4, anno 479. Xerxes, 7.

ander came thither, though Quintus Curtius says that the whole circuit of the city was 368 furlongs, yet he affirms that only for the space of 90 furlongs it was inhabited.* The river Euphrates have ing been turned out of its course by Cyrus, and never afterwards restored to its former channel, all that side of the country was flooded by it. Alexander indeed purposed to have made Babylon the seat of his empire, and actually set men at work to rebuild the temple of Belus, and to repair the banks of the river, and to bring back the waters again into their own channel :t and if his designs had taken effect, how could the prophecies have been fulfilled ! and what providence therefore was it, that his designs did not take effect, and that the breaches were never repaired! He met with some difficulties in the work, and death soon after put an end to this and all his other projects; and none of his successors ever attempted it: and Seleucia being built a few years afterwards in the neighbourhood, I Babylon in a little time became 'wholly desolate.' Seleucia not only robbed it of its inhabitants, but even of its name, “ being called also Babylon” by several authors. We learn farther from a fragment of Diodorus Siculus, which is produced by Valesius, and quoted from him by Vitringa, that a king of Parthia, or one of his peers, surpassing all the famous tyrants in cruelty, omitted no sort of punishment, but sent many of the Babylonians, and for trifling causes, into slavery, and burnt the forum and some of the temples of Babylon, and demolished the best parts of the city.|| This happened about 130 years before Christ: and now

• Quintus Curtius, lib. 5, cap. 1. Ac ne totam quidem urbem tectis occupaverunt; per XC stadia habitatur; nec omnia continua sunt. (They did not build upon the whole of the city; only ninety furlongs were inhabited, and the houses were not all contiguous.]

† Arrian de Exped. Alex. lib. 7, cap. 17, p. 296, et cap. 21, p. 303, edit. Gronov. Hecatæus apud Joseph. contra A pion. lib. 1, sect. 22, p. 1348, edit. Hudson. Strabo. tib. 16, p. 738, edit. Paris.; p. 1073, edit. Amstel. 1707.

Strabo, ibid. Plinii Nat. Hist. lib. 6, cap. 30, edit. Harduin.

Plin. ibid. quæ tamen Babylonia cognominatur. [Translated in the text.) See Prideaux Connect. part 1, b. 8, anno 293. Ptolemy Soter, 12.

|| Vitring. Com. in lesaiam, cap. 13, p. 421, vol. 1. Eu’nuepos ó Two Hapowo Baordeus, *. t.di Evemerus, Parthorum rex, (docuit Valesius clarissime, quod eruditi viri lubenter admiserunt, legendum esse Himerum, Parthorum regis satrapam, ex circumstantiis temporis historiæ, et collatis locis Justini ac Athenæi) patria Hyrcanus, cunctos tyrannos acerbitate vincens, nullum sævitiæ genus prætermisit. Plurimos enim Babybnios levibus de causis servituti addictos, cum omni familia, in Mediam distrahendos misit. Forum quoque et nonnulla delubra Babylonis igni tradidit, ac pulcherrima quæque urbis loca evertit. Accidit cassis stante regno Seleucidarum, annis admodum CXXX ante Æ V. Dati Domini. (Evemorus, king of the Parthians, (but Valesius, to whose opinion scholars have readily assented, has most clearly shewn, from thc time of the history, and a collation of the passages of Justin and Athenæus, that it should be read Himerus, a noble of the Parthian court,) a native of Hyrcania, surpassing all other tyrants in cruelty, omitted no sort of punishment. For he sent into Media many of the Macedonians, with their whole families, and condemned them to slavery for the most trifling causes. He burnt the forum and some of the temples of Babylon, and demolished the most beautiful parts of the city. This calamity happened in the reign of the Seleucidæ, about 130 years before Christ.]

1

let us see what account is given of Babylon by authors after that time.

Diodorus Siculus describes “ the buildings as ruined or decayed in his time, and asserts that now only a small part of the city is inhabited ; the greatest part within the walls is tilled.”* Strabo, who wrote not long after Diodorus, saith that “part of the city the Persians demolished, and part, time and the neglect of the Macedonians, and especially after Seleucus Nicator had built Seleucia on the Tigris, in the neighbourhood of Babylon, and he and his successors removed their court thither : and now (saith he) Seleucia is greater than Babylon, and Babylon is much deserted, so that one may apply to this what the comic poet said of Megalopolis in Are cadia, • The great city is now become a great desert.'”+ Pliny ir like manner affirms, that “it was reduced to solitude, being exhaust. ed by the neighbourhood of Seleucia, built for that purpose by Se

* Των δε βασιλειων και των άλλων κατασκευασμάτων και χρονος τα μεν ολοσχερως ήφανισε, τα δ' έλη μηνατο και γαρ αυτης της Βαβυλανος νυν βραχυ τι μερος οίκειται, το δε πλεισο» INTOS TEIXOS Yewpykit2.. Regiasque et alias structuras partim tempus omnino abolevit, partim corrupit. Nam et ipsius Babylonis exigua quædam portio nunc habitatur, maximaque intra muros pars agrorum cultui est exposita.—Diod. Sic. lib. 2, p. 70, edit. Steph. ; P 98, edit. Rhod. [Translated in the text.]

+ Και κατηριψαν της πολεως, τα μεν οι Περσαι, τα δ' ο χρονος και η των Μακεδονων ολιγωρια σερι τα τοιαυτα και μαλισα επειδη την Σελευκειαν επι τω Τιγρητι πλησιον τη Βαβυλωνος έν τριακοσίοις σε ραδιους ετειχισε Σελευκος ο Νικατωρ. . Και γαρ εκείνος και ο μετ' αυτον άπαντες σερι ταυτην έσπε δασαν την ωολιν, και το βασιλειον ένταυθα μετηνεγκαν κα δη και νυν η μεν γεγονε Βαβυλωνος μειζων ή 8' έρημος η ωολλη ως επ' αυτης μη αν, οκνησα τινα ειπειν όπερ έφη τις των κωμικων επι των Μεγαλοπολιταν των εν Αρκαδια.

'Ερημια μεγαλη εςιν η Μεγαλοπολις. Et urbis partem Persæ diruerunt, partem tempus consumpsit et Macedonum degli gentia : præsertim postquam Seleucus Nicator Seleuciam ad Tigrim condidit stadiis tantum CCC a Babylone dissitam. Nam et ille et posteri omnes huic urbi maximopere studuerunt, et regiam eo transtulerunt, et nunc Babylone bæc major est, illa magna ex parte deserta, ut intrepide de ea usurpari possit, quod de Megalopoli Arcadia magna urbe quidam dixit Comicus :

Est magna solitudo nunc Megalopolis. Strabo. lib. 16, p. 738, edit. Paris. ; p. 1073, edit. Amstel. 1707 [Translated in the text.)

1

leucus Nicator."* As Strabo compared Babylon to Megalopolis, so Pausanias, who flourished about the middle of the second century after Christ, compares Megalopolis to Babylon, and says in his Arcadics, that "of Babylon, the greatest city that the sun ever saw, there is nothing now remaining but the walls.”+ Maximus Tyrius mentions it as lying neglected and forsaken :# and Lucian intimates, that “ in a little time it would be sought for and not be found, like Nineveh.”S Constantine the Great, in an oration preserved by Eusebius, saith that he himself was upon the spot, and an eye-witness of the desolate and miserable condition of the city. In Jerome's time, who lived in the fourth century after Christ, it was converted into a chase to keep wild beasts within the compass of its walls, for the hunting of the later kings of Persia. “ We have learned, saith he, from a certain Elamite brother, who coming out of those parts, now liveth as a monk at Jerusalem, that the royal huntings are in Babylon, and wild beasts of every kind are confined within the circuit of its walls."|| And a little afterwards he saith, that “excepting the brick walls, which after many years are repaired for the inclosing of wild beasts, all the space within is de solation.”I These walls might probably be demolie!.ed by the Saracens, who subverted this empire of the Persians, or they might be ruined or destroyed by time : but of this we read nothing, neither have we any account of Babylon for several hundred years afterwards, there having been such a dearth of authors during those times of ignorance.

Of latter authors, the first who mentions any thing concerning

* Cetero ad solitudinem rediit, exhausta vicinitate Seleuciæ, ob id conditæ a Nicatore.-Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. 6. cap. 30, edit. Harduin. [Translated in the text.]

+ Βαβυλωνος δε ταυτης ήντινα είδε σολεων των τοτε μεγιστην ηλιος, «δεν έτι ήν ει μη τοιχος. Babylon omnium, quas unquam sol aspexit, urbium maxima, jam nihil præter muros reliqum habet.-Pausan. I. 8, c. 33. [Translated in the text.]

Baßudwros xspeens.-Max. Tyr. Dissert. 6, prope finem. [Babylon lying for saken.]

και Ου μετα σολο και αυτη ζητηθησομενη, ώσπερ η Νινος Hand ita multo post desideranda et ipsa, quemadmodum nunc Ninus.—Lucian 'Ericx. sive Contemplantes, prope finem. [Translated in the text.]

|| Didicimus a quodam fratre Elamita, qui de illis finibus egrediens, nunc Hiernsolymis vitam exigit monachorum, venationes regias esse in Babylone ; et omnis generis bestias murorum ejus tamen ambitu coerceri.-Hieron. Comment. in Isai. cap. 13, p. 111, vol. 3, edit. Benedict. [Translated in the text.}

Exceptis enim muris coctilibus, qui propter bestias concludendas post annos plo smos instaurantur, omne in medio spatium solitudo est.-Id. in cap. 14, p. 115. [Trans lated in the text. 1

« PreviousContinue »