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252 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

Empire, and these, also, were the causes of some changes in the things which spring from

the soil. Many new products appear, not found in Northern Syria, such as the fig and the

banana. The date still grows as far towards Arabia as Damascus, but its existence is

precarious. Some of the products, such as licorice and the eggplant, are suggestive of

Egypt. Others, like the lemon and the almond, are similar to the same fruits in the

southern latitudes of the United States.

The woods of the mountain slopes were of cedar and oak and juniper. The wild olive was a

common plant of the valleys. The papyrus of Egypt, the sugar-cane, and the mistletoe

either grew wild or were cultivated in the gardens. Such is a cursory view of the

vegetable products, the fruits, and the forests which prevailed in the Empire of the

Babylonians.

Of mineral resources the supply was peculiar. In Babylonia proper one of the most

important was bitumen. It was found as far east as Susiana, but the most abundant supply

was procured from the springs of Hit, on the Euphrates. In the Dead Sea of Palestine the

same substance exists in inexhaustible quantities. The part which this strange substance

played in the rockless plain of ancient Chaldaea, and afterwards in the buildings of the

Babylonians, has already been referred to in the Second Book. As has already been said,

common salt was abundantly procured from the beds of many of the Syrian lakes, and was

exported as merchandise. The Dead Sea and the lakes near Palmyra yielded the .same

mineral, the supply being limited only by the energy of the manufacturers. From the

sources just mentioned, sulphur and niter were also procured, and in other parts the same

substances were occasionally found. Of all the countries embraced within the Empire, the

best for copper and iron was Palestine, but even in this country the yield of these

valuable metals was not great. Silver was found in small quantities in the range of

Antilibanus. It is not known that any gold mine existed within the countries swayed by the

kings of Babylon.

Among the Babylonians gems and precious stones were greatly coveted. But it does not

appear that the same were found anywhere in the low plains around the head of the Persian

Gulf. Several kinds of gems were taken from the hills of Susiana. In the channel of the

river Choaspes, agates were found in abundance. In the vicinity of Damascus there were

beds from which alabaster was taken. The Phoenician mines furnished lapis-lazuli, and

amethysts were obtained in the neighborhood of Petra. From these various sources the rough

gems were brought to Babylon, and engraved in a manner which has excited the envy of

modern times. Cornelians, rock-crystals, chalcedony and onyx stones, jasper, and feldspar

were sought and sold in the shops of the great city.

Of the supply of building material something has already been said in the history of

Chaldaea and Ass'yria. No stone was found in Babylonia. In the earliest times, the

acquaintance of the Chaldaeans with the native tribes of Mesopotamia was not such as to

encourage the importation of stone from the north. In the valley of the Euphrates, above

the city of Hit, building stone is abundant. Quarries exist on both sides of the river,

and in the country to the west, that is, in Northern Syria, there is no deficiency.

The hills of Susiana are' also piled up with stone, and in Southern Syria ledges of out-

cropping rock frequently constitute the principal feature of the landscape. The variety

most abundant is common limestone, though sandstone as well as silicious rocks and granite

are plentifully distributed. In the later and more splendid days of the Babylonian Empire

stone was much used for building and ornamentation, and the material so employed was taken

from the quarries on the Upper Euphrates, and brought down the river to the capital.

Building with bricks, however, was never superseded, even in the palmiest times of the

great kings.

Passing, then, to the animal life of Babylonia, and beginning with the savage beasts, we

find the lion, then, as always, a monarch. He was to be met in many parts-Chaldaea