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260 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

other ancient city. Rome could have been two or three times inclosed within these walls,

and Nineveh was hardly one-fifth as great in extent.

It must not be supposed, however, that this whole area of a hundred square miles or more

was actually occupied with the buildings of the city. An open space all around was left

inside of the walls, and even in the parts covered with edifices or devoted to streets

there was doubtless much unoccupied ground. Orchards and gardens and parks would intervene

here and there, and certain parts would be reserved for public or private improvements. It

is believed that the city by the extent of space thus included within the walls, and not

actually appropriated for building purposes, was rendered quite independent of outside

support in case of invasion or siege; for the rich grounds which were not devoted to

building could be made quickly available for gardens.

For an elaborate description of Babylon we are indebted to Herodotus. The streets were

broad, and were laid out at right angles. The city was thus divided into blocks or

squares. The walls were pierced on each side with twenty-five gates-a hundred openings in

all. The gates were the termini of the streets, so that the whole inclosure was divided

into six hundred and twenty-five great squares. These in their turn were divided into

smaller blocks by less important streets, and along these the imposing houses of the city

were erected.

The buildings of Babylon were generally three or four stories in height. They were not,

however, of so solid a character as those of Nineveh. Good building-stone, that sine qua

non of architecture, was wanting in Babylonia, and its place had In a large measure to be

supplied with less desirable materials. The walls were for the most part of brick, and the

beams and frame-work were of the palm-tree, which constituted the one available timber of

the country. Of the trunks of this tree the posts and columns were fashioned. About these

were twined for decorations

1 At the smallest estimate each of these squares contained nearly a hundred acres.

wreaths of rushes, and the whole was then covered with stucco, and made to resemble carved

pillars of stone.

The Euphrates entered the city by one archway and found an exit by another. Along its

whole course inside of the walls the banks were paved for a great distance with bricks

laid in bitumen. Thus were constituted the wharves of Babylon. The river, moreover, was

inclosed with a wall on either bank running parallel with its course, and preventing the

waters from overflow in times of floods. These protecting walls were pierced with arched

openings at every street crossing, and through these openings the crowds of merchants and

market people and idlers made their way down to the river bank, where boats were ever

ready for conveyance to the other side. In case of high water the archways were shut, and

the walls became continuous. In some places, instead of the ferry, the river was spanned

with bridges, over which the crowds jostled from side to side. These bridges were built

with a draw between the piers, so that communication could be easily cut off. As an

additional means of passage, a tunnel (if we may believe Diodorus) was constructed under

the channel from shore to shore. This passage was fifteen feet in width and twelve feet in

height, being paved and walled and arched with bricks.

Perhaps the most remarkable single structure of Babylon was the great temple of Belus. It

was founded four-square, in an inclosure a quarter of a mile long on each side. It

consisted of a great tower or pyramid, on the top of which was placed the shrine of the

deity. It was built some- what after the manner of the structures of Egypt. The basement

was a square of solid masonry, measuring over six hundred feet on each side. On this was

an- other square of smaller proportions, and on this another, and so up to the summit. The

ascent to the top was on the outside by means of steps, which wound around the edifice.

The height of the temple was four hundred "and eighty feet, being but a few feet less than

that of the greatest Egyptian pyramid. The summit over-