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263 BABYLON IA- PEOPLE AND CITIES.

to Hillah, the traveler of to-day comes unexpectedly upon a series of scattered heaps

which, could they speak, would cry up from the ground, "We are Babylon!" As he proceeds,

the mounds increase in size and frequency. In the intervals between them, should he

disturb the soil, he finds an indistinguishable mass of broken bricks and pottery, slowly

returning to dust. The mounds mark the sites of the palaces and temples, and the

intermediate spaces the place of the common buildings and streets of the city. The

northernmost of the great heaps is called Babel by the Arabs to the present day. It is a

mound nearly four-square, with steep sides. The top is flat, though traversed with several

ravihes, plowed out by time. The southern side of the elevation, extending a distance of

six hundred feet, is tolerably well preserved. The eastern face, also, is easily traceable

for a distance of five hundred and forty feet. The other two sides of the square have been

worn down by the action of the elements, and reduced in some places to a level with the

plain. The highest part of the mound is one hundred and forty feet above the surrounding

country. The vast heap consists of a mass of sun-dried bricks, but in the outer wall the

bricks are burnt and enameled, bearing the monogram of NEBUCHADNEZZAR. This great mound of

Babel has been identified by antiquaries as the site of the temple of Belus.

A short distance down the river is the still larger mound known as EL KASR, or "the

Palace." This remarkable elevation is two thousand one hundred feet in length by one

thousand eight hundred in breadth. Its summit is seventy feet above the level of the

plain. Like the other heaps, it consists of an infinity of crushed bricks and slabs and

pottery. In the basement some passages have been explored, which are paved and arched with

bricks. Some of the slabs which have been discovered in this mound bear inscriptions by

which the place has been identified as the site of Nebuchadnezzar's palace. All the bricks

which have been discovered in that vicinity bear his monogram, so that both tradition-as

shown in the name of "the Palace" now borne by the ruin-and antiquities point unmistakably

to this spot as that on which was reared the royal house of the great king.

Near the ruin of El Kasr is that .of AMRAN, so-called, according to tradition, because

here was buried the prophet Arnran-ibn-Ali. It is simply a heap, irregular in outline, and

less striking than the Kasr ruin. It lies near the river bank, and one of the sides of the

original structure was evidently lashed by the water when the river was full. The three

sides of the elevation, which have been traced with some accuracy, measure respectively

3,000, 2,400, and 2,100 feet. The slopes of this mound, like many others, are furrowed

with deep ravines, through which the rains of two thousand years have found their way to

the plain.

It is fitting in this connection to call attention to the fact that modern antiquaries

have been divided in their opinion as to the site of the famous BIRS NIMRUD, or so-called

"Tower of Babel." Some have attempted to identify this ruin with the Mound of Babel

already described; while others, with better reason, have decided in favor of a more

striking elevation near the city of Borsippa. This is distant from the heaps which mark

the site of Babylon about eleven miles, and may, therefore, have possibly been included

within the walls of the ancient city. There are reasons for believing, however, that such

was not the case, though no doubt, owing to the vast extent of the rampart of the capital

the Birs Nimrud may have not been far distant from the walls. Be this as it may, and

whatever difficulties may arise from fixing the site of the Tower away from Babylon, there

can be little doubt that the Birs Nimrud of Borsippa is the true ruin of the ancient and

gigantic structure.

The Birs Nimrud is the ruin of the great temple of Nebo. Its foundation was an exact

square, each side being two hundred and seventy-two feet in length. The height of this

first platform of masonry was twenty-six feet. Upon this was raised the second Square of

the same height as the first, the sides measuring two' hundred and thirty feet. This

second square, how-