267 BABYLON IA- ARTS AND SCIENCES.
of SIDON--older, but less famous, than Tyre. It was situated on the coast, twenty-three
miles north of the sister city. Sidon was the old metropolis of Phoenicia. The people of
the country were proud to be called Sidonians in honor of their ancient capital. The
period of greatest prosperity was from 1600 to 1200 B. C., when its commercial preeminence
was already acknowledged by the Egyptians. Sidon was destroyed by the Persians in the year
B. C. 351, as a punishment for .rebelling against Artaxerxes III. It then became a
provincial town of little importance. In modern times the site of the old capital is
marked by the seaport of Said a.
On the route from Palestine to Egypt lay the city of ASHDOD. It was regarded as the
western key to Syria, as Carchemish was the eastern. He who held the two strongholds just
mentioned, and Tyre, the doorway to the sea, practically controlled the whole of the
Syrian dominions; nor could the supremacy of these regions be
long maintained save by the possession and control of these important cities.
Finally should be mentioned JERUSALEM, the capital of Palestine. It is situated fifteen
miles west of the head of the Dead Sea. It is built on a high plateau of limestone about
two miles square, abutting against the mountains on the north. Here was originally the
capital of the Jebusites, one of the Canaanitish tribes expelled by Joshua. Under David
and Solomon, Jerusalem grew into importance. It became regarded as the Holy City of
Israel, and acquired great fame as the principal seat of the worship of Jehovah. In the
times of the Babylonian ascendancy the city, lying almost on the route between Babylon and
Memphis, was many times an object of the cupidity or vengeance of the rival nations of the
East and the West;. Her demolished walls, ruined towers, pillaged temple, and depopulated
streets, frequently bore witness to obstinate defense and signal punishment.
CHAPTER XXII-ARTS AND SCIENCES.
OF the general character of the learning of the Babylonians, much may be inferred from
what has already been said of the lore of the Chaldees. The artistic tastes and
philosophical opinions of the later people were derived from the culture of the ancient
.monarchy. The civilization of Babylonia was merely an expansion or development of that of
Chaldaea, modified as it was, with a certain infusion of Assyrian opinions and practices.
If we begin with architecture, we must traverse to a considerable extent the same ground
which has been gone over in the account of the cities and temples of the Empire. Perhaps,
however, some more specific notice of the style of building employed by the Babylonians
may be added
with propriety; and in producing such a. sketch it is natural to begin with the royal
palaces. These were, of course, next after the temples of the gods, the most important
structures of the times.
It is an unfortunate fact that the Babylonian royal palaces have suffered more from the
dilapidations of war and violence than have the temples; partly, no doubt, because the
latter were more solidly built, and partly because, in case of conquest, the temple
is/less likely than the king's house to, suffer from the fury and lust of a victorious
soldiery. The remains of the royal structures of the Babylonians furnish but a meager
outline and dim shadow of the superb originals.
The palaces of Babylon, like those of Assyria, were built upon raised mounds or platforms.
These mounds were square in shape, and were constructed of solid ma-