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served and figured by the sages of Babylon.

If we look at the uses to which the scholars of the Empire put their astronomical

knowledge, there is less to admire. The astrological purpose was dominant. The astronomer

was expected to inquire under what stars a person was born, and to determine there from

his destiny. Sometimes the celestial influence, which began with birth and ended only with

death, was benign, and sometimes malignant. A particular star presided at the entrance of

each man into the world, but to determine the entire destiny of his life the astrologer

must know the aspect of the whole heavens at the moment of his entrance upon life. From

these higher offices, relating to the

weal or woe of human beings, the Babylonian sages descended td such topics as meteorology.

They predicted the weather, the apparition of comets, the coming of the earthquake. They

kept lists of lucky and unlucky days, and pointed out in a semi-prophetical way the

portents of doom to particular countries and peoples. Peace, prosperity, and plenty;

famine, pestilence, and war, were all determined from the overruling influence of the


Such was the mixture of scientific truth and vague superstition in the beliefs and

scholasticism of the Babylonians, who from the great city of the Euphrates stretched out

so proudly the imperial rod over the nations of Western Asia.


CONCERNING the manners and customs of the Babylonians, much may be inferred from what has

already been said respecting the other aspects of their civilization. The monuments of the

country being so meager as compared with the imperishable records left us by the primitive

Egyptians and the Assyrians, we are more at a loss to deduce what may be called the

personal life of the people of Babylonia than in the case of the ancient inhabitants of

the valleys of the Nile and the Tigris. We are left, therefore, rather to the old

historians than to contemporaneous, inscriptions, in determining the personal habits and

individuality of the subjects of Nebuchadnezzar. To Herodotus are we indebted for copious

descriptions of what he saw and heard in Babylon.

Beginning with the subject of dress: the people of the lower classes generally clad

themselves in a linen garment reaching to the feet. Over this a woolen tunic was worn, and

this was surmounted with a white cape. The feet were sometimes

incased in checkered shoes with wooden bottoms. The hair was usually worn long, and was

gathered close to the head under a sort of miter or turban. A cane or walking-stick, with

a carved handle, was a universal accompaniment, especially in the hands of gentlemen of

leisure. The miter and cape and woolen tunic of the Babylonian attire were thrown off as

convenience suggested, and the figures frequently appear merely with the long linen robe.

The worshipers in the temples are generally bare-headed, and wear to their devotions a

peculiar embroidered tunic, different from that worn at labor. The rich man at the altars

of the gods is arrayed in more costly style. He wears a miter, and his garments are longer

and more elaborate than are those worn by the peasantry. He is pictured with a goat in his

arms, or some other sacrifice ready to be offered. In adjusting the long or principal

garment, the Babylonians left the right arm and shoulder bare, somewhat after the manner

of the Romans. Around the waist the clothing was held securely with a belt.

A different style of dress was that of a short coat with sleeves, fringed on the sides,