The Library of History

Page 57

Page 57 her Husband to bestow his Wife upon him, promising him as a Reward of his Kindness, to give him his Daughter Sosana in Marriage: But he absolutely refus'd; upon which the King threatn'd him, that if he would not consent, he would pluck out his Eyes.

Menon hereupon out of fear of the King's Threats, and overpower'd with the Love of his Wife, fell into a distracted Rage and Madness, and forthwith hang'd himself. And this was the occasion of the advancement of Semiramis to the Regal state and dignity.

Ninus having now possess'd himself of all the Treasures of Bactria (where was abundance of Gold and Silver) and settled his Affairs throughout the whole Province of Bactria, return'd with his Army to his own Country.

Afterwards he had a Son by Semiramis, call'd Ninyas, and dy'd leaving his Wife Queen Regent. She bury'd her Husband Ninus in the Royal Palace, and rais'd over him a Mount of Earth of a wonderful bigness, being Nine Furlongs in height, and ten in breadth, as Ctesias says: So that the City standing in a Plain near to the River Euphrates, the Mount (many Furlongs off) looks like a stately Cittadel. And it's said, that it continues to this day, though Nin •ve was destroy'd by the Medes when they ruin'd the Assyrian Empire.

Semiramis was naturally of an high aspiring Spirit, ambitious to excel all her Predecessors in glorious Actions, and therefore imploy'd all her Thoughts about the building of a City in the Province of Babylon; and to this end having provided Architects, Artists, and all other Necessaries for the Work, She got together Two Millions of Men out of all Parts of the Empire to be imploy'd in the building of the City. It was so built as that the River Euphrates ran through the middle of it, and she compass'd it round with a Wall of Three Hundred and Sixty Furlongs in Circuit, and adorn'd with many stately Turrets; and such was the state and grandeur of the Work, that the Walls were of that breadth, as that Six Chariots abreast might be driven together upon them. Their height was such as exceeded all Mens belief that heard of it (as Ctesias Cnidius relates) But Clitarchus, and those who afterwards went over with Alexander into Asia, have written that the Walls were in Circuit Three Hundred Sixty Five Furlongs; the Queen making them of that Compass, to the end that the Furlongs should be as many in number as the Days of the Year: They were of Brick cemented with Brimstone; in height as Ctesias says Fifty Orgyas; but as some of the later Writers report, but Fifty Cubits only, and that the Breadth was but a little more than what would allow two Chariots to be driven afront. There were Two Hundred and Fifty Turrets, in height and thickness proportionable to the largeness of the Wall. It is not to be wondred at, that there were so few Towers upon a Wall of so great a Circuit, being that in many Places round the City, there were deep Morasses; so that it was judg'd to no purpose to raise Turrets there where they were so naturally fortify'd: Between the Wall and the Houses, there was a Space left round the City of Two Hundred Foot.

That the Work might be the more speedily dispatcht, to each of her Friends was allotted a Furlong, with an allowance of all Expences necessary for their several Parts, and commanded all should be finish'd in a Years time; which being diligently perfected with the Queen's Approbation, she then made a Bridge over the narrowest part of the River, Five Furlongs in length, laying the Supports and Pillars of the Arches with great Art and Skill in the Bottom of the Water Twelve Foot distance from each other. That the Stones might be the more firmly joyn'd, they were bound together with Hooks of Iron, and the Joints fill'd up with melted Lead. And before the Pillars, she made and placed Defences, with sharp pointed Angles, to receive the Water before it beat upon the flat sides of the Pillars, which caus'd the Course of the Water to run round by degrees gently and moderately as far as to the broad sides of the Pillars, so that the sharp Points of the Angles cut the Stream, and gave a check to its violence, and the roundness of them by lit le and little giving way, abated the force of the Current. This Bridge was 〈◊〉 wi h reat oices and Planks of Cedar, Cypress and Palm Trees, and was Thi 〈…〉 oot in breadth, and for Art and Curiosity, yielded to none of the Works o 〈◊〉. On either side of the River she rais'd a Bank, as broad 〈◊◊◊◊〉 great cost drew it out in length an Hundred Furlongs.

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books