The Library of History

Page 58

Page 58 She built likewise Two Palaces at each end of the Bridge upon the Bank of the River, whence she might have a Prospect over the whole City, and make her Passage as by Keys to the most convenient Places in it, as she had occasion. And whereas Euphrates runs through the middle of Babylon, making its course to the South, the Palaces lye the one on the East, and the other on the West Side of the River; both built at exceeding Costs and Expence. For that on the West had an high and stately Wall, made of well burnt Brick, Sixty Furlongs in compass; within this was drawn another of a round Circumference, upon which were portray'd in the Bricks before they were burnt, all sorts of living Creatures, as if it were to the Life, laid with great Art in curious Colours. This Wall was in Circuit Forty Furlongs, Three Hundred Bricks thick, and in height (as Ctesias says) a Hundred Yards, upon which were Turrets an Hundred and Forty Yards high. The Third and most inward Wall immediately surrounded the Palace, Thirty Furlongs in Compass, and far surmounted the middle Wall, both in height and thickness; and on this Wall and the Towers were represented the Shapes of all sorts of Living Creatures, artificially exprest in most lively Colours. Especially was represented a General Hunting of all sorts of wild Beasts, each Four Cubits high and upwards; amongst these was to be seen Semiramis on Horseback, striking a Leopard through with a Dart, and next to her, her Husband Ninus in close Fight with a Lion, piercing him with his Lance. To this Palace she built likewise Three Gates, under which were Apartments of Brass for Entertainments, into which Passages were open'd by by a certain Engin. This Palace far excell'd that on the other side of the River, both in greatness and adornments. For the outmost Wall of that (made of well burnt Brick) was but Thirty Furlongs in compass. Instead of the curious Portrature of Beasts, there were the Brazen Statues of Ninus and Semiramis, the great Officers, and of Jupiter, whom the Babylonians call Belus; and likewise Armies drawn up in Battalia, and divers sorts of Hunting were there represented, to the great diversion and pleasure of the Beholders. After all these in a low Ground in Babylon, she sunk a Place for a Pond Four-square, every Square being Three Hundred Furlongs in length, lin'd with Brick, and cemented with Brimstone, and the whole Five and Thirty Foot in depth: Into this having first turn'd the River, she then made a Passage in nature of a Vault, from one Palace to another, whose Arches were built of firm and strong Brick, and plaister'd all over on both sides with Bitumen Four Cubits thick. The Walls of this Vault were Twenty Bricks in thickness, and Twelve Foot high, beside and above the Arches; and the breadth was Fifteen Foot. This Piece of Work being finish'd in Two Hundred and Sixty Days, the River was turn'd into its ancient Channel again, so that the River flowing over the whole Work, Semiramis could go from one Palace to the other, without passing over the River. She made likewise Two Brazen Gates at either end of the Vault, which continu'd to the time of the Persian Empire. In the middle of the City, she built a Temple to Jupiter, whom the Babylonians call Belus (as we have before said) of which since Writers differ amongst themselves, and the Work is now wholly decay'd through length of Time, there's nothing that can certainly be related concerning it: Yet it's apparent it was of an exceeding great height, and that by the advantage of it, the Chaldean Astrologers exactly observ'd the setting and rising of the Stars. The whole was built of Brick, cemented with Brimstone, with great Art and Cost. Upon the top she plac'd Three Statues of beaten Gold of Jupiter, Juno and Rhea. That of Jupiter stood upright in the posture as if he were walking; he was Forty Foot in height, and weighed a Thousand Babylonish Talents. The Statue of Rhea was of the same weight sitting on a Golden Throne, having Two Lions standing on either side, one at her Knees, and near to them Two exceeding great Serpents of Silver, weighing Thirty Talents apiece. Here likewise the Image of Juno stood upright, and weighed Eight Hundred Talents, grasping a Serpent by the Head in her right Hand, and holding a Scepter adorn'd with precious Stones in her left. For all these Deities there was plac'd a Common Table made of beaten Gold, Forty Foot long, and Fifteen broad, weighing Five Hundred Talents: Upon which stood Two Cups weighing Thirty Talents, and near to them as many Censers weighing Three Hundred Talents: There were there likewise plac'd Three Drinking Bowls of Gold, one of which dedicated to Jupiter, weigh'd Twelve Hundred Babylonish Talents, but the other Two Six Hundred apiece; but all those the Persian

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books