Obrázky stránek

that the tower must have been about five hundred feet in height, corresponding to the dimensions assigued by the others. Its destruction by Xerxes must liave taken place before any of the writers, whose descriptions are cited, could have seen it, and that destruction must no doubt have been an unusually devastating one, since the Persian monarch is said to have forcibly stripped it of all its treasures, statues, and ornaments, and even to have put its priests to death. Both Strabo and Arrian indeed say, that Alexander wished to restore it; the former asserting that he found it too great a labor, for it was said that ten thousand men were not able to remove the rubbish, in the course of two months ; and the latter stating that it had been begun, but that the. workmen made less progress in it than Alexander expected *.

“ Here then we collect the following leading facts :—first, that the Tower of Belus was a pyramid, composed of eight separate stages successively rising above, and retiring within, each other; second, that its whole dimensions were a square of one stadium, or five hundred feet at its base, and its height exactly the same; third, that it had around it a square enclosure, of two stadia, or one thousand feet for each of its sides; and, fourthly, that attached to this was a temple, the relative position and dimensions of which are not specified, but the ruins of which were very considerable.

To all these features, the remains of the monument called the Birs Nimrood perfectly correspond. The form of its ascent is pyramidal, and four of the eight stages of which its whole height was composed are to be distinctly traced, on the north and east sides, projecting through the general rubbish of its face. Its dimensions at the base, as accurately measured by Mr. Rich, give a circumference of seven hundred and sixty-two yards, or two thousand two hundred and eighty-six feet, ex., ceeding the square of a stadium, or two thuusand feet, by no more than might be expected from the accumulation of the rubbish around it on all sides. The height of the four existing stages is equal to about half that of the original building, or two bundred and fifty feet; which, as the eight stages are said to have risen above each other in regular succession, may be fairly supposed to represent the four lowermost of them. The square enclosure to be traced around the whole appears, from the summit of the building, to occupy a line of more thau three hundred yards for each of its sides, which may be thought to correspond accurately enough with the enclosure of two stadia, or one thousand feet, assigned by the historian t.

“ . The temple of Belus is situated in the heart of that city (Babylon), a most magnificent and stupendous fabric, built with brick, and cemented together with a bitumia nous substance instead of mortar. This, with all the rest of the Babylonian temples, was subverted by Xerxes, at his return from his Grecian expedition ; whereupon Alexander determined to repair it, or, as some say, rebuild it upon the old foundations; for which reason he had ordered the Babylonians to clear away the ruhbish, for he designed to build it in a more august and stately manner than before. But, whereas they had made a much less progress in the work than he expected during his absence, he had some thoughts of employing his whole army about it. Much land had been consecrated and set apart by the Assyrian monarchs for the god Belus, and much gold had been offered, to him; from these the temple was formerly rebuilt, and sacrifices to the god provided." ---Arrian's Hist. of Alex. b. vii. c. 17.

† " In a Second Memoir on Babylon, published subsequently to my visit to its ruins, in answer to some remarks of Major Rennel, on Mr. Rich's First Memoir, and which I have only seen since my return to England, this gentleman, to whom I had freely communicated all the results of my researches there, thus alludes to this portion of them : The whole height of the Birs Nemroud, above the plain to the summit of the brick wall, is two hundred and thirty-five feet. The brick wall itself, which stands on the edge of the summit, and was undoubtedly the face of another stage, is thirtyseven feet high. In the side of the pile, a little below the summit, is very clearly to be seen part of another brick wall precisely resembling the fragment which crowns the summit, but which still encases and supports its part of the mound. This is clearly indicative of another stage of greater extent. The masonry is infinitely superior to any thing of the kind I have ever seen; and, leaving out of the question any conjecture relative to the original destination of this ruin, the impression made by a sight of it is, that it was

3 N


“ The great mound to the eastward of the tower is such as must have been left by the destruction of some spacious but less elevated building attached to it, and is of sufficient magnitude for any temple: while the rubbish formed by the destructiou of the whole, including both the tower and the temple which Alexander is said to have wished to restore, is greater than the whole solid contents of the Mujellibé, or Makloube, and would certainly occupy a body of ten thousand men nearly two months in effectually removing.

“ To this may be added a suggestion of little weight perhaps when standing alone, but worthy of sanction when supporting other facts, namely, the probability of the name of Birs, at present applied to this monument, being a corruption of Belus, its original name * El Birs is the epithet by which it is exclusively called by some; and whenever Nimrood is added, it is merely because the inhabitants of this country are so fond of attributing every thing to this mighty hunter before the Lord,' as the inhabitants of Egypt are to Pharoah, or those of Syria to Solomon. Mr. Rich, whose authority on a point of oriental philology is of great value, says, • The etymology of

the word Birs, would furnish a curious subject for those who are fond of such • discussions. It appears not to be Arabic, as it has no meaning which relates to this • subject in that language, nor can the most learned persons here assign any reason ' for its being applied to this ruin.' The change from Belus to Berus, which requires only the change of a constantly permutable letter, would be less extraordinary thau a thuusand others which have been insisted on as decisive; and the difference between Berus and Birs is nothing in any of the Semmetic languages, or those written without vowels, since both would be expressed by the same characters, without addition or diminution, and both consequently be the same in souvd.

“ The objections which might be urged against the identity of the ruin at the Birs with the Temple and Tower of Jupiter Belus, deserve a moment's consideration. The first may be found in the apparent novelty of the theory, and in the fact that no one who has hitherto visited, described, or written on this ruin, with the single exception of Mr. Rich, has yet assumed it to be the temple in question. This, lowever, may be easily accounted for. . All travellers,' says Mr. Rich, since the time a solid pile, composed in the interior of unburnt bricks, and perhaps earth or rubbish; that it was constructed in receding stages, and faced with fine burnt bricks, having inscriptions on them, laid in a very thin layer of lime cement; and that it was reduced by violence to its present ruinous condition. The upper stories have been forcibly broken down, and fire has been employed as an instrument of destruction, though it is not easy to say precisely how or why. The facing of fine bricks has partly been removed, and partly covered by the falling down of the mass which it supported and kept together. I speak with the greater confidence of the different stages of this pile, from my own observations having been recently confirmed and extended by an intelligent traveller, who is of opinion that the traces of four stages are clearly discernible. As I believe it is his intention to lay the account of his travels before the world, I am unwilling to forestall any of his observations ; but I must not omit to notice a remarkable result arising out of them. The Tower of Belus was a stadium in height; therefore, if we suppose the eight towers, or stages, which composed the pyramid of Belus, to have been of equal height, according to Major Rennel's idea, which is preferable to that of the Count de Caylus, we ought to find traces of four of them in the fragment which remains, whose elevation is two hundred and thirty-five feet; and this is precisely the number which Mr. Buckingham believes he has discovered. This result is the more worthy of attention, as it did not occur to Mr. B. himself.'”-Rich's Second Memoir on Babylon, p. 32.

* Pliny says, the Temple of Jupiter Belus was so called from Belus, a prince, the first inventor of astronomy. The city was however gone to decay, and lying waste in Pliny's time, from the vicinity of Seleucia, which had drawn off all its population.— Nat. Hist. b. vi. c. 26.

The Belus of the Assyrians is thought to be the Mahabali of the Hindoos, and the Shah Mahbool of the Persians, the last of the third dynasty of the ancient kings mentioned in the Dabistan.-Hist. of Persia, v. i. p. 248.

+ See Mem. de l'Academie, vol. xxxi.

of Benjamin of Tudela, who first revived the remembrance of the ruins, whenever they fancied themselves near the site of Babylon, universally fixed upon the most

conspicuous eminence to represent the Tower of Belus. Benjamin of Tudela, • Rauwolff, and some others, saw it among the ruins of the old Felugiah ; and, fully • bent upon verifying the words of Scripture, fancied it infested by every species of

venemous reptile. Pietro della Valle seems to have been the first who selected the Makloube as the remains of this celebrated structure, for the reason assigned above, because it was the must conspicuous eminence among those which he had seen, and his opinion naturally remained authority, until some better was produced. Père Emanuel, indeed, saw the Birs, but, as has been said with great truth, “ from the

account he has given, or the clearness of the idea which he appears to have formed • of it, he might with equal advantage to the world and himself, have never seen it • at all.'

“ Niebuhr appears to have seen it first from a distance, when he took it for å watch-tuwer; and subsequently to have been upon the ruin itself, as he describes the little hole in the wall, which cannot be seen from below. After describing the ruin very briefly, he says, “Mais en relisant ensuite ce que Herodote dit (1. i. s. 170) au • Temple de Belus, et de sa forte Tour, il m'a paru très vraisemblable que j'en avois · retrouvé là des restes ; et c'est pourquoi j'espère, qu'un des mes successeurs dans ce voyage, en fera de plus exactes recherches, et nous en donnera la description t.'

" This was the impression made on M. Niebuhr, in merely snatching a hasty view of the ruin. This was my own impression at the first moment of approaching it, without any recollection at the time of what Niebuhr had written, and this also was the effect produced on Mr. Rich. * Previous to visiting the Birs,' says that gentle

• I had not the slightest idea of the possibility of its being the Tower of Belus; * indeed its situation was a strong argument against such a supposition; but the ' moment I had examined it, I could not help exclaiming :-Had this been on the * other side of the river, and nearer the ruins, no one could doubt of its being the re'mains of the Tower 1.'

“ The next objection to the identity of the Birs with the Temple of Belus, may be in its situation ; as it has been the commonly received opinion, that this temple stood on the eastern side of the Euphrates. The only ground upon which this was assumed by Major Rennel, is a presumption that the Belidian gate, which was known to be on the east side, was so named from its vicinity to the Temple of Belus. This has been so satisfactorily answered by Mr. Rich, as to leave nothing to add to his remarks on this subject . The difficulty is then reduced to its distance from the river, which is


Memoir, in . Les Mines de l'Orient.'

+ Vol. ii. p. 236. 4to. I Memoir, in · Les Mines de l'Orient,' p. 155. $ The passage, in which Major Rennel's objection, and Mr. Rich's reply to it, is contained, is worth extracting entire. It is this :

• I believe it is nowhere positively asserted, that the Tower of Belus stood in the • eastern corner of Babylon. Herodotus, Strabo, Pliny, and Quintus Curtius, do not ' affirm this, but it is certainly the generally received opinion ; and Major Rennel says, . It may be pretty clearly collected from Diodorus, that the temple stood on the east side ' and the palace on the west. A presumptive proof of the supposed position of the ' temple, should the words of Diodorus be regarded as ambiguous, is, that the gate of the . city named Belidian, and which we must conclude to be denominated from the Temple,

appears pretty clearly to have been situated on the east side. When Darius Hystaspes besieged Babylon, the Belidian and Cissian gates were opened to him by Zopyrus; and the Babylonians fled to the Temple of Belus, as we may suppose the nearest place of

refuge. The Cissian or Susian gate must surely have been in the eastern part of the • city, as Susa lay to the east; and by circumstances, the Belidian gate was near it.** Now, I do not think these premises altogether warrant the conclusion. In these countries, as has before been remarkedtt, gates take the name of the places to, and not from, ** Illustrations of the Geography of Herodotus, pp. 355—357.

tt vide, also, Rennel,


[ocr errors]

thought so great as to exclude it from the site of the city according to the generally received extent of its area, and its not apparently occupying that central situation in is own division which has been assigned to it by the ancient writers already quoted."

Vagaries, in Quest of the Wild and the Whimsical. By Pierce Shafton,

Gent. Andrews. Bond Street. This is a collection of tales, essays, and sketches of character, grave, gay, sentimental, satirical, and humorous, interspersed with poetry of a description similarly varied, and held together by a slight chain of story.

The author succeeds better in the humorous and satirical, than in the sentimental or the sublime; but even in the last description of writing, the highest that can be attempted, the reader will find a very successful specimen under the title of " The Wandering Jew."

Much of the poetry is of a high order; and we particularly recommend the following verses to our readers. The last stanza is one " after our own heart,” affording a contrast much needed to the miserable puling which is the cant of so many of the rhymesters of the present day.


" And can it be my birth-day, this?

The day which in my boyish years,
Came like an April beam of bliss,

Let in upon life's vale of tears?
Is this the same bright day of love and joy?
And, oh! should thoughts like these that happy day employ?
I then was the too favor'd child,

Of those whom 'tis not mine to blame;
Yet had they been less weakly mild,

The woes that with my manhood came,
Would have been more relenting, or unfelt;
For then this heart so soon had never learnt to melt.
I stood for a brief dizzy time,

Exalted in my youth's first pride ;
But my bold spirit, in its prime,

Fell with the earliest hope that died,
And I was left, self-doomed and self abased,
To sigh after the shade I had so vainly chased.

' which they lead. The gates of Babylon are instances of this ; and the very gate next the Belidian was called Susian, from the town to which the road it opens upon leads; so that, if the Belidian gate really derived its appellation from the temple, it would

have been a singular instance, not only in Babylon, but in the whole East, at any period. • It is, consequently, much easier to suppose there may have been a town, village, or

other remarkable place without the city, the tradition of which is now lost, which gave • its name to the gate, than that such an irregularity existed. As to the inhabitants, in

their distress, taking refuge within the precincts of the temple, it is probable they were ' induced to it, not from its proximity to the point of attack, but as the grand sanctuary,

and, from its holiness and great celebrity, the one most likely to be respected by the • enemy.'— Memoir, in Les Mines de l'Orient.'

I am scarce yet of manhood's age,

And yet am aged in my woe;
I have felt passions in me rage,

And meaner follies lay me low;
And whatsoe'er of good or ill there be
On earth, is as a tale more than twice told to me.
But let my spirit from its sleep

Waken and work while yet 'tis day;
For man was never born to weep,

And sigh and languish life away:
It is a gem which, howsoe'er bereft,

Has worth and beauty still, in every fragment left.” In addition to their intrinsic merits, the “ Vagaries” are compressed in an exceedingly pretty volume, which is exactly in appearance, as well as in contents, what we should have liked some thirty years ago, when we were making love, to have had handsomely bound and presented to Myra. Previous to the author printing his second edition, which we foresee he will soon do, we shall send him notice of some slight errors in grammar, which have shocked our critical senses; but, in spite of these peccadilloes, we think “ Pierce Shaf“ ton" deserves to be a great favorite wherever he appears.

Second Letter from a Dog in the Country to his friend in Town.

Wilson, Royal Exchange. Late events have certainly corroborated, in a very signal manner, the inferences drawn by the author of the pamphlet, alluded to in our number for February, regarding the probable state of the public sentiment in Portugal. Another letter has since appeared from the same hand, in reply to the Edinburgh Review. Like the last, it derives its chief merit from that simple logic which appeals directly to the judgment; being otherwise deficient both in point of arrangement and language.

The author does not contend step for step, against the regularly trained forces of the Reviewer, but maintains a sort of Guerilla warfare, which the able position of his adversaries, and probably a consciousness of inferior generalship on his own part, would naturally suggest. After exposing, we think successfully, the unsoundness of the view taken by the Edinburgh, with regard to the rights of succession, he makes the following very pertinent remarks :

“ It is to be remembered, that the abdication of John the Sixth was not a voluntary act, but a necessary consequence of the declaration of the independence of Brazil ; or, in other words, the declaration of the incapacity of one monarch to reign both in Portugal and Brasil

. And if John the Sixth were thus expressly declared incapable of holding both these crowns, is it not a manifest contradiction to assert that Don Pedro, as the representative of John the Sixth, may yet succeed to both? Is it not a most flagrant absurdity to maintain, that the same circumstance which constituted the incapacity of John to reign over both, should not equally affect the claim of his heir to succeed to both ?”

Some strong reflections on the author's want of candor appeared in the Morning Chronicle of the 12th ult.; but they are really so little borne out by a reference to the pamphlet itself, that if they had not purported to proceed from the Reviewer, we should have passed

« PředchozíPokračovat »