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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 62

179. I must also tell in addition to this for what purpose the earth was used, which was taken out of the trench, and in what manner the wall was made. As they dug the trench they made the earth which was carried out of the excavation into bricks, and having moulded enough bricks they baked them in kilns; and then afterwards, using hot asphalt for mortar and inserting reed mats at every thirty courses of brickwork, they built up first the edges of the trench and then the wall itself in the same manner: and at the top of the wall along the edges they built chambers of one story facing one another; and between the rows of chambers they left space to drive a four-horse chariot. In the circuit of the wall there are set a hundred gates made of bronze throughout, and the gate-posts and lintels likewise. Now there is another city distant from Babylon a space of eight days' journey, of which the name is Is; and there is a river there of no great size, and the name of the river is also Is, and it sends its stream into the river Euphrates. This river Is throws up together with its water lumps of asphalt in great abundance, and thence was brought the asphalt for the wall of Babylon.

180. Babylon then was walled in this manner; and there are two divisions of the city; for a river whose name is Euphrates parts it in the middle. This flows from the land of the Armenians and is large and deep and swift, and it flows out into the Erythraian sea. The wall then on each side has its bends 179 carried down to the river, and from this point the return walls stretch along each bank of the stream in the form of a rampart of baked bricks: and the city itself is full of houses of three and four stories, and the roads by which it is cut up run in straight lines, including the cross roads which lead to the river; and opposite to each road there were set gates in the rampart which ran along the river, in many in number as the ways, 180 and these also were of bronze and led like the ways 181 to the river itself.

181. This wall then which I have mentioned is as it were a cuirass 182 for the town, and another wall runs round within it, not much weaker for defence than the first but enclosing a smaller space. 183 And in each division of the city was a building in the midst, in the one the king's palace of great extent and strongly fortified round, and in the other the temple of Zeus Belos with bronze gates, and this exists still up to my time and measures two furlongs each way, 184 being of a square shape: and in the midst of the temple 185 is built a solid tower measuring a furlong both in length and in breadth, and on this tower another tower has been erected, and another again upon this, and so on up to the number of eight towers. An ascent to these has been built running outside round about all the towers; and when one reaches about the middle of the ascent one finds a stopping-place and seats to rest upon, on which those who ascend sit down and rest: and on the top of the last tower there is a large cell, 186 and in the cell a large couch is laid, well covered, and by it is placed a golden table: and there is no image there set up nor does any human being spend the night there except only one woman of the natives of the place, whomsoever the god shall choose from all the woman, as say the Chaldeans who are the priests of this god.


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