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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 64

186. These defences she cast round her city from the depth; and she made the following addition which was dependent upon them:—The city was in two divisions, and the river occupied the space between; and in the time of the former rulers, when any one wished to pass over from the one division to the other, he had to pass over in a boat, and that, as I imagine, was troublesome: she however made provision also for this; for when she was digging the basin for the lake she left this other monument of herself derived from the same work, that is, she caused stones to be cut of very great length, and when the stones were prepared for her and the place had been dug out, she turned aside the whole stream of the river into the place which she had been digging; and while this was being filled with water, the ancient bed of the river being dried up in the meantime, she both built up with baked bricks after the same fashion as the wall the edges of the river, where it flows through the city, and the places of descent leading from the small gateways to the river; and also about the middle of the city, as I judge, with the stones which she had caused to be dug out she proceeded to build a bridge, binding together the stones with iron and lead: and upon the top she laid squared timbers across, to remain there while it was daytime, over which the people of Babylon made the passage across; but at night they used to take away these timbers for this reason, namely that they might not go backwards and forwards by night and steal from one another: and when the place dug out had been made into a lake full of water by the river, and at the same time the bridge had been completed, then she conducted the Euphrates back into its ancient channel from the lake, and so the place dug out being made into a swamp was thought to have served a good purpose, and there had been a bridge set up for the men of the city.

187. This same queen also contrived a snare of the following kind:—Over that gate of the city through which the greatest number of people passed she set up for herself a tomb above the very gate itself. And on the tomb she engraved writing which said thus: "If any of the kings of Babylon who come after me shall be in want of wealth, let him open my tomb and take as much as he desires; but let him not open it for any other cause, if he be not in want; for that will not be well." 191 This tomb was undisturbed until the kingdom came to Dareios; but to Dareios it seemed that it was a monstrous thing not to make any use of this gate, and also, when there was money lying there, not to take it, considering that the money itself invited him to do so. Now the reason why he would not make any use of this gate was because the corpse would have been above his head as he drove through. He then, I say, opened the tomb and found not indeed money but the corpse, with writing which said thus: "If thou hadst not been insatiable of wealth and basely covetous, thou wouldest not have opened the resting-places of the dead."


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