BABYLONIAN ARCHITECTURE. In commencing this article, we must premise that we cannot pretend to any detailed description, as the materials for such an undertaking are almost entirely wanting. An account of this style of architecture must needs be very imperfect, when the very situation of the ancient Babylon remains- uncertain. This once vast city, the metropolis of one of the great empires of the world, is now but one mass of undistinguishable ruins.
Owing to the interest belonging to so ancient and power ful an empire, much pains have been taken in the examination of the remains of the city, but so great is the confusion, that it has hitherto baffled the exertions of travellers to determine with certainty the situation and extent of any of the buildings mentioned by ancient authors: among the more successful of our modern travellers, we may especially mention the names of Rich and Tier Porter ; and among the ancients, those of Herodotns, Strabo, and Diodorus. We shall proceed to give an account of the city as described by the latter class of writers.
Herodbtus in his usual circumstantial manner, gives us a very exact and lengthened description. According to his account, the city was of a quadrangular form, four hundred and eighty stadia in circuit, divided into two districts by the river Euphrates: it was defended on all thu• sides by a deep trench and wall, of which the following is the method of construction. In the first plaee, the earth was excavated to form the trench, and, as it was dug up, was carried in masses of convenient size for bricks to the furnace, and there burnt; when this process was complete, the bricks were employed in lining the sides of the ditch, and erecting the superincumbent wall : the work was cemented together by bitumen, and bonded at every thirtieth course by layers of' reeds. The wall on each side was a hundred and twenty stadia in length, fifty royal cubits in thickness, and two hundred in height ; on the top, and on each side of it, was erected a row of houses of one story in height, fitcing each other, and leaving a space or roadway between them, wide enough to allow four horses to be driven along it abreast.
Where the outer walls met the river, a return wall was carried along each opposite bank to fortify the city against attacks from this quarter, and behind this again another, but of smaller dimensions. In the four walls surrounding the city, were a hundred apertures or entrances closed by means of brazen gates, from each of which was con tinued a street to the corresponding ones on the opposite side, intersecting the roads which led from the transverse walls at right angles. Where the streets met the return wall along the banks, an opening was made down to the river, provided with brazen gates. The city was filled with houses of three and tour stories in height; and among the most remarkable buildings, were the temple of Bt;lus and the palace, one in each of the principal divisions on either side of the Euphrates. The former is a very remarkable building on account of its supposed connection with the tower of Babel mentioned in the Mosaical account of the colonization of the earth. Herodotus gives the following description :—The tower was of a square plan. surrounded by a wall of similar form, having each of its sides two stadia in length ; the sides of the structure itself were only half this length, or one stadium. Our author does not give the height, but he states that the tower consisted of eight tiers, which gave to it the appearance of being composed of eight towers, placed one above the other ; hut this in reality was not the case; such resemblance being occasioned by an inclined platform winding round outside the building, and 'thereby making eight revolutions: this platform thrilled the only means of ascent. About halfway up the incline, was a resting-place, and at the highest extremity a large temple dedieated to the god lief, or perhaps Baal : there was another Chapel in this building, containing an image of the god, of which we have no particular description.