Home >> Encyclopedia-of-architecture-1852 >> Dilapidation to Embankment >> Ecbatana


cubits, modern and walls

ECBATANA, the capital of ancient Media, and the resi dence of the Median and Persian kings. it was situated in a plain, about twelve stadia from mount Orontes. Diodorus says it was 250 stadia in circuit. The walls were seven in number, built upon a circular plan, rising gradually above each other, by the height of each wall conforming in a great measure to the situation of the ground. In the book of Judith, we read that they were 60 cubits in height, and 50 in breadth ; that the towers over the gates were 100 cubits in height, and the breadth of the foundation 60 cubits, and that the walls were built of hewn and polished stones, each stone being 6 cubits in length and 3 in breadth. The royal palace and treasury were within the inmost of the seven walls. Diodorus says, the timber of the palace was cedar or cypress ; and various parts of it were cased with gold or silver. There are no monuments remaining of this superb palace, where the monarchs of Asia generally passed their summer ; and it is rather to be lamented that a disagree ment should exist among modern travellers, about the site on which this stately metropolis stood.

The site of Ecbatana has been a matter of dispute ; but the dispute has arisen solely because those who have discussed the question, either did not know the evidence on which the question must be decided, or did not understand it. The route of commerce between the low country in the ancient Seleucia, and the modern Bagdad and the high table-land of Iran, is determined by the physical character of the country, and has continued the same from the earliest recorded history of those countries, to the present day. The places marked in the " Itinerary" of Isidore, as lying between Seleucia and Ecbatana, are the places indicated by modern travellers as lying on the route between Bagdad and Hamadan.