The palace was splendidly decorated with stat ues of men and animals, with vessels of g()Id and silver, and furnished with luxuries of all kinds brought thither front conquests in Egypt, Pales tine, and Tyre. Its greatest boast were the hanging gardens, which acquired even from Grecian writers the appellation of one of the won ders of the world. 'livey are attributed to the gallantry of Nebuchadnezzar, who constructed them in compliance with a wish of his queen, Amytis, to possess elevated groves such .ts she had enjoyed on the hills .room her native Ecbatana.
Bab) lun was all that; and n* accomplish so extravagant a desire an artificial mountain was reared, 400 feet on each side, while terraces om above another rose ltta height that overtopped the walls of the city, that is, above 300 feet in elevation. The ascent from terrace to terrace was made by corresponding flights of steps, while the terraces themselves were reared to their various stages on ranges of regular piers, which, forming a kind of vaulting, rose in succession one over the other to the required height of each terrace, the whole being hound together by a wall of 22 feet in thick ness. The level of each terrace or garden was then formed in the following manner: the top of the piers was first laid over with flat stones, t6 feet in length and 4 feet in width; on these stones were spread beds of matting, then a thick layer of bitu men; after which came two courses of bricks, which were covered with sheets of solid lead. The earth was heaped on this platform; and in order to admit the roots of large trees, prodigious hollow piers were built and tilled with mold. From the Euphrates, which flowed close to the foundation, water was drawn up by machinery. The whole, says Q. Curtius (v:5), had, to those who saw it from a distance, the appearance of woods overhanging mountains. Such was the completion of Nebuchadnezzar's work when he found himself at rest in his house, and flourished in his palace. The king spoke and said, 'Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and the of my majesty'? (Dan.iv:3o), a picture which is amply justified by the descriptions of heathen writers. Nowhere could the king have taken so comprehensive a view of the city he had so mag nificently constructed and adorned as when walk ing on the highest terrace of the gardens of his palace.
The remains of this palace arc found in the vast mound or hill called by the natives Kasr, ft is of irregular form, Boo yards in length and 600 yards in breadth.
5. Impure Worship. In Babylon were per formed the rites of the lunar deity, who was worshiped by the Persians and the Chaldreans under the names of Mylitta and Abytta, or Araites and Aranus. According to Mannonides, this 13abyl.orisli deity had numerous bawls of young women devoted to her service; and here is seen a priestess introducing a virgin to her temple to receive the benediction of the priests. These dedicated females, Ilerodiqus says, sat once in their lives in the shrine of Venus, their heads hound with garlands and their bodies with cords. Thus exposed, when strangers threw gold into their laps, they were obliged to retire with them into the temple, where their charms were subjected to its impure rites. The money was then laid on the altar to be consecrated to the goddess. These outrages seem to he referred to by Moses in the law, when he says, 'Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot into the house of the Lord thy God.' 6. Corrupt Morals. Babylon, as the center of a great kingdom, was the seat of boundless luxury, and its inhabitants were notorious for their addic tion to sulf•indolgence and effeminacy. Q. Curtius (v:1) asserts that, 'nothing could be more corrupt than its morals, nothing more fitted to excite and allure to immoderate pleasures. The rites of hos pitality were polluted by the grossest and most shameless lusts. Money dissolved every tie, whether of kindred, respect, or esteem. The Bab) Ionians were very greatly given to wine, at' the enjoyments whicfi accompany inebriet, Women were present at their convivialities, firs. with some degree of propriety, but, growing worse and worse b) degrees, they ended by throwing off at once their modesty and their clothing.' On the ground of their awful wickedness the Babylonians were threatened with condign punishment, through the mouths of the prophets; and the tyranny with which the rulers of the city exercised their sway was not without a decided effect in bringing on them the terrific consequences of the Divine vengeance. Nor in the whole range of literature is there anything to be found approach ing to the sublimity, force, and terror with which Isaiah and others speak on this painful subject (Is. xiv:11; xlvii:t ; Jer. Dan. v:1).