BABEL, Towmt OF. For an account of this building, and the confusion of tongues which it brought about, see the 11th chapter of Genesis. The distinction of being a remnant of the tower of B. has been claimed for three different masses: 1st, for Nimrud's tower at Akkerkuf; 2d, the Mujellibe, 950 yards c. of the Euphrates, and 5 m. above the modern town of Hillah ; 3d, the Birs Nimrud, to the w. of that river, and about 6 in. to the s.w. of Hillah—the whole situated in Babylonia (q.v.). The last of these has the majority of opinions in its favor. Every one, it is said, who has seen the Birs Ninirud, feels at once that, of the ruined mounds in' this region, there is not one which so nearly corresponds with his previous notions of the tower of Babel. According to Mr. Rich, it is of an oblong form, the total circumference being 762 yards. At the eastern side it is cloven by a deep furrow, and is not more than 50 or 60 ft. high; but on the western side it rises in a conical figure to the elevatioa of 198 ft.; and on its summit is a solid pile of brick 37 ft. high by 28 in breadth, diminishing in thickness to the top, which is broken and irregular, and rent by a large fissure extending through a third of its height. It is perforated by small square holes. disposed in rhomboids. The fire-burnt bricks of which it is built have inscriptions on them, and so excellent is the cement, which appears to be lime-mortar, that it is nearly impossible to extract a brick whole. The other parts
of the summit of this hill are occupied by immense fragments of brickwork, of no deter minate figure, tumbled together, and converted into solid vitrified masses, as if they had undergone the action of the fiercest fire, or had been blown up with gunpowder, the layers of brick being, perfectly discernible. These ruins stand on a prodigious mound, the whole of which is itself in ruins, channeled by the weather, and strewed with frag ments of black stone, sandstone, and marble. Sir R K. Porter has shown that the intense vitrifying heat to which the summit has been evidently- subjected. must have been the result of fire operating from above, and was probably produced by lightning. This is a curious circumstance, taken in connection with the ancient tradition that the tower of B. was rent and overthrown by fire from heaven. Porter thinks that the works of the Babylonish kings, especially the stupendous temple of Belus, which was erected on the site of the old tower, concealed for a while the marks of the original devastation; and that now the destructions of time and of man have reduced it to nearly the same con dition in which it appeared after the confusion. 3Ir. George Smith discovered the legend of the building of 13. among the Assyrian tablets in the British museum, and gave an account of it in his Chaldean Amount of Genesis (1875).