« PreviousContinue »
fashion of building as some example of the mode heretofore practised in Babylon, the
improper to omit a description of it in this place. I meau Akerkouf, or, as it is more generally called, Nimrod's Tower; for the inhabitants of these parts are as fond of attributing every vestige of antiquity to Nimrod as those of Egypt are to Pharaoh. It is situate ten miles to the north-west of Bagdad, and is a thick mass of unburnt brick work, of an irregular shape, rising out of a base of rubbish; there is a layer of reeds betweea every fifth or sixth (for the number is not regulated) layer of bricks. It is perforated with sinall square holes, as the brickwork at the Birs Nemroud; and about half way up on the east side is an aperture like a window; the layers of cement are very thin, which, considering it is mere mud, is an extraordinary circumstance. The height of the whole is 126 ft.; diaineter of the largest part, 100 ft. ; circumference of the foot of the brickwork above the rubbish, 300 ft. ; the reinains of the tower contain 100,000 cubic feet. (Vide Ives's Trarels, p. 298.) To the east of it is a dependent mound, resembling tho
at the Birs and Al Hheimar."
41. The inquiry (following Mr. Rich) now to be pursued is that of identifying some of the remains which have been described with the description which has been left of them. And, first, of the circuit of the city. The greatest circumference of the city, according to the authors of antiquity, was 480 stadia (supposed about 500 ft. each), the least 360. Strabo, who was on the spot when the walls were sufficiently perfect to judge of their extent, states their circuit at 385 stadia. It seems probable that within the walls there was a quantity of arable and pasture ground, to enable the population to resist a siege ; and that, unlike modern cities, the buildings were distributed in groups over the area inclosed; for Xenophon reports that when Cyrus took Babylon (which event happened at night) the inhabitants of the opposite quarter of the town were not aware of it till the third part of the day; that is, three hours after sunrise. The accounts of the height of the walls all agree in the dimension of 50 cubits, which was their reduced height from 350 A. by Darius Hystaspes, in order to render the town less defensible.
The embankment of the river with walls, according to Diodorus 100 stadia in length, indicates very advanced engineering skill; but the most wonderful 4 tructure of the city was the tower, pyramid, or sepulchre of Belus, whose base, according
It stood in an enclosure of two miles and a half, and contained the temple in which divine honours were paid to the tutelary deity of Balys lon. The main interest attached to the tower of Belus arises from a belief of its identity with the tower which we learn from Scripture (Gen. xi.) the descendants of Noah, with Belus at their head, constructed in the plains of Shinar. The two masses of ruins in which this tower must be sought, seem to be the Birs Nemroud, whose four sides are 2286 English feet in length; and the Mujelibé, whose circumference is 2111 ft. stadium at 500 ft., the tower of Belus, according to the accounts, would be 2000 ft. in ciro cumference ; so that both the ruins agree, as nearly as possible, in the requisite dimensions considering our uncertainty respecting the exact length of the stadium. Mr. Rich evidently inclines to the opinion that the Birs Nemroud is the ruin of this celebrated temple, though lie allows “ a very strong objection may be brought against the Birs Nemroud in the distance of its position from the extensive remains on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, which for its accommodation would oblige us to extend the measurement of each side of
square to nine miles, or adopt a plan which would totally exclude the Mujelibé, all the ruins above it, and most of those below : even in the foriner case, the Mujelibé and the Birs would be at opposite extremities of the town close to the walls, while we have every reason to believe that the tower of Belus occupied a central situation.”
42. The citadel or palace was surrounded by a wall whose total length was 60 stadia, within which was another of 40 stadia, whose inner face was ornamented with painting, a practice (says Mr. Rich) among the Persians to this day. Within the last-named wall was a third, on which hunting subjects were painted. The old palace was on the opposite Above the palace or citadel were, according to Strabo, the hanging gardens, for which, in s'teletons found there “ embarrass almost any theory that may be formed on this extra. urdinary pile." obelisk which Diodorus says was erected by Semiramis; it is not, however, impossible telles that the number of buildings within the city bore na proportion to the extent of the walbe the diligence and perseverance of future travellers may bring them to light. Rich believes houses were, in general, small; and further, St Maro the assertion of Herodotus, that it abounded in houses of two or three stories, argues that the majority consisted of only como He well observes, « The peculiar climate of this district' must have caused a similarity of habits and accommodation in all ages ; and if, upon this principle, we take the present occupied by stables, magazines, and serdaubs or cellars, sunk'a vitle below the ground, for
Now, taking the
nor of the
and the heads looking to the east show the faces front of the crown; the whole being surmounted most perfect among the ruins, and are 54 ft. high. At the distance of fifty-two feet south
eastward from the second portico is a waterFrom hence to the northern wall of the platform is covered with fragments;
17 ft. 5 in. broad, and standing 3 ft. high from
From north to south the extent is 600 paces (1425 ft. ), and 390 (802 ft) from west to rast to the mountain on the south side, having no stairs on that side ; average height about 18 ft. 7 in. On the north side it is 410 paces (926 ft.) from east to west, and the wall is 21 ft. high in some places. At the north-west corner of the wall, about 80 paces in extent westward, are some rocks before the principal staircase. found a large platform 400 paces in extent towards the mountain. Along the wall on three
On mounting the steps there is
sides a pavement extends for a width of 8 ft. The principal staircase A (fig. 23.) is not placed in the
middle of the west 500 ft
side, but nearer to the north. It has a double flight, the distance between the Alights at the bottom being 42 ft., and the width of them is 25 ft. 7 in. The steps are 4 in. high, and 14 in. wide. Fiftyfive of them remain on the north side, and fifty-three on the south ; and it is probable that some are buried by the
ruins. 1425 f? Fig. 23.
spaces at the top of 51 ft. 4 in. wide.
the first flight are through at the upper landing. The upper flights are in forty-eight steps, and are cut out
The upper flights are separated from the lower by a wall which runs of single blocks of the rock. 48. Forty-two feet from the landing, at B, are two large portals and two columns
The upper landing is seventy-five feet between the flights. (originally four).
The bottom of the first is covered with two blocks of stone, which fill two thirds of the space ; the other third having been destroyed by time. tal is more covered by the earth than the first, by five feet. They are 22 ft. 4 in. deep,
The second porand 13 ft. 4. in. wide. On the interior side-faces of their piers, and nearly the whole length of them, are large figures of bulls, cut in bas-relief. entirely destroyed ; and their breasts and fore feet project from the piers: the two of the
The heads of these animals are first portal face to the staircase, and those of the other face towards the mountain. upper part of the piers there are some arrow-headed characters, too small to be made out
from below. The remains of the first portal are
On the head is a cylindrical diadem, on both sides of which horns are clearly represented winding from the brows upwards to the with a sort of coronet, formed of a range, leaves like the lotus, and bound with a fillet
The two columns (at Sir R. K. Porter's visit only one remained)
PLAN OF PERSEPOLIS.
We may here ob
carved like roses.
trough cut out of a single stone 20 ft. long and
49. At one hundred and seventy-two feet from the portals, southward, is another staircase of two flights (lettered C), one west and the other east. On the top of the ramp of the steps are some foliages, and a lion tearing to pieces a bull, in bas-relief, and larger than nature. This staircase is half buried. The western flight has twenty-eight steps, and the other, where the ground is higher, has only eighteen. These steps are 17 ft. long, 3 in. high, and 144 in. wide. The wall of the landing is sculptured with three rows of figures, one above the other, and extending ninety-eight feet. The faces of these inner terrace walls
are all decorated with bas-reliefs, of which fig. 25. is a specimen. On arriving at the top of this staircase, was found another large platform, paved with large blocks of stone; and at the distance of twenty-two feet two inches from the parapet of the landing, are the most northern columns (lettered D), originally twelve in number, whereol in Sir R. K. Porter's time only one
remained. At seventy-one feet southward froin these stood thirty-six columns more, at intervals of twenty-two feet two inches from each other, whereof only five now remain; the bases, however, of all the others are in. their places, though most of them are much damaged. This group of columns is lettered E. To the east and west of the last-named group are two other groups of twelve each marked F and G, whereof five still remain in the eastern one, and four in the western one. The columns of the central group are fifty-five feet high ; and those of the other three groups are sixty feet in height. To the south of the three groups of columns is situate the inost raised building on these ruins. On the east, towards the mountain, a large mass of ruins is visible (lettered H), consisting of portals, passages, windows, &c. The first are decorated with figures on the interior; and the whole plot on which they stand is 95 paces from east to west, and about 125 paces from north to south. The centre part of the plot is covered with fragments of columns and other stones ; and in the interior part there seems to have been a group of seventy-six columns, whereof none are represented by Sir R. K. Porter, nor are they shown in either of Le Bruyn's views. The highest building as to level, inarked I, is 118 ft. distant from the columns lettered G. Some foundations are visible in front of this building, to which there is not the slightest trace of a staircase. fifty-three feet from the facade of it to the right is a staircase of double fight, marked K, whe:e again bassi relievi are to be found, near which are the reinains of some portals which Le Bruyn thinks were destroyed by an earthquake. The next ruin (L) is 541 ft. iu extent, and has portals similar to those in other parts of the place. To its north, M exhibits uniform features, with windows, and what travellers have agreed to call niches, which are nothing more than square-headed recesses. Sculpture here again abounds, whereof we do not think a description necessary, as in fig. 25. a specimen of it bas been given, sufficient to indicate its character. Behind this edifice is another, in some respects similar, except that it is thirty-eight feet longer. It is marked N on the plan. One hundred feet to the south of this last set of ruins (lettered O), Sir R. K. Porter seems to have found traces of columns, which, if we read Le Bruyn rightly, he does not mention. In this, the last-named traveller found a staircase leading to subterranean apartments, as he thought, but nothing of interest was discovered. The general dimensions of the building (P) extend about 160 ft. from north to south, and 190 ft. from east to west.
It exhibits ten portals in ruins, besides other remains; and there are traces of thirty-six columns, in six ranks of six each. The spot is covered with fragments, under which have been traced conveyances for water. To the west of the last-named building was another entirely in ruins : 'to the east of it are visible the remains of a fine staircase, much resembling that first described, and which, therefore, we do not think it necessary to particularise, more than we do the numberless fragments scattered over the whole area, which was equal to nearly thirty English acres ! The ruins at Q are of portals. At R and S are tombs cut in the rock, of curious form, but evidently, from their character, the work of those who constructed the enormous pile of building of which we have already inserted a representation. Between the leading forms of the portals of these ruins, or porticoes, as Le Bruyn calls them, and those of the structures of Egypt, there is a very striking resemblance. On comparison of the two, it is impossible not to be struck with the large crowning hol. lowed member, which seems to have been common to the edifices on the banks of the Nile and those on the plain of Merdasht. In both, this member, forming, as it were, an entablature, is ornamented with vertical ribs or leaves, and the large fillet above the hollow appears equally in each. In the walls of the Persepolitan remains, there is perhaps less real massiveness than in those which were the works of the Egyptians; but the similarity of appearance between them points to the conjecture that, though neither might have been borrowed from the other, they are not many removes from one common parent. The an
tiexed diagram (fig. 26.) will give the reader some notion of the style of the architecture of
CAPITAL VLNA TUMN,
Fig. 27. COLUMN
Persepolis. The diagram ( fig. 27.) exhibits a specimen of a column and capital. Fig. 28.
is a capital from one of the tombs. The walls forming the revêtement of
they are, indeed, so well wrought that the AND CAPITAL- joints can scarcely be perceived.
50. No person can look at the style of composition and details of Persepolis without a conviction of some intimate connection between the architects of Persia and those of Egypt.
The principles of both are identical ; and without inquiring into
Cambyses ; but we think they are answered by the siinilarity of arrow-headed characters used therein to those of ancient Babylon, whereof an example is here given (fig. 29.) from one of the portals of Persepolis. A few miles to the south of Perserolis, tl'e hill of Nakshi Ruslân (fig. 30.) presents a number of sculptured tombs,