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AFTER the deluge, in the tenth generation, was a certain man among the Chaldæans renowned for his justice and great exploits, and for his skill in the celestial sciences.—Euseb. Præp. Evan. lib. 9.
From the reign of Nabonasar only are the Chaldæans (from whom the Greek mathematicians copy) accurately acquainted with the heavenly motions: for Nabonasar collected all the mementos of the kings prior to himself, and destroyed them, that the enumeration of the Chaldæan kings might commence with him.—Syncel. Chron. 207.
He (Nabopollasar) sent his son Nabuchodonosor with a great army against Egypt, and against Judea, upon his being informed that they had revolted from him; and by that means he subdued them all, and set fire to the temple that was at Jerusalem; and removed our people entirely out of their own country, and transferred them to Babylon, and our city remained in a state of desolation during the interval of seventy years, until the days of Cyrus king of Persia. (He then says, that) this Babylonian king conquered Egypt, and Syria, and Phœnicia, and Arabia, and exceeded in his exploits all that had reigned before him in Babylon and Chaldæa.—Joseph. contr. Appion. lib. 1. c. 19.
When Nabopollasar his (Nabuchodnosor's) father, heard that the governor, whom he had set over Egypt, and the provinces of Cœlesyria and Phœnicia, had revolted, he was determined to punish his delinquencies, and for that purpose entrusted part of his army to his son Nabuchodonosor, who was then of mature age,2 and sent him forth against the rebel: and Nabuchodonosor engaged and overcame him, and reduced the country again under his dominion. And it came to pass that his father, Nabopollasar, was seised with a disorder which proved fatal, and he died in the city of Babylon, after he had reigned nine and twenty years.
Nabuchodonosor, as soon as he had received intelligence of his father's death, set in order the affairs of Egypt and the other countries, and committed to some of his faithful officers the captives he had taken from the Jews, and Phœnicians, and Syrians, and the nations belonging to Egypt, that they might conduct them with that part of the forces which had heavy armour, together with the rest of his baggage, to Babylonia: in the mean time with a few attendants he hastily crossed the desert to Babylon. When he arrived there he found that his affairs had been faithfully conducted by the Chaldæans, and that the principal person among them had preserved the kingdom for him: and he acordingly obtained possession of all his father's dominions. And he distributed the captives in colonies in the most proper places of Babylonia: and adorned the temple of Belus, and the other temples, in a sumptuous and pious manner, out of the spoils which he had taken in this war. He also rebuilt the old city, and added another to it on the outside, and so far completed Babylon, that none, who might besiege it afterwards, should have it in their power to divert the river, so as to facilitate an entrance into it: and he effected this by building three walls about the inner city, and three about the outer. Some of these walls he built of burnt brick and bitumen, and some of brick only. When he had thus admirably fortified the city, and had magnificently adorned the gates, he added also a new palace to those in which his forefathers had dwelt, adjoining them, but exceeding them in height and splendor. Any attempt to describe it would be tedious: yet notwithstanding its prodigious size and magnificence it was finished within fifteen days. In this palace he erected very high walks, supported by stone pillars; and by planting what was called a pensile paradise, and replenishing it with all sorts of trees, he rendered the prospect an exact resemblance of a mountainous country. This he did to gratify his queen, because she had been brought up in Media, and was fond of a mountainous situation.—Joseph. contr. Appion. lib. 1. c. 19.—Syncel. Chron. 220.—Euseb. Præp. Evan. lib. 9.
Nabuchodonosor, whilst he was engaged in building the above-mentioned wall, fell sick, and died after he had reigned forty-three years; whereupon his son Evilmerodachus succeeded him in his kingdom. His government however was conducted in an illegal and improper manner, and he fell a victim to a conspiracy which was formed against his life by Neriglissoorus, his sister's husband, after he had reigned about two years.
Upon his death Neriglissoorus, the chief of the conspirators, obtained possession of the kingdom, and reigned four years.
He was succeeded by his son Laborosoarchodus who was but a child, reigned nine months; for his misconduct he was seized by conspirators, and put to death by torture.
After his death, the conspirators assembled, and by common consent placed the crown upon the head of Nabonnedus, a man of Babylon, and one of the leaders of the insurrection. It was in his reign that the walls of the city of Babylon which defend the banks of the river were curiously built with burnt brick and bitumen.
In the seventeenth year of the reign of Nabonnedus, Cyrus came out of Persia with a great army, and having conquered all the rest of Asia, advanced hastily into the country of Babylonia. As soon as Nabonnedus perceived he was advancing to attack him, he assembled his forces and opposed him, but was defeated, and fled with a few of his adherents, and was shut up in the city of Borsippus. Upon this Cyrus took Babylon, and gave orders that the outer walls should be demolished, because the city appeared of such strength as to render a siege almost impracticable. From thence he marched to Borsippus, to besiege Nabonnedus: but Nabonnedus delivered himself into his hands without holding out the place: he was therefore kindly treated by Cyrus, who provided him with an establishment in Carmania, but sent him out of Babylonia. Nabonnedus accordingly spent the remainder of his life in that country, where he died.—Joseph. contr. App. lib. 1. c. 20.—Euseb. Præp. Evan. lib. 9.
Berossus, in the first book of his Babylonian history, says; That in the eleventh month, called Loos, is celebrated in Babylon the feast of Sacea for five days, in which it is the custom that the masters should obey their domestics, one of whom is led round the house, clothed in a royal garment, and him they call Zoganes.—Athenæus, lib. 14.
1 The various readings to some of the following extracts would, if they were all given, exceed the text in size. I have selected those which appear to be most material.
2 Lat.—Fab.—but a youth—Qy.