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Babylon

The ancient capital of Chaldea, situated of both sides of the Euphrates, and once the most magnificent city of the ancient world. It was here that upon the destruction of Solomon's Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in the year of the world 3394 the Jews of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin who were the inhabitants of Jerusalem, were conveyed and detained in captivity for seventy-two years, until Cyrus, King of Persia issued a decree for restoring them, and permitting them to rebuild their temple, under the superintendence of Zerubbabel, the Prince of the Captivity, and with the assistance of Joshua the High Priest and Haggai the Seribe.

Babylon the Great, as the Prophet Daniel calls it was situated four hundred and seventy-five miles in a nearly due east direction from Jerusalem. It stood in the midst of a large and fertile plain on each side of the river Euphrates, which ran through it from north to south. It was surrounded with walls which were eighty-seven feet thick, three hundred and fifty in height, and sixty miles in compass. These were all built of large bricks cemented together with bitumen. Exterior to the walls was a wide and deep trench lined with the same material. Twenty-five gates on each side, made of solid brass, gave admission to the city. From each of these gates proceeded a wide street fifteen miles in length, and the whole was separated by means of other smaller divisions, and contained six hundred and seventy-six squares, each of which was two miles and a quarter in circumference. Two hundred and fifty towers placed upon the walls afforded the means of additional strength and protection. Within this immense circuit were to be found palaces and temples and other edifices of the utmost magnificence, which have caused the wealth, the luxury, and splendor of Babylon to become the favorite theme of the historians of antiquity, and which compelled the prophet Isaiah, even while denouncing its downfall, to speak of it as "the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency."

Babylon, which, at the time of the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, constituted a part of the Chaldean empire, was subsequently taken, 538 B.C., after a siege of two years, by Cyrus, King of Persia

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