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Herodotus on the walling of Babylon (1)

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07 Crafts and economy

5th century BCE
Greek Classical Age
Greek philosophers and scholars

Herodotus 1.179:
Further, I must show where the earth was used as it was taken from the fosse and in what manner the wall was wrought. As they dug the fosse, they made bricks of the earth which was carried out of the place they dug, and when they had moulded bricks enough they baked them in ovens; then using hot bitumen for cement and interposing layers of wattled reeds at every thirtieth course of bricks, they built first the border of the fosse and then the wall itself in the same fashion. On the top, along the edges of the wall, they built houses of a single chamber, facing each other, with space enough between for the driving of a four-horse chariot. There are an hundred gates in the circle of the wall, all of bronze, with posts and lintels of the same. There is another city, called Is (= Hit), eight days’ journey from Babylon, where is a little river, also named Is, a tributary stream of the river Euphrates; from the source of this river Is rise with the water many gouts of bitumen; and from thence the bitumen was brought for the wall of Babylon.

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Herodotus 1.179

Godley 1960, I 222-225Godley, A. D. Herodotus. 4 Vols. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, London: Heinemann 1960.

Links (external links will open in a new browser window)
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Amar Annus

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