Of all the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World, the most intriguing one would be perhaps the ‘
Now we are at
One Garden two queens
There are two women (both queens) whose names stand associated with the
Made to the order of Amytis
The time of its construction was 600 BC, the country where it built was
Gardens of Semiramis (Sammu ramat)
The other one associated with this garden as this garden (as it is also known as Gardens of Semiramis) was the queen of Ninus the king of
The Greek documents
According to Diodorus this garden is 400 feet long, 400 feet wide and 80 feet in height, built on tiers to resemble theater, with vaults built beneath to carry weight of the planted garden, the upper most vaults is 75 feet high; which is the uppermost part of the garden, the same level of city-wall. Its roof made of stone beams 16 feet long on which tar coated reed was laid, over that two layers of baked brick bonded by cement and a final covering of lead; done to prevent seepage of water! On the top of this lead coating enough soil to grow plants from big trees to small herbs all with flowers of strong fragrance –the queen’s wish!
A soldiers’ (cock and bull) story!
The modern world so far depended entirely upon the references from Greek writers like Strabo, Borossus and Diodorus and etc for understanding the shape and structure of this wonderful creation. It was also a fact that even these writers who have described about this garden in detail had not actually seen it. It was the Alexander’s army who spread the existence of such wonderful things they saw on their way.
There were also many other wonderful things in their stories like the
The garden; as per Diodorus
Babylon lies in a plain, its walls are385 stadia (one stadia = 185 meters) in length, its thickness allows four-horse chariot to pass over, on this account is one of the seven wonders of the world. The garden is quadrangular, covered with earth so deep even largest trees accommodated, columns constructed in backed bricks and asphalt, ascent to uppermost terrace by stairs, water from Euphrates drawn continuously by screws by people engaged for it. The river flows through the middle of the city, garden on the bank of the river.
A fact becomes a fiction
The stories told by these soldiers spread like wild fire and the whole world came to know about the wonders that existed in a mysterious world that was Babylon which was far away from them. Historians recorded them in their books; they used imagination to fill the gaps with poetic talents making the whole concept weird!
Modern Archaeology to the rescue
Fortunately science has come to the rescue of a garden that was being placed in to the status of a myth or as a figment of imagination of some drunken soldiers. There must be some fire beneath this smoke was majority opinion.
Robert Koldewey a German architect and archaeologist belonged to the majority and he was in search of the fire beneath the smoke. He toiled 14 years in the site digging and analyzing the mud! There was only a heap of mud where the
Koldewey finds the treasure
In the site where the garden stood he could retrieve the foundation of the fourteen large rooms with stone arch ceilings; the ancient records stated there were only two structures made of stone. Finally Koldewey had stumbled upon the cellar of the elusive garden that stood as support to the balconies of the garden.
Next thing Koldewey did was to compare the remnants with the descriptions given by Diodorus, a room with three holes came to his sight; close study revealed three unnatural holes on its walls; these are the holes made for fixing the pump that drew water from the river to the uppermost balcony of the garden!
Still there are doubting toms among archaeologists; some opine;
1. The site was on the banks of
2. The foundation dug out by Koldewey was 100 into 150 smaller than the descriptions given in the books.
3. The tablets recently recovered from the site state that the site was used for administrative and storage purpose; hence it does not match with a garden for pleasure.
Behind the descriptions of historians a book written by Berossus (Chronicles of Babylonian History) a famous astrologer of 3rd century BC also have been worked as reference. Hence simply ruling out the very existence as a myth is unacceptable.
Of these doubts the location of the site is a real issue, there must be some error in some statements. The second thing the difference in the size of the foundation recovered can be understood as the historians had not visited the site and what they relied was sayings of the soldiers who had never measured it!
That stated in the tablet is ok building a garden on a site built for some other purpose is not uncommon especially if it is done for the visual pleasure of the ruling queen! May be the site served dual purpose; both visual pleasure along with storage! Is there anything that forbids a multipurpose structure? A thing of beauty is a joy for ever!