Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Tale of the Fall of Babylon to the Persians, by Herodotus

At the moment I feel bogged down in historical detail about Babylon.

I think I am going to have to simulate doing research on the economic and social background of Babylon.

And as to the Aryan thesis in my entries on capitalism (the notion that Aryan tribes generated capitalism in ancient Babylon) it is looking much less probable. The odds are that the fuel in the fire of capitalism was the "Turkic" tribes, whoever they are.

It also turns out that Sumeria wasn't a 'nation-state', but rather a confederacy like the Greek Penninsula of warring city-states. So Babylon was likely the Great Leap Forward in terms of organizational capitalism. But more research will confirm or deny.

And I have been reading Herodotus' account of how the Persians won Babylon, and it is a classic war story which I think I simply must reproduce here:

"Cyrus, with the first approach of the ensuing spring, marched forward against Babylon. The Babylonians, encamped without their walls, awaited his coming. A battle was fought at a short distance from the city, in which the Babylonians were
defeated by the Persian king, whereupon they withdrew within their defences.

"Here they shut themselves up, and made light of his siege, having laid in a store of provisions for many years in preparation against this attack; for when they saw Cyrus conquering nation after nation, they were convinced that he would never stop, and that their turn would come at last."

"Cyrus was now reduced to great perplexity, as time went on and he made no progress against the place. In this distress either some one made the suggestion to him, or he bethought himself of a plan, which he proceeded to put in execution.

"He placed a portion of his army at the point where the river enters the city, and another body at the back of the place where it issues forth, with orders to march into the town by the bed of the stream, as soon as the water became shallow enough: he then himself drew off with the unwarlike portion of his host, and made for the place where Nitocris dug the basin for the river, where he did exactly what she had done formerly: he turned the Euphrates by a canal into the basin, which was then a marsh, on which the river sank to such an extent that the natural bed of the stream became fordable. Hereupon the Persians who had been left for the purpose at Babylon by the, river-side, entered the stream, which had now sunk so as to
reach about midway up a man's thigh, and thus got into the town.

"Had the Babylonians been apprised of what Cyrus was about, or had they noticed their danger, they would never have allowed the Persians to enter the city, but would have destroyed them utterly; for they would have made fast all the street-gates which gave upon the river, and mounting upon the walls along both sides of the stream, would so have caught the enemy, as it were, in a trap. But, as it was, the Persians came upon them by surprise and so took the city.

Owing to the vast size of the place, the inhabitants of the central parts (as the residents at Babylon declare) long after the outer portions of the town were taken, knew nothing of what had chanced, but as they were engaged in a festival, continued dancing and revelling until they learnt the capture but too certainly. Such, then, were the circumstances of the first taking of Babylon."


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