Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Babel (gate of God), the early and local name of Babylon (q.v.), the foundation of which is assigned in Genesis (x. 10) to Nimrod, about 2,000 years before the Christian era. The tradition as to the building of the tower and the confusion of tongues, recorded in Genesis xi. 1-9, may have connected itself with the name, owing to its resemblance to the Hebrew balbel (confusion). The same story recurs in the primitive history of many races, and is preserved as regards Babylon in the cuneiform inscriptions. The famous tower, which the builders intended to carry up to heaven, is identified by Strabo with the tomb of Belus, and he fixes the height without apparent authority at 606 ft. It is more probable that we have a trace of the structure in Birs Nimroud, the ruins of which still exist at Borsippa, a suburb of Babylon. This temple, which was according to legend completed by Nebuchadnezzar, after many previous kings had been engaged in building it, is a pyramidical structure of eight storeys, and over 200 ft. in height. If this be the building seen by Herodotus, the city walls must in his time have embraced an enormous area.