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Bīsutūn

(573 words)

Author(s): Herzfeld, Ernst
, a mountain about 20 miles east of Kirmāns̲h̲āh, on the road from Bag̲h̲dād to Hamadān. The name appears in Greek sources (Ktesias quoted by Diodorus Siculus and Isdoros Charax) as τὸ Βαγίστανον ὄροΣ, and in the earlier Arab authors, such as Ḥamza al-Iṣfahānī and al-Ḵh̲wārizmī, as Bag̲h̲istān (or Bag̲h̲astān). This form goes back to an old Persian Bāgastāna, i. e. “Place of the Gods” and as Bāga was particularly Mithras, it may be presumed that this mountain, one of the most beautiful in North Western Īrān, was in ancient times the site o…

Bābil

(1,687 words)

Author(s): Herzfeld, Ernst
, the ancient Babylon, situated on the Euphrates in 32° 41′ 30″ North and 44° 23′ 30″ East of Greenwich. The ancient Babylon had even in early times a much greater importance for Islām, as for us, than the town which still existed in the earlier Islāmic period. All that the Muslims know about Bābil, comes from three sources, Jewish Persian or Christian. It is not quite clear whether the information, which can be traced to the Bible, has come through the Jews or the Christians. Even Adam and Ḳābīl and Hābīl are placed in Bābil after the expulsion from Paradise and an equal antiqui…

Bālis

(1,053 words)

Author(s): Herzfeld, Ernst
, a t own in North Syria, on the Euphrates, where the stream turns to the east from its southern course, situated in 35° 59’ n. Lat. and 38° 12’ East Long. Greenw. The name is the Aramaic which is usually given by classical authors in the form Barbalissos. The oldest mention of the town appears to be in Xenophon, who mentions a palace and pleasure-grounds of Belesys, Governor of Syria, here. Ptolemy gives Barbarissos in its right place and the Tabula Peutingeriana mentions it as station on the Euphrates road. According to the Notitia Dignitatum, about 425 a. d., it belonged to the Augusta Euf…

Birs

(383 words)

Author(s): Herzfeld, Ernst
, also called Birs Nimrūd, in the older literature Burs, a ruined site 9 miles S.W. of the town of Ḥilla on the Euphrates, about 12 miles S.S.W. of Babylon on the eastern shore of the Lake of Hindīya. The place is the ancient Borsippa, the sister town of Babylon. Its immense ruins, the largest that have survived from the Babylonian period, were thought by the Arabs to be the palace of Nimrūd ibn Kanʿān ( ṣarḥ Nimrūd, Yāḳūt, i. 136) or of Buk̲h̲tnaṣṣar (Yāḳūt, i. 165). Even in modern times they were thought to be the ruins of the Tower of Babel and this erroneous view use…