Tuesday, February 22, 2011

successful in the conquering and exploring department

Direct from my very own collection of 'things you know the name of, but don't know anything about' - The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (related to the weekly topic because the big wide world made me think about the wonders of the world, which got me onto the hanging gardens, and as they also fit into the 'greenery' part of this week's theme it seemed a perfect fit!)

I thought i would use this as a good reason to learn about ye olde gardens... To summarise, (thanks to the philosopher Strabo)-
"The Hanging Garden has plants cultivated above ground level, and the roots of the trees are embedded in an upper terrace rather than in the earth. The whole mass is supported on stone columns... Streams of water emerging from elevated sources flow down sloping channels... These waters irrigate the whole garden saturating the roots of plants and keeping the whole area moist. Hence the grass is permanently green and the leaves of trees grow firmly attached to supple branches... This is a work of art of royal luxury and its most striking feature is that the labor of cultivation is suspended above the heads of the spectators."
Eat your heart out Jamie Durie.

The gardens were built by the then King of Babylon as a gift for his wife who longed for the gardens of her Persian homeland, and they were filled with exotic plants and animals from around the world (Babylon having been fairly successful in the conquering and exploring department over the years). FUrther reading tells me that they might not have existed at all... I have good intentions to go to the library and borrow a book about all of this, but by the time i get there we'll be onto a new theme so stay tuned for a 'Solving the Mystery of Babylon' ps in the distant future.

I find the idea of these ancient gardens really enchanting, and when imagining them I'd always given them a kid of futuristic quality.... kind of like they were hovering (oddly enough!). If I could draw this would be a great place for a sketch... but alas I can't for the life of me, so I'll finish up with a few little pics I found about the place.

(no kidding, this actually comes up in the google search results!)

(to visit original sources, click on the images)

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