Page:An Essay on the Age and Antiquity of the Book of Nabathaean Agriculture.djvu/27

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11
BABYLONIAN LITERATURE.

the composition of “The Book of Nabathæan Agriculture” at an extremely early date.

“It is,” he says, “very probable, if I am not altogether mistaken, that this book was written during the period which elapsed between the emancipation of Babylon from the Median yoke, by Belesis, and the taking of Babylon by Cyrus. Perhaps even one might venture to fix the exact date as in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar the Second. It is a very natural hypothesis, that a great prince, who carried his victorious arms to such remote lands; who embellished his capital by immense works; who ordered the construction of numberless canals, destined to spread fertility and abundance over the most distant parts of his hereditary states; should wish to complete and perpetuate his work by ordering the composition of a vast library, which should comprise all that the experience of many centuries had taught, as to the productions of Chaldæa, and the means of developing and increasing its natural resources.”