The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 1: Gardening in the Ancient World

Semiramis garden

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18. The existence of these gardens is, however, very problematical. Bryant (Ancient Mythology) gives his reasons for disbelieving the very existence of Queen Semiramis. Granville Penn says that the name of Semiramis is no other than the appellative of her country, Semarin; and that she was nothing more than a captive Hebrew, like Esther. of fascinating beauty and accomplishments, who was carried off from her native country Somaria, when the greater part of its population was transferred to Assyria. Quintus Curtius (lib. xv. cap. 5.) calls these gardens �fabulous wonders of the Greeks;� and Herodotus, who describes Babylon, is silent as to their existence. Many consider their description as representing a hill cut into terraces, and planted; and some modern travellers have fancied that they could discover traces of such a work. The value of each conjectures is left to be estimated by the antiquarian; we consider the description of this Babylonian garden as worth preserving for its grandeur and suitableness to the country and climate, and as furnishing valuable ideas for the architectural decoration of landscape. For the same reason, we have, with the permission of our much esteemed friend Mr. Martin, given a specimen of his beau ideal of the gardens of Nineveh, taken from his celebrated picture of the fall of that city (fig. 4.).