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ME´SPILA (Μέσπιλα, Xen. Anab. 3.4.10), an ancient deserted city of Assyria, noticed by Xenophon on his retreat northwards from Babylonia. He describes it as about 6 parasangs from Larissa, on the same (or left) bank of the Tigris. He mentions that the town had been inhabited by the Medes, and that its walls were of immense size, the foundations being of polished shelly limestone, 50 feet in breadth and height; and the part above, made of brick, being 100 feet high and 50 broad. The circumference of the whole work he states to have been 6 parasangs. He mentions, as a report, that on the Medians being conquered by the Persians, the queen, who was a Median, fled to this place; and that, when subsequently the place was besieged by the Persians, they would have been unable to. take it, had not Zeus aided them with his lightning. There can be little doubt that Mespila is represented [p. 2.334]by the present Mosul,--the name of which is probably a corruption of the old name,--and that the ruins of Koyunjik, in its immediate neighbourhood (now certainly ascertained, by Colonel Rawlinson's decipherment of the inscriptions found there, to have been a vast palace erected by Sennacherib), are those which Xenophon beheld in a state much less injured by time and violence than they are at present. (Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, p. 658.)


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