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O´RCHOE (Ὀρχόη), a city of southern Babylonia, placed by Ptolemy among the marshes in the direction of Arabia Deserta (6.20.7). There can be little doubt that it is to be identified with one of the great mounds lately excavated in those parts, and that the one now called Warka represents its position. It was supposed that another mound in the immediate neighbourhood, Muqueyer, was the same as the “Ur of the Chaldees;” and there is now good reason for identifying it as the site of that celebrated place.; The name of Warka reads on inscriptions lately discovered by Mr. Taylor, Hur or Hurik, which is nearly the same with the Ὄρεχ of the LXX. and the Ὀρχόη of Ptolemy (l.c.). Moreover, Hur and Warka are constantly connected in the inscriptions, just as Erech and Accad are in the Bible. It is most probable that the Orcheni (Ὀρχηνοί), described in Strabo as an astronomical sect of Chaldaeans, dwelling near Babylon (xxi. p. 739); in Ptolemy, as a people of Arabia, living near the Persian Gulf (5.19.2); and in Pliny, as an agricultural population, who banked up the waters of the Euphrates and compelled them to flow into the Tigris (6.27. s. 31), were really the inhabitants of Orchoe and of the district surrounding it. We now know that this country was ruled in very early times by a Chaldaean race, some of the kings of which Berosus has recorded. (Rawlinson, in Athenaeum, 1854, No. 1377; Euseb. Praepar. Evang. 9.17.) It is worthy of notice that Eusebius has preserved an ancient fragment from Eupolemus, who speaks of a city of Babylonia, “Camarina,” which some call “Urie (Οὐρίη).” As the Assyrian name of Warka is written with a monogram which signifies “the Moon,” and as the name Camarina would naturally be derivable from the Arabic Kamar, “the Moon,” there is an additional connection between the two names. (Euseb. l.c.) It is also clear from the inscriptions that the names of the two cities were constantly interchanged.


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