For at least a decade, I have begun each new year by beginning to read again the New Testament. This year, as happenstance would have it, I finished my reading of the New Testament the day before Good Friday. My reading ended, of course, with the book of Revelation. What particularly sticks in my mind from reading that book is the point in the narrative where an angel proclaims that " Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird " (chapter 18, verse 2). Babylon falls in the course of only one hour.
Further down (verses 11-13), there is a partial description of the former city, now no longer in existence: " And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. "