The historian Christopher Scarre writes:. Its gardens, too, were exceptional. Later writers placed the Hanging Gardens at Babylon, but extensive research has failed to find any trace of them.
If the gardens were in Babylon they would have been part of the central complex of the city. Streets and avenues were widened to better accommodate the yearly processional of the statue of the great god Marduk in the journey from his home temple in the city to the New Year Festival Temple outside the Ishtar Gate.
The Neo-Babylonian Empire continued after the death of Nebuchadnezzar II and Babylon continued to play an important role in the region under the rule of Nabonidus and his successor Belshazzar featured in the biblical Book of Daniel. While the residents of the city were distracted by one of their great religious feast days, the Persian army waded the river and marched under the walls of Babylon unnoticed. It was claimed the city was taken without a fight although documents of the time indicate that repairs had to be made to the walls and some sections of the city and so perhaps the action was not as effortless as the Persian account maintained.
Under Persian rule, Babylon flourished as a center of art and education. Cyrus and his successors held the city in great regard and made it the administrative capital of their empire although at one point the Persian emperor Xerxes felt obliged to lay siege to the city after another revolt.
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Babylonian mathematics, cosmology, and astronomy were highly respected and it is thought that Thales of Miletus known as the first western philosopher may have studied there and that Pythagoras developed his famous mathematical theorem based upon a Babylonian model. When, after two hundred years, the Persian Empire fell to Alexander the Great in BCE, he also gave great reverence to the city, ordering his men not to damage the buildings nor molest the inhabitants.
The historian Stephen Bertman writes:. But he never lived to bring his project to completion. Over the centuries, its scattered bricks have been cannibalized by peasants to fulfill humbler dreams. All that is left of the fabled Tower of Babel is the bed of a swampy pond. The city steadily fell into ruin and, even during a brief revival under the Sassanid Persians, never approached its former greatness.
In the Muslim conquest of the land in CE whatever remained of Babylon was swept away and, in time, was buried beneath the sands. In the 17th and 18th centuries CE European travelers began to explore the area and return home with various artifacts.
These cuneiform blocks and statues led to an increased interest in the region and, by the 19th century CE, an interest in biblical archaeology drew men like Robert Koldewey who uncovered the ruins of the once great city of the Gate of the Gods. Editorial Review This Article has been reviewed for accuracy, reliability and adherence to academic standards prior to publication. We're a small non-profit organisation run by a handful of volunteers. Become a Member. Mark, J. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Mark, Joshua J. Last modified April 28, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 28 Apr Written by Joshua J.
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Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Mark published on 28 April Listen to this article , narrated by James Lloyd. Remove Ads Advertisement. About the Author Joshua J. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level.
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Lost cities #1: Babylon – how war almost erased ‘mankind’s greatest heritage site’
Scarecrow Press, Despite its many wonders, Babylon worshiped pagan gods , chief among them Marduk, or Merodach, and Bel, as noted in Jeremiah Besides devotion to false gods, sexual immorality was widespread in ancient Babylon. While marriage was monogamous, a man could have one or more concubines.
Cult and temple prostitutes were common. Babylon's evil ways are spotlighted in the book of Daniel , an account of faithful Jews taken into exile to that city when Jerusalem was conquered. So arrogant was Nebuchadnezzar that he had a 90 foot tall gold statue built of himself and commanded everyone to worship it. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace tells what happened when they refused and stayed true to God instead. Daniel tells of Nebuchadnezzar strolling the roof of his palace, boasting about his own glory, when the voice of God came from heaven, promising insanity and humiliation until the king recognized God as supreme:.
Immediately what had been said about Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled. He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. Daniel , NIV. The prophets mention Babylon as both a warning of punishment for Israel and an example of what displeases God.
The New Testament employs Babylon as a symbol of sinfulness. In 1 Peter , the apostle cites Babylon to remind Christians in Rome to be as faithful as Daniel was. Finally, in the book of Revelation , Babylon again stands for Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, the enemy of Christianity.
Babylon in the Bible - Represented Defiance of God
Ironically, Babylon means "gate of god. Alexander the Great started to restore the city in BC and planned to make it the capital of his empire, but he died that year in Nebuchadnezzar's palace. Instead of trying to excavate the ruins, the 20th century Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein built new palaces and monuments to himself on top of them. Like his ancient hero, Nebuchadnezzar, he had his name inscribed on bricks for posterity. When U. Archaeologists estimate only two percent of ancient Babylon has been excavated.