The History of Babylon and its Empire


Situated between the Tigris and
Euphrates rivers the first people came to inhabit survive and thrive these were
the Sumerians who lived in separate city-states for centuries competing for
control and dominance the Akkadian Empire eventually came to control them
directed by Sargon the world’s first emperor next came the new Sumerian
Empire but this would last just over a hundred years before disintegration once
again into city-states and this is where Babylon story begins the city-state of Babylon was said to
have been founded during the time of the Akkadian Empire but very little is known
about early Babylon it is known that the Babylonian state retained the written
Akkadian language and retained the Sumerian language for religious use in
the periods between the 20th and 19th century BC profound change took place as waves of migrants and invasions occurred under the direction of the amorite s–
the amorites weren’t a united people and were said to be nomadic barbaric and
uncivilised by the Sumerians from the lands of modern-day Syria they steadily
integrated into the societies of Sumer particularly Babylon who slowly
transformed from a small port city on the Euphrates to a regional power the
Emirates rose up in society and when they were strong enough installed
themselves as leaders in the 19th century BC the first amorite ruler Sumu Abam was elected as Ensi of Babylon the amorite rulers after him proved to be
just as effective at ruling the fifth ensi Sin Mubalit managed to defend and defeat the preceding force of earth with their troops in retreat Babylon was able to
conquer the city of the Isin In 1792 BC a king ascended to the throne by the name
of Hammurabi Hammurabi was a wise and administrative King early in his reign
he was careful not to offend provoked or caused bad interactions with his
superior neighboring kingdoms and empires persisting to stay out of
conflict instead he concentrated on his people and the cities he controlled
focusing on expanding temples infrastructure and emphasizing the
construction and improvement to a city’s warm defenses although his most famous
act would be the introduction of his code of law that applied to all of
society Hammurabi’s code of law was a seven feet tall black diorite stone
placed in the center of Babylon for all to see carved in cuneiform texts with
282 laws in total these laws were similar to Sumerian law codes such as
the code of ur-nammu used centuries before Hammurabi’s code is an early
example of essential law a simple Constitution where both the accused and
accuser had the opportunity to provide evidence an eye for an eye a tooth for a
tooth many years Babylon remained peaceful but it was forced to encounter
its enemies to the east was the Kingdom of Elam and they enacted a plot to drive
the kingdoms of Lhasa and Babylon against each other the Elamites plan was
to strike when both powers were weak but Hammurabi soon discovered their
intentions Hammurabi instead formed an alliance with larser in the Babylonian
forces marched defeated and collected tribute from Elam unpleased by Larsa and
their lack of support in the gruesome battles against Elam Hammurabi turned on
his ally and affirmed control across southern Mesopotamia after conquering
Lhasa and her allies hungry for more Hammurabi turned to Russia and Ashe nuna
and his old ally of Maori all while fiy vibrant kingdoms to the north he annexed
the areas quickly and continued to hold a sphere of influence over Elam and Assur squashing any resistance or potential rivals Hammurabi had proven to be a
worthy administrator military tactician and a great king during this time
Babylon grew to be the largest city in the world with over 100,000 inhabitants
at its centre there was said to be a great Ziggurat over 300 feet tall following Hammurabi’s death the
Babylonian Empire fell apart although his son fought a number of successful
campaigns it was not enough the sphere of influence over Russia and Elam
rapidly faded and without sufficient resources the northern territory could
not be held Babylon reverted to a small Kingdom in southern Mesopotamia once
more and allowed the rise of several small kingdoms in states a storm of
Hittites under the leadership of mursaleen the first desolated the city
of babylon by loot and plunder but they returned to Anatolia seeing Babylon is
too far from home to defend instead Babylon was infiltrated by the car sites
who conquered the remainder of the region without trouble soon after they
revolt many of the conquered cities they adopted their culture and expanded
territory the kassitus ruled Babylon for over 400 years they had little interest
in the arts or earning excelled in trade rather than
seeking conflicts the kassitus of babylon formed many alliances which were
reinforced with intermarriage between ruling families within Mesopotamia but
out of the struggling Mitani Empire came the Assyrians in 1365 BC the ambitious
King Asha Bilotti defeated the Mitanni for the following hundred years the
Mitanni Hittites and Babylonians would struggle to keep them at bay the
Assyrian King – Tukulti-Ninurta led his forces to Babylon and with victory
demolished the walls massacred many civilians pillaged and plundered King –
coolly would be murdered by his sons upon his return as many in Assyria had
come to love and admire the culture of babylon babylon was once again
overwhelmed with migrants from the deserts of the new vance these migrants
were the Chaldeans and they quickly assimilated into the city by 900 BC the
Assyrians were rising once again with highly trained soldiers and iron-forged
weapons Babylon was soon absorbed into the neo-assyrian empire change would
come with the rebellion of the county in chief Nabopollasar. Nabopollasar formed an alliance with the Medes and their combined armies attacked and sacked the Assyrian capital of Nineveh the city fell after a three-month long siege
bringing an end to the Neo Assyrian Empire by his death Babylon was once
again a great Empire he was succeeded by his son Nebuchadnezzar ii who expanded
the empire greatly the Babylonians sacked the holy city of Jerusalem taken
the Jews from their homeland and into captivity as a result
Babylon’s historical fate was sealed becoming known as the city of evil and
sin by Hebrew and Christian texts but in reality Nebuchadnezzar built new temples
called ziggurats restored buildings and improved the city walls adding towers
and fortifications he is even said to have opened up a museum in one of the
Royal Palace complexes he enlarged the temple of Marduk creating a broad
processional route to lead the lavish decorated Ishtar Gate
in the inner city walls Babylon once again became a great magnificent city
the most famous feature of the city were said to be the Hanging Gardens an
outstanding work of architecture a pyramid of steps were constructed to
feature terraces reinforced by beautiful columns the terraces were packed full of
colourful plants fruit trees and vegetation where all could marvel at its
size and magnificence it was said to have been constructed on the orders of
Nebuchadnezzar so he could please his wife Amyitis who missed the green
landscape of a homeland however modern archaeologists and historians have cast
doubts to whether the gardens really existed no trace has ever been found and
writings near the time mentioned no magnificent garden Greek historians who
detailed them may have mistakenly described a garden of Assyrian King
Sennacherib in his capital Nineveh nevertheless Babylon was said to be a
great city flourishing with culture science and arts upon the death of
Nebuchadnezzar the Empire took a dark turn the following kings of Babylon
proved to be a popular King nabonidus tried to promote the worship of the moon
god sin while censoring the worship of Marduk the nation’s beloved deity this
made him massively unpopular with both the people and the priesthood aligned
with a lack of military leadership his generals soon grew to hate him to the
lands of the east a new emerging Empire gradually swept the borders of the
neo-babylonian empire the fragmented and weak Babylonians were unable to
withstand this new threat and quickly foul the Persian Empire under Cyrus the
Great arrived at the city of Babylon after scattering the disorganized
babylonian forces the city was taken almost without a fight Cyrus wisely
treated the inhabitants with respect he rebuilt many of the temples dedicates to
Marduk will he store the Jews and allowed them to return to their homeland
Babylon soon prospered under Persian rule for more than 200 years in fact
flourishing in the arts and sciences in time however the Empire was sidelined
by high taxes satraps became rebellious babylons
greatness slowly declined but upon the conquest of Alexander the Great the
hopes for greatness were rejuvenated Alexander ordered his soldiers to not
loot the city or kill its inhabitants following its fall his plan was to
instead make Babylon the new capital of his newly found Empire Alexander’s
intention was to make it a place of learning and arts once again
to rebuild its infrastructure that had since fallen into disarray
he wanted his beauty to blossom but his plans would not come to pass shortly
after his crowning he set off to finish what remained of the Persian Empire and
what lay beyond he returned to the city after his army refused to go no further
past the river Ganges but upon his arrival he soon fell ill and died
leaving his new empire in crisis without a successor without true leadership his
generals fought for control of territory within his empire Babylon was
incorporated into the Seleucid Empire but its leaders had little interest in
carrying out Alexander’s plans for the city gradually the city depleted in
population trade and influence the city was abandoned
practically vanishing from existence never again would it recover and become
a thriving metropolis had once been instead it remained his ruins
undisturbed and largely forgotten until rumours caught the attention of
Europeans in the age of European colonialism archaeologists uncovered the
legendary tales of its greatness

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