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December 6    Scripture

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Ancient Near East : 2. Babylonia
This is a supplement to my BKA 41 program

Archaeology of Ancient Babylon Many discoveries. The modern recovery of the history of Babylonia began in the 19th century, following in the wake of the great archaeological discoveries in Assyria. Although initially the finds were not as spectacular as those in the northern region, the gradual exploration of Babylonia has awakened knowledge of its great civilization, which has developed throughout the 20th century. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Ashurbanipal After Sennacherib had died, Babylon and the surrounding territories were so appalled over the fact that he had sacked Babylon, that his successors found it very difficult to establish any sort of peace. A major rebellion broke out and lasted for four years (652-648 BC) during the reign of Shamash-shuma-ukin, an Assyrian king who had been placed to rule in what was left of Babylon. Shamash-shuma-ukin was also the brother of the new Assyrian monarch Ashurbanipal (668-627 BC). When the Babylonians, the Elamites and all their Arab allies came against Ashurbanipal, they were defeated. [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Assyria Around the 9th century, Assyria, Babylonia's neighbor, was a major political power yet they made no real threats against Babylonia. They were even treaties signed showing mutual respect between Assyrian and Babylonian Kings. At one point a revolution broke out in during the reign of Marduk-zakir-shumi I, and Shalmanaser III (858-824 BC) of Assyria came to the aid of the Babylonian King and helped him regain his throne. But it wasn't long before friction developed and hostilities began to break out. During this time Assyria was the weaker of the two powers. [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Babylon in the Old Babylonian Period The city-state of Babylon, especially under the leadership of Hammurapi, made an impressive mark upon history and Babylon was regarded as a natural capital, even when it was not the actual capital. After Hammurapi's death, the imperial structure, which he founded, was being continually challenged. Foreign peoples and powers were placing an unbearable strain upon Hammurapi's successors. One of these forces were the horse-riding Kassites who descended on Babylon and put an end to the Amorites as well as civilized progress for the next 400 years. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Bibliography [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Culture Though information regarding the period of the second dynasty of Isin is rather scarce, evidence from later Babylonian history indicates that the time of Nebuchadnezzar I was a very important period culturally. There were major religious developments in connection with the god Marduk, and in literature there was a movement to almost canonize the writings that had been passed on from the Old Babylonian and earlier periods. [Middle Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Detailed Map of Ancient Mesopotamia Black and white printable map.

Dur Kurigalzu, a New Capital Though there is not a lot of information concerning the Kassite period, the information we have indicates that it was not a culturally deprived era. The new capital that was created was called Dur-Kurigalzu (its modern name is Aqar Quf near Baghdad), after King Kurigalzu. The city developed extensive building projects and great artistic achievements. The Kassite rulers had so revered the Babylonian civilization that there are very few traces of anything distinctively Kassite. [Middle Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Economy and Social Structure in Ancient Babylon Houses, Families, Schools and more. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Elam and Assyria There is little known about the history of Babylonia after the Amarna Age until the latter days of the Kassite dynasty. Most of this time period was characterized by many wars between Babylonia and her two closest neighbors, Elam and Assyria. At one point Babylonia was invaded and the city of Babylon was captured by an Assyrian king named Tukulti-Ninurta (1243-1207 BC), who carried off the image of the god Marduk to Assyria. It wasn't too long before the Babylonians recaptured the city and brought back the statue of their deity. The battles between Babylonia and her two rivals Elam and Assyria continued for decades, but suddenly both enemies made an attack in one year that brought to an end the Kassite dynasty (1155 BC). [Middle Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Geography of Ancient Babylonia Babylonia was situated in the area known as Mesopotamia (Greek for "between the rivers"). Mesopotamia was in the Near East in roughly the same geographical position as modern Iraq. Two great rivers flowed through this land: the Tigris and the Euphrates. Along these two rivers were many great trading cities such as Ur and Babylon on the Euphrates. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Hammurapi of Babylon The remainder of the Old Babylonian Period (1763-1595 BC) was characterized by a shift of power in the north with Hammurapi of Babylon (1792-1750 BC) as the main figure. Hammurapi was the sixth king of the first dynasty of Babylon. During his reign he dealt with his enemies through diplomacy or military force. His main rivals consisted of Larsa, Eshunna, Mari and Shamshi-Adad I of Assyria (1813-1781 BC). [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Hanging Gardens of Babylon The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. The Greek historian Herodotus described Babylon in great detail. King Nebuchadnezzar built them in 580 BC apparently for his wife Amytis, daughter of the Median King Astyages, who was homesick for the mountains and vegetation of her native land. The site was located by an archaeologist named Koldeway at the northeast corner of Nebuchadnezzar's palace near the Ishtar Gate.

Hanging Gardens of Babylon The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. The Greek historian Herodotus described Babylon in great detail. King Nebuchadnezzar built them in 580 BC apparently for his wife Amytis, daughter of the Median King Astyages, who was homesick for the mountains and vegetation of her native land.

HISTORICAL TIME CHART (Biblical and Historical) 2090 B.C. - 70 A.D. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

History of Babylonia The city of Babylon was the capital of the ancient land of Babylonia in southern Mesopotamia. It was situated on the Euphrates River about 50 miles south of modern Baghdad, just north of what is now the modern Iraqi town of al-Hillah. The tremendous wealth and power of this city, along with its monumental size and appearance, were certainly considered a Biblical myth, that is, until its foundations were unearthed and its riches substantiated during the 19th century. Archaeologists stood in awe as their discoveries revealed that certain stories in the Bible were an actual situation that had happened in time.

Isin and Larsa Around the middle of the 18th century BC two cities, Isin and Larsa ultimately dominated the scene so that the era has been called the Isin-Larsa period. The city-state of Larsa was soon captured by an Amorite ruler named Kudur-mabug, who appointed his two sons Warad-Sin and Rim-Sin, to rule over Larsa while he was away on military campaigns. Larsa's period of glory lasted for little while longer, approximately 30 years (1763 BC), when Hammurapi of Babylon came to conquer, thus ushering in a new era. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Kadashman-Enlil I and Burnaburiash II The next period of Babylonian history for which we have limited information is the 14th century BC There was a discovery at Amarna in Egypt of a cache of clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform, which has shed considerable light on this time period. These tablets contain letters to the Egyptian pharaohs (Tuthmosis III to Amenophis IV) from various parts of the Fertile Crescent, including Babylonia. The letters were written in Akkadian, which had been the language of international relations for some time. [Middle Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

King and State in Ancient Babylon the King's Palace, Harem, Scribes and Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar's palace was considered by Herodotus to be the most magnificent building ever erected on earth. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Kurigalzu II Toward the end of the reign of Burnaburiash II there was a conflict with the Assyrians and as a result Kurigalzu II (1332-1308 BC) took the throne. This was a great period in Kassite history, for Kurigalzu led his army on many successful military campaigns with victories over various enemies including the Elamites and the Assyrians. [Middle Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Law and Justice in Ancient Babylon Shamash, Legal Documents, Disputes, Criminals and more. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

List of Kings and Neo-Babylonian Rulers Following is a partial list of the 22 kings who ruled until the destruction of Babylon by Sennacherib, when the Assyrian kings assumed direct control. Ashurbanipal, however, introduced a new policy and viceroys were appointed. [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Literature of Ancient Babylonia Sumerian origins, scribes, epics, prophecy and cuneiform. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Maps of Ancient Babylonia This ancient tablet from the 7th Century BC depicts the world at the time of Sargon (2300 BC) as a circle surrounded by water, with Babylon at its center. (British Museum) [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Mesopotamia Mesopotamia was known as "The land between the rivers", which was a name given by Polybius and Strabo of the lands lying between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Middle Babylonian Period Various dynasties and culture [Middle Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Nabopolassar About 20 years after this rebellion, the Chaldeans regrouped and gained control of the whole Babylonian plain. They established a dynasty that became the most powerful in all of Babylonian history. The famous leader of the Chaldean dynasty was Nabopolassar (625-605 BC). He defeated the Assyrians and was crowned king of Babylon. He brought in the Medes as allies and came to conquer Assyrian territory. He pushed through one city after another until finally he conquered the capital, Nineveh, after a three-month siege in 612 BC. The Assyrians would not give up easily and the dynasty which was in the West at Harran merged with Egypt to fight against Nabopolassar's armies. In 605 BC it was actually Nabopolassar's son, Nebuchadnezzar II who defeated them at Carchemish when he received word that his father had died thus Babylonia won not only the battle but also the Assyrian Empire. [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Nabu-nasir Nabu-nasir (747-734 BC) ushered in a new era in Babylonian history during his reign. The practice of astrology became highly developed and worship of astrological deities was popular among the people. [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Nebuchadnezzar I There soon emerged a new line of rulers who had descended from Isin, who were known as the second dynasty of Isin. At this time Babylon became the capital again, and it was at Babylon that the most important members of this dynasty reigned. One of the great rulers in this time period who had become a legend in Babylonian tradition was Nebuchadnezzar I (1125-1104 BC). Many important literary texts come from this period. A successful war against Elam resulted in bringing back the divine image of Marduk from the Elamites who had carried it off at the fall of the Kassite dynasty. Marduk was once again installed in his temple in Babylon and for the first time publicly declared "King of all gods", even above the ancient god An of the Sumerians. Nebuchadnezzar did a great deal of building both in Babylon and other Babylonian cities. He protected the plain and made Babylonia prosperous. [Middle Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Nebuchadnezzar II Nebuchadnezzar II marched back to Babylon and was crowned king, which inaugurated one of the most powerful periods in Babylonian history. Nebuchadnezzar continued his brilliant campaigns focusing his military maneuvers on the west, which he effectively brought under his control. It was the kingdom of Judah who had called upon Egypt to assist them against the Babylonians. King Nebuchadnezzar continued his attacks and on his second conquest the conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC taking the survivors as prisoners back to Babylon. This was known in Jewish history has "the Babylonian captivity" and "the exile". After he destroyed Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar focused his attacks upon Egypt and he conquered it in 668 BC though there has been no detailed account of this invasion ever discovered, it remains a tremendous success for the king of Babylon and the first time any Chaldean king had ever conquered Egypt. [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Neo Babylonian Period Little is known about events during the early centuries of the first millennium BC because of the continual invasions by the Aramaeans. Though these people caused much disruption they eventually settled down and became part of Babylonian society. Because of them some changes did occur, for example the Aramaic language soon replaced Babylonian as a common language. Babylonian continued to be written and spoken by the educated classes. [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Persian Rulers of Babylonia (List) Cyrus 538-529 BC to Darius III 335-331 BC [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Predictions Concerning Babylon Jeremiah and Isaiah. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Questions about Babylon Answered in the Bible What does the Bible say about Babylonia? [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Religion of Ancient Babylon Marduk, Gods, Temples, Astreology, Prophecy and more. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Religion, Law Science and the Arts Religion, law, science and the arts altered very little. The three main gods, An, Enlil and Enki (Ea in Akkadian) headed the pantheon of gods, but when Babylon rose as a dynasty the chief God of that city was Marduk. Marduk rose in status almost to that of Enki, who was said to be his father. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Science in Ancient Babylon Astronomy, the Calendar, Mathematics and more. We Owe Much of our Calendar System to the Babylonians. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Sennacherib Tiglath-Pileser III and other Assyrian kings had assumed Babylonian sovereignty except the periods when Merodach-baladan II ruled. But when the mighty Assyrian monarch Sennacherib (704-681 BC) gained power and built his empire, he placed puppet kings throughout his empire to assure non-resistance. This system worked well for Sennacherib's empire, that is until his own son was captured by the Babylonians and handed over to the Elamites. Sennacherib was so outraged that he not only led fierce campaigns against the Elamites, but he conquered and then destroyed Babylon in 689 BC. [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Amorites Most scholars date the beginning of Babylonia to the fall of the third dynasty of Ur, around 2000 BC because many Amorites apparently migrated from the desert into Mesopotamia. The Amorites were a group of Semitic speaking nomads, who captured the local city-states where they established new dynasties and adapted to the culture of the surrounding area. The Amorites had helped destroy the Sumerian civilization and dominated Mesopotamia for about 300 years (1900-1600 BC). They ruled the land out of the city of Babylon. But soon the Amorite immigrants and the previous locals began fighting for power, in this caused considerable confusion during this early period. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Aramaeans Toward the end of the millennium Babylonia was raided continuously by a group of nomads called the Aramaeans. Gradually the Aramaeans created so much chaos and confusion across the Babylonian plain that Babylonia entered into another dark phase in her history. Their effects were felt for a long time to come. [Middle Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Babylonian Chronicles During this time the Babylonian chronicles were written, a recording of events in Babylonia for the remainder of her history. A portion of this has been discovered. This clay tablet is a Babylonian chronicle recording events from 605-594 BC. It was first translated in 1956 and is now in the British Museum. The cuneiform text on this clay tablet tells, among other things, 3 main events:
1. The Battle of Carchemish (famous battle for world supremacy where Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Pharoah Necho of Egypt, 605 BC.),
2. The Accession to the Throne of Nebuchadnezzar II, the Chaldean, and
3. The Capture of Jerusalem on the 16th of March, 598 BC. [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Babylonians HTML supplement to my BKA 41 program called "The Babylonians" You can download it on Bible History online or by going to

The Chaldeans Toward the end of the 8th century BC a great leader arose from a tribe of the Semitic-speaking peoples near the coast of the Persian Gulf. He was a Chaldean, of the Yakin tribe, named Merodach-baladan II. This Chaldean ruler attempted to seize the Babylonian crown, with the help of the Elamites, and he actually succeeded on two occasions, 721-710 and 703 BC. Even the Assyrians made attempts to defeat and capture Merodach-baladan II but he outwitted them every time. Sometimes he would withdraw into the marshes of the southern plain, which seemed to be almost impenetrable. It seemed as though the during this time period the political power in Babylonia passed back and forth between the Chaldeans, the Assyrians and Babylonians.[Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Classical Period of the Babylonians The Old Babylonian period and mainly the Hammurapi Age are generally referred to as the classical period in Babylonian civilization. This is when the "Babylonian" culture really began to develop. The culture was the product of a conglomeration of various ethnic strains, mainly the earlier Sumero-Akkadian civilization that had flourished in the Babylonian plain during the third millennium BC. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Code of Hammurapi Hammurapi realized that he could not rule by sword alone and therefore gathered laws into a unified code and then had them administered by judges closely supervised by his own advisors. This code had a profound effect upon the whole near-Orient world. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Euphrates River The Euphrates River is one of the largest rivers of western Asia, about 1700 miles long. In the Bible it is referred to by several names such as the "great river" or just "the river" and is among the four rivers, which flowed from the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:14). It formed the northeastern limit of the Promised Land (Gen 15:18). The river, which receives its waters from the mountains of Armenia, flows through a deep and narrow gorge, but as it descends toward Babylon, the Euphrates and the Tigris take different routes, which form the great broad plain of Mesopotamia. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

The Fall of Babylon In 539 BC Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon. The Bible records in the Book of Daniel about the "Handwriting on the Wall" where Belshazzar who had been ruling in Babylon on behalf of his father Nabonidus, saw handwriting on his palace wall during a feast, which Daniel the Hebrew interpreted as the end of the Babylonian Empire. [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The First Dynasty of Babylon List of Kings About the time the Nisin Dynasty came to a close, and while the Larsa Dynasty was ruling, the First Dynasty of Babylon was established. Following is a list of 11 rulers of this dynasty who ruled 300 years: [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Full Text of Hammurapi's Law Code 2500 B.C. Translated by L. W. King. With commentary from Charles F. Horne, Ph.D. (1915) [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Hittite Kingdom It was the Hittite kingdom in Anatolia (Asia Minor) who brought to an end the first dynasty of Babylon. Mursilis I, king of the Hittites, invaded Babylonia by surprise and sacked Babylon. But for some strange reason he withdrew from the area after he had exceeded. The Kassites saw this power vacuum and seized control. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Kassite and Isin Dynasty List of Kings The First Dynasty of Babylon came to an end through an invasion of the Hittites. They plundered Babylon and perhaps ruled that city for a number of years. A new dynasty emerged about 1750 BC by a foreign people known as the Kassites. There were 36 kings in this dynasty ruling 576 years and 9 months. Unfortunately the tablet containing the list is fragmentary. [Middle Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Kassite Dynasty The Kassite Dynasty was founded in Babylonia (1595 BC) and, as previously mentioned, very little is known about them other than a list of the names of their kings. One of the early kings after 1595 BC was Agum-kakrime, who boasted that he ruled over most of Babylonia and that he brought back to statue of the god Marduk, which had been carried off by the Hittites when they had sacked Babylon. There is an ancient literary composition in which Marduk himself described his sojourn in the land of the Hittites. [Middle Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Kassites Just exactly who The Kassites were, and anything about their origins and history, is very obscure. Before entering Mesopotamia they were illiterate mountain people speaking a language that is not known today. According to history, what we do know is that they first appeared as a military force in the time of Samsuiluna (1749-1712 BC), Hammurapi's successor, but that is all we know about them until the time that they established a dynasty in Babylonia, around 1595 BC. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Kudurru Something interesting appeared during this time, and object called a Kudurru. It was a large stone with inscribed details of land grants that were grants of tax exemption on land. Most of the Kudurru were actually large boundary stones bearing the symbols of the deities, which were invoked in the text to guard from terrestrial encroachment. [Middle Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Language of the Babylonians The Babylonian language was a dialect of Akkadian, a Semitic language, written in cuneiform script. Politically and economically Babylonia remained a number of small autonomous city-states ruled by local dynasties and later emerging into an imperial structure. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Old Babylonian Period The Old Babylonian Period (2000-1595 BC). [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The People of the Sealand A second group of people who proved to be a formidable force was the people of the Sealand, a kingdom to the extreme south of Babylonia along the Persian Gulf. Little is known about these people as well, a list of the names of their Kings is all that has been discovered, but no native sources. We do know that it was a powerful nation that continually challenged Hammurapi's successors, and for a period of time controlled Nippur in the center of the plain. Because of their location in the south they were strongly Sumerian in character. The Kassites eventually conquered the people of the Sealand. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

The Tigris River The Tigris River was known by the Hebrews as "Hiddekel" and is one of the two large rivers of Mesopotamia, which the Bible says, flowed from the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:14). It is formed by the confluence of two rivers that flow from the mountains of Armenia. In ancient times the courses of the Tigris and Euphrates were separate. Their confluence before they flow into the Persian Gulf is very recent. The Tigris has a greater volume of water than the Euphrates and flows faster, making upstream navigating impossible. The powerful and prosperous cities of Nineveh, Calah and Ashur flourished along its shores. [Ancient Babylonia] Bible History Online

Tiglath pileser III During Nabu-nasir's reign a great Assyrian king named Tiglath-pileser III (744-727 BC) marched right into Babylonia and took the crown for himself. [Neo Babylonian Period] Bible History Online

Time chart of Early Mesopotamian History 3200-539 B.C. [Old Babylonian Period] Bible History Online