What is the Babylonian Empire?
THE BAB'Y'LON'IAN EMP'IRE
Upon the fall of Nineveh, b.c. 625, the Chaldaeans and Babylonians controlled all the southern and western portions of the former Assyrian empire. This Babylonian empire extended, therefore, over Susiana, Elam, Mesopotamia, Syria including Palestine and Phoenicia, Idumaea, northern Arabia, and lower Egypt. Among the important cities of the empire were Babylon, Borsippa, Sippara or Sepharvaim. Isa 36:19, Cuthah, 2 Kgs 17:24, Orchoe or Erech, in Babylonia; and in the provinces, Susa, Carchemish, Harran, Hamath, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tyre, Sidon, Ashdod, Askelon, and Gaza. Of those in the provinces, Susa was of the first importance, and may be regarded as the second city of the empire. It had a royal palace, where the Babylonian kings spent a portion of their time, Dan 8:2, doubtless during the heat of summer. The dominant people in the Babylonian empire were, according to Rawlinson and others, a mixed race, mainly descendants of the earlier Chaldaeans (who were chiefly Cushites), mixed with those of the later Assyrians, who were of the Semitic type. The Babylonians were celebrated for their wisdom and learning, Dan 1:4; Jer 50:35; Isa 47:10, especially for their knowledge of astronomy. They were also a commercial, avaricious, and luxurious people, Hab 2:9; Jer 51:13; Isa 47:8, though they were likewise valorous and war-like. Their princes were proud and boastful. "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built ... by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?" was the boastful speech of its greatest king, Nebuchadnezzar. Dan 4:30.
In architecture, sculpture, science, philosophy, astronomical and mathematical knowledge, and in learning the Babylonians made original investigations and discoveries not surpassed by any other ancient people. " To Babylonia," says G. Rawlinson, "far more than to Egypt, we owe the art and learning of the Greeks." --Five Ancient Monarchies, iii. 76.
The empire began with the accession of Nabopolassar, b.c. 625: was in its greatest prosperity during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, lasting forty -four years, to b.c. 561. See Nebuchadnezzar. Under the less able rulers who followed, the power of the empire declined, and it fell a comparatively easy prey to the Medo-Persians under Cyrus, b.c. 538. See Chaldaea, Assyria, and Media. For sketch-map see Assyria, and also map at the end of this volume.
Bibliography Information Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'babylonian empire' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". bible-history.com - Schaff's