10 surprising facts about Ancient Babylon

(ORDO NEWS) — Located in present-day Iraq, ancient Babylon was founded over 4,000 years ago as a small port city on the Euphrates River. Over time, it became one of the most important cities of antiquity during the reign of Hammurabi.

The fabulous ancient city of Babylon is the most ancient, majestic and mysterious of the lost cities of the world. Today, the remains of the city of legend lie about 100 kilometers south of Baghdad in Iraq. Historians have established that this city was the center of Mesopotamian civilization for at least two millennia.

There are two main points of view on the city: historical and biblical.

The first evokes awe of a city rich in history, culture, wars and glory, while the second predicts its decline and speaks of the moral decay of its inhabitants. In this article, let’s look at some of the facts that have made the city famous even today.

Origin of the City of Magic

Historians believe that the Mesopotamians used “magic” as a vehicle to explain natural phenomena. However, here magic is referred to in a much broader sense of the word than just spells like “Abra-Kadabra!”

Those who proclaimed themselves masters of magic in those days, simultaneously acted as magicians, scientists, doctors, teachers and preachers.

It is also believed that, given the age of the city, it may be the first place in the world where the concept of magic took shape.

The real “city of sin”

There are several references to this city in the Bible, and none of them are positive. The city is mentioned in the chapters of Isaiah, Jeremiah and in the book of Revelations. Religious texts say that God destroyed the city, as it became a symbol of wickedness and evil. The Testament says that God predicted destruction for the city.

“Babylon will become a heap of ruins, a den of jackals, an object of horror and hiss, without inhabitants.” (Jeremiah 51:37)

Mythical deities of Babylon

Like most ancient cities, Babylon had its own set of deities that were revered and worshipped. Each of them had their own duties and powers. Temples were built to honor these spiritual beings. The nine main deities and their powers are as follows:

1, Marduk: Thunder god, patron god of the city.

2, Adad: God of storms, rain

3, Nergal: God of war, death and destruction

4, Tiamat: Mother of the gods

5, Ea: God of wisdom

6, Shamash: god of divine justice and the sun

7, Apsu: God of fresh water

8, Naboo: God of writing, wisdom

9, Ishtar: Goddess of love, childbearing

10, Earliest civil code

The Babylonian king Hammurabi, who ruled from 1792 to 1750 BC, expanded the city and unified southern Mesopotamia. This king was known for his just and pious rule, under which the city prospered.

His code of laws was a collection of 282 prescriptions that were carved on a huge pillar of black diorite stone. It is currently in the Louvre Museum in Paris as the earliest example of a written legal code that presumes an accused person is innocent until proven otherwise.

Gender equality?

Babylonian history spans two millennia and therefore there are chronological differences in the role played by women. Nevertheless, based on documentary evidence, it can be assumed that women of that era were divided into the elite, semi-free and slaves.

The last two categories depended on the goodwill of their men and masters, but the elite enjoyed freedom. The women of the Babylonian elite acted in all roles on an equal footing with men. They corresponded with the king, entered into financial transactions, acted as witnesses, owned property, started trading and had personal seals.

Hanging gardens as a gift

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are perhaps one of its most famous attractions. They were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Some historians have considered them roof gardens, others have argued that they are a series of terraced ziggurats, including flora, fauna, architectural elements, sculptures and water features.

A well-known legend claims that these hanging gardens were the work of King Nebuchadnezzar II (reigned c. 605-561 BC), who built them as a gift to his wife Amitis, who missed the greenery of her homeland.

Impregnable walls

King Nebuchadnezzar II – the famous Neo-Babylonian king known for his infrastructure development work – is also associated with the building of the city’s famous impregnable walls. He destroyed the old walls and erected another triple wall on the outskirts of the city.

For the scale of construction, they were also included in the list of wonders of the world. According to the legends, the upper part of the walls was wide enough for several chariots to ride side by side.

Tower of babel

In the Book of Genesis there is a mention of the Tower of Babel, which explains the existence of various human languages. It was said that the Babylonians wanted to ascend to heaven by building a tower high enough for its top to reach the heavens.

However, God broke this plan in the middle of construction, confusing the workers, who began to speak different languages ​​and could not understand each other.

Gifted mathematicians of Babylon

The Babylonians are considered to be the developers of the positional number system in mathematics. This system depends on both the magnitude and the position of the digit. She simplified arithmetic and helped the people of Babylon achieve success in this area.

Attempts to “dig” Babylon

Since this city captured the human imagination, many excavation attempts have been made in Babylon. The Germans began scientific excavations in 1899. They stopped their efforts during the First World War.

However, they were able to restore the famous Ishtar Gate, which is currently being reconstructed in Berlin using some of the original bricks.

After Saddam Hussein came to power in 1979, he attempted to reclaim the site in an alleged attempt to associate himself with the great heroes of Babylon. During the US-Iraq War, the ruins of Babylon were turned into a military base, which caused them great damage.

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