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Babylon was a city in ancient Mesopotamia located on the Euphrates River and was about 55 miles south of the modern city of Baghdad in Iraq. There are several important artistic and cultural achievements of ancient Babylon. The old Babylonian empire reached its greatest height under the leadership of Hammurabi. His great cultural contribution was the Code of Hammurabi, a system of laws that represent the first attempt to record all laws. His Code contained 282 laws arranged under headings such as trade, family, labor and real estate. After his death, the Babylonian empire weakened and fell to invaders. Later, the area was taken over by the Chaldeans and their great king, Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt Babylon and made it his capital. Perhaps the greatest artistic and cultural achievement in ancient Babylon were the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon”. These were a series of terraces cut into a 75 foot hill which were planted with beautiful trees and plants to remind the wife of Nebuchadnezzar of her homeland. Another artistic achievement of this time was the Ishtar Gate. This was a highly decorated gate leading into the inner city of Babylon. It was beautifully decorated with blue glazed tiles and bas relief of Aurochs and Sirrush.
Babylon was one of the largest of the Mesopotamian city-states and pioneered several important advances in the ancient world.;
a) Architecture: The Babylonians were well-known for their large-scale buildings, such as the Ishtar Gate and the Hanging Gardens.
b) Code of Laws: King Hammurabi helped define several modern legal concepts in his ancient code of laws, one of the earliest in human history. Things such as paternity, inheritance, liability and divorce were first recorded in this code of laws.
c) Urbanization: Advanced urban planning techniques allowed Babylon to become the first human city to reach over 200,000 people.
d) 60-Minute Hour: Thanks to the Babylonians, we now have a simplified system of timekeeping.
e) Irrigation: Large-scale agriculture was helped along when the Babylonians invented advanced irrigation techniques to grow crops out of the fertile soils of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
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