Fall of Babylon (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: Nabonidus’s unpopular religious reforms in favor of the moon god Sin led his people to favor rule by the Persian Cyrus the Great. Although the fall of Babylon ended one of the largest empires of the ancient Near East, the city itself lived on as an important cultural center.
Summary of Event
Babylon, centrally located in the Tigris-Euphrates valley, had been the capital city of Semitic kings who ruled most of the Fertile Crescent from 1900 to 1600 b.c.e. Best known of these rulers was Hammurabi. During the following millennium Babylon remained a vital economic and cultural center, acknowledged as a sacred city by the Assyrians and others. After the fall of Nineveh in 612, Babylon became the capital of a new dynasty of Chaldean rulers, beginning with Nabopolassar, who had shared with the Medes in the overthrow of Assyria.
The next Chaldean king, Nebuchadnezzar II, known in the Hebrew Bible as the conqueror of Jerusalem, controlled the entire Fertile Crescent and Phoenicia, even going so far as to invade Egypt. He enlarged and beautified many cities as his part in a religious revival. Even by modern standards, Babylon became a huge city, covering 500 acres (202 hectares) with paved streets, more than a thousand temples, elaborate gateways, and sumptuous palaces. For a Median princess whom he married, the king created the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon. He designed formidable defenses,...
(The entire section is 1056 words.)
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