Babylonia, ancient cultural state occupying southeastern Mesopotamia between Euphrates and Tigris rivers. The capital city of Babylon, whose ruins are located in present-day Iraq (modern southern Iraq from Baghdad to the Persian Gulf).
Archeology tells us that Babylon’s history goes back to more than 4000 BCE, under so many kings and empires during its long existence. It started as a small administrative port town on the Euphrates river and grew into one of the largest cities of the ancient world.
During the reign of Sargon the Great, it became a small administrative center. The area was divided into 2 countries, Sumer in the Southeast and Akkad in the northwest. These 2 countries had engaged in long constant warfare in order to gain control of the region. Even though they were at war and a long political crisis, these 2 developed rich and advanced cultures such as Sumerians invented the Potter’s wheel, sailboat, seed plow; Earliest writings, codified legal system, rich and advanced architecture, music, literature, astronomy (Sumerians were aware of 5 planets that visible to the naked eye) and etc.
These cultures and their legacies were later adopted by the Amorites (successors of Sumerians and Akkadians). Amorites were a western sematic tribe that had conquered all of Mesopotamia around 1900 BCE. Under the Amorites, Babylon became one of the largest and highly advanced cities of the ancient world. The most important historical figure who responsible for Babylon’s rise was the Amorite prince, Hammurabi who began his reign in 1792 BCE.
Hammurabi conquered all of Mesopotamia through military expedition and diplomacy; created an empire called Babylonia which stretched from Syria to the Persian Gulf. He created the world-famous Code of Hammurabi which is one of the earliest known written legal codes of all time.
“When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunnaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak, so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.
...When Marduk sent me to rule over men, to give the protection of right to the land, I did right and righteousness in . . . , and brought about the well-being of the oppressed.”
― Hammurabi, The Code of Hammurabi
Apart from Hammurabi’s code of law he promoted science, scholarships and focused on improving irrigation, building massive temples and so on.After Hammurabi’s death, his empire crumbled and became a small kingdom for several centuries.Kassites, a mountain people of east Babylonia conquered Babylon, all of Mesopotamia and established a dynasty that lasted for 400 years. Under Kassites dynasty, Babylonia flourished with literature and religion. Babylonian epic of creation known as “Enum Elish” was a literary masterpiece under Kassites rule.During this time Assyria and Elam broke away from Babylonia and developed as independent empires and .conquered Babylonia marking the end of the Kassites rule in 1157 BCE
Nebuchadnezzar I, member of Isin dynasty (2nd dynasty of Babylonia) defeated Elam and held off Assyrians for some time.
Under Nebuchadnezzar I, Babylon became a wonder in the ancient world. Tower of Babel, Ishtar Gate and magnificent world famed Hanging Gardens of Babylon were created under his rule.
Assyrians controlled Babylon from 911 BCE to 608 BCE. The last Assyrian king Ashurbanipal who fought a civil war against his brother caused a major damaged to the city and its people. This caused a devastating shock among the people of all Mesopotamia.
After the fall of the Assyrian Empire, a new line of kings established the Neo-Babylonian Empire which lasted from 626 BCE to 539 BCE. A Chaldean leader, Nabopolassar made Babylon his capital and created the last and greatest age of Babylonian supremacy. During this time Babylonia thrived in culture, religion, arts, and architecture. Nebuchadnezzar II, son of Nabopolassar renovated the old city of Babylon to a grand scale.
Like Babylonia, the Neo-Babylonian empire short lived. The legendary Persian king, Cyrus the Great captured Babylonia from Nabonidus in the battle of Opis around 539 BCE. Under the Persian empire, Babylon acted as the cultural center of the empire. Later Alexander the Great conquered Babylon marking the end of one of the greatest empires in history.
Through its long existence with its rich history Babylon as has been and always be one of the most significant and important places in human civilization and its pride, rich culture and beauty will echoes throughout the time and beyond.