Is Babylon the same as Babylonia

Babylonia

The Ishtar Gate can be seen in Berlin today, in the Pergamon Museum. Ishtar was the goddess of fertility.

Babylon was an ancient city. Their soldiers conquered a large area in Mesopotamia. Today this is mainly due to Iraq and Syria. The kingdom of Babylon is called Babylonia. It is known today as an important high culture.

The city of Babylon was founded over 4000 years ago. It was on the Euphrates River, eighty kilometers south of what is now Baghdad. In the beginning it was an Akkadian city. They were a Semitic people like the Hebrews, the ancestors of the Jews. Later it became the largest city in the world. It was probably the first city to have more than 200,000 inhabitants.

The most famous ruler of Babylon was called Hammurapi or Hammurabi. He created an empire around the city and called himself king. At that time Babylon was already about 500 years old. The Babylonian Empire with its many peoples was sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker in the centuries to come. The Assyrians ruled Babylonia for about 200 years.

The last hundred years of the Babylonians is called the New Babylonian Empire. But the empire did not last long. The Persians conquered it in 539 BC.

How do you know about Babylonia?

A picture from the Middle Ages: This is how people imagined how the Persians warred the Babylonians.

The people of Europe only knew Babylon through the Bible. A Babylonian ruler, Nebuchadnezzar the Second, had conquered the land of the Jews. Many Jews had to leave their country and live in Babylonia. Decades later, however, came a king of the Persians, Cyrus. He allowed the Jews to go back to their homeland.

Christians later compared Babylon with Rome: Babylon had perished in the battle against the Persians, and so God would punish the hated Rome as well. Muslims thought similarly about Babylon.

Scientists did not learn anything about Babylonia until much later. In the years after 1811 ruins were found in the ground. Archaeologists have traveled to the area from Europe several times and have excavated a lot. For example, the German researcher Robert Koldewey recorded exactly where all the stones and walls were. That was around 1900.

After that, the Iraqi government rebuilt some of the buildings from back then. That was not good for science because it falsified the findings. But the buildings could attract a lot of tourists.

What was so special about the Babylonians?

A script was already known in Babylon, the cuneiform script. The letters were pressed into a plate with soft clay with a wooden wedge. Several impressions combined resulted in one letter. This script was also set in stone. The Babylonians adopted this script from the Sumerians. Thanks to these texts, much more is known about the life and ideas of the Babylonians than about other peoples from the time.

This is how we know the laws of King Hammurabi today. That way you know what the king thought was right and wrong. If someone has done something bad, he should be punished just as badly. So there was the death penalty for murderers.

The Babylonians were well versed in astronomy and mathematics. They divided the circle into 360 degrees. They divided the lesson into 60 minutes. We do both in the same way today. In addition, the Babylonian priests observed the sky well and described it fairly accurately, although they did not yet have telescopes.

Many people think of a certain gate when they think of Babylon. That comes from the Neo-Babylonian period. It was dedicated to a particular goddess, Ishtar. The Ischtor gate has been rebuilt in a museum in Berlin.

What else is there supposed to have been in Babylonia?

From the ancient Greeks one knows writings about the "Hanging Gardens of Babylon". They are also called the "Hanging Gardens of the Semiramis", the Semiramis was the name of the queen at that time. The gardens have to be imagined in large steps, which were very laboriously built. They are one of the seven ancient wonders of the world.

In the Old Testament one reads the story about the tower in Babylon, usually called "Tower of Babel" or "Tower of Babel". The tower should reach up to the sky and show that people are just as powerful as God. But God did not stand by and let the construction workers speak in different languages ​​so that they no longer understood each other. Today it is called the "Babylonian language confusion". You need this expression when people do not understand each other. The tower was then no longer continued.

  • A piece of stone jewelry found as part of a treasure

  • A large stone with the laws of Hammurabi. Above it, the king stands before a seated god.

  • Babylon ruins in 1932

  • The building of the Tower of Babel in the mind of a painter


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