INTRODUCTION : You must journey back in time to learn about Babylonian Mesopotamia. One of the earliest known civilizations in the world was located in Mesopotamia, a region tucked between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.
In addition to developing, the area also transmitted its rich culture to succeeding civilizations in the vicinity. Over the years, archaeologists’ excavations have uncovered a wealth of knowledge.
Regular battles were also fought in the area to seize control of the thriving city states created by succeeding empires. After taking control of Babylon, the Persians split Mesopotamia between Ashur and Babylon, where politics and government were centralized.
The growth of the Helentistic period began soon after Selucus conquered Babylon leading to both the cultural and economic progress of Mesopotamia.
Rise and fall and rise of BABYLON
Babylon is regarded by scholars of ancient history as the most important city state which prospered around 3 BC. The famous King Hammurabi was instrumental in making Babylon the capital of his kingdom. Babylon was once a bustling metropolis with great buildings and palaces. The Hanging Gardens were one of Babylon’s main draws. One of the Seven Wonders of the World is The Hanging Gardens. Once upon a time, Babylon was a significant hub for trade, culture, religion, money, and luxury. Babylon was abruptly destroyed in one night about 2,500 years ago, despite being in the midst of all its splendour and being militarily believed to be invincible by its foes. Babylon, which was once part of Mesopotamia and is now within the borders of modern-day Iraq, is largely in ruins but is currently undergoing some reconstruction.
The very first leader was Nimrod, a mighty warrior, who began to lead the first people in the land then known as Shinar (later became known as Babylon). Nimrod had great aspirations to build a huge empire with the people as his subjects. He instructed the people to build a tall magnificent tower that would stretch up to the heavens. They were making significant progress, when all of a sudden, according to the biblical narrative, construction suddenly stopped. They could no longer communicate with each other because their languages had been confused and they dispersed. This tower was originally called Bab-ilu in the Akkadian language meaning “Gate of God,” but later named Babel by the Hebrews meaning “to confuse”; hence, the name Babylon, which is the Greek name for Babel. The area that surrounds the city was called Babylonia.
Kings and Empires
Ruler Hammurabi, who was regarded as the greatest king of the time, ruled for 40 years during the period that historians refer to as the Old Babylonian Empire. The Code of Hammurabi, the first organised system in history, was a body of regulations he wrote that became famous. These rules provided swift and severe penalties for offences ranging from heinous felonies to family disagreements. These laws brought back law and order, and Babylon’s culture, religion, education, trade, and military might all began to advance. They developed the 60-minute hour and the 360-degree circle using extremely sophisticated mathematics and astronomy. Caravans from distant nations brought exotic goods into trade. In the midst of their successful advancements, barbarian tribes and groups of people began to attack them and take away their goods. Over a period of time, they had weakened until finally, the Assyrians overtook them, burning the city and bringing it into ruins
The people soon began revering Marduk, who was identified with Bel and regarded as a patron god as well. He was considered a patron god and in ancient Mesopotamian culture, god fixed the edicts and rules which human beings were supposed to follow.The Assyrians under Sennacherib destroyed Babylon in 689 BC. The famous city was again rebuilt to add luxury and color reminiscent of the days of Neuchadnezzar, when it was at its prime. Among the Seven Wonders of the World were the Hanging Gardens, the walls of the Babylonian palace and the Ishtar gate which was decorated with glazed bricks.Babylon in Mesopotamia attained significance as a place for sensual living after it was captured by the Greeks in 538 BC under Cyrus the great. By 275 BC, the residents were transported to Selucia which replaced Babylon as a center for commerce and trade.
Hints of Babylon were first found in the tablets dating back to the times of the Akkadian ruler Sargon in 23 BC. Many small kingdoms were formed after the Amorites wrested control and formed the first empire of Babylon.
STUDENT ACTIVITIES TO TRY :
MAKING OF SUMRIAN CYLINDRICAL SEALS
SUMRIAN INVENTIONS PROJECT
Hammurabi’s Code: The First Written Laws – Before there was a Supreme Court.. there was Hammurabi! (Babylon)Open the Lesson: Open the lesson with something like this: “Let’s say you are a carpenter and the house you build accidentally falls down and crushes its owner. What happens to you? According to the code of Hammurabi, DEATH of course!
Group Activity (5 groups): You are scribes, hired to write a script for a scenic tour guide in old BC Babylon. This script will be read by Babylonian tour guides.