Rise and Fall of Babylon

by Brumby Ben
(Sydney, NSW)

My clay model of an Assyrian/Babylonian King.

My clay model of an Assyrian/Babylonian King.

The rise and fall of the Babylon

In 2000 BC Babylon was a small kingdom in Mesopotamia. King Sumu-abum, was the first important ruler of Babylon. King Sumu-abum’s dynasty continued until Hammurabi who ruled in 1792 - 1750. He united much of Mesopotamia under Babylon, thus beginning the Old-Babylonian Empire. Hammurabi made some wise and fair laws for which has become known.

Coming into Babylonia were traders who travelled to Syria, Assyria and to the kingdoms of the Persian Gulf. The traders swapped textiles and grain for gold, silver and precious stones. After Hammurabi, the empire slowly diminished, but Babylon itself was still a important city.

Assyria conquered Babylon’s empire in the 700's BC, and the actual city fell to King Sennacherib in 689. The son of Sennacherib rebuilt the city, when he took over the throne.

Nabopolassar the king of Babylon took Babylon from the hands of Assyria in 626. The attacks of Babylon and their Median allies put and end to Assyria, in 612. Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt the City to a grand scale.

The city was huge, and very much protected. The outer walls very 85 feet thick inside of which was a wide moat and after that was another large wall. The city couldn’t be starved for a long time for the people had plenty of food. Also the Euphrates river ran through the town so they could never go thirsty. In the walls were eight large bronze gates, the greatest was the Ishtar gate. This gate was decorated with lions, dragons and bulls made out of coloured glazed brick. The actual palace and fortress stood between the Euphrates river and the Ishtar gate. The most famous part of the palace was the hanging gardens , one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. This was the largest business centre in the world.

After Nebuchadnezzar, the empire became weak. The Persians and their allies the Medes under their leader Cyrus slowly took over the empire of Babylon. The grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, held a large feast inviting all his nobles. Meanwhile the Persians crept into the Babylon. No-one really knows how. Perhaps they diverted the Euphrates river and crept under the walls where the river had been. When the king of Babylon heard about it, it was already too late. This events happened in 539BC.

Babylon became the wealthiest place in the empire of Persia. This was so until one of the greatest military leaders the world has ever seen, came in and captured the city of Babylon. In the year 331 BC, Alexander the Great wanted to make this place his capital, until he died in 323 BC. Alexander’s army diminished and went back to Macedonia. One of Alexander’s generals, Seleucus became king of Babylon. He founded a new capital, on the Tigris river. The people of Babylon moved there. Over the years the empty Babylon fell to ruins.

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