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Thursday, 5 January 2012

Babylonia

In Babylonia, a part of Mesopotamia, the homes looked much like those of Egypt. Babylonia's soil was marshy, however, so houses were built on brick platforms to raise them above street level. Ventilation was not as advanced as in Egypt.

When sick the Babylonians preferred to leave the treatment of their sickness to the general public rather than relying on the wisdom of physicians. When somebody fell ill, he was taken to the city square, where nobody was allowed to walk past without asking the sick individual what he was suffering from and whether he could help. If previously the pedestrian had suffered from the same ailment, or seen it treated before, then he could recommend the best cure.

Babylon was the capital of ancient Babylonia. It was sited on the bank of the lower Euphrates River in modern day Iraq, 55 miles south of Baghdad and 5 miles north of Hillah.

A tunnel was built under the Euphrates River to connect the two halves of Babylon  between 2180 and 2160 BC. It was the biggest underwater tunnel until one was built beneath the Thames in 1824.

The Babylonian cult of Ishtar required every woman to sleep with a stranger at least once in her life at the local temple. This was felt to reflect the dual nature of womankind as mother and prostitute.

The punishment for serving bad beer in Babylon was drowning.

Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of Babylonia in the 6th century BC, constructed some magnificent hanging gardens to please and console his favorite wife, Amytis.

The walls of Babylon were among the wonders of Babylon. Built by Nebuchadnezzar, they were faced with glazed tile and pierced by openings fitted with magnificent brass gates.

On October 29, 539 BC, Cyrus the Great of Persia entered Babylon, and detained the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Nabonidus. To accomplish this feat, the Persian army, using a basin dug earlier by the Babylonian queen Nitokris to protect Babylon against Median attacks, diverted the Euphrates river into a canal so that the water level dropped to thigh level, which allowed the invading forces to march directly through the river bed to enter at night.

Cyrus the Great liberated the Jews from the Babylonian captivity, allowing them to resettle and rebuild Jerusalem, earning him an honored place in Judaism.

Cyrus the Great liberated the Jews from the Babylonian captivity

Throughout 1898 and the early part of 1899 architect and archaeologist Robert Koldewey reconnoitered the ancient city of Babylon.  He uncovered the enormous walls of the city, so wide four span of horses could drive abreast. Babylon had been enormous, larger than any other citadel known to history. Koldewey unearthed the base of a tower on which King Nabopolassar claimed "At that time Marduk [the god] commanded me to build the Tower of Babel which had become weakened by time and fallen into disrepair..." Wherever Koldewey turned his spade, he turned up verification of things the Bible had to say about the great kings and empires that once existed in the Mideast.

Sources Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc
RM 2012. Helicon Publishing is division of RM

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