The Rise and Fall of Babylon

(2000-359 BC)


Climate and Geographic Factors:

The total area of Babylon or Iraq is 437,072 sq km, consisting of 432,162 sq km of land and 4,910 sq km of water. Babylon is located in the Middle East it is situated in the country as we know today as Iraq. It Borders the Persian golf, between Iran and Kuwait. Most of Iraq or Babylon is mostly desert land. In the winter it is cool unlike its winters where it is dry, very hot and cloudless. The regions along Iranian and Turkish borders in the Northern mountainous have cold winters and every so often have heavy snow that melts in the early spring, which may cause immense floods in Central and Southern Iraq. Most of the Natural Hazards that take place in Iraq are dust storms, sandstorms and many floods.

'Babylonian World Map'

Environmental Issues
Government water management assignment have drained most of the populated marsh areas east of An Nasiriyah by drying up the feeder streams and rivers; a once sizable population of Shi'a Muslims. They have established themselves in these areas for thousands of years, in addition, the destruction of the natural habitat poses serious threats to the area's wildlife populations; insufficient supplies of drinkable and clean water. The Riparian people of Turkey have polluted the air and water affecting the people upstream and their development of Tigris-Euphrates Rivers system. The effects of the pollution are polluted soil, degradation (salination) and erosion;

Events and Leaders:

Important Leaders

  • Nebuchadnezzar
  • Awilmarduck
  • Aremean Nabonidus
  • Belshazzar

Nubuchadnezzar II was the real master mind, breator and builder of Babylon. Bbabylon existed for 70 years and Nebuchadnezzar ruled for 45 years of them. At the battle of Carchemish he ruined the power of Egypt and proved to be one of the mightiest monarchs of all time. Nebuchadnezzar invaded, took over and stole from Tyre, Moab, Ammon, Edon and Jersumlem. There has been documents of his improvement (604-562) giving an understanding of the power and wealth of Babylon. In more detail, when Nebuchadnezzar II was crowned king he began one of he most powerful periods of Babylon history. "The Babylonian Captivity" and "The Exile" was the attack of his second invasion and conquered Jurusalem in 586 BC the survivors as prisoners bac to Babylon. After destroying Jurusalem Nebuchadnezzar put all his attention towards the attack of Egypt, which he then conquered in 568 BC. I t is still remembereed as a fantastic acheivement for the Kig of Babylon for the first time fo any Chaldean King to defeat Egypt. These important facts about Babylon sounds ver great and impressive, this was just the beginning of the history of Babylon but everything great ust come to an end.

Nubuchadnezzar II went mad which lead Babylon in to a line of failure.Then Awilmarduk was the next ruler of Babylon after Nubuchadnezzar (561-560) ruling a lawless and some what outrageou fashuion. He was then murdered by his brother inlaw. Nubuchadnezzar's son Armean Nabonidus who overthrown his insane father witha curupt court, and later on proving to be even less inept then his father.After ruling Babylon for 17 years (556-539) had lost the devotion and faith of his people through is religious scandals of promoting the worship of one god, persecution and generally not being able to be a good king. Therefore he was lead to being sel-imposed exilation. He left his son Belshazzar, who then lead Babylon to an even worse level of power.During his feast of nobles, the prince and his company witnessed an inscription on the wall of his palace saying, "Mene,Mene, Tekel, Peves." Scared, he looked out for anyone who would read the words on the wall. These words meant "God has numbered your kingdom and finsh it; you have been judged and found wanting; your kingdom shall be divided between the Persians and the Medes."

This is the beggining of both greatness abd destruction of Babylon. The night of Belshizzar's feast he was killedd and Darius of the Medes and Cyrus of the Persians took over the Babylonian kingdom. The Babylonian army became weak and couldnt beat the Persians. Not that that the army would come into much need, this war had shed no blood because the Babylonian perople were disastisfied with their own people ruler and were ready to try the life under the control of the Persians. Babylon was once again brought back to greatness under the power of Alexander but soon after his death Babylon once more saw the writing on the wall. Alexanders Empire devided amongst his generals,and there was fighting soon to come. When the Parthian Empire took over most of the Near East, Babylon was faded into the shadows of what it had once been.

Nabonidus.jpg'Armean Nabonidus' belshazzar.jpg'Belshazzar'

Socio-Political Structure:

Babylonia was ruled under a monarch political system were the king ruled everything. He also took part in different jobs such as legislator, judge, administrator and the warlord. Babylonia didn't change much throughout the 1,200 years of its existance. Babylonia was divided into three different economic classes. First the Awilu(the upper class), Musheknu (free,but of little means) and the Wardu(slaves).
The Awilu, who were the upper class people were usually priests or landowners, much of the Babylonian land and temples was owned by Awilus. The Musheknu would take part in society as carftsmen,clerks or farmers. Lastly the Wardu's they were either slaves for life or for a certain time period dempending on the situation. If you were a slave as a punishment or either bought and sold into it by their parents. The only way to gert out of slavery was to buy your way out or to marry a free person.

Agriculture and the Economy:

The entire kingdom consisted of no more than 10-15 cities with 10,000-50,000 inhabitants. Babylonia was both an Urban and agricultural society. It relied on agriculture to bring money and to keep the economy moving. Irrigation ad water is a major factor in the food supply of Babylonia. Without the irrigation the land would become a swamp and desert. The crops rely on water for food, and when these areas were damaged it had catastrophic results. Babylonia also had industries and fine arts that were brought through the city. The Babylonian economy was supported by agriculture, animal husbandry, manufactured goods, and foreign trade. The price was under the control of the King and would vary depending on the supply and demand. Trade was another way the Babylonians kept the economy wealthy, by encouraging trade the king could tax people which helped the economy in the long run. One of the problems that occurred because of the trade was wars would start because people would fight over the controlling position on the trade routes.

Art, Literature and Music:


The Babylonians used a variety of different instruments used very many different types of instruments such as the reed flute, the lyre, the drum, the trumpet and the harp. The Babylonians usually used music as an accessory to tell stories rather than telling a story by itself. It wasn’t only used for religious ceremonies but for entertainment aspects as well. Though thee was some singing arrangements most music was instrumental.
Excavations at the Royal Tombs or Ur visibly identify that there was music in Ancient Mesopotamia at least as far back as 2500 BC as is evidenced by this piece of a sounding box from that period showing a harp player below.
Literature '
There were many libraries in most of the towns and temples. Men as well as women were taught how to read and write. Assyrian literature and culture originated from Babylonia. Most of the education was given to the people depending on their class in the Northern Kingdom.Babylonians build up an conceptual form of writing based on cuneiform symbols. These symbols were imprinted into wet or moist clay tablets that would then sit in the sun to dry and harden. Thousands of these tablets continue to exist today. The use of stylus on a clay medium led to the use of cuneiform symbols, given that curved lines could not be drawn. One of the most astonishing features of the Babylonian's calculating skills was their ability to construct tables to help them cwith calculations.

Babylonian mythology and stories are a series of stories portraying the activities of Babylonian gods, heroes, and mythological creatures. Although these myths and stories are in an up dated time they are usually considered a part of Babylonian religion, their purpose was not necessarily religious in nature. Frequently these stories explained an unknown concept of nature, representing the rewards for appropriate behavior, exemplify punishments for forbidden behavior, or present a combination of these or other purposes. Some mythological texts did, however, serve some ceremonial purpose in religious activity.
babylon_lterature.jpg babylon_literature.jpg

'Atre-Hasis Epic, tablet 2 Babylonia CA. 1900-1700 BC'

Art and (architecture)

In Babylonia there was a large quantity of clay and a little amount of stone which was a result of the use of ‘mud brick.’ The temples of Babylonia are very large and built of crude brick and supported by buttresses. Te walls were beautifully coloured and occasionally were covered with zinc, gold and tiles.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon also known as 'The Hanging Gardens of Semiramis' is one of the original seven wonders. They were built by Nebuchadnezzar || around 600 BCE. Nebuchadnezzar built this garden for his sick wife so that she could be surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers in her homeland Persia. Nebchadnezzar used peices of stone which was very unusual and unheard of in Babylon to put off water from eroding the the gardens. There were earthquakes in the 2nd century BCE which destroyed the stunning Gardens.

Most of Babylonian art was incorporated into building as decoration.Most artists made sculptures of gods, or of worshiped animals, most of the art work done was influenced by their religion.

Science and Mathematical Contributions:

The Babylonian people used a arrangement of mathematics cased on the number sixty. From this we developed to modern day usage of 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 360 (60×6) degrees in a circle. Babylonians were able to make great advances in mathematics for two reasons. Initially, the number 60 is a vastly complex number , having divisors 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, and 30, having a smooth progres of calculations with fractions. Furthermore the Babylonians unlike the Egyptians and Romans had a proper system, where the digits that were written on the left column represented larger values. Babylonians were the originators in this respect.
math_BabylonianClayTablet.jpg Babylonian_symbols_numbers.gif

Science was noted down in scribal activities along with mathematics. They would record the astronomical events they saw in the sky for two reasons. Firstly, it was to regulate the calendar so that the agricultural or farming operations could be sufficiently planned. Secondly, because Babylonians believed that the proceedings that happened on earth were either a reflection or at least related to the events and actions that happened in the sky. The Babylonians actually believed that they could in fact see the gods and what they were doing.
babylon_astronomy.jpg clay_tablet.jpg
'Babylonian Astronomy'
' and 'Clay Tablet Recordings'

More Information about the Fall and the Golden Age of Babylon