American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
The province of which Babylon was the capital; now the Babylonian or Arabian Irak, which constitutes the pashalic of Bagdad. This celebrated province included the track of country lying on the river Euphrates, bounded north by Mesopotamia and Assyria and south by the Persian Gulf. This gulf was indeed its only definite and natural boundary; for towards the north, towards the east or Persia, and towards the west or desert Arabia, its limits were quite indefinite. Bot in ancient and modern times, Important tracts on the eastern bank of the Tigris, and on the western ban of the Euphrates, and still more on both banks of their united streams, were reckoned to Babylonia, or Irak el-Arab.
The most ancient name of the country is Shimar, Genesis 10:10 Daniel 1:2 . Afterwards Babel, Babylon, and Babylonia became its common appellation with which at a later period, Chaldea, or the land of the Chaldeans, was used as synonymous, after this people had got the whole into their possession.
Babylonia is an extensive plain, interrupted by no hill or mountain, consisting of a fatty, brownish soil, and subject to the annual inundations of the Tigris and Euphrates, more especially of the latter, whose banks are lower than those of the Tigris. The Euphrates commonly rises about twelve feet above its ordinary level, and continues at this height from the end of April tell June. These inundations of course compelled the earliest tillers of the soil to provide means for drawing off the superabundant water, and so distributing it over the whole surface, that those tracts which were in themselves less watered might receive the requisite irrigation. From this cause, the whole of Babylonia came to be divided up by a multitude of larger and smaller canals; in part passing entirely through from one river to the other; in part also losing themselves in the interior, and serving only the purposes of irrigation. These canals seem to be the "rivers of Babylon" spoken of in Psalm 137:1 . Besides this multitude of canals, which have long since vanished without trace, Babylonia contained several large lakes, partly the work of art and partly formed by the inundations of the two rivers. Babylonia, therefore, was a land abounding in water; and Jeremiah might therefore well say of it, that it "dwelt upon many waters," Jeremiah 51:13 .
The Babylonians belonged to the Shemitic branch of the descendants of Noah, and their language had an affinity with the Arabic and Hebrew, nearly resembling what is now called Chaldee. The Babylonian empire was founded by Nimrod twenty centuries before Christ, and then embraced the cities Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, Genesis 10:10 . After the building of Nineveh by Ninus, 1237 B.C., that city became the seat of power and continued so until about 606 B.C., when the Assyrian empire gave way to the Chaldean, and Babylon reached its highest point in fame and power. Upon the return of the Jews from captivity, many still remained in Babylonia, and to their posterity the gospel was early conveyed. Peter is supposed by many to have written his first epistle there, 1 Peter 5:13 . The Jews had thriving synagogues in Babylonia, and one of their Talmuds was there composed. See Chaldeans .
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
bab - i - lō´ni - a
6. Home of the Semites
14. Personal Names
15. History of Kingdoms
30. First Dynasty of Babylon
31. Sealand Dynasty
32. Cassite Dynasty
33. Cassite Rule
34. Isin Dynasty
35. Nebuchadrezzar I
36. Sealand Dynasty
37. Bit-Bazi Dynasty
38. Other Rulers
39. Babylonian Dynasty
40. Neo-Babylonian Rulers
41. Persian Rulers of Babylon
Babylonia is a plain which is made up of the alluvial deposits of the mountainous regions in the North, where the Tigris and Euphrates have their source. The land is bounded on the North by Assyria and Mesopotamia; on the East by Elam, separated by the mountains of Elam; on the South by the sea marshes, and the country Kaldu (Chaldaea); and on the West by the Syrian desert. Some of the cities of the lower country were seaport towns in the early period, but now are far inland. This land-making process continues even at the present time at the rate of about 70 ft. a year.
This plain, in the days when Babylonia flourished, sustained a dense population. It was covered with a network of canals, skillfully planned and regulated, which brought prosperity to the land, because of the wonderful fertility of the soil. The neglect of these canals and doubtless, also, the change of climate, have resulted in altered conditions in the country. It has become a cheerless waste. During some months of the year, when the inundations take place, large portions of the land are partially covered with swamps and marshes. At other times it looks like a desolate plain.
Throughout the land there are seen, at the present time, ruin-hills or mounds of accumulation of débris, which mark the site of ancient cities. Some of these cities were destroyed in a very early era, and were never rebuilt. Others were occupied for millenniums, and their history extends far into the Christian era. The antiquities generally found in the upper stratum of the mounds which were occupied up to so late a period, show that they were generally inhabited by the Jews, who lived there after the Babylonians had disappeared.
The excavations conducted at various sites have resulted in the discovery, besides antiquities of almost every character, of hundreds of thousands of inscriptions on clay and stone, but principally on the former material. At Tello more than 60,000 tablets were found, belonging largely to the administrative archives of the temple of the third millennium bc. At Nippur about 50,000 inscriptions were found, many of these also belonging to temple archives. But about 20,000 tablets and fragments found in that city came from the library of the school of the priests, which had been written in the third millennium bc. At Sippar, fully 30,000 tablets were found, many being of the same general character, also representing a library. At Delehem and Djokha, temple archives of the same period as those found at Tello have come to light in great numbers, through the illicit diggings of Arabs. Babylon, Borsippa, Kish, Erech and many other cities have yielded to the explorer and the Arab diggers inscribed documents of every period of Babylonian history, and embracing almost every kind of literature, so that the museums and libraries of America and Europe have stored up unread inscriptions numbering hundreds of thousands. Many also are in the possession of private individuals. After the work of excavating Babylonia has been completed and the inscriptions deciphered, many of the pro-Christian centuries in Babylonian history will be better known than some of those of our Christian era. The ancient history of the Babylonians will be reconstructed by the help of these original sources. Lengthy family genealogies will be known, as indeed in some instances is now the case, as well as the Babylonian contemporaries of Ezekiel, Abraham and all the other Biblical characters.
The Greek name of Babylonia which is in use at the present time is derived from the name of the city of Babylon, the capital and chief city of the land from the time of the First Dynasty of Babylon, about 2000 bc (see Babylon ). The name of the land in the very earliest period which is represented by antiquities, and even inscribed objects, is not known. But in a comparatively early age the northern part is called Uri, and the southern part, Engi or En-gira. The second part of the latter name is perhaps the same as in Su-gir, which is thought to be the origin of the Old Testament Shinar. Su-gir and Su-mer are names of the same country. And inasmuch as Mer and Gir were names of the same west Semitic deity, who played an important role in the early history of Babylonia, it is not improbable that the element Su is also to be identified with the ancient name of Mesopotamia. Su is also in Su-bartu, the name of the country to the North. This name is also written Su-Gir.
Subsequent to 2000 bc the ideograms read in Sumerian, Uri and Engi, were pronounced in SemBab, Accad and Sumer. The former received its name from the capital of the kingdom Accad, one of the cities mentioned in Genesis 10:10 . The title, "king of Accad and Sumer" was used by rulers as late as the 1st millennium bc.
The name by which the land is known in the second millennium bc is Kar-Duniash, the exact derivation of which is in doubt. Kar means "garden, land" in Semitic and Sumerian; and Duniash being preceded by the determinative for deity, has been regarded as a name of a Cassite god. A more recently advanced explanation is that Duniash is equivalent to Bêl - matâti , which means "lord of lands." The meaning of the name, as stated, must be regarded as undetermined.
In the time of the late Assyrian empire a nation in the extreme southern part of the land, called by the Greeks Chaldea, which is derived from the name Kaldu, came into existence. In the Assyrian historical inscriptions the land is usually called Bit-Yakin. This people seems to have issued from Aramaic Under Biblical. Merodach-baladan they ruled Babylonia for a time. The Neo-Bab Dynasty, founded by Nabopolassar, is supposed to be Chaldean in origin, in consequence of which the whole land in the Greek period was called Chaldea.
Two distinct races are found occupying the land when we obtain the first glimpses of its history. The northern part is occupied by the Semites, who are closely allied to the Amorites, Arameans and Arabs; and the southern part by a non-Sem people called Sumerians. Their cultures had been originally distinct, but when they first become known to us there has taken place such an amalgamation that it is only by the knowledge of other Semitic cultures that it is possible to make even a partial differentiation of what was Sem-Bab and what was Sumerian. The Semites, it would almost seem, entered the land after the Sumerians had established themselves, but this can only be re garded as a conjecture.
Although the earliest Sumerian settlement belongs to a remote period, few traces of the pre-historic Sumerian have been found. The archaeological remains indicate that this non-Sem race is not indigenous to the land, and that when they came into the country they had already attained to a fair degree of culture. But there is no evidence, as yet, in what part of the ancient world the elements of their culture were evolved, although various attempts have been made by scholars to locate their original home.
6. Home of the Semites
The home of the Semites has been placed in different parts of the ancient world. A number of scholars look to Arabia and others to Africa for their original habitation, although their theories generally are not based upon much archaeological evidence. Unquestionably, the previous, if not the original home of the Semitic Babylonians, is to be found in the land of the Amorites, that is in Syria. In the earliest known period of Babylonian history, which apparently belongs to the age not very far removed from the time when the Semites entered Babylonia, Amurru was an important factor in the affairs of the nations, and it was a land which the world conquerors of Babylonia, both Sumerian and Semitic, endeavored to subjugate. This points to the fact that the culture of Amurru was then already old. Egyptian inscriptions fully substantiate this. We look to the land of the Arnorites as the home of the Semitic Babylonians, because of the important part played by the chief god of that land Amurru or Uru, in the Babylonian religion and nomenclature. In fact nearly all of the original names of the Semitic Babylonian sun-deities are derived from the names and epithets of the great Sun-god of the Amorites and Arameans (see Amurru , 108ff). These and many other considerations point to Amurru, or the land of the Amorites, as the previous home of the Semites who migrated into Babylonia and who eventually became masters of the land.
The original settlements in Babylonia, as stated above, belong to a prehistoric time, but throughout the history of the land fresh Semitic migrations have been recognized. In the Isin and First Dynasty of Babylonia, Amorites or Canaanites seem to flood the country. In the second millennium a foreign people known as Cassites ruled Babylonia for nearly six centuries. The nomenclature of the period shows that many Hittites and Mittanaeans as well as Cassites lived in Babylonia. In the first millennium the thousands of names that appear in the contract literature indicate a veritable Babel of races: Egyptians, Elamites, Persians, Medes, Tabalites, Hittites, Cassites, Ammorites, Edomites, notably Hebrews, are among the peoples that occupied the land. The deportation of the Israelites by the Assyrian kings and of the Jews by the Babylonian kings, find confirmation besides the historical inscriptions in the names of Hebrews living in Babylonia in the corresponding periods.
The languages of Babylonia are Semitic and Sumerian. The latter is an agglutinative tongue like the Turkish, and belongs to that great unclassifiable group of languages, called for the sake of convenience, Turanian. It has not been shown, as yet, to be allied to any other known language. The Semitic language known as the Babylonian, with which the Assyrian is practically identical, is of the common Semitic stock. After the Semites entered the land, their language was greatly influenced by the Sumerian tongue. The Semites being originally dependent upon the Sumerian scribes, with whom the script had originated, considered in connection with the fact that the highly developed culture of the Sumerians greatly influenced that of the Semites, brought about the peculiar amalgamation known as Babylonian. The language is, however, distinctively Semitic, but it has a very large percentage of Sumerian loan-words. Not knowing the cognate tongues of the Sumerian, and having a poor understanding of the pronunciation of that language, it is impossible to ascertain, on the other hand, how much the Sumerian language was influenced by the Semites.
In the late period another Semitic tongue was used extensively in the land. It was not because of the position occupied by the Arameans in the political history of western Asia, that their language became the lingua franca of the first millennium bc. It must have been on account of the widespread migrations of the people. In the time of Sennacherib it seems to have been used as the diplomatic language in Assyria as well as among the Hebrews, as the episode in 2 Kings 18:26 would show. Then we recall the story of Belshazzar, and the edicts of the late period referred to in the Old Testament, which were in Aramaic ( Ezra 4:7 , etc.). In Assyria and Babylonia, many contract tablets have been found with Aramaic reference notes written upon them, showing that this was the language of those who held the documents. The Hebrews after the exile used Aramaic. This would seem to point to Babylonia as the place where they learned the language. The Babylonian language and the cuneiform script continued to be used until the 3rd or 2nd century bc, and perhaps even later, but it seems that the Aramaic had generally supplanted it, except as the literary and legal language. In short the tongue of the common people or the spoken language in all probability in the late period was Aramaic.
The cuneiform writing upon clay was used both by the Sumerians and the Semites. Whether this script had its origin in the land, or in the earlier home of the Sumerians, remains a question. It is now known that the Elamites had their own system of writing as early as that of the earliest found in Babylonia; and perhaps it will be found that other ancient peoples, who are at the present unknown to us, also used the cuneiform script. A writing similar to the Babylonian was in use at an early time in Cappadocia. The Hittites and other peoples of that region also employed it. The origin of the use of clay as a writing material, therefore, is shrouded in mystery, but as stated above, the system used by the Semites in Babylonian ylonia was developed from the Sumerian.
The script is not alphabetic, but ideographic and phonetic, in that respect similar to the Chinese. There are over 500 characters, each one of which has from one to many values. The combination of two or more characters also has many values. The compilation of the values of the different signs used in various periods by both the Sumerians and Assyrians numbers at the present about 25,000, and the number will probably reach 30, 000.
The architecture of Babylonia is influenced by the fact that the building material, in this alluvial plain, had to be of brick, which was largely sun-dried, although in certain prosperous eras there is much evidence of kiln-dried bricks having been used. The baked brick used in the earliest period was the smallest ever employed, being about the size of the ordinary brick used at the present time. The size of the bricks in the era prior to the third millennium varied from this to about 6 x 10 x 3 inches at Nippur, Sargon and his son Naram-Sin used a brick, the largest found, about 20 inches square, and about 4 inches in thickness. Following the operations of these kings at Nippur is the work of Ur-Engur, who used a brick about 14 inches square and nearly 4 inches in thickness. This size had been used at Tello prior to Sargon's time, and was thereafter generally employed. It re mained the standard size of brick throughout the succeeding centuries of Babylonian history. Adobes, of which the greater portion of the buildings were constructed, were usually double the thickness of kiln-dried bricks. The pillar made of bricks, as well as the pilaster constructed of the same material, seems to have come into use at a very early age, as is shown by the excavations at Tello.
A large number of Babylonian builders had the brick makers employ brick stamps which gave their names and frequently their titles, besides the name of the temple for which the bricks were intended. These enable the excavator to determine who the builders or restorers were of the buildings uncovered. Naturally, in a building like the temple of Enlil at Nippur, inscribed bricks of many builders covering a period of over 2,000 years were found. These by the help of building inscriptions, which have been found, enable scholars to rewrite considerable of the history of certain Babylonian temples. The walls of the city were also built of clay bricks, principally adobes. The walls usually were of very great thickness.
Clay was also employed extensively in the manufacture of images, weights, drains, playthings, such as animals, baby rattles, etc., and of inscriptions of every kind. Pottery, with the exception of the blue glaze employed in the late period, was usually plain, although some traces of painted pottery have been found. Although every particle of stone found in Babylonia was carried into the country, either by man or by inundations, still in certain periods it was used freely for statues, steles, votive objects, and in all periods for door sockets, weights and seal cylinders. Building operations in stone are scarcely known in Babylonia until perhaps the time of the greatest of all ancient builders, Nebuchadrezzar II, who laid a pavement in the causeway of Babylon, Aa - ibur - šabû , with blocks of stone from a mountain quarry. See Babylon .
The sculpture of the Sumerians, although in most instances the hardest of materials was used, is one of the great achievements of their civilization. Enough examples have been found to trace the development of their art from comparatively rude reliefs of the archaic period to the finished sculpture of Gudea's time, third millennium bc, when it reached a high degree of excellence. The work of the sculpture of this age shows spirit and originality in many respects unique. In the earliest period the Babylonians attempted the round, giving frequently the main figures in full face. The perfection of detail, in their efforts to render true to life, makes their modeling very superior in the history of article The Sumerian seems to have been able to overcome difficulties of technique which later sculptors systematically avoided.
Practically every Babylonian had his own personal seal. He used it as the signature is used at the present time or rather as the little stamp upon which is engraved the name of the individual at the present time, in the Orient, to make an impression upon the letter which was written for him by a public scribe. Thousands of these ancient seals have been found. They were cut out of all kinds of stone and metal. The style in the early period was usually cylindrical, with a hole passing lengthwise through them. In the late period the signet was commonly used. Many of these gems were exquisitely cut by lapidists of rare ability. Some of the very best work of this art belongs to the third millennium bc. The boldness in outline, and the action displayed are often remarkable. The most delicate saws, drills and other tools must have been employed by the early lapidist. Some of his early work is scarcely surpassed in the present age.
The gold and silver smiths of the early age have left us some beautiful examples of their art and skill. A notable one is the silver vase of Entemena of Lagash, mounted on a bronze pedestal, which stands on four feet. There is a votive inscription engraved about its neck. The bowl is divided into two compartments. On the upper are engraved seven heifers, and on the lower four eagles with extended wings, in some respects related to the totem or the coat of arms of Lagash. While attention to detail is too pronounced, yet the whole is well rendered and indicates remarkable skill, no less striking than the well-known work of their Egyptian contemporaries. Bronze was also used extensively for works of art and utensils. Some remarkable specimens of this craft have been found at Tello.
In studying the magnificent remains of their art, one is thoroughly impressed with the skill displayed, and with the fact that there must have been a long period of development prior to the age to which these works belong, before such creations could have been possible. Although much of the craftsman's work is crude, there is considerable in the sculpture and engraving that is well worthy of study. And in studying these remains one is also impressed with the fact that they were produced in an alluvial plain.
The literature in a narrow sense is almost entirely confined to the epics, which are of a religious character, and the psalms, hymns, incantations, omens, etc. These are the chief remains of their culture. See Babylonia And Assyria , Religion Of .
In a general sense almost every kind of literature is found among the hundreds of thousands of clay tablets unearthed in Babylonia. The inscribed votive objects are of all kinds and descriptions. The stone vase taken in booty was dedicated to the deity of the conqueror. The beautiful piece of lapis lazuli, agate, cornelian, etc., obtained, was inscribed and devoted in the same way. Slabs, tablets and cones of all shapes and sizes, were inscribed with the king's name and titles, giving the different cities over which he ruled and referring especially to the work that he had accomplished for his deity. From the decipherment of these votive objects much valuable data are gathered for the reconstruction of the ancient history of the land.
The same is true of what are known as building inscriptions, in which accounts of the operations of the kings in restoring and enlarging temples, shrines, walls and other city works are given. Canal digging and dredging, and such works by which the people benefited, are frequently mentioned in these inscriptions.
Epistolary literature, for example, the royal letters of H̬ammurabi , the diplomatic correspondence found in Egypt (see Tell El-Amarna Tablets ) or the royal letters from the Library of Ashurbanipal (see Ashurbanipal ), as well as the private correspondence of the people, furnishes valuable historical and philological data.
The thousands of tablets found in the school libraries of Sippar and Nippur, as well as of the library of Ashurbanipal, among which are all kinds of inscriptions used in the schools of the priests and scribes, have furnished a great deal of material for the Assyrian dictionary, and have thrown much light upon the grammar of the language. The legal literature is of the greatest importance for an understanding of the social conditions of the people. It is also valuable for comparative purposes in studying the codes of other peoples. See Code Of Hammurabi .
The commercial or legal transactions, dated in all periods, from the earliest times until the latest, also throw important light upon the social conditions of the people. Many thousands of these documents have been found, by the help of which the very life that pulsated in the streets of Babylonian cities is restored.
The administrative documents from the temple archives also have their value, in that they furnish important data as regards the maintenance of the temples and other institutions; and incidentally much light on the nationality and religion of the people, whose names appear in great numbers upon them. The records are receipts of taxes or rents from districts close by the temples, and of commercial transactions conducted with this revenue. A large portion of these archives consists of the salary payments of storehouse officials and priests. There seems to have been a host of tradesmen and functionaries in connection with the temple. Besides the priest, elder, seer, seeress, sorcerer, sorceress, singer, etc., there were the farmer, weaver, miller, carpenter, smith, butcher, baker, porter, overseer, scribe, measurer, watchman, etc. These documents give us an insight into Babylonian system of bookkeeping, and show how carefully the administrative affairs of the temple were conducted. In fact the temple was provided for and maintained along lines quite similar to many of our modern institutions.
The discovery of the Library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh speaks volumes for the culture of Assyria, but that culture was largely borrowed from the Babylonians. Much that this library contained had been secured from Babylonian libraries by the scribes employed by Ashurbanipal. In every important center there doubtless existed schools and libraries in connection with the temples. At Nippur, in 1890, Dr. J.P. Peters found such a library, but unfortunately, although he termed it such, his Assyriologists did not recognize that one of the greatest discoveries of antiquity had been made. It remained for Dr. J. H. Haynes, a decade later, to discover another portion of this library, which he regarded as such, because of the large number of tablets which he uncovered. Père Scheil, prior to Dr. Haynes' discovery, had the good fortune while at Sippar to discover a part of the school and library of that important center. Since Professor Scheil's excavations, Arabs have unearthed many inscriptions of this library, which have found their way to museums and into the hands of private individuals.
The plan of the Nippur Library, unearthed by Dr. Haynes, has been published by Mr. C. Fisher, the architect of the Nippur expedition (see Clay, Light on the Old Testament from Babel , 183). Professor Scheil, in publishing his results, has also given a plan of the school he discovered, and a full description of its arrangements, as well as the pedagogical methods that had been employed in that institution of learning. This has also been attempted by others, but in a less scientific manner. One of the striking features of these libraries is the use of the large reference cylinders, quadrangular, pentagonal and hexagonal in shape. There was a hole cut lengthwise through them for the purpose of mounting them like revolving stands. These libraries, doubtless, contained all the works the Babylonians possessed on law, science, literature and religion. There are lexical lists, paradigm tablets, lists of names, of places, countries, temples, rivers, officers, stones, gods, etc. Sufficient tablets have been deciphered to determine their general character. Also hundreds of exercise tablets have been found, showing the progress made by pupils in writing, in mathematics, in grammar, and in other branches of learning. Some tablets appear to have been written after dictation. Doubtless, the excavators found the waste heaps of the school, where these tablets had been thrown for the purpose of working them over again as raw material, for new exercises. The school libraries must have been large. Considering for instance that the ideographic and phonetic values of the cuneiform signs in use numbered perhaps 30,000, even the syllabaries which were required to contain these different values must have been many in number, and especially as tablets, unlike books made of paper, have only two sides to them. And when we take into consideration all the different kinds of literature which have been found, we must realize that these libraries were immense, and numbered many thousands of tablets.
14. Personal Names
In modern times the meaning of names given children is rarely considered; in fact, in many instances the name has suffered so much through changes that it is difficult to ascertain its original meaning. Then also, at present, in order to avoid confusion the child is given two or more names. It was not so with the ancient Babylonian. Originally the giving of a name was connected with some special circumstance, and though this was not always the case throughout the history of Babylonia, the correct form of the name was always preserved.
The name may have been an expression of their religious faith. It may have told of the joy experienced at the birth of an heir. It may even betray the suffering that was involved at the birth of the child, or the life that the parents had lived. In short, the names afford us an intimate glimpse into the everyday life of the people.
The average Babylonian name is theophorous, and indicates one of the deities worshipped by the family, and often the city. For example, it is suggestive that persons with names compounded with Enlil and Ninib hailed from Nippur. Knowing the deities of the surrounding people we have also important evidence in determining the origin of peoples in Babylonia having foreign names. For example, if a name is composed of the Hittite deity Teshup, or the Amorite deity Amurru, or the Aramean god Dagan, or the Egyptian god Esi (Isis), foreign influence is naturally looked for from the countries represented. Quite frequently the names of foreign deities are compounded with Babylonian elements, often resulting from mixed marriages.
Theophorous names are composed of two, three, four and even five elements. Those having two or three elements predominate. Two-element names have a diety plus a verbal form or a subst.; or vice versa: for example, Nabu - na'id (Nabonidus), "Nebo is exalted," or Shulman - asharedu (Shalmaneser), "Shalman is foremost." Many different combinations are found in three-element names which are composed of the name of the deity, a subst., a verbal form, a pronominal suffix, or some other form of speech, in any of the three positions. Explanations of a few of the familiar Biblical. names follow: Sin - akhe - erba (Sennacherib), "Sin has increased the brothers"; Marduk - apal - iddin (Mero-dach-baladan), "Marduk has given a son"; Ashur - akh - iddin (Esarhaddon), "Ashur has given a brother"; Ashur - bani - apal , "Ashur is creating a son"; Nabu - kudurri - usur (Nebuchadrezzar), "O Nebo, protect the boundary"; Amel - Marduk (Evil Merodach), "Man of Marrink"; Bel - shar - uṣur (Belshazzar), "O Bel, protect the king." Some Babylonian names mentioned in the Bible are really of foreign origin, for example, Amraphel and Sargon. Amraphel originally is west Semitic and is written Ḥammurabi (pronounced Ḥammu - rabi , the first letter being the Semitic ḥeth ). Sargon was perhaps originally Aramean, and is composed of the elements shar and the god Gan . When written in cuneiform it was written Shargani , and later Sharrukin , being translated "the true king." Many names in use were not theophorous; for example, such personal names as Ululâ , "the month Ulul"; names of animals, as Kalbâ , "dog," gentilic names, as Akkadai , "the Akkadian," names of crafts, as Paḥâru , "potter," etc.
The literature abounds in hypochoristica. One element of a name was used for the sake of shortness, to which usually a hypochoristica suffix was added, like Mardukâ (Mordecai). That is, the ending a or ai was added to one of the elements of a longer name.
15. History of Kingdoms
The written history of Babylonia at the present begins from about 4200 bc. But instead of finding things crude and aboriginal in this, the earliest period, the remains discovered show that the people had attained to a high level of culture. Back of that which is known there must lie a long period of development. This is attested in many ways; for instance, the earliest writing found is so far removed from the original hieroglyphs that it is only possible to ascertain what the original pictures were by knowing the values which the signs possessed. The same conclusion is ascertained by a study of the art and literature. Naturally, as mentioned above, it is not impossible that this development took place in a previous home of the inhabitants.
The history of early Babylonia is at present a conflict of the kings and patesis (priest-kings) of the different city-kingdoms, for supremacy over each other, as well as over the surrounding peoples. The principal states that figure in the early history are: Kish, Lagash, Nippur, Akkad, Umma, Erech, Ur and Opis. At the present time more is known of Lagash, because the excavations conducted at that site were more extensive than at others. This makes much of our knowledge of the history of the land center about that city. And yet it should be stated that the hegemony of Lagash lasted for a long period, and the kingdom will ultimately occupy a prominent position when the final history of the land is written. Nippur, where considerable work was also done, was not the seat of rulers, but the sacred city of the god Enlil, to whom the kings of other cities generally did obeisance. Following is a list of known rulers of the different city-kingdoms.
El-Ohemir, identified as the ancient city of Kish, not far from Babylon, is one of the oldest Semitic centers of the land. No systematic excavations have been conducted at this site, but besides the inscriptions which the Arabs have unearthed, several of the rulers are known to us through votive inscriptions discovered at Nippur and elsewhere. The rulers of Kish are: Utug p. (patesi), circa 4200 bc; Mesilim k. (king), circa 4000 bc; Lugal-tarsi k.; Enbi-Ishtar k.; Manishtusu k., circa 2650 bc; Urnmush k., circa 2600; Manana k.; Sumu-ditana k. and Tanium k.
The excavations by the French under De Sarsez and Cross at Tello , the ancient city Lagash, have yielded more inscriptions of ancient Babylonian rulers than those at any other site. Lagash was destroyed about 2000 bc, and only partially rebuilt in the post-Bab period. The known rulers are: Lugal-shag-Engur patesi, circa 4000 bc, contemporary with Mesilim k. of Kish; @ k.; @-khegal k.; Ur-Nina k.; Akurgal p.; Eannatum p. and k.; Enannatum I p.; Entemena I)-; Enannatum IIp.; Enetarzi p.; Enlitarzi p.; Lugal-anda p.; Uru-kagina k., contemporary with Lugal-zaggisi, k. of Uruk; Engilsa p., contemporary with Manishtusu k. of Kish; Lugul-ushumgal p., contemporary with Sargon of Accad; Ur-Babbar p., contemporary with Naram-Sin of Accad; Ur-E p.; Lugal-bur p.; Basha-Kama p.; Ur-Mama p.; Ug-me p.; Ur-Bau p.; Gudea p.; Nammakhini p.; Ur-gar p.; Ka-azag p.; Galu-Bau p.; Galu-Gula p.; Ur-Ninsun p.: Ur-Ningirsu p.; contemporary with Ur-Engur k. of Ur-abba p.; @-ka zal p.; @ p.; @-Lama I p.; @, @-Lama Ii p.; contemporary with Dungi k. of Ur; Arad-Nannar p. Unfortunately, with the exception of about onethird of these rulers, the exact order is yet to be ascertained. (Note: Asterisk denotes unidentified forms.)
The mounds of Bismaya which have been identified as Adab were partially excavated by Dr. Edgar J. Banks, for the University of Chicago. Its remains indicate that it is one of the oldest cities discovered. A ruler named Esar, circa 4200 bc, is known from a number of inscriptions, as well as a magnificent statue of the king, discovered by Dr. Banks.
The large group of mounds covering an area, the circumference of which is three miles, called in ancient times Nippur, but now Noufar, was excavated as mentioned above by Dr. Peters and Dr. Haynes for the University of Pennsylvania. While a great number of Babylonian kings and patesis are represented by inscriptions discovered at Nippur, practically all had their seats of government at other places, it being the sacred city.
The mounds at the present called Warka, but representing ancient Erech ( Genesis 10:10 ), covering an area whose circumference is 6 miles, have been tentatively examined by Loftus and other explorers. Many inscriptions have also been unearthed by the Arabs at this site. The rulers of this city known to us are: Ilu-(m)a-ilu, Lugal-zaggisi k., contemporary with Uru-kagina of Lagash; Lugal-kigubnidudu k.; Lugal-kisalsi k.; Sin-gashid k., about 2200 bc, and Sin-gamil k.
Senkereh known in the Old Testament as Ellasar ( Genesis 14:1 ), and in the inscriptions as Larsa, has been explored by Loftus and others. The known rulers of the city are: Gungunu k., contemporary of Ur-Ninib k. of Isin; Sumu-ilu; Nur-Adad; Sin-iddinam; Êri-Aku (the Biblical "Arioch") circa 2000 bc, son of Kudur-Mabug k. of Elam, and Rim-Sin (or Rim-Aku), his brother.
The present Fara, which in ancient times was called Shuruppak, was partially excavated by the Germans under Koldewey, Andraea, and Noeldeke. It is also a very ancient city. It yielded little to the spade of the excavator. It is close by Abu-Hatab, and known as the place where the scenes of the Babylonian Deluge story occurred. Two rulers known from the inscriptions found there are Dada and ladda, belonging to a comparatively early period.
The site now known as Abu-Hatab is the ancient Kisurra. It was partially excavated by the Germans. It flourished as a city in the third millennium bc. The two rulers of this city that are known are Idinilu p., and Itur-Shamash p. (?).
The site now called Jokha lying to the Northwest of Lagash is an ancient Sumerian city known as Umma. The site has been explored by Dr. Peters and others, but more recently surveyed by Andraea and Noeldeke. It proved to be a city destroyed in the early period. Arabs have lately found thousands of documents belonging to the ancient archives of the city. Some of the rulers known are: Ush p., Enakalli and Urlumma p., contemporaries of Enannatum I of Lagash; Ill p., appointed by Entemena p., of Lagash; Kur-Shesh p., time of Manishtusu; @-Babbar p.; Ur-nesu p., contemporary of Dungi k., of Ur.
The city mentioned in Genesis 10:10 as Accad, one of Nimrod's cities, has not been explored, but is well known by the inscriptions of Sargon and his son Naram-Sin as well as omen-texts of later eras. Sargon was a usurper. He was born in concealment, and sent adrift in an ark of bulrushes like Moses. He was rescued and brought up by Akki, a farmer. He assumed the title "king of the city" ( Shar - ali ), or "king of Uri" ( Shar Uri ). Later he conquered the entire country, and became the "king of Accad and Sumer." In his latter years he extended his conquests to Elam, Amurru and Subartu, and earned for himself the title "king of the Four Quarters," which his son Naram-Sin inherited. The latter followed up the successes of his father and marched into Magan, in the Sinaitic peninsula. Naram-Sin, as well as his father, was a great builder. Evidences of their operations are seen in many cities. Naram-Sin was succeeded by Bingani, who apparently lost the title "king of the Four Quarters," being only called "king of the City, or Uri."
The exact site of the city of Opis is still in doubt, but the city is represented by the ruler Zuzu k., who was defeated by Eannatum p., of Lagash.
The city Basime also remains unidentified, but is represented by Ibalum p., a contemporary of Manishtusu k., of Kish, and son of Ilsurabi, apparently another patesi of that city.
A site not far from Nippur, called Dolehem or Drehem, which was explored by Dr. Peters, has recently yielded thousands of tablets from the Temple archives dated in the reigns of kings in the Ur Dynasty.
The extensive group of mounds lying on the west side of the Euphrates, called Mugayyar, and generally known as Ur of the Chaldees, is the ancient Urumma. It was explored by Taylor and others, and proved to have been an important capital from the middle of the third millennium bc. The dynasty which had made the city its capital is known through inscriptions discovered there and at Tello, Nippur, Drehem and Djokha. Thousands of inscriptions dated in what is commonly called the Ur Dynasty have been published. The dynasty was founded by Ur-Engur, who is conspicuous for his building operations at Nippur and other cities. A dynastic tablet of a much later period, the provenience of which is in doubt, gives the rulers of this dynasty founded about 2400 bc, and the number of years that they reigned.
Ur-Engur, 18 years
Dungi (son), 58 years
Bur-Sin (son), 9 years
Gimil-Sin (son), 7 years
Ibi-Sin (son), 25 years
Five kings, 117 years
The same tablet gives also the following list of the rulers of Isin. Ishbi-Urra, the founder, lived about 2283 bc.
§Ishbi-Urra, 32 years
Gimil-ilishu (son), 10 years
Idin-Dagan (son), 21 years
Ishme-Dagan (son), 20 years
Libit-Ishtar (son), 11 years
Ur-Ninib, 28 years
Bur-Sin Ii (son), 28 years
Iter-iqisha (son), 5 years
Urra-imitti (brother), 7 years
Sin-iqisha, 6 months Enlil-bani, 24 years
Zambia, 3 years
----------, 5 years
Ea-------------, 4 years
Sin-magir, 11 years
Damiq-ilishu (son), 23 years
Sixteen kings, 225 years and 6 months
30. First Dynasty of Babylon
About the time the Nisin Dynasty came to a close, and while the Larsa Dynasty was ruling, the First Dynasty of Babylon was established. Following is a list of 11 rulers of this dynasty who ruled 300 years:
I. First Dynasty Of Babylon
Sumu-abum, 14 years
Sumu-la-el, 36 years
Sabium (son), 14 years
Abil-Sin (son), 18 years
Sin-muballit (son), 20 years
Hammu-rabi (son), 43 years
Samsu-iluna (son), 38 years
Abi-eshuh (son), 28 years
Ammi-Ditana (son), 37 years
Ammi-Zaduga (son), 21 years
Samsu-Ditana (son), 32 years
The First Dynasty of Babylon came into prominence in the reign of Sin-muballit who captured Nisin. Êri-Aku of the Larsa Dynasty shortly afterward took the city. When H̬ammurabi came to the throne he was subject to Êri-Aku (Bib. Arioch) of Larsa, the son of the Elamitc king, Kudur-Mabug. The latter informs us that he was suzerain of Amurru (Palestine and Syria), which makes intelligible the statement in Gen 14, that the kings of Canaan were subject to the king of Elam, whose name was Chedorlaomer (Kudur-Lagam ar). In his 31st year, H̬ammurabi , who is the Amraphel of Genesis 14:1 , succeeded in throwing off the Elamite yoke, and not only established his independence but also became the complete master of Babylonia by driving out the Elamites.
31. Sealand Dynasty
In the region of the Persian Gulf, south of Babylonia, ruled a dynasty partly contemporaneously with the First Dynasty, extending over the reigns of about five of the last kings, and over several of the Cassite Dynasty, known as the Sealand Dynasty. The historian records for the latter the following list of 11 kings who ruled 368 years:
II. Sealand Dynasty
Ilima-ilu, 60 years
Itti-ili-nibi, 55 years
Damqi-ilishu, 36 years
Ishkibal, 15 years
Shushshi (brother), 27 years
Gulkishar, 55 years
Pesh-gal-daramash (son), 50 years
Adara-kalama (son), 28 years
Ekur-ul-anna, 26 years
Melamma-kurkura, 7 years
Ea-gamil, 9 years
32. Cassite Dynasty
The First Dynasty of Babylon came to an end through an invasion of the Hittites. They plundered Babylon and perhaps ruled that city for a number of years. A new dynasty was then established about 1750 bc by a foreign people known as Cassites. There were 36 kings in this dynasty ruling 576 years and 9 months. Unfortunately the tablet containing the list is fragmentary.
III. Cassite Dynasty
Gandash, 16 years
Agum I (s), 22 years
Kashtiliash I, usurper, 22 years; born of Ulamburiash and son of Burna-buriash
Du(?) shi (s), 8 years
Abirattash (b ?)
Agum Ii (s)
@-indash I, contemporary with Ashur-rimnisheshu, k. of Assyria
@-Enlil I (s ?)
Burna-buriash II, contemporary of Buzur-Ashur, k. of Assyria
@-Indash II, son-in-law of Ashur-uballit, k. of Assyria
Kuri-Galzu Ii (s. of Burna-buriash), 23 years; contemporary of Ashur-uballit, and Enlilnirari, kings of Assyria
Nazi-Maruttash (s), 26 years; contemporary of Adad-nirari I, p. of Assyria.
Kadashman-Turgu (s), 17 years
Kadashman-Enlil II, 7 years
Kudur-Enlil (s), 9 years
Shagarakti-Shuriash (s), 13 years
Kashtiliash Ii (s), 8 years
Enlil-nadin-shum, 1 1/2 years
Kadashman-Kharbe II, 1 1/2 years
Adad-shum-iddin, 6 years
Adad-shum-usur, 30 years
Meli-Shipak (s?), 15 years
Marduk-apil-iddin (s), 13 years
Zamama-shum-iddin, 1 year
Bel-mu - , 3 years
33. Cassite Rule
The region from which these Cassites came has not yet been determined, although it seems to be the district Northeast of Assyria. Gandash, the first king, seems to have enjoyed the all-embracing title, "King of the Four Quarters of the World." Little is known of the other rulers until Agum II, who claims the rule of the Cassites, Accad, Babel, Padan, Alman and Guti. In his inscriptions he records the conquest of Khani in Asia Minor, and the fact that he brought back to Babylon the statues of Marduk and Zarpanit, which had been carried off by the Hittites. The Cassite rule, while extending over many centuries, was not very prosperous. At Nippur the excavations showed active operations on the part of a few kings in restoring the temple and doing ob eisance to Enlil. The rulers seemed to have conformed to the religion of the land, for few foreign elements have been recognized as having been introduced into it during this era. The many Cassite names found in the inscriptions would indicate an influx from a Cassite quarter of no small proportion. And yet it should be noted that, in the same era, Hittite and Mittanean influence, as is shown by the nomenclature, is as great as the Cassite. It was during this period that Assyria rose to power and influence, and was soon to become the master of the Mesopotamian region.
34. Isin DynastyIV. Isin Or Pashe Dynasty
11 Kings; began to rule about 1172 bc
Marduk, 17 years
Wanting, 6 years
Nebuchadrezzar I, contemporary of Ashur-resh-ishi, k. of Assyria
Marduk-nadin-akhi, contemporary of Tiglath-pileser I, k. of Assyria
Marduk-shapik-zer-mati, contemporary of Ashur-bel-kala, k. of Assyria
Adad-apal-iddin, 22 years
Marduk-akh-erba, 1 ½
Marduk-zer, 12 years
Nabu-shum-libur, 8(?) years
35. Nebuchadrezzar I
The most famous king of this dynasty, in fact of this era, was Nebuchadrezzar I, who re-established firmly the rule of Babylon. He carried on a successful expedition into Elam as well as into Amurru where he fought against the Hittite. He also conquered the Lulubites. But in contest for supremacy with Assyria Ashur-reshishi triumphed, and he was forced to retreat ingloriously to Babylon. His successors failed to withstand the Assyrians, especially under Tiglath-pileser I, and were allowed to rule only by sufferance. The Babylonians had lost their prestige; the Assyrians had become the dominant people of the land. Few rulers of the dynasty which followed are known except by name. The dynasties with one exception were of short duration.
36. Sealand DynastyV. Sealand Dynasty 3 Kings
Simrnash-Shipak, 18 years; about 1042 bc
Ea-mukin-shum, 6 months
Kashshu-nadin-akhi, 3 years
37. Bit-Bazi DynastyVI. Bit-Bazi Dynasty 3 Kings
Eulmash-shakin-shum, 17 years; about 1020 bc
Ninib-kudur-usur, 3 years
Shilaniln-Shuqamuna, 3 months
38. Other Rulers
VII. An Elamitic King, whose name is not known
VIII. 13(?) kings who ruled 36 years
IX. A dynasty of 5(?) kings
39. Babylonian Dynasty
Following is a partial list of the 22 kings who ruled until the destruction of Babylon by Sennacherib, when the Assyrian kings assumed direct control. Ashurbanipal, however, introduced a new policy and viceroys were appointed.
X. Babylonian Dynasty
Nabu-nadin-zer; 747-734 bc
Nabu-shum-ishkun III; 733-732 bc
Nabu-mukin-zer; 731-729 bc
Pul (Tiglath-pilcser III); 729-727 bc
Ulula (Shalmancsar v); 727-722 bc
Merodach-baladan I; 722-710 bc
Sargon; 710-705 bc
Sennacherib; 704-702 bc
Marduk-zakir-shum (1 month)
Merodach-baladan Ii (9 months)
Bel-ibni; 702-700 bc
Ashur-nadin-shum; 700-694 bc
Nergal-ushezib; 694-693 bc
Mushczib-Marduk; 692-689 bc
Sennacherib; 689-681 bc
Esarhaddon; 681-668 bc
Ashurbanipal; 668-626 bc
Shamash-shum-ukin; 668-648 bc
Kandalanu; 648-626 bc
During the time of Sennacherib, Merodach-baladan the Chaldean became a great obstacle to Assyria's maintaining its supremacy over Babylonia. Three times he gained possession of Babylon, and twice had himself proclaimed king. For thirty years he plotted against Assyria. What is learned from the inscriptions concerning him furnishes an interesting commentary on the sending of the embassy, in 704 bc, to Hezekiah ( 2 Kings 20:12; Isaiah 39:1 ) in order to induce him to revolt against Assyria, which he knew would help his own cause. Finally Sennacherib, in 690, after he had experienced much trouble by the repeated uprisings of the Babylonians, and the aspirations of Merodach-baladan, endeavored to obliterate Babylon from the map. His son and successor Esarhaddon, however, tried to make Babylon again happy and prosperous. One of his first acts was to send back to Babylon the statue of Bel-Merodach. He rebuilt the city, and also restored other Babylonian temples, for instance, that of Enlil at Nippur. The Babylonians solemnly declared him king. Ashurbanipal, his son and successor, followed his policy. The evidence of his operations at Nippur is everywhere seen in the shape of stamped, kiln-dried bricks.
Before Esarhaddon died, he had planned that Babylonia should become independent and be ruled by his son, Shamash-shum-ukin, while Assyria he handed down to Ashurbanipal. But when the latter came to the throne, Assyria permitted the former only to be appointed viceroy of Babylon. It seems also that even some portions of Babylonia were ruled directly by Ashurbanipal.
After fifteen years Shamash-shum-ukin rebelled and attempted to establish his independence, but Sennacherib besieged Babylon and took it, when Shamash-shum-ukin destroyed himself. Kadalanu was then appointed viceroy, and ruled over part of the country. Nabopolassar was the last viceroy appointed by Assyria. At last the time had arrived for the Babylonians to come again unto their own. Nabopolassar who perhaps was a Chaldean by origin, made an alliance with the Urnman Manda. This he strengthened by the marriage of his son Nebuchadrezzar to the daughter of Astyages, the king. Nineveh finally fell before the Umman Manda hordes, and was razed to the ground. This people took possession of Northern Assyria. The Armenian vassal states, and Southern Assyria, as well as the title to Palestine,Syria and Egypt, fell to Babylonia.
40. Neo-Babylonian RulersRULERS Of Neo-Babylonian Empire
Nabopolassar; 625-604 bc
Nebuchadrezzar Ii (s); 604-568 bc
Evil-Merodach (s); 561-560 bc
Neriglissar (brother-in-law); 559-556 bc
Labosoarchad (s); 556 bc
Nabonidus; 555-539 bc
Cyrus conquered Babylonia in 539 bc
Nabopolassar having established himself king of Babylon became the founder of the neo-Babylonian empire. He was succeeded by his son, Nebuchadrezzar II, who like H̬ammurabi and Sargon is among the greatest known characters in Babylonian history. He is the Biblical Nebuchadrezzar who carried the Jews into captivity. There are a number of lengthy records of Nebuchadrezzar concerning the buildings he erected, as well as of other public acts, but unfortunately only a fragment of a historical inscription referring to him has been found. The building inscriptions portray him as the great builder he is represented to be in the Old Testament (see Babylon ). He transformed Babylon into the mistress of the civilized world.
Evil-Merodach, his son and successor, is also mentioned in the Old Testament. Two short reigns followed when the ruling dynasty was overthrown and Nabonidus was placed upon the throne. The king, who delighted in exploring and restoring ancient temples, placed his son at the head of the army. Nabonidus desiring to centralize the religion of Babylonia, brought to Babylon many of the images of deities from other cities. This greatly displeased the people, and excited a strong feeling against him. The priesthood was alienated, and the military party was displeased with him, for in his antiquarian pursuits he left the defense of the empire to others. So when Cyrus, king of Anshan and ruler of Persia, entered the country, he had little difficulty in defeating the Babylonians in a battle at Opis. Sippar immediately surrendered to the invader, and the gates of Babylon were thrown open to his army under Gobryas, his general. Nabonidus was imprisoned. Three months later Cyrus entered Babylon; Belshazzar, who doubtless had set up his throne after his father had been deposed, was slain a week later on the night of the eleventh of Marchesvan. This scene may have occurred in the palace built by Nebuchadrezzar. This event, told by the chronicler, is a remarkable verification of the interesting story related of Belshazzar in Dnl. The title used by the kings who follow the Babylonian Dynasty is "King of Babylon and King of Countries."
41. Persian Rulers of BabyloniaPERSIAN Rulers Of Babylonia
Cyrus; 538-529 bc
Cambyses; 529-522 bc
Darius I; 521-485 bc
Xerxes; 485-464 bc
Artaxerxes I; 464-424 bc
Xerxes II; 424-423 bc
Darius II; 423-404 bc
Artaxerxes II; 405-358 bc
Artaxerxes Iii (Ochos); 358-338 bc
Arses; 338-335 bc
Darius III; 335-331 bc
Alexander the Great conquered Babylonia 331 bc.
Several of the Persian rulers figured prominently in the Old Testament narratives. Cyrus in a cylinder inscription, which is preserved in a fragmentary form, endeavors to justify himself in the eyes of the people. He claims that the god Marduk raised him up to take the place of Nabonidus, and to defend the religion of the people. He tries to show how considerate he was by returning to their respective cities the gods that had been removed from their shrines; and especially by liberating foreign peoples held in bondage. While he does not mention what exiles were allowed to return to their native homes, the Old Testament informs us that the Jews were among those delivered. And the returning of the images to their respective places is also an interesting commentary on Ezra 1:7 , in which we are told that the Jews were allowed to take with them their sacred vessels. The spirit manifested in the proclamation for the rebuilding of the temple ( Ezra 1:1 , Ezra 1:4 ) seems also to have been in accordance with his policy on ascending the Babylonian throne. A year before his death he associated with himself Cambyses his son, another character mentioned in the Old Testament. He gave him the title "King of Babylon," but retained for himself "King of Countries." A usurper Smerdis, the Magian, called Barzia in the inscriptions, assumed the throne of Babylonia, but Darius Hystaspes, who was an Aryan and Zoroastrian in religion, finally killed Smerdis and made himself king of Babylon. But before he was acknowledged king he had to reconquer the Babylonians. By so doing the ancient tradition that Bel of Babylon conferred the legitimate right to rule that part of the world ceased to be acknowledged. Under Nidinta-Bel, who assumed the name Nebuchadrezzar III, the Babylonians regained their independence, but it was of short duration, lasting less than a year.
History: Rogers, History of Babylonia and Assyria , 1002; Winckler, History of Babylonia and Assyria , 1907; King, Sumer and Accad , 1910. Religion: Jastrow, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria , 1898; Rogers, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria , Especially in Its Relation to Israel , 1908; Sayce, The Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia , 1903. Literature: Assyrian and Babylonian Literature , in "The World's Great Books"; edited by R. F. Harper. Relation to the Old Testament: Price, The Monuments and the Old Testament , 1007; Pinches, The Old Testament in the Light of the Records of Assyria and Babylonia , 1902; Clay, Light on the Old Testament from Babel , 1908; Clay, Amurru , the Home of the Northern Semites , 1909. See also "Literature" in Assyria .
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
( Βαβυλωνία ), a name for the southern portion of Mesopotamia, constituting the region of which Babylon was the chief city. The latter name alone is occasionally used in Scripture for the entire region; but its most usual designation is CHALDEA (See Chaldea) (q.v.). The Chaldaeans proper, or Chasdim, however, were probably originally from the mountainous region farther north, now occupied by the Kurds (with which name, indeed, many find an etymological connection; see Golius, Ad Alfrag. p. 17; Rodiger, in the Zeitschr. F. D. Kunde D. Morgenl. 3, 8), a portion of whom under the Assyrian sway may have migrated into Mesopotamia (see Isaiah 23:13), and thus eventually became masters of the rich plain of Shinar (see Vitringa, Ad Jesa. 1:412 sq.; Gesenius, art. Chaldaer, in Ersch and Gruber's Encycl. ) . The original inhabitants nevertheless appear to have been of the Shemitic family (see Adelung, Mithridat. 1:314 sq.; Olshausen, Emend. Zum A. T. p. 41 sq.); and their language belonged to the class of tongues spoken by that race, particularly to the Aramaic branch, and was indeed a dialect similar to that which is now called the Chaldee. (See Aramaean Language); (See Cuneiform Inscriptions).
The two words, Babylonia and Chaldaea, were, however, sometimes used in another signification; Babylonia, as containing in an extended sense Assyria also and Mesopotamia, nearly all the countries which Assyria in its widest meaning embraced; while Chaldaea indicated, in a narrower signification, the south-western part of Babylonia between the Euphrates and Babylon (Strabo, 16; Ptol.). In Hebrew, Babylonia bore the name of SHINAR (See Shinar) (q.v.), or "the land of Shinar;" while "Babylon" ( Psalms 137:1) and "the land of the Chaldaeans" ( Jeremiah 24:5; Ezekiel 12:13) seem to signify the empire of Babylon. It is in the latter sense that we shall here treat it. (See Chaldaeans).
I. Geography And General Description. — This province of Middle Asia was bordered on the north by Mesopotamia, on the east by the Tigris, on the south by the Persian Gulf, and on the west by the Arabian Desert. On the north it began at the point where the Euphrates and Tigris approach each other, and extended to their common outlet in the Persian Gulf, pretty nearly comprising the country now designated Irak Arabi. The climate is temperate and salubrious. The country in ancient times was very prolific, especially in corn and palms. Timber-trees it did not produce. Many parts have springs of naphtha. As rain is infrequent, even in the winter months, the country owes its fruitfulness to the annual overflow of the Euphrates and the Tigris, whose waters are conveyed over the land by means of canals. Quintus Curtius (i. 5) declares that the country between the Euphrates and the Tigris was covered with so rich a soil that the cattle were driven from their pastures lest they should be destroyed by satiety and fatness. During the three great empires of the East, no tract of the whole appears to have been so reputed for fertility and riches as the district of Babylonia, which arose in the main from the proper management of the mighty river which flowed through it. Herodotus mentions that, when reduced to the rank of a province, it yielded a revenue to the kings of Persia which comprised half their income. The terms in which the Scriptures describe its natural as well as its acquired supremacy when it was the imperial city, evidence the same facts. They call it "Babylon, the glory of kingdoms; the beauty of the Chaldee excellency; the lady of kingdoms, given to pleasure; that dwelleth carelessly, and sayeth in her heart I am, and there is none else beside me." But now, in the expressive and inimitable language of the same book, may it be said, "She sits as a widow on the ground. There is no more a throne for thee, O daughter of the Chaldaeans!" As for the abundance of the country, it has vanished as clean away as if "the besom of desolation" had swept it from north to south, the whole land, from the outskirts of Bagdad to the farthest reach of sight, lying a melancholy waste.
In order to defend the country against hostile attacks from its neighbors, northward from Babylonia, between the two rivers, a wall was built, which is known under the name of the Median Wall (Xen. Anab. 2:4,12). — The Babylonians were famous for the manufacture of cloth and carpets; they also excelled in making perfumes, in carving in wood, and in working in precious stones. They were a commercial as well as manufacturing people, and carried on a very extensive trade alike by land and by sea. Babylon was indeed a commercial depot between the Eastern and the Western worlds ( Ezekiel 17:4; Isaiah 43:14). (See Commerce). Thus favored by nature and aided by art, Babylonia became the first abode of social order and the cradle of civilization. Here first arose a powerful empire-here astronomy was first cultivated here measures and weights were first employed. Herodotus has noticed the Chaldaeans as a tribe of priests (i. 28); Diodorus (i. 28) as a separate caste under Belus, an Egyptian priest; while the book of Daniel refers to them as astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers; but there can be little doubt, as laid down by Gesenius (Jesa. 23:13), that it was the name of a distinct nation, if not, as Heeren (Manual of Anc. Hist. p. 28) has maintained, the name of the northern nomades in general. In connection with Babylonia, the Chaldaeans are to be regarded as a conquering nation as well as a learned people; they introduced a correct method of reckoning time, and began their reign with Nabonassar, B.C. 747. There is a scriptural reference to the proud period in the history of the Chaldees when learned men filled the streets and the temples of Nineveh and Babel: " ‘ Behold the land of the Chaldaeans; this people was not, till the Assyrian founded it for them that dwell in the wilderness: they set up the towers thereof, they raised up the palaces thereof; and he brought it to ruin" ( Isaiah 23:13). Babylonia, during this period, was "the land of the Chaldaeans," the same as that into which the children of Judah were carried away captive ( Jeremiah 24:5). (See Captivity).
II. History Of The Babylonian Empire. — The history of Babylon itself mounts up to a time not very much later than the Flood. (See Babel). The native historian seems to have possessed authentic records of his country for above 2000 years before the conquest by Alexander (Berosus, Fragm. 11); and Scripture represents the "beginning of the kingdom" as belonging to the time of Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, and the great-grandson of Noah ( Genesis 10:6-10). Of Nimrod no trace has been found in the Babylonian remains, unless he is identical with the god Bel of the Babylonian Pantheon, and so with the Greek Belus, the hero-founder of the city. This identity is possible, and at any rate the most ancient inscriptions appear to show that the primitive inhabitants of the country were really Cushite, i.e. identical in race with the early inhabitants of Southern Arabia and of Ethiopia. The seat of government at this early time was, as has been stated, in lower Babylonia, Erech ( Warka ) and Ur ( Mugheir ) being the capitals, and Babylon (if built) being a place of no consequence. The country was called Shinar ( שַׁנְעָד ), Akkadim (comp. Accad of Genesis 10:10). Of the art of this period we have specimens in the ruins of Mugheir and Warka, the remains of which date from at least the 20th century before our era. We find the use of kiln-baked as well as of sun-dried bricks already begun; we find writing practiced, for the bricks are stamped with the names and titles of the kings; we find buttresses employed to support buildings, and we have probable indications of the system of erecting lofty buildings in stages. On the other hand, mortar is unknown, and the bricks are laid either in clay or in bitumen (comp. Genesis 11:3); they are rudely moulded, and of various shapes and sizes; sun-dried bricks predominate, and some large buildings are composed entirely of them; in these reed- matting occurs at intervals, apparently used to protect the mass from disintegration. There is no trace of ornament in the erections of this date, which were imposing merely by their size and solidity.
The first important change which we are able to trace in the external condition of Babylon is its subjection, at a time anterior to Abraham, by the neighboring kingdom of Elam or Susiana. Berosus spoke of a first Chaldean dynasty consisting of eleven kings, whom he probably represented as reigning from B.C. 2234 to B.C. 1976. At the last mentioned date he said there was a change, and a new dynasty succeeded, consisting of 49 kings, who reigned 458 years (from B.C. 1976 to B.C. 1518). It is thought that this transition may mark the invasion of Babylonia from the East, and the establishment of Eiamitic influence in the country, under Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14), whose representative appears as a conqueror in the inscriptions. Amraphel, king of Shinar, and Arioch, king of Ellasar ( Larsa ) , would be tributary princes whom Chedorlaomer had subjected, while he himself may have become the founder of the new dynasty, which, according to Berosus, continued on the throne for above 450 years. From this point the history of Babylon is almost a blank for above twelve centuries. Except in the mention of the plundering, of Job by the Chaldaeans ( Job 1:17), and of the "goodly Babylonish garment" which Achan coveted ( Joshua 7:21), Scripture is silent with regard to the Babylonians from the time of Abraham to that of Hezekiah. Berosus covered this space with three dynasties; one (which has been already mentioned) of 49 Chaldaean kings, who reigned 458 years; another of 9 Arab kings, who reigned 245 years; and a third of 49 Assyrian monarchs, who held dominion for 526 years; but nothing beyond this bare outline has come down to us on his authority concerning the period in question. The monumental records of the country furnish a series of names, the reading of which is very uncertain, which may be arranged with a good deal of probability in chronological order, apparently belonging to the first of these three dynasties. Of the second no traces have been hitherto discovered. The third would seem to be identical with the Upper Dynasty of Assyria, of which some account has been given in the article ASSYRIA (See Assyria).
It would appear, then, as if Babylon, after having a native Chaldaean dynasty which ruled for 224 years (Brandis, p. 17), and a second dynasty of Elamitic Chaldeans who ruled for a further period of 458 years, fell wholly under Semitic influence, becoming subject first to Arabia for two centuries and a half, and then to Assyria for above five centuries, and not regaining even a qualified independence till the time marked by the close of the Upper and the formation of the Lower Assyrian empire. This is the conclusion which seems naturally to follow from the abstract which is all that we possess of Berosus; and doubtless it is to a certain extent true. But the statement is too broad to be exact; and the monuments show that Babylon was at no time absorbed into Assyria, or even for very many years together a submissive vassal. Assyria, which she had colonized during the time of the second or great Chaldaean dynasty, to which she had given letters and the arts, and which she had held in subjection for many hundred years, became in her turn (about B.C. 1270) the predominant Mesopotamian power, and the glory of Babylon in consequence suffered eclipse. But she had her native kings during the whole of the Assyrian period, and she frequently contended with her great neighbor, being sometimes even the aggressor. Though much sunk from her former greatness, she continued to be the second power in Asia, and retained a vitality which at a later date enabled her to become once more the head of an empire.
The line of Babylonian kings becomes exactly known to us from the year B.C. 747. An astronomical work of the geographer Ptolemy has preserved to us a document, the importance of which for comparative chronology it is scarcely possible to exaggerate. The Canon of Ptolemy, as it is called, gives us the succession of Babylonian monarchs, with the exact length of the reign of each, from the year B.C. 747, when Nabonassar mounted the throne, to B.C. 331, when the last Persian king was dethroned by Alexander. This document, which, from its close accordance with the statements of Scripture, always vindicated to itself a high authority in the eyes of Christian chronologers, has recently been confirmed in so many points by the inscriptions that its authentic character is established beyond all possibility of cavil or dispute. As the basis of all accurate calculation for Oriental dates previous to Cyrus, it seems proper to transcribe the earlier portion of it in this place. [The accessions are given according to the aera of Nabonassar, and dates B.C. are added for convenience sake.]
Chinzinus and Porus
Second interregnum Asaridanus
Nabopolassar Nebuchadnezzar Illoarudamus Nerigassolassarus Nabonadius
101 123 144 187 189 193 210
B.C. 747 733 731 726 721 709 704 702 699 693 692 688 680 667 647 625 604 531 559 555 538
Of Nabonassar, the first king in Ptolemy's list, nothing can be said to be known except the fact, reported by Berosus, that he destroyed all the annals of his predecessors for the purpose of compelling the Babylonians to date from himself (Fragm. 11 a). It has been conjectured that he was the husband or son of Semiramis, and owed to her his possession of the throne. But of this theory there is at present no proof. It rests mainly upon a synchronism obtained from Herodotus, who makes Semiramis a Babylonian queen, and places her five generations (167 years) before Nitocris, the mother of the last king. The Assyrian discoveries have shown that there was a Semiramis about this time, but they furnish no evidence of her connection with Babylon, which still continues uncertain. The immediate successors of Nabonassar are still more obscure than himself. Absolutely nothing beyond the brief notation of the canon has reached us concerning Nadius (or Nabius), Chinzinus (or Chinzirus), and Porus, or Elulaeus, who certainly cannot be the Tyrian king of that name mentioned by Menander (ap. Joseph. Ant. 9, 14, 2). Mardocempalus, on the contrary, is a monarch to whom great interest attaches. He is undoubtedly the Merodach-Baladan, or Berodach-Baladan (q.v.) of Scripture, and was a personage of great consequence, reigning himself twice, the first time for 12 years, contemporaneously with the Assyrian king Sargon, and the second time for six months only, during the first year of Sennacherib; and leaving a sort of hereditary claim to his sons and grandsons, who are found to have been engaged in hostilities with Essarhaddon and his successor. His dealings with Hezekiah sufficiently indicate the independent position of Babylon at this period, while the interest which he felt in an astronomical phenomenon ( 2 Chronicles 32:31) harmonizes with the character of a native Chaldaean king which appears to belong to him. The Assyrian inscriptions show that after reigning 12 years Merodach-Baladan was deprived of his crown and driven into banishment by Sargon, who appears to have placed Arceanus (his son?) upon the throne as viceroy, a position which he maintained for five years. A time of trouble then ensued, estimated in the canon at two years, during which various pretenders assumed the crown, among them a certain Hagisa, or Acises, who reigned for about a month, and Merodach-Baladan, who held the throne for half a year (Polyhist. ap. Euseb.). Sennacherib, bent on re-establishing the influence of Assyria over Babylon, proceeded against Merodach-Bala-dan (as he informs us) in his first year, and having dethroned him, placed an Assyrian named Belib, or Belibus, upon the throne, who ruled as his viceroy for three years. At the end of this time, the party of Merodach- Baladan still giving trouble, Sennacherib descended again into Babylonia, once more overran it, removed Belib, and placed his eldest son — who appears in the canon as Aparanadius — upon the throne. Aparanadius rejoined for six years, when he was succeeded by a certain Regibelus, who reigned for one year; after which Mesesimordacus held the throne for four years. Nothing more is known of these kings, and it is uncertain whether they were viceroys or independent native monarchs. They were contemporary with Sennacherib, to whose reign belongs also the second interregnum, extending to eight years, which the canon interposes between the reigns of Mesesimordacus and Asaridanus. In Asaridanus critical eyes long ago detected Esarhaddon, Sennacherib's son and successor; and it may be regarded as certain from the inscriptions that this king ruled in person over both Babylonia and Assyria, holding his court alternately at their respective capitals. Hence we may understand how Manasseh, his contemporary, came to be "carried by the captains of the king of Assyria to Babylon" instead of to Nineveh, as would have been done in any other reign. (See Esarhaddon). Saosduchinus and Ciniladanus (or Cinneladanus), his brother (Polyhist.), the successors of Asaridanus, are kings of whose history we know nothing. Probably they were viceroys under the later Assyrian monarchs, who are represented by Abydenus (ap. Euseb.) as retaining their authority over Babylon up to the time of the last siege of Nineveh.
With Nabopolassar, the successor of Cinneladanus, and the father of Nebuchadnezzar, a new era in the history of Babylon commences. According to Abydenus, who probably drew his information from Berosus, he was appointed to the government of Babylon by the last Assyrian king, at the moment when the Medes were about to make their final attack; whereupon, betraying the trust reposed in him, he went over to the enemy, arranged a marriage between his son Nebuchadnezzar and the daughter of the Median leader, and joined in the last siege of the city. See NINEVEH. On the success of the confederates (B.C. 625) Babylon became not only an independent kingdom, but an empire; the southern and western portions of the Assyrian territory were assigned to Nabopolassar in the partition of the spoils which followed on the conquest, and thereby the Babylonian dominion became extended over the whole valley of the Euphrates as far as the Taurus range, over Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine, Idumaea, and (perhaps) a portion of Egypt. Thus, among others, the Jews passed quietly and almost without remark from one feudal head to another, exchanging dependency on Assyria for dependency on Babylon, and continuing to pay to Nabopolassar the same tribute and service which they had previously rendered to the Assyrians. Friendly relations seem to have been maintained with Media throughout the reign of Nabopolassar, who led or sent a contingent to help Cyaxares in his Lydian war, and acted as mediator in the negotiations by which that war was concluded (Herod. i, 74). At a later date hostilities broke out with Egypt. Necho, the son of Psamatik I, about the year B.C. 608 invaded the Babylonian dominions on the south-west, and made himself master of the entire tract between his own country and the Euphrates ( 2 Kings 23:29; 2 Kings 24:7). Nabopolassar was now advanced in life, and not able to take the field in person (Beros. Frag. 14). He therefore sent his son, Nebuchadnezzar, at the head of a large army, against the Egyptians, and the battle of Carchemish, which soon followed, restored to Babylon the former limits of her territory (comp. 2 Kings 24:7 with Jeremiah 46:2-12). Nebuchadnezzar pressed forward and had reached Egypt, when news of his father's death recalled him, and hastily returning to Babylon, he was fortunate enough to find himself, without any struggle, acknowledged king (B.C. 604).
A complete account of the works and exploits of this great monarch — by far the most remarkable of all the Babylonian kings — will be given in the article (See Nebuchadnezzar). It is enough to note in this place that he was great both in peace and in war, but greater in the former. Besides recovering the possession of Syria and Palestine, and carrying off the Jews after repeated rebellions into captivity, he reduced Phoenicia, besieged and took Tyre, and ravaged, if he did not actually conquer, Egypt. But it was as the adorner and beautifier of his native land — as the builder and restorer of almost all her cities and temples — that this monarch obtained that great reputation which has handed down his name traditionally in the East on a par with those of Nimrod, Solomon, and Alexander, and made it still a familiar term in the mouths of the people. Probably no single man ever left behind him as his memorial upon the earth one half the amount of building that was erected by this king. The ancient ruins and the modern towns of Babylonia are alike built almost exclusively of his bricks. Babylon itself, the capital, was peculiarly the object of his attention. It was here that, besides repairing the walls and restoring the temples, he constructed that magnificent palace, which, with its triple enclosure, its hanging gardens, its plated pillars, and its rich ornamentation of enamelled brick, was regarded in ancient times as one of the seven wonders of the world (Strab. 16:1, § 5).
Nebuchadnezzar died B.C. 561, having reigned 43 years, and was succeeded by Evil-Merodach, his son, who is called in the Canon Illoarudamus. This prince, who, "in the year that he began to reign, did lift up the head of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, out of prison" ( 2 Kings 25:27), was murdered, after having held the crown for two years only, by Neriglissar, his brother-in-law. (See Evil-Merodach). Neriglissar — the Nerigassolassar of the Canon — is (apparently) identical with the "Nergal- shar-ezer, Rab-Mag" of Jeremiah (39:3, 13, 14). He bears this title, which has been translated "chief of the Magi" (Gesenius), or "chief priest" (Colossians Rawlinson), in the inscriptions, and calls himself the son of a "king of Babylon." Some writers have considered him identical with
"Darius the Mede" (Larcher, Conringius, Bouhier); but this is improbable, (See Darius The Mede), and he must rather be regarded as a Babylonian of high rank, who, having married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, raised his thoughts to the crown, and finding Evil- Merodach unpopular with his subjects, murdered him, and became his successor. Neriglissar built the palace at Babylon, which seems to have been placed originally on the west bank of the river. He was probably advanced in life at his accession, and thus reigned but four years, though he died a natural death, and left the crown to his son Laborosoarchod. This prince, though a mere lad at the time of his father's decease, was allowed to ascend the throne without difficulty; but when he had reigned nine months he became the victim of a conspiracy among his friends and connections, who, professing to detect in him symptoms of a bad disposition, seized him, and tortured him to death. Nabonidus (or Labynetus), one of the conspirators, succeeded; he is called by Berosus "a certain Nabonidus, a Babylonian" (ap. Joseph. Ap. 1:21), by which it would appear that he was not a member of the royal family; and this is likewise evident from his inscriptions, in which he only claims for his father the rank of "Rab-Mag." Herodotus seems to have been mistaken in supposing him (i. 188) the son of a great queen, Nitocris, and (apparently) of a former king, Labynetus (Nebuchadnezzar?). Indeed, it may be doubted whether the Babylonian Nitocris of Herodotus is really a historical personage. His authority is the sole argument for her existence, which it is difficult to credit against the silence of Scripture, Berosus, the Canon, and the Babylonian monuments. She may perhaps have been the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, but in that case she must have been wholly unconnected with Nabonidus, who certainly bore no relation to that monarch.
Nabonidus, or Labynetus (as he was called by the Greeks), mounted the throne in the year B.C. 555, very shortly before the war broke out between Cyrus and Croesus. He entered into alliance with the latter of these monarchs against the former, and, had the struggle been prolonged, would have sent a contingent into Asia Minor. Events proceeded too rapidly to allow of this; but Nabonidus had provoked the hostility of Cyrus by the mere fact of the alliance, and felt at once that sooner or later he would have to resist the attack of an avenging army. He probably employed his long and peaceful reign of 17 years in preparations against the dreaded foe, executing the defensive works which Herodotus ascribes to his mother (i. 185), and accumulating in the town abundant stores of provisions (ib. c. 190). In the year B.C. 539 the attack came. Cyrus advanced at the head of his irresistible hordes, but wintered upon the Diyaleh or Gyndes, making his final approaches in the ensuing spring. Nabonidus appears by the inscriptions to have shortly before this associated with him in the government of the kingdom his son, Bel-shar-ezer or Belshazzar; on the approach of Cyrus, therefore, he took the field himself at the head of his army, leaving his son to command in the city. In this way, by help of a recent discovery, the accounts of Berosus and the book of Daniel — hitherto regarded as hopelessly conflicting — may be reconciled. (See Belshazzar).
Nabonidus engaged the army of Cyrus, but was defeated and forced to shut himself up in the neighboring town of Borsippa (marked now by the Birs-Nimrud ) , where he continued till after the fall of Babylon (Beros. ap. Joseph. Ap. 1:21). Belshazzar guarded the city, but, over- confident in its strength, kept insufficient watch, and recklessly indulging in untimely and impious festivities (Daniel 5), allowed the enemy to enter the town by the channel of the river (Herod. 1:191; Xen. Cyrop. 7:7). Babylon was thus taken by a surprise, as Jeremiah had prophesied ( Jeremiah 51:31) — by an army of Medes and Persians, as intimated 170 years earlier by Isaiah ( Isaiah 21:1-9), and, as Jeremiah had also foreshown ( Jeremiah 51:39), during a festival. In the carnage which ensued upon the taking of the town, Belshazzar was slain ( Daniel 5:30). Nabonidus, on receiving the intelligence, submitted, and was treated kindly by the conqueror, who not only spared his life, but gave him estates in Carmania (Beros. Ut Sup.; comp. Abyd. Fragm. 9).
Such is the general outline of the siege and capture of Babylon by Cyrus, as derivable from the fragments of Berosus, illustrated by the account in Daniel, and reduced to harmony by aid of the important fact, obtained recently from the monuments, of the relationship between Belshazzar and Nabonidus. It is scarcely necessary to remark that it differs in many points from the accounts of Herodotus and Xenophon; but the latter of these two writers is in his Cyropaedia a mere romancer, and the former is very imperfectly acquainted with the history of the Babylonians. The native writer, whose information was drawn from authentic and contemporary documents, is far better authority than either of the Greek authors, the earlier of whom visited Babylon nearly a century after its capture by Cyrus, when the tradition had doubtless become in many respects corrupted.
According to the book of Daniel, it would seem as if Babylon was taken on this occasion, not by Cyrus, king of Persia, but by a Median king named Darius (5:31). The question of the identity of this personage with any Median or Babylonian king known to us from profane sources will be discussed under Darius The Mede (See Darius The Mede). It need only be remarked here that: Scripture does not really conflict on this point with profane authorities, since there is sufficient indication, from the terms used by the sacred writer, that "Darius the Mede," whoever he may have been, was not the real conqueror, nor a king who ruled in his own right, but a monarch intrusted by another with a certain delegated authority (see Daniel 5:31; Daniel 9:1).
With the conquest by Cyrus commenced the decay and ruin of Babylon. The "broad walls" were then to some extent "broken down" (Beros. Fr. 14), and the "high gates" probably "burnt with fire" ( Jeremiah 51:58). The defences, that is to say, were ruined; though it is not to be supposed that the laborious and useless task of entirely demolishing the gigantic fortifications of the place was attempted or even contemplated by the conqueror. Babylon was weakened, but it continued a royal residence not only during the lifetime of Darius the Mede, but through the entire period of the Persian empire. The Persian kings held their court at Babylon during the larger portion of the year, and at the time of Alexander's conquests it was still the second, if not the first city of the empire. It had, however, suffered considerably on more than one occasion subsequent to the time of Cyrus. Twice in the reign of Darius (Behist. Ins.), and once in that of Xerxes (Ctes. Pers. § 22), it had risen against the Persians, and made an effort to regain its independence. After each rebellion its defences were weakened, and during the long period of profound peace which the Persian empire enjoyed from the reign of Xerxes to that of Darius Codomannus they were allowed to go completely to decay. The public buildings also suffered grievously from neglect. Alexander found the great temple of Belus in so ruined a condition that it would have required the labor of 10,000 men for two months even to clear away the rubbish with which it was encumbered (Strabo, 16:1, 5). His designs for the restoration of the temple and the general embellishment of the city were frustrated by his untimely death, and the removal of the seat of empire to Antioch under the Seleucidae gave the finishing blow to the prosperity of the place. The great city of Seleucia, which soon after arose in its neighborhood, not only drew away its population, but was actually constructed of materials derived from its buildings (Pliny H. N. 6:30).
Since then Babylon has been a quarry from which all the tribes in the vicinity have perpetually derived the bricks with which they have built their cities, and (besides Seleucia) Ctesiphon, Al- Modain, Bagdad, Kufa, Kerbelah, Hillah, and numerous other towns, have risen from its ruins. The "great city," "the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency," has thus emphatically "become heaps" ( Jeremiah 51:37) — she is truly "an astonishment and a hissing, without an inhabitant." Her walls have altogether disappeared — they have "fallen" ( Jeremiah 51:44), been "thrown down" ( Jeremiah 50:15), been "broken utterly" ( Jeremiah 51:58). "A drought is upon her waters" ( Jeremiah 50:39); for the system of irrigation, on which, in Babylonia, fertility altogether depends, has long been laid aside; "her cities" are everywhere "a desolation" ( Jeremiah 51:43), her "land a wilderness;" "wild beasts of the desert" (jackals) "lie there," and "owls dwell there" (comp. Layard, Nin. And Bab. p. 484, with Isaiah 13:21-22, and Jeremiah 50:39): the natives regard the whole site as haunted, and neither will the "Arab pitch tent nor the shepherd fold sheep there."
After the exile many of the Jews continued settled in Babylonia; the capital even contained an entire quarter of them (comp. Susann. 1:5 sq.; 1 Peter 5:13; Josephus, Ant. 20:2, 2; 15:3, 1; 18:9, 1; Philo, Opp. 2:578, 587); and after the destruction of Jerusalem these Babylonian Jews established schools of considerable repute, although the natives were stigmatized as "Babylonians" by the bigoted Jewish population (Talm. Babyl. Joma, fol. 66). Traces of their learning exist not only in much rabbinical literature that emanated from these now extinct schools, but M. Layard has recently discovered several earthen bowls covered with their Hebrew inscriptions in an early character, copies and translations of which are given in his Bab. and Nin. p. 436 sq.
III. Literature. — On the history, see Niebuhr's Geschichte Asshur'S Und Babel'S; Brandis's Rerum Assyriarum Tempora Emendata; Bosanquet's Sacred And Profane Chronology; and Rawlinson's Herodotus, vol. 1, Essays 6 and 8. Compare also the Am. Biblical Repository, April, 1836, p. 364-368; July, 1836, p. 158185; Jour. Sac. Literature, July, 1860, p. 492 sq.; Rollin, Anc. Hist. 2:54 etc.; Prideaux, Connection, 1:51 etc.; Heeren, Ideen, I, 2:172 sq.; Cellarii Notit. 2:746 sq.; Norberg, Opusc. acad. 3, 222 sq.; Kesler, Historia excidii Babyl. (Tubing. 1766); Bredow, Untersuchungen ub. alt. Gesch. (Altona, 1800); Jour. Roy. As. Soc. (Lond. 1855), xv, pt. 2, and Maps accompanying it. (See Babylon).
The recent explorations into the monuments of this country have led to many new conclusions respecting the early ethnic relations of the Babylonians. These we give in the resume of one of the most accepted exponents (Prof. Sayce, in the last edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica), premising, however, that we do not fully acquiesce in some of them, especially the chronology, and that we do not regard the geographical identifications as fully determined.
"Geographically, as well as ethnologically and historically, the whole district enclosed between the two great rivers of Western Asia, the Tigris and Euphrates, forms but one country. The writers of antiquity clearly recognised this fact, speaking of the whole under the general name of Assyria, though Babylonia, as will be seen, would have been a more accurate designation. It naturally falls into two divisions, the northern being more or less mountainous, while the southern is flat and marshy; and the near approach of the two rivers to one another at a spot where the undulating plateau of the north sinks suddenly into the Babylonian alluvium tends still more completely to separate them. In the earliest times of which we have any record, the northern portion was comprehended under the vague title of Gutinm (the Goyim of Genesis 14:1), which stretched from the Euphrates on the west to the mountains of Media on. the east; but it was definitely marked off as Assyria after the rise of that monarchy in the 16th century B.C. Aram-Naharaim, or Mesopotamia, however, though claimed by the Assyrian kings, taid from time to time overrun by them, did not form an integral part of the kingdom until the 9th century B.C.; while the region on the left bank of the Tigris, between that river and the Greater Zab, was not only included in Assyria, but contained the chief capitals of the empire. In this respect the monarchy of the Tigris resembled Chaldea, where some of the most important cities were situated on the Arabian side of the Euphrates. The reason of this preference for the eastern bank of the Tigris was due to its abundant supply of water, whereas the great Mesopotamian plain on the western side had to depend upon the streams which flowed into the Euphrates. This vast flat, the modern El-Jezireh, is about two hundred and fifty miles in length, interrupted only by a single limestone range rising abruptly: out of the plain and branching off from the Zagros mountains under the names of Sarazur, Haimrim, and Sinjar. The numerous remains of old habitations show how thickly this level tract must once have been peopled, though now for the most part a wilderness. North of the plateau rises a well-watered and undulating belt of country, into which run low ranges of limestone hills, sometimes arid, sometimes covered with dwarf-oak, and often shutting in between their northern and northeastern flank and the main mountain line from which they detach themselves rich plains and fertile valleys. Behind them tower the massive ridges of the Niphates and Zagros ranges, where the Tigris and Euphrates take their rise, and which cut off Assyria from Amneia and Kurdistan...
"In contrast with the and plain of Mesopotamia stretched the rich alluvial plain of Chaldea, formed by the deposits of the two great rivers by which it was enclosed. The soil was extremely fertile, and teemed with an industrious population. Eastward .rose the mountains of Elam, southward were the sea-marshes and the ancient kingdom of Nituk or Dilvum (the modern Bender-Dilvum), while on the west the civilization of Babylonia encroached beyond the banks of the Euphrates upon the territory of the Shemitic nomads (or Suti). Here stood Ur (now Mugheir), the earliest capital of the country; and Babylon, with its suburb Borsippa (Birs Nimrud), as well as the two Sipparas (the Sepharvaim of Scripture, now Mosaib), occupied both the Arabian and the Chaldaean side of the river. The Araxes, or River of Babylon, was conducted through a deep valley into the heart of Arabia, irrigating the laud through which it passed; and to the south of it lay the great inland fresh-water sea of Nejef, surrounded by red sandstone cliffs of considerable height, forty miles in length and thirty- five in breadth the widest part. Above and below this sea, from Borsippa to Kufa, extend the famous Chaldaean marshes where Alexander was nearly lost (Arrian, Exp. Al. 7:22; Strabo xvi, 1, 12); but these depend upon the state of the Hindiyah canal, disappearing altogether when it is closed. Between the sea of Nejef and Ur, but on the left side of the Euphrates, was Erech (now Warka), which with Niphur or Calneh (now Niffer), Surippac (Senkereh ?), and Babylon (now Hillah), formed the tetrapolis of Sumir or Shinar. This north-western part of Chaldeea was also called Gan-dumyas or Gun-duni after the accession of the Cassite dynasty. South-eastern Chaldea, on the other hand, was termed .Accad, though the name came also to be applied to the whole of Babylonia.
The Caldai, or Chaldaeans, are first met with in the 9th century B.C. as a small tribe on the Persian Gulf, whence they slowly moved northwards, until, under Merodach- Baladan, they made themselves masters of Babylon, and henceforth formed so important an element in the population of the country as in later days to give their name to the whole of it. In the inscriptions, however, Chaldaea represents the marshes on the sea-coast, and Feredon. was one of their ports. The whole territory was thickly studded with-towns, but among all this vast number of great cities, to use the words of Herodotus, Cuthah, or Tiggaba (nowIbrahim), Chilmad (Calwtadah), Is (Hit), and Duraba (Akkerkuf) alone need be mentioned." The cultivation of the country was regulated by canals, the three chief of which carried off the waters of the Euphrates towards the Tigris above Babylon-the 'Royal River,' or Ar- Malch, entering the Tigris a little below Baghdad, the Nahr-Malcha running across to the site of Seleucia, and the Nahr-Kutha passing through Ibrahim. The Pallacopas, on the other side of the Euphrates, supplied an immense lake in the neighborhood of Borsippa. So great was the fertility of the soil that, according to Herodotus (i, 193), grain commonly returned two hundredfold to the sower, and occasionally three hundredfold. Pliny, too (H. N. 18:17), says that wheat was cut twice and afterwards was good keep for sheep; and Berosus remarked that wheat, barley, sesame, ochrys, palms, apples, and many kinds of shelled fruit grew wild, as wheat still does in the neighborhood of Anah. A Persian poem celebrated the three hundred and sixty uses of the palm (Strabo, 16:1, 14); and Ammianus Marcellinus (xxiv, 3) states that from the point reached by Julian's army to the shores of the Persian Gulf was one continuous forest-of verdure. ...
"The primitive population of Babylonia, the builders of its cities, the originators of its culture, and the inventors of its hieroglyphics out of which it gradually developed, belonged to the Turanian or Ural-Altaic family. Their language was highly agglutinative, approaching the modern Mongolian idioms in the simplicity of its grammatical machinery, but otherwise more nearly related to the Ugro-Bulgaric division of the Finnic group; and its speakers were mentally in no way inferior to the Hungarians and Turks of the present day. The country was divided into two halves-the Sumir (Sungir, or Shinar) in the north- west and the Accadin the south-east corresponding most remarkably to the Suomi and Akkara, into which the Finnic race believed itself to have been separated in its first mountain home. Like .Suomi, Sumir signified (the people) of the rivers; and just as Finnic tradition makes Kemi a district of the Suomi, so Came was another name of the Babylonian Snmir; The Accadai, or Accad, were the 'highlanders' who had descended from the mountainous region of Elaln on the east, and it was to them that the Assyrians ascribed the origin of Chaldaean civilization and writing. They were, at all events, the dominant people in Babylonia at the time to which our earliest contemporaneous records reach back, although the Sumir, or people of the home language,' as they are sometimes termed, were named first in the royalties out of respect to their prior settlement in the country.
"The supremacy of Ur had been disputed by its more ancient rival Erech, but had finally given way before the rise of Nisin, or Karrak, a city whose site is uncertain, and Karrak in its turn was succeeded by Laisa. Elamitish conquest seems to have had something to do with these transferences of the seat, of power. In B.C. 2280 the date is fixed by an inscription of Assur-bani-pal's-Cudnr-nankhunldi, the Elamite, conquered Chaldaea at a time when princes with Shemitic names appear to have been already reigning there; and Cudur-mabug not only overran the west, of Palestine, but established a line of monarchs in Babylonia. His son and successor took an Accadian name and extended his way over the whole country. Twice did the Elamitic tribe of Cassi, or Kosseseans, furnish Chaldaea with a succession of kings. At very early period we find one of these Kosseman dynasties claiming homage from Syria, Gutinm, and Northern Arabia, and rededicating the images of native Babylonian gods which had been carried away in war with great splendor and expense. The other Cassitic dynasty was founded by Khamurragas, who established his capital at Babylon, which henceforward continued to be the seat of empire in the south. 'he dynasty is probably to be identified with that called Arabian by Berosus, and it was during its domination that Shemitic came gradually to supersede Accadian as the language of the country. Khammuragas himself assumed a Shemitic name, and a Shemitic inscription of his is now at the Louvre.
A large number of canals were constructed during his reign, more especially the famous Nahr-Malcha, and the embankment built along the banks of the Tigris. The king's attention seems to have been turned to the subject of irrigation by a flood which overwhelmed the important city of Mullias. His first conquests were in the north of Babylonia, and from this base of operations he succeeded in overthrowing Naram-Sin (or Rim-Acn ?) in the south and making himself master of the whole of Chaldsea. Naram-Sin and a queen had been the last representatives of a dynasty which had attained a high degree of glory both in arms and literature. Naram-Sin and his father, Sargon, had not only subdued the rival princes of Babylonia, but had successfully invaded Syria, Palestine, and even, as it would seem, Egypt. At Agarie, a suburb of Sippara, Sargon had founded a library especially famous for its works on astrology and astronomy, copies of which were made in later times for the libraries of Assyria. Indeed, so prominent a place did Sargon take in the early history of Babylonia that his person became surrounded with al atmosphere of myth. Not only was he regarded as a sort of eponymous hero of literature, a Babylonian Solomon, whose title was the deviser of law and prosperity; popular legends told of his mysterious birth-how, like Romulus and Arthur, he knew no father, but was born in secrecy and placed in an ark of reeds and bitumen, and left to the care of the river; how, moreover, this second Moses was carried by the stream to the dwelling of a ferryman, who reared him as his own sin until at last the time came that his rank should be discovered, and Sargon, the constituted king for such is the meaning of his name-took his seat upon the throne of his ancestors. It was while the Cassitic sovereigns were reigning, in the south, and probably in consequence of reverses that they had suffered at the hands of the Egyptians, who, under the monarchs of the 18th dynasty, were pushing eastward, that the kingdom of Assyria took its rise.
Its princes soon began to treat with their southern neighbors on equal terms; the boundaries of the two kingdoms were settled, and intermarriages between :the royal families took place, which led more than once to an interference on the part of the Assyrians in the affairs of Babylonia. Finally, in the 14th century B.C., Tiglath-Adar of Assyria captured Babylon and established a Shemitic line of sovereigns there, which contiued until the days of the later Assyrian empire. From this time down to the destruction of Nineveh, Assyria remained the leading power of Western Asia. Occasionally, it is true, a king of Babylon succeeded in defeating his aggressive rival and invading Assyria; but the contrary was more usually the case, and the Assyrians grew more and mole powerful at the expense of the weaker state, until at last Babylonia was reduced to a mere appanage of Assyria." The history of the next period-namely that of Assyrian domination-properly belongs under Asyria. (q.v.). On the downfall of Nineveh, Nabopolassar, the viceroy of Babylonia, who had achieved his independence, transferred the seat of government to the southern kingdom. We continue an account of this later Babylonian empire by an additional extract from the same source, embodying the views of the latest investigators, in whose results, however especially some of their dates, we do not fully concur.
"Nabopolassar was followed in 604 by his son Nebuchadnezzar, whose long reign of forty-three years made Babylon the mistress of the world. The whole East was overrun by the armies of Chaldaea, Egypt was invaded, and the city of the Euphrates left without a rival. Until systematic explorations are carried on in Babylonia, however, our knowledge of the history of Nebuchadnezzar's empire must be confined to the notices of ancient writers, although we possess numerous inscriptions which record the restoration or construction of temples, palaces, and other public buildings during its continuance., One of these bears out the boast of Nebuchadnezzar, mentioned by Berosus, that he had built the wall of Babylonia fifteen days. Evil-Merodach succeeded his father in 561, but he was murdered two years after and the crown seized by his brother-in-law, Nergal-sharezer, who calls himself son of Bel-suma-iscun, king of Babylon. Nergal-sharezer reigned four years, and was succeeded by his son, a mere boy, who was put to death after nine months of sovereignty (B.C. 555). The power now passed from the house of Nabopolassar; Nabu-nahid, who was raised to the throne, being of another family. Nebuchadnezzar's empire already began to show signs of decay, and a new enemy threatened it in the person of Cyrus the Persian. The Lydian monarchy, which had extended its sway over Asia Minor and the Greek islands, had some time before come into hostile collision with the Babyloniamns, but the famous eclipse foretold by Thales had parted the combatants and brought about peace. Croesus of Lydia and Nabu-nahid of Babylonia now formed an alliance against the-common foe, who had'subjected Media to his rule, and preparations were made for checking the Persian advance. 'The rashness of Crcesus, however, in meeting Cyrts before his allies had joined him brought on his overthrow: Sardis was taken, and the Persian leader occupied. the next fourteen years in consolidating his power in the north. This respite was employed by Nabu-nahid in fortifying Babylon, and. in constructing those wonderful walls anld hydraulic works which Herodotus ascribes to queen Nitocris. At last, however, the attack was made; and after spending a winter in draining the Guydes, Cyrus appeared in the neighborhood of Babylon. Belshazzar, Nabn-nahid's eldest son, as we learn from an inscription, was left in charge of the city while his father took the field against the invader. But the Jews, who saw in the Persians monotheists and deliverers, formed a considerable element of the army; and Nabu-nahid found himself defeated and compelled to take refuge in Borsippa. By diverting the channel of the Euphrates, the Persians contrived to march along the dry river-bed and enter the city through an unguarded gate. Babylon was taken, and Nabu-nahid shortly afterwards submitted to the conqueror, receiving in return pardon and a residence in Carmania. 'He probably died before the end of Cyrus's reign; at all events, when Babylon tried to recover its independence during the troubles that followed the death of Cambyses, it was under impostors who claimed to be Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabunahid.'
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature 
Babylo´nia (so called from the name of its chief city, termed also Chaldea, from those who at a later period inhabited it), a province of Middle Asia, bordered on the north by Mesopotamia, on the east by the Tigris, on the south by the Persian Gulf, and on the west by the Arabian Desert. On the north it begins at the point where the Euphrates and Tigris approach each other, and extends to their common outlet in the Persian Gulf, pretty nearly comprising the country now designated Iraq Arabi. The climate is temperate and salubrious. The country in ancient times was very prolific, especially in corn and palms. Timber-trees it did not produce. Many parts had springs of naphtha. As rain is infrequent, even in the winter months, the country owes its fruitfulness to the annual overflow of the Euphrates and the Tigris, whose waters are conveyed over the land by means of canals.
The alluvial plains of Babylonia, Chaldea, and Susiana, including all the river, lake, and newer marine deposits at the head of the Persian Gulf, occupy an extent of about 32,400 square geographic miles. The rivers are the Euphrates and its tributaries, the Tigris and its tributaries, the Kerah, the Karun and its tributaries, the Jerahi, and the Idiyan; constituting, altogether, a vast hydrographical basin of 189,200 geographic square miles; containing, within itself, a central deposit of 32,400 miles of alluvium, almost entirely brought down by the waters of the various rivers, and which have been accumulating from periods long antecedent to all historical records. The modern accumulation of soil in Babylonia from annual inundations is still very great. Several canals convey water at certain seasons of the year from one river and part of the country to another. In general, the alluvium that is brought down by canals and rivulets, and deposited at their mouths, is a fine clay. The great extent of the plain of Babylonia is everywhere altered by artificial works. There is still some cultivation and some irrigation. Flocks pasture in meadows of coarse grasses; the Arabs' dusky encampments are met with here and there; but, except on the banks of the Euphrates, there are few remains of the date-groves, the vineyards, and the gardens which adorned the same land in the days of Artaxerxes; and still less of the population and labor which must have made a garden of such soil in the time of Nebuchadnezzar. The vegetation of these tracts is characterized by the usual saline plants, the river banks being fringed by shrubberies of tamarisk and acacia, and occasional groves of a poplar which has been mistaken for a willow.
The Euphrates is still a majestic stream, but wanders through a dreary solitude. Its banks are hoary with reeds, and the grey osier-willows are yet there on which the captives of Israel hung up their harps, and, while Jerusalem was not, refused to be comforted. According to Rennel its breadth at Babylon is about 491 English feet. Rich ascertained its depth to be 2½ fathoms, and that the current runs gently at the medium rate of about two knots an hour. The Euphrates is far less rapid than the Tigris, and rises at an earlier period. When at its height—from the latter end of April to the latter end of June—it overflows the surrounding country. The ruins of Babylon are then so inundated as to render many parts of them inaccessible. The course of the river through the site of Babylon is north and south. During the three great empires of the East, no tract of the whole appears to have been so reputed for fertility and riches as the district of Babylonia, which arose in the main from the proper management of the mighty river which flowed through it. But the abundance of the country has vanished as clean away as if 'the besom of desolation' had swept it from north to south; the whole land, from the outskirts of Bagdad to the farthest reach of sight, lying a melancholy waste.
In order to defend the country against hostile attacks from its neighbors, northward from Babylon, between the two rivers, a wall was built, which is known under the name of the Median Wall. The Babylonians were famous for the manufacture of cloth and carpets: they also excelled in making perfumes, in carving in wood, and in working in precious stones. They were a commercial as well as a manufacturing people, and carried on a very extensive trade alike by land and by sea. Babylon was indeed a commercial depot between the Eastern and the Western worlds ( Ezekiel 17:4; Isaiah 43:14). Thus favored by nature and aided by art, Babylonia became the first abode of social order and the cradle of civilization.
The original inhabitants were without doubt of the Shemitic family; and their language belonged to the class of tongues spoken by that race, particularly to the Aramaic branch, and was indeed a dialect similar to that which is now called Chaldee.
From the account which is found in Genesis 10:8, Nimrod, the son of Cush, appears to have founded the kingdom of Babylon, and to have been its first sovereign. In Genesis 14:1, Amraphel is cursorily mentioned as king of Shinar. In the reign of Hezekiah (B.C. 713)— 2 Kings 20:12—'Berodach-baladan, the son of Baladan,' was 'king of Babylon,' and 'sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah, for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.' About a hundred years later, Jeremiah and Habakkuk speak of the invasion of the Babylonians under the name of the Chaldeans; and now Nebuchadnezzar appears in the historical books ( 2 Kings 24:1, sq.; Jeremiah 36:9; Jeremiah 36:27) as head of the all-subduing empire of Babylon. Evilmerodach ( 2 Kings 25:27; Jeremiah 52:31), son of the preceding, is also mentioned as 'king of Babylon;' and with Belshazzar ( Daniel 5:1; Daniel 5:30) the line of the Chaldean kings was closed: he perished in the conquest of Babylon by the Medo-Persians ( Daniel 5:31), 'and Darius, the Median, took the kingdom.'
The domination of the Chaldeans in Babylon has given historians some trouble to explain. The Chaldeans appear to have originally been a nomadic tribe in the mountains of Armenia, numbers of whom are thought to have settled in Babylon as subjects, where, having been civilized and grown powerful, they seized the supreme power and founded a Chaldeo-Babylonian empire.
There can be little doubt that the Chaldeans were a distinct nation. In connection with Babylonia they are to be regarded as a conquering nation as well as a learned people: they introduced a correct method of reckoning time, and began their reign with Nabonassar, B.C. 747. The brilliant period of the Chaldaeo-Babylonian empire extended to B.C. 538, when the great city, in accordance with the prophecy of Daniel, was sacked and destroyed. Babylonia, during this period, was 'the land of the Chaldeans,' the same as that into which the children of Judah were carried away captive ( Jeremiah 24:5); which contained Babylon ( Jeremiah 1:1; Ezekiel 12:13) was the seat of the king of Babylon ( Jeremiah 25:12), and contained the house of the god of Nebuchadnezzar ( Daniel 1:1-2).