|Unique unit||Bowman (replaces Archer)|
|Unique building||Walls of Babylon (replaces Walls)|
Receives free Great Scientist when you discover writing, earn Great Scientists at double the usual rate
Musical Theme: Hurrian Hymn (A Zaluzi to the Gods) composed by Roland Rizzo
Architecture: Middle Eastern Music Set: Middle Eastern
The Babylonian Empire was, rather than a new idea, a reinvigoration of the old Sumerian Empire of the city of Ur, which had also occupied the Fertile Crescent in what is today Southern Iraq. Babylonia was formed from a collection of roughly a dozen city-states and was named for its capital city of Babylon. (Pre-empire, the city of Babylon itself was in existence since at least the 24th century BC.)
Terrain and ClimateEdit
Babylon was located in the Fertile Crescent, the incredibly fecund region around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, extending west to the Mediterranean and down through modern Israel. The Fertile Crescent not only benefits from the rich soil and irrigation provided by the two ancient rivers, but it also lies at the crossroads of three major landmasses: Africa, Asia, and Europe, meaning it has insects, plants and animals from all three sources. This gives the region a biodiversity unmatched anywhere in the world. This also means that its human inhabitants had a huge variety of plants and animals to experiment with when learning how to farm and herd animals, thus explaining why humans advanced so rapidly in this area.
The Old Babylonian EmpireEdit
Originally a disorganized region, Babylon and Babylonia began to grow as a center for culture, trade, and religion under the rule of Hammurabi in 1728 BC. Hammurabi was the first known ruler of United Babylonia as well as its greatest lawgiver. Hammurabi's Code of Laws specifically listed the acts that were criminal as well as the punishment for each act. Citizens were no longer at the mercy of capricious judges or nobility who could on a whim decide what was and wasn't illegal. So comprehensive was the Babylonian code that little about its laws or governmental system changed in the entirety of the empire's 1,200 years of existence.
Record-keeping and MathematicsEdit
Much like the Sumerian empire from which they were descended, Babylonia was a nation of fanatical record-keepers. Starting with Hammurabi and continuing down until the empire's dissolution at the hands of Cyrus and the great Persian emperors, every financial transaction, every court verdict, every contract, and just about anything that could be written down, was-on clay tablets. With laws pertaining to almost every aspect of daily living a significant amount of data was recorded, and much of this has been uncovered and excavated during the modern era. Researchers have even found several optical devices, similar to magnifying glasses, which were used to allow record keepers to write in smaller cuneiform, in order to fit more information on each clay tablet.
Despite numerous regime changes, education reached exceptional heights among the Babylonians. Technical achievements such as the creation of a base 60, "sexigesimal", system of mathematics, are still used to this day. Sixty seconds per minute, sixty minutes per hour: modern time, is in fact, Babylonian time.
Intermittent Chaos, with Chance of MassacreEdit
After the death of Hammurabi (1750BC), the empire slowly declined in power and influence. Following a Hittite raid which weakened the city, in approximately 1600 BC it was conquered by the Kassites who had emerged from what are now the mountains of Iran. The Kassites controlled Babylonia for 500 years, renaming the city Karanduniash.
In 1234 the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta I temporarily conquered the city but the Kassites eventually reasserted independence, just in time for the Elamites to sack the city in 1158. Then the Babylonians regained control of their city (possibly because the Elamites had stolen everything that any invader might want). By 1124 the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar I sacked the Elamite city of Susa in revenge for their earlier attack on Babylon. But by 1000 BC, Babylon was once again under pressure from a resurgent Assyria. Babylon remained more or less under Assyrian domination until 627 BC.
The Neo-Babylonian EmpireEdit
In 627 BC, Babylonia successfully revolted once again from Assyrian control. The revolt was led by a new leader, Nabopolassar, who would reign for some twenty years before passing the throne to his more famous son.
Nabopolassar's son, Nebuchadnezzar II , ruled Babylonia from 605 to 561 DC. He established himself early as a military leader, leading an army under his father in Assyria, and then later an independent command against Egypt, destroying the Egyptian army at Carchemish and gaining Babylonian control of all of Syria.
Nebuchadnezzar was deeply invested in the city of Babylon. During his reign it enjoyed something of a renaissance. Nebuchadnezzar engaged in a variety of city revitalization projects, rebuilding ancient temples and buildings, construction extensive fortification, and so forth. He also created the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. He employed foreign workers for much of the hard labor, which as an additional benefit dramatically increased the city's population. Nebuchadnezzar died in 561 BC. For more on Nebuchadnezzar II, see his Civilopedia entry.
The Fall of BabylonEdit
The leaders following Nebuchadnezzar were lesser men, and within thirty years Babylonian power and prestige were greatly weakened. It is said that when Cyrus II of Persia attacked in 539 BC, the city fell almost without resistance. It remained under Persian control until 331 BC, when it was captured by Alexander the Great , and then to the Seleucid dynasty after Alexander's death. In the period since, Babylon has all but vanished, reduced to mysterious mounds and piles of rubble, waiting for archaeologists to uncover their secrets.
Babylonia played an important role in the development of law throughout the world. The creation of Hammurabi's code of laws, and the zeal with which his successors, both blood –related and not, upheld those laws, demonstrated for all of history how successful and wealthy a nation could become by following an organized system of government. The rest of Babylon's history reminds us that nothing lasts forever, and that even the greatest of empires will someday be nothing more than dust beneath the next empire's chariot wheels. Or tank treads.
Prior to the construction of the Colossus of Rhodes, the Babylonian Ishtar Gate was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The 8th gate to the inner city of Babylon, the Ishtar Gate was designed as both an entry and a shrine to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, who represented sexuality, fertility, and love.
The famed walls of Babylon were at one time also considered amongst the Seven Wonders of the World. The Ancient Greek historian Herodotus recorded that these walls surrounding the city were over 300 feet high, 80 feet thick, and 56 miles long, although his account is dubious in the eyes of modern archaeologists.
List of city namesEdit
- Mashkan Shapir
- Shubat Enlil