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Babylon (Iraq)


Babylon, Iraq, Basalt Lion with Figures; Matson Collection, ca. 1932

Babylon, Iraq, Basalt Lion with Figures; Matson Collection, ca. 1932

Library of Congress via pingnews

Babylon was the capital of a small city state of Mesopotamia, named Babylonia, located in what is now Iraq, near the modern town of Hilla and on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river. Babylon was founded at the end of the 3rd millennium BC, and lasted through the 2nd century AD.

Babylon reached its heyday under the Babylonian king Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC), who ruled all of southern Mesopotamia. The city again was at the height of its powers in the 7th century BC during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, just before the Persian conquest. Nebuchadnezzar built the famous Hanging Gardens, considered by some authorities one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Important buildings still standing at Baghdad include the Ishtar temple, the ancient theatre and the 'Babylon Tower'.

Babylon and Archaeology

The archaeological site of Babylon has been excavated by a number of people, most notably by Robert Koldewey beginning in 1899.

Heavily damaged by the Iraq/US war, Babylon has recently been investigated by researchers of the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino using QuickBird and satellite imagery to quantify and monitor the ongoing damage.


This definition is part of the About.com Guide to Mesopotamia.

Brusasco, Paolo 2004 Theory and practice in the study of Mesopotamian domestic space. Antiquity 78(299):142-157.

Jahjah, Munzer, Carlo Ulivieri, Antonio Invernizzi, and Roberto Parapetti. 2007. Archaeological remote sensing application pre-postwar situation of Babylon archaeological site-Iraq. Acta Astronautica 61:121-130

Van de Mieroop, Marc 2003 Reading Babylon. American Journal of Archaeology 107(2):254-275.

Also Known As: Bab Ilani (Gate of the Gods in Akkadian)

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