Neo-Babylonian Empire

The Neo-Babylonian Empire (also Chaldean Empire) was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC.[2] During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. A year after the death of the last strong Assyrian ruler, Ashurbanipal, in 627 BC, the Assyrian empire spiralled into a series of brutal civil wars. Babylonia rebelled under Nabopolassar. In alliance with the Medes, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians, they sacked the city of Nineveh in 612 BC,[3] and the seat of empire was transferred to Babylonia for the first time since the death of Hammurabi in the mid-18th century BC. This period witnessed a general improvement in economic life and agricultural production, and a great flourishing of architectural projects, the arts and science.

The Neo-Babylonian period ended with the reign of Chaldean king Nabonidus in 539 BC. To the east, the Persians had been growing in strength, and eventually Cyrus the Great conquered the empire.

Neo-Babylonian Empire

626 BC–539 BC
The Neo-Babylonian Empire at its greatest extent
The Neo-Babylonian Empire at its greatest extent
CapitalBabylon, Tayma (it was the de facto capital of Neo-Babylon under Nabonidus)[1]
Common languagesAkkadian, Aramaic
Religion
Babylonian religion
GovernmentMonarchy
King 
• 626–605 BC
Nabopolassar (first)
• 556–539 BC
Nabonidus (last)
History 
626 BC
539 BC
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Neo-Assyrian Empire
Achaemenid Empire

Historical background

Babylonia was subject to and dominated by Assyria during the Neo-Assyrian period (911–626 BC), as it had often been during the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365–1020 BC). The Assyrians of Upper Mesopotamia had usually been able to pacify their southern relations through military might, installing puppet kings, or granting increased privileges.

Revival of old traditions

After Babylonia regained its independence, Neo-Babylonian rulers were deeply conscious of the antiquity of their kingdom and pursued an archtraditionalist policy, reviving much of the ancient Sumero-Akkadian culture. Even though Aramaic had become the everyday tongue, Akkadian was retained as the language of administration and culture. Archaic expressions from 1500 years earlier were reintroduced in Akkadian inscriptions, along with words in the long-unspoken Sumerian language. Neo-Babylonian cuneiform script was also modified to make it look like the old 3rd-millennium BC script of Akkad.

Ancient artworks from the heyday of Babylonia's imperial glory were treated with near-religious reverence and were painstakingly preserved. For example, when a statue of Sargon the Great was found during construction work, a temple was built for it, and it was given offerings. The story is told of how Nebuchadnezzar II, in his efforts to restore the Temple at Sippar, had to make repeated excavations until he found the foundation deposit of Naram-Sin of Akkad. The discovery then allowed him to rebuild the temple properly. Neo-Babylonians also revived the ancient Sargonid practice of appointing a royal daughter to serve as priestess of the moon-god Sîn.

Cultural and economic life

Much more is known about Mesopotamian culture and economic life under the Neo-Babylonians than about the structure and mechanics of imperial administration. It is clear that for southern Mesopotamia, the Neo-Babylonian period was a renaissance. Large tracts of land were opened to cultivation. Peace and imperial power made resources available to expand the irrigation systems and to build an extensive canal system. The Babylonian countryside was dominated by large estates, which were given to government officials as a form of pay. The estates were usually managed by local entrepreneurs, who took a cut of the profits. Rural folk were bound to these estates, providing both labour and rents to their landowners.

Urban life flourished under the Neo-Babylonians. Cities had local autonomy and received special privileges from the kings. Centered on their temples, the cities had their own law courts, and cases were often decided in assemblies. Temples dominated urban social structure, just as they did the legal system, and a person's social status and political rights were determined by where they stood in relation to the religious hierarchy. Free laborers like craftsmen enjoyed high status and a sort of guild system came into existence, which gave them collective bargaining power. The period witnessed a general improvement in economic life, agricultural production, and a significant increase in architectural projects, the arts and science.

Neo-Babylonian dynasty

Dynasty XI of Babylon (Neo-Babylonian)

Nabopolassar 626–605 BC

Fotothek df ps 0002470 Innenräume ^ Ausstellungsgebäude
The Ishtar Gate of Babylon as reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin

After the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC, the Assyrian Empire began to disintegrate, riven by internal strife. Ashur-etil-ilani co-ruled with Ashurbanipal from 630 BC, while an Assyrian governor named Kandalanu sat on the throne of Babylon on behalf of his king. Babylonia seemed secure until both Ashurbanipal and Kandalanu died in 627 BC, and Assyria spiralled into a series of internal civil wars which would ultimately lead to its destruction. An Assyrian general, Sin-shumu-lishir, revolted in 626 BC and declared himself king of Assyria and Babylon, but was promptly ousted by the Assyrian Army loyal to king Ashur-etil-ilani in 625 BC. Babylon was then taken by another son of Ashurbanipal Sin-shar-ishkun, who proclaimed himself king. His rule did not last long, however, and the Babylonians revolted. Nabopolassar seized the throne amid the confusion, and the Neo-Babylonian dynasty was born. Babylonia as a whole then became a battleground between king Ashur-etil-ilani and his brother Sin-shar-ishkun who fought to and fro over the region. This anarchic situation allowed Nabopolassar to stay on the throne of the city of Babylon itself, spending the next three years undisturbed, consolidating his position in the city.[4]

However, in 623 BC, Sin-shar-ishkun killed his brother the king in battle at Nippur in Babylonia, seized the throne of Assyria, and then set about retaking Babylon from Nabopolassar. Nabopolassar was forced to endure Assyrian armies encamped in Babylonia over the next seven years. However, he resisted, aided by the continuing civil war in Assyria itself, which greatly hampered Sin-shar-ishkun's attempts to retake the parts of Babylonia held by Nabopolassar. Nabopolassar took Nippur in 619 BC, a key centre of pro-Assyrianism in Babylonia, and by 616 BC, he was still in control of much of southern Mesopotamia. Assyria, still riven with internal strife, had by this time lost control of its colonies, who had taken advantage of the various upheavals to free themselves. The empire had stretched from Cyprus to Persia and the Caucasus to Egypt at its height.

Nabopolassar attempted a counterattack; he marched his army into Assyria proper in 616 BC and tried to besiege Assur and Arrapha (Kirkuk), but was defeated by Sin-shar-ishkun and driven back into Babylonia. A stalemate seemed to have ensued, with Nabopolassar unable to make any inroads into Assyria despite its greatly weakened state, and Sin-shar-ishkun unable to eject Nabopolassar from Babylon due to the unremitting civil war in Assyria itself.

However the balance of power was decisively tipped when Cyaxares, ruler of the Iranian peoples (the Medes, Persians and Parthians), and technically a vassal of Assyria, attacked a war-weary Assyria without warning in late 615 BC, sacking Arrapha and Kalhu (the biblical Nimrud). Then in 614 BC Cyaxares, in alliance with the Scythians and Cimmerians, besieged and took Assur, with Nabopolassar remaining uninvolved in these successes.[5]

Nabopolassar too then made active alliances with other former subjects of Assyria; the Medes, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians.

During 613 BC the Assyrian army seems to have rallied and successfully repelled Babylonian, Median and Scythian attacks. However, in 612 BC Nabopolassar and the Median king Cyaxares led a concentrated coalition of forces including Babylonians, Chaldeans, Medes, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians in an attack on Nineveh. The size of the forces ranged against Assyria in its weakened state proved too much, and, after a bitter three-month siege, followed by house-to-house fighting, Nineveh finally fell, with Sin-shar-ishkun being killed defending his capital.

An Assyrian general, Ashur-uballit II, became king of Assyria amid the fighting. According to the Babylonian Chronicle, he was offered the chance to bow in vassalage to the rulers of the alliance. However, he refused, and managed to fight his way free of Nineveh to set up a new capital at Harran. Nabopolassar, Cyaxares, and their allies, then fought Ashur-uballit II for a further five years, until Harran fell in 608 BC; after a failed attempt to retake the city, Ashur-uballit II disappeared from the pages of history.

The Egyptians under Pharaoh Necho II had invaded the near east in 609 BC in a belated attempt to help their former Assyrian rulers. Nabopolassar (with the help of his son and future successor Nebuchadnezzar II) spent the last years of his reign dislodging the Egyptians (who were supported by Greek mercenaries and the remnants of the Assyrian army) from Syria, Asia Minor, northern Arabia and Israel. Nebuchadnezzar proved to be a capable and energetic military leader, and the Egyptians, Assyrians and their mercenary allies were finally defeated by the Babylonians, Medes and Scythians at the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC.

The Babylonians were now left in possession of much of Assyria, with the northern reaches being held by the Medes. However, they appear to have made no attempt to occupy it, preferring to concentrate on rebuilding southern Mesopotamia.

Nebuchadnezzar II 605–562 BC

Nebukadnessar II
An engraving on an eye stone of onyx with an inscription of Nebuchadnezzar II

Nebuchadnezzar II became king after the death of his father.

Nebuchadnezzar was a patron of the cities and a spectacular builder. He rebuilt all of Babylonia's major cities on a lavish scale. His building activity at Babylon was what turned it into the immense and beautiful city of legend. His city of Babylon covered more than three square miles, surrounded by moats and ringed by a double circuit of walls. The Euphrates flowed through the center of the city, spanned by a beautiful stone bridge. At the center of the city rose the giant ziggurat called Etemenanki, "House of the Frontier Between Heaven and Earth," which lay next to the Temple of Marduk.

Nebuchadnezzar II conducted successful military campaigns in Syria and Phoenicia, forcing tribute from Damascus, Tyre and Sidon. He conducted numerous campaigns in Asia Minor, in the "land of the Hatti". Like the Assyrians, the Babylonians had to campaign yearly in order to control their colonies.

In 601 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II was involved in a major, but inconclusive, battle against the Egyptians. In 599 BC, he invaded Arabia and routed the Arabs at Qedar. In 597 BC, he invaded Judah and captured Jerusalem and deposed its king Jehoiachin. Egyptian and Babylonian armies fought each other for control of the near east throughout much of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, and this encouraged king Zedekiah of Judah to revolt. After an 18-month siege, Jerusalem was captured in 587 BC, and thousands of Jews were deported to Babylon, and Solomon's Temple was razed to the ground.

By 572 Nebuchadnezzar was in full control of Babylonia, Assyria, Phoenicia, Israel, Philistinia, northern Arabia, and parts of Asia Minor. Nebuchadnezzar fought the Pharaohs Psammetichus II and Apries throughout his reign, and in 568 BC during the reign of Pharaoh Amasis II, invaded Egypt itself.[6]

Amel-Marduk 562–560 BC

Amel-Marduk was the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar II. He reigned only two years (562–560 BC). According to the Biblical Book of Kings, he pardoned and released Jehoiachin, king of Judah, who had been a prisoner in Babylon for thirty-seven years. Allegedly, because Amel-Marduk tried to modify his father's policies, he was murdered by Neriglissar, his brother-in-law.

Neriglissar 560–556 BC

Neriglissar appears to have been a more stable ruler, conducting a number of public works, restoring temples etc.

He conducted successful military campaigns against Cilicia, which had threatened Babylonian interests. Neriglissar however reigned for only four years, being succeeded by the young Labashi-Marduk. It is unclear if Neriglissar was himself a member of the Chaldean tribe, or a native of the city of Babylon.

Labashi-Marduk 556 BC

Labashi-Marduk was a king of Babylon (556 BC), and son of Neriglissar. Labashi-Marduk succeeded his father when still only a boy, after the latter's four-year reign. He was murdered in a conspiracy only nine months after his inauguration. Nabonidus was consequently chosen as the new king.

Nabonidus 556–539 BC

Nabonidus' (Nabû-na'id in Babylonian) noble credentials are not clear, although he was not a Chaldean but from Assyria, in the city of Harran. He says himself in his inscriptions that he is of unimportant origins.[7] Similarly, his mother, Adda-Guppi,[8] who lived to high age and may have been connected to the temple of the Akkadian moon-god Sîn in Harran; in her inscriptions does not mention her descent. His father was Nabû-balatsu-iqbi, a commoner.[9]

For long periods he entrusted rule to his son, Prince Belshazzar. He was a capable soldier but poor politician. All of this left him somewhat unpopular with many of his subjects, particularly the priesthood and the military class.[10]

The Marduk priesthood hated Nabonidus because of his suppression of Marduk's cult and his elevation of the cult of the moon-god Sin.[11][12] When Cyrus the Great conquered Babylonia, he portrayed himself as the savior chosen by Marduk to restore order and justice.[13]

To the east, the Persians had been growing in strength, and Cyrus the Great was very popular in Babylon itself.[14][15] A sense of Nabonidus' religiously-based negative image survives in Jewish literature, such as the works of Josephus,[16] and the Jews initially greeted the Persians as liberators.[17]

Fall of Babylon

In 549 BC Cyrus the Great, the Achaemenid king of Persia, revolted against his suzerain Astyages, king of Media, at Ecbatana. Astyages' army betrayed him to his enemy, and Cyrus established himself as ruler of all the Iranic peoples, as well as the pre-Iranian Elamites and Gutians.

In 539 BC, Cyrus invaded Babylon. Nabonidus sent his son Belshazzar to head off the huge Persian army; however, already massively outnumbered, Belshazzar was betrayed by Gobryas, governor of Assyria, who switched his forces over to the Persian side. The Babylonian forces were overwhelmed at the battle of Opis. Nabonidus fled to Borsippa, and on 12 October, after Cyrus' engineers had diverted the waters of the Euphrates, "the soldiers of Cyrus entered Babylon without fighting." Belshazzar in Xenophon is reported to have been killed.[18] Nabonidus surrendered and was deported. Gutian guards were placed at the gates of the great temple of Bel, where the services continued without interruption. Cyrus arrived in Babylon on 3 October, Gobryas having acted for him in his absence. Gobryas was then made governor of the province of Babylon.

Cyrus claimed to be the legitimate successor of the ancient Babylonian kings and the avenger of Bel-Marduk, who was assumed to be wrathful at the impiety of Nabonidus in removing the images of the local gods from their ancestral shrines, to his capital Babylon. Nabonidus, in fact, had excited a strong feeling against himself by attempting to centralize the religion of Babylonia in the temple of Marduk at Babylon, and while he had thus alienated the local priesthoods, the military party despised him on account of his antiquarian tastes. He seems to have left the defense of his kingdom to others, occupying himself with the more congenial work of excavating the foundation records of the temples and determining the dates of their builders.

The invasion of Babylonia by Cyrus was doubtless facilitated by the existence of a disaffected party in the state, as well and the presence of foreign exiles like the Jews. Accordingly, one of Cyrus' first acts was to allow these exiles to return to their homelands, carrying with them the images of their gods and their sacred vessels. The permission to do so was embodied in a proclamation, whereby the conqueror endeavored to justify his claim to the Babylonian throne. The feeling was still strong that none had a right to rule over western Asia until he had been consecrated to the office by Bel and his priests; and accordingly, Cyrus henceforth assumed the imperial title of "King of Babylon."

Babylon, like Assyria, became a province of Achaemenid Persia.

See also

References

  1. ^ John F. A. Sawyer; David J. A. Clines (1 April 1983). Midian, Moab and Edom: The History and Archaeology of Late Bronze and Iron Age Jordan and North-West Arabia. A&C Black. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-567-17445-1.
  2. ^ Talley Oryhnan, The Triumph of the Symbol: Pictorial Representation of Deities in Mesopotamia and the Biblical Image Ban (Göttingen: Academic Press Fribourg, 2005), 4 n. 6
  3. ^ A Companion to Assyria : page 192
  4. ^ Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, 3rd ed., Penguin Books, London, 1991 pp. 373–74
  5. ^ Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, 3rd ed., Penguin Books, London, 1991 p. 375
  6. ^ "Nebuchadnezzar." Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com.
  7. ^ M. Heinz and M.H. Feldman (eds.), Representations of political power: Case histories from times of change and dissolving order in the ancient Near East (Winona Lake IN: Eisenbrauns 2007), 137–66.
  8. ^ Joan Oates, Babylon, revised ed., Thames & Hudson, 1986, p. 132
  9. ^ Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, 3rd ed., Penguin Books, London, 1991, p. 381
  10. ^ John Haywood, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Civilizations, Penguin Books Ltd. London, 2005, p. 49
  11. ^ A.T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1948, p. 38
  12. ^ Joan Oates, Babylon, revised ed., Thames & Hudson, 1986, p. 133
  13. ^ Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, 3rd ed., Penguin Books, London, 1991, p. 382
  14. ^ Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, 3rd ed., Penguin Books, London, 1991, pp. 381–82
  15. ^ Joan Oates, Babylon, revised ed., Thames & Hudson, 1986, pp. 134–35
  16. ^ Josephus, The New Complete Works, translated by William Whiston, Kregel Publications, 1999, "Antiquites" Book 10:11, p. 354
  17. ^ Isaiah 45 | Biblegateway.com
  18. ^ Harper's Bible Dictionary, ed. by Achtemeier, etc., Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1985, p. 103
7th century BC

The 7th century BC began the first day of 700 BC and ended the last day of 601 BC.

The Assyrian Empire continued to dominate the Near East during this century, exercising formidable power over neighbors like Babylon and Egypt. In the last two decades of the century, however, the empire began to unravel as numerous enemies made alliances and waged war from all sides. The Assyrians finally left the world stage permanently when their capital Nineveh was destroyed in 612 BC. These events gave rise to the Neo-Babylonian Empire, which would dominate the region for much of the following century.

Aram (region)

Aram is a region mentioned in the Bible located in present-day Syria, including where the city of Aleppo now stands. At its height, Aram stretched from the Lebanon mountains eastward across the Euphrates, including parts of the Khabur River valley in northwestern Mesopotamia on the border of Iraq. The region was known as The Land of the Amurru during the Akkadian Empire (2335-2154 BC), Neo-Sumerian Empire (2112-2004 BC) and Old Assyrian Empire (2025-1750 BC) in reference to its largely Amorite inhabitants. During the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC), Neo-Babylonian Empire (612-539 BC) and Achaemenid Empire (539-332 BC) Aram was known as Eber-Nari.

Babylon

Babylon was a key kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia from the 18th to 6th centuries BC. The city was built on the Euphrates river and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods. Babylon was originally a small Akkadian town dating from the period of the Akkadian Empire c. 2300 BC.

The town became part of a small independent city-state with the rise of the First Babylonian dynasty in the 19th century BC. After the Amorite king Hammurabi created a short-lived empire in the 18th century BC, he built Babylon up into a major city and declared himself its king, and southern Mesopotamia became known as Babylonia and Babylon eclipsed Nippur as its holy city. The empire waned under Hammurabi's son Samsu-iluna and Babylon spent long periods under Assyrian, Kassite and Elamite domination. After being destroyed and then rebuilt by the Assyrians, Babylon became the capital of the short lived Neo-Babylonian Empire from 609 to 539 BC. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, although a number of scholars believe these were actually in the Assyrian capital of Nineveh. After the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the city came under the rule of the Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Roman, and Sassanid empires.

It has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world c. 1770 – c. 1670 BC, and again c. 612 – c. 320 BC. It was perhaps the first city to reach a population above 200,000. Estimates for the maximum extent of its area range from 890 to 900 hectares (2,200 acres).The remains of the city are in present-day Hillah, Babil Governorate, Iraq, about 85 kilometres (53 mi) south of Baghdad, comprising a large tell of broken mud-brick buildings and debris.

The main sources of information about Babylon—excavation of the site itself, references in cuneiform texts found elsewhere in Mesopotamia, references in the Bible, descriptions in classical writing (especially by Herodotus), and second-hand descriptions (citing the work of Ctesias and Berossus)—present an incomplete and sometimes contradictory picture of the ancient city even at its peak in the sixth century BC.

Battle of Nineveh (612 BC)

The Battle of Nineveh is conventionally dated between 613 and 611 BC, with 612 BC being the most supported date. Rebelling against the Assyrians, an allied army composed of Medes and the Babylonians, together with Scythians and Cimmerians, besieged Nineveh and sacked 750 hectares of what was, at that time, the greatest city in the world. The fall of Nineveh led to the destruction of the Neo-Assyrian Empire over the next three years as the dominant state in the Ancient Near East. Archeological records show that the capital of the once mighty Assyrian Empire was extensively de-urbanized and depopulated in the decades and centuries following the battle.

Babylon became the imperial center of Mesopotamia for the first time in over a thousand years, leading to the Neo-Babylonian Empire, claiming imperial continuity as a new dynasty.

Battle of Opis

The Battle of Opis, fought in September 539 BC, was a major engagement between the armies of Persia under Cyrus the Great and the Neo-Babylonian Empire under Nabonidus during the Persian invasion of Mesopotamia. At the time, Babylonia was the last major power in western Asia that was not yet under Persian control. The battle was fought in or near the strategic riverside city of Opis, north of the capital Babylon. It resulted in a decisive victory for the Persians. A few days later, the city of Sippar surrendered to the Persians and Cyrus's forces entered Babylon apparently without a fight. Cyrus was subsequently proclaimed king of Babylonia and its subject territories, thus ending the independence of Babylon and incorporating the Babylonian Empire into the greater Persian Empire.

Belshazzar

Belshazzar (; Hebrew: בֵּלְשַׁאצַּר, Belshatsar, Greek: Βαλτάζαρ, Baltázar, from Akkadian: 𒂗𒈗𒋀, Bēl-šar-uṣur, meaning "Bel protect the king") was the eldest son of Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian empire, and regent for his father during the latter's prolonged absence from the city, although he never assumed the titles or ritual functions of kingship. He may have been killed when Babylon fell to the Persians in 539 BCE.Belshazzar also appears as a central character in the story of Belshazzar's feast in the Book of Daniel, recognized by scholars as a work of historical fiction. Daniel's Belshazzar is not malevolent (he rewards Daniel for his interpretation of the writing), but in later Jewish tradition he is presented as a tyrant who oppresses the Jewish people.

Eber-Nari

Eber-Nari (Akkadian, also Ebir-Nari), Abar-Nahara עבר-נהרה (Aramaic) or 'Ābēr Nahrā (Syriac) was the name of a region of Western Asia and a satrapy of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC), Neo-Babylonian Empire (612-539 BC) and Achaemenid Empire (539-332 BC). Eber-Nari roughly corresponded with the Levant (Syria region), and was also known as Aramea.

It means "Beyond the River" or "Across the River" in both the Akkadian and Imperial Aramaic languages of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (that is, the Western bank of the Euphrates from a Mesopotamian and Persian viewpoint). It is also referred to as Transeuphratia (French Transeuphratène) by modern scholars. The province is also mentioned extensively in the Biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah as עבר הנהר Evver Hanahar. Additionally, sharing the same root meaning, Eber (pronounced Evver) was also a character in the Hebrew Bible from which the term Hebrew was widely believed to have been derived (see: Eber), thus the Hebrews were inferred to have been the people who crossed into Canaan across the (Euphrates or the Jordan) river.

The term was established during the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC) in reference to its Levantine colonies, and the toponym appears in an inscription of the 7th century BC Assyrian king Esarhaddon. The region remained an integral part of the Assyrian empire until its fall in 612 BC, with some northern regions remaining in the hands of the remnants of the Assyrian army and administration until at least 605 BC, and possibly as late as 599 BC.Subsequent to this Eber-Nari was fought over by the Neo-Babylonian Empire (612-539 BC) and Egypt, the latter of which had entered the region in a belated attempt to aid its former Assyrian overlords. The Babylonians and their allies eventually defeated the Egyptians (and remnants of the Assyrian army) and assumed control of the region, which they continued to call Eber-Nari.

The Babylonians were overthrown by the Persian Achaemenid Empire (539-332 BC), and the Persians assumed control of the region. Having themselves spent centuries under Assyrian rule, the Achaemenid Persians retained the Imperial Aramaic and Imperial organisational structures of their Assyrian predecessors.

In 535 BC the Persian king Cyrus the Great organized some of the newly conquered territories of the former Neo-Babylonian Empire as a single satrapy; "Babylonia and Eber-Nari", encompassing southern Mesopotamia and the bulk of the Levant. Northern Mesopotamia, the north east of modern Syria and south east Anatolia remaining as Athura (Assyria) (Achaemenid Assyria).The satrap of Eber-Nari resided in Babylon and there were subgovernors in Eber-Nari, one of which was Tettenai, mentioned in both the Bible and Babylonian cuneiform documents. This organization remained untouched until at least 486 BC (Xerxes I's reign), but before c. 450 BC the "mega-satrapy" was split into two—Babylonia and Eber-Nari.Herodotus' description of the Achaemenid tax district number V fits with Eber-Nari. It comprised Aramea, Phoenicia, and Cyprus (which was also included in the satrapy). Herodotus did not include in the tax list the Arabian tribes of the Arabian peninsula, identified with the Qedarites, that did not pay taxes but contributed with a tax-like gift of frankincense.

Eber-Nari was dissolved during the Greek Seleucid Empire (312-150 BC), the Greeks incorporating both this region and Assyria in Upper Mesopotamia into Seleucid Syria during the 3rd century BC. Syria was originally a 9th-century Indo-Anatolian derivation of Assyria and was used for centuries only in specific reference to Assyria and the Assyrians (see Name of Syria), a land which in modern terms actually encompassed only the northern half of Iraq, north east Syria and south east Turkey and not the bulk of Greco-Roman, Byzantine or modern nation of Syria. However, from this point the terms Syrian and Syriac were used generically and often without distinction to describe both Assyria proper and Eber-Nari/Aram, and their respective Assyrian and Aramean/Phoenician populations.

Ennigaldi-Nanna's museum

Ennigaldi-Nanna's museum is thought to be the first museum by some historians, although this is speculative. It dates to circa 530 BCE. The curator was Princess Ennigaldi, the daughter of Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. It was located in the state of Ur, located in the modern-day Dhi Qar Governorate of Iraq, roughly 150 metres (490 ft) southeast of the famous Ziggurat of Ur.

Jewish temple

Jewish temple may refer to:

Jewish temple or Jewish Temple, may refer to the Temples in Jerusalem

The First Temple, destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 586 BCE

The Second Temple, destroyed by the Roman Empire in 70 CE

The Third Temple, based on a futuristic prophecy

Jewish temple has also been used to describe temples located in Ancient Egypt

The temple in Elephantine

The temple in Leontopolis

The term may also refer to places called "House of Yahweh"

A synagogue, a Jewish house of worship

Jewish–Babylonian war

The Jewish–Babylonian war was a military conflict between the Kingdom of Judah and Neo-Babylonian Empire that lasted from 601 to 586 BCE. The conflict marked the end of the Kingdom of Judah and a prolonged hiatus in Jewish independence until the Hasmonean revolt in the second century BCE.

After Babylonia invaded Jerusalem it destroyed the First Temple, and started the Babylonian exile.

Kingdom of Judah

The Kingdom of Judah (Hebrew: מַמְלֶכֶת יְהוּדָה Mamléḵeṯ Yehudāh; Akkadian: 𒅀𒌑𒁕𒀀𒀀 Ya'uda; Aramaic: 𐤁‬𐤉‬𐤕‬𐤃𐤅‬𐤃‎ Bēyt Dāwīḏ) was an Iron Age kingdom of the Southern Levant. The Hebrew Bible depicts it as the successor to the United Monarchy, a term denoting the Kingdom of Israel under biblical kings Saul, David and Solomon and covering the territory of two historical kingdoms, Judah and Israel; however, historians are divided about the veracity of this account. For the parallel history of the southern Kingdom of Judah and its northern neighbour, the Kingdom of Israel, see History of ancient Israel and Judah.

In the 10th and early 9th centuries BCE, the territory of Judah appears to have been sparsely populated, limited to small rural settlements, most of them unfortified. Jerusalem, the kingdom's capital, likely did not emerge as a significant administrative center until the end of the 8th century; before this the archaeological evidence suggests its population was too small to sustain a viable kingdom. In the 7th century its population increased greatly, prospering under Assyrian vassalage (despite Hezekiah's revolt against the Assyrian king Sennacherib), but in 605 the Assyrian Empire was defeated, and the ensuing competition between the Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt and the Neo-Babylonian Empire for control of the Eastern Mediterranean led to the destruction of the kingdom in a series of campaigns between 597 and 582, the deportation of the elite of the community, and the incorporation of Judah into a province of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.

List of wars involving Iran

The following is an historical overview of the list of wars and conflicts involving Iran (Persia). This list is far from complete.

Nabonidus

Nabonidus (; Akkadian: 𒀭𒀝𒉎𒌇 dNabû-naʾid, "Nabu is praised") was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, reigning from 556–539 BC. He seized power in a coup, toppling King Labashi-Marduk. He also angered the priests and commoners of Babylon by neglecting the city’s chief god, Marduk, and elevating the moon god, Sin, to the highest status. In fact, Nabonidus left the capital for ten years to build and restore temples – mostly to Sin – leaving his son, Belshazzar, in charge. While leading excavations for the restoration effort, he initiated the world’s first archaeological work.

Meanwhile, the Persian Achaemenid Empire to the east, led by Cyrus the Great, had been gaining strength. King Cyrus had become popular among the residents of Babylon by posing as the one who would restore Marduk to his rightful place in the city. As the Persians advanced to Babylon, Nabonidus returned. He was captured by the Persians in 539 BC and Babylon was occupied, thus ending the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Cyrus was welcomed into the city, where he performed the rites of Marduk. Nabonidus’ fate is uncertain, though it is believed he was exiled to Iran and allowed to occupy a government post.

Nabopolassar

Nabopolassar (; cuneiform: 𒀭𒀝𒌉𒍑𒌶 dAG.IBILA.URU3 Akkadian: Nabû-apla-uṣur; c. 658 BC – 605 BC) was a Chaldean king of Babylonia and a central figure in the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The death of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal around 627 BC resulted in political instability. In 626 BC, a native dynasty arose under Nabopolassar. He made Babylon his capital and ruled over Babylonia for a period of about twenty years (626–605 BC). He is credited with founding the Neo-Babylonian Empire. By 616 BC, Nabopolassar had united the entire area under his rule.Nabopolassar formed an alliance with Cyaxares of the Medes to confront the Assyrians and their Egyptian allies. By 615 BC he had seized Nippur. He then led his forces to assist the Medes besieging the city of Ashur, but the Babylonian army did not reach the battlefield until after the city had fallen.

Necho II

Necho II (sometimes Nekau, Neku, Nechoh, or Nikuu; Greek: Νεκώς Β'; Hebrew: נְכוֹ, Modern: Nəkō, Tiberian: Nekō) of Egypt was a king of the 26th Dynasty (610–595 BCE). Necho undertook a number of construction projects across his kingdom. In his reign, according to the Greek historian Herodotus (4.42), Necho II sent out an expedition of Phoenicians, which in three years sailed from the Red Sea around Africa to the mouth of the Nile. His son, Psammetichus II, upon succession may have removed Necho's name from monuments.Necho played a significant role in the histories of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Kingdom of Judah. Necho II is most likely the pharaoh mentioned in several books of the Bible. The aim of the second of Necho's campaigns was Asiatic conquest, to contain the westward advance of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and cut off its trade route across the Euphrates. However, the Egyptians were defeated by the unexpected attack of the Babylonians and were eventually expelled from Syria.

The Egyptologist Donald B. Redford observed that although Necho II was "a man of action from the start, and endowed with an imagination perhaps beyond that of his contemporaries, Necho had the misfortune to foster the impression of being a failure."

Phoenicia under Babylonian rule

The land of Phoenicia (roughly corresponding to modern Lebanon) was ruled by the Neo-Babylonian Empire from around 605 BC to 538 BC.

Queen of Babylon

La cortigiana di Babilonia (English title: Queen of Babylon) is a 1954 Italian film set in the Neo-Babylonian Empire in the year 600 BC.

This film was directed by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia.

Sealand Dynasty

The Sealand Dynasty, (URU.KÙKI) or the 2nd Dynasty of Babylon (although it was independent of Amorite ruled Babylon), very speculatively c. 1732–1460 BC (short chronology), is an enigmatic series of kings attested to primarily in laconic references in the king lists A and B, and as contemporaries recorded on the Assyrian Synchronistic king list A.117. The dynasty, which had broken free of the short lived, and by this time crumbling Babylonian Empire, was named for the province in the far south of Mesopotamia, a swampy region bereft of large settlements which gradually expanded southwards with the silting up of the mouths of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (the region known as mat Kaldi "Chaldaea" in the Iron Age).

The later kings bore fanciful pseudo-Sumerian names and harked back to the glory days of the dynasty of Isin. The third king of the dynasty was even named for the ultimate king of the dynasty of Isin, Damiq-ilišu. Despite these cultural motifs, the population predominantly bore Akkadian names and wrote and spoke in the Akkadian language. There is circumstantial evidence that their rule extended at least briefly to Babylon itself. In later times, a Sealand province of the Neo-Babylonian Empire also existed.

Yehud (Babylonian province)

Yehud had been a province of the Neo-Babylonian Empire since the suppression of the Judean rebellion in 585/6 BCE. It first existed as a Jewish administrative division of the Neo-Babylonian Empire under Gedaliah, though it quickly became depopulated after his murder and another unsuccessful revolt around 581/2 BCE. The province was absorbed into the Achaemenid Empire with the collapse of the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 539 BCE.

History
Geography
Politics
Economy
Society
Geography
History
Languages
Culture / Society
Archaeology
Ancient
(Colonies)
Post-classical
Modern
Lists

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.