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Site Plans of Nineveh, Assyrian Imperial capital

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Site Plans of Nineveh, the Assyrian Imperial capital

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Nineveh: City wall and gates.

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Site plans of Kalhu (Nimrud), Assyrian metropolis

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Plan of the northwestern palace of Kalhu (Nimrud), one of the ancient Assyrian capitals.


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ON THE MILITARY ARCHITECTURE OF BABYLON during Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (6th c BC)

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babylon_map

Α diagram of Babylon in Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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Babylon was one of the most splendid and renowned cities in world History, being a real metropolis of the Near East and the political centre of a large kingdom and occasionally an empire which lasted more than a thousand years (18th-6th centuries BC), sometimes under foreign dynasties. The Babylonian kingdom remained nominally an independent political entity even when it was conquered by invaders such as the Kassites (Kossaioi) or the Assyrians. Even after Babylon’s capture by the Persians, she remained a very important city under the rule of the Achaemenids, of Alexander the Great who had chosen her as his capital, and of the Seleucids. Babylon’s gradual decline starts in the Late Seleucid and the Parthian Age and goes on more densely during the Sassanid Persian period.
The first appearance of Babylon in the historical-archaeological records possibly belongs to the 23th century BC, as a town of the Akkadian kingdom. However it is possible that the town pre-existed as a Sumerian settlement. Its inhabitants at that time seem to have been Akkadian Semite newcomers who had already started to replace the Sumerians as the main population of South Mesopotamia. I believe that a part of Babylon’s original population was Sumerian. In this phase, there is no urban planning and Babylon was in fact a Sumerian-type village or town because of the strong cultural influence of the indigenous people on the Akkadians (some scholars believe that the Akkadians were also indigenous of southern Mesopotamia, but I do not share this view).

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A representation of the city of Babylon; view from the Gate of Ishtar. Note in the front level the double wall of the inner defensive system, and the heavy fortifications of the Gate of Ishtar (painted blue). In the deeper level, note the Etemenanki Ziggurat and behind it, the Esagila (Temple of Marduk).

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