Monday, September 9, 2013

Ancient artworks from the heyday

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. Sony VGN-P21Z/R Battery The story is told of how Nebuchadnezzar in his efforts to restore the Temple at Sippar, had to make repeated excavations until he found the foundation deposit of Naram-Suen, the discovery of which 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 Sin. Sony VGN-P29VN/Q Battery We are much better informed about Mesopotamian culture and economic life under the Neo-Babylonians than we are about the structure and mechanics of imperial administration. It is clear that for Mesopotamia the Neo-Babylonian period was a renaissance. Large tracts of land were opened to cultivation. Sony VGP-BPS18 Battery 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. These estates were usually managed through local entrepreneurs, who took a cut of the profits. Sony VGP-BPL18 Battery
 Rural folk were bound to these estates, providing both labor 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. Dell 312-0749 Battery 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 that gave them collective bargaining power. Dell FU571 Battery After the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC, the Assyrian Empire began to disintegrate, riven by internal strife. An Assyrian general,Sin-shum-lishir, revolted and seized Babylon, but was promptly ousted by the Assyrian Army loyal to king Ashur-etil-ilani. Babylon was then taken by another son of Ashurbanipal Sin-shar-ishkun, who proclaimed himself king. Dell KY265 Battery
His rule did not last long however, and Babylon revolted with the help of the Chaldean tribe (Bit Kaldu), led by Nabopolassar. Nabopolassar seized the throne, and the Neo-Babylonian dynasty was born.
Nabopolassar was able to spend the next three years undisturbed, consolidating power in Babylon itself, due to the brutal civil war between the Assyrian king Ashur-etil-ilani and his brother Sin-shar-ishkun in southern Mesopotamia. Dell KY285 Battery However in 623 BC, Sin-shar-ishkun killed his brother the king, in battle at Nippur, seized the throne of Assyria, and then set about retaking Babylon from Nabopolassar. Nabopolassar resisted repeated attacks by Assyria over the next seven years, and by 616 BC, he was still in control of southern Mesopotamia. Assyria, still riven with internal strife, had by this time lost control of its colonies, which had taken advantage of the various upheavals to free themselves. Dell MN631 Battery
Nabopolassar marched his army into Assyria proper in 616 BC and attempted to besiege Assur and Arrapha, but was defeated on this occasion.
Nabopolassar made alliances with other former subjects of Assyria, the Medes, Persians, Elamites and Scythians. Dell PT434 Battery In 615 and 614 BC attacks were made on Assur and Arrapha and both fell. During 613 BC the Assyrians seem to have rallied and repelled Babylonian and Median attacks. However in 612 BC Nabopolassar and the Median king Cyaxares led a coalition of forces including Babylonians, Medes, Scythians and Cimmerians in an attack on Nineveh, and after a bitter three-month siege, Dell Studio 17 Battery
it finally fell. Babylon retained control of Assyria and its northern and western colonies.
An Assyrian general, Ashur-uballit II, became king of Assyria, and set up a new capital at Harran. Nabopolassar and his allies besieged Ashur-uballit II at Harran in 608 BC and took it; Ashur-uballit II disappeared after this. Dell Studio 1735 Battery 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 probably the remnants of the Assyrian army) from Syria, Dell Studio 1737 Battery
Asia Minor, northern Arabia and Israel. Nebuchadnezzar proved to be a capable and energetic military leader, and the Egyptians and their allies were finally defeated at the battle of Carchemish in 605 BC.
Nebuchadnezzar II became king after the death of his father. Dell Studio 15 Battery 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. Dell Studio 1537 Battery 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 calledEtemenanki, "House of the Frontier Between Heaven and Earth," which lay next to the Temple of Marduk. Dell Studio 1536 Battery A capable leader, Nabuchadnezzar 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. Dell Studio 1555 Battery In 601 BC Nebuchadnezzar II was involved in a major, but inconclusive battle, against the Egyptians. In 599 BC he invaded Arabiaand 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, Dell Studio 1557 Battery
and this encouraged king Zedekiah of Judah to revolt. After an 18 month siege Jerusalem was captured in 587 BC, thousands of Jews were deported to Babylon and Solomon's Temple was razed to the ground.
Nebuchadnezzar fought the Pharaohs Psammetichus II and Apries throughout his reign, and during the reign of Pharaoh Amasis in 568 BC it is speculated that he may have set foot in Egypt itself. Dell LATITUDE D600 Battery
By 572 Nebuchadnezzar was in full control of Babylonia, Assyria, Phoenicia, Israel, Philistinia, northern Arabia and parts of Asia Minor.
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, Dell Latitude D610 Battery
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 appears to have been a more stable ruler, conducting a number of public works, restoring temples etc. Dell Latitude D620 Battery He conducted successful military campaigns against Cilicia, which had threatened Babylonian interests. Neriglissar however reigned for only four years, being succeeded by the youthful Labashi-Marduk. It is unclear if Neriglissar was himself a member of the Chaldean tribe, or a native of the city of Babylon. Dell Latitude D630 Battery 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.[citation needed] Nabonidus was consequently chosen as the new king. Sony PCG-31211T Battery Nabonidus's (Nabû-na'id in Babylonian) noble credentials are not clear, although he was not a Chaldean but from the Assyriancity of Harran. He says himself in his inscriptions that he is of unimportant origins.[2] Similarly, his mother, Adda-Guppi,[3] 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. Sony PCG-31311T Battery
His father was Nabû-balatsu-iqbi, a commoner.[4]
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.[5] Sony PCG-51111T Battery
The Marduk priesthood hated Nabonidus because of his suppression of Marduk's cult and his elevation of the cult of the moon-god Sin.[6][7] Cyrus portrayed himself as the savior, chosen by Marduk to restore order and justice.[8]
To the east, the Persians had been growing in strength, and Cyrus the Great was very popular in Babylon itself, in contrast to Nabonidus.[9][10] Sony PCG-81111T Battery A sense of Nabonidus's religiously-based negative image survives in Jewish literature, in Josephus, for example.[11] Though in thinking about that image, we should bear in mind that the Jews initially greeted the Persians as liberators. Cyrus sent the Jewish exiles back to Israel from the Babylonian Captivity.[12] Sony PCG-81311T Battery
Although the Jews never rebelled against the Persian occupation,[13] they were restive under the period of Darius I consolidating his rule,[14] and underArtaxerxes I of Persia,[15][16] without taking up arms, or reprisals being exacted from the Persian government.
The Medes, Persians and Mannaeans, among others, were Indo-European peoples who had entered the region now known as Iran c. Sony VPCF138FC Battery 1000 BC from the steppes of southern Russia and the Caucasus mountains. For the first three or four hundred years after their arrival they were largely subject to the Neo Assyrian Empire and paid tribute to Assyrian kings. After the death of Ashurbanipal they began to assert themselves, and Media had played a major part in the fall of Assyria. Sony VPCF219FC Battery Persia had been subject to Media initially. However, in 549 BC Cyrus, 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 andGutians. Sony VPCS135EC Battery In 539 BC Cyrus invaded Babylonia. 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. Sony VPCS136EC Battery 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, but his account is not held to be reliable here.[17] Nabonidus surrendered and was deported. Sony VPCS138EC Battery Gutian guards were placed at the gates of the great temple of Bel, where the services continued without interruption. Cyrus did not arrive until the 3 October, Gobryas having acted for him in his absence. Gobryas was now made governor of the province of Babylon. Sony VPCS139GC Battery Cyrus now 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. Sony VPCYA15EC Battery 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, Sony VPCYA16EC Battery
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 as by the presence of foreign exiles like the Jews, Sony VPCYA25EC Battery who had been planted in the midst of the country. One of the first acts of Cyrus accordingly was to allow these exiles to return to their own homes, 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. Sony VPCYA26EC Battery
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 colony of Achaemenid Persia. Sony VPCYB15JC Battery After the murder of Bardiya by Darius, it briefly recovered its independence under Nidinta-Bel, who took the name of Nebuchadnezzar III, and reigned from October 521 BC to August 520 BC, when the Persians took it by storm. A few years later, in 514 BC, Babylon again revolted and declared independence under theArmenian King Arakha; Sony VPCYA17GH/R Battery
on this occasion, after its capture by the Persians, the walls were partly destroyed. E-Saggila, the great temple of Bel, however, still continued to be kept in repair and to be a center of Babylonian patriotism.
Babylon remained a major city until Alexander the Great destroyed the Achaemenid Empire in 332 BC. Sony VPCCW2S8E/W Battery After his death, Babylon passed to the Seleucid Empire, and a new capital named Seleucia was built on the Tigris about 40 miles north of Babylon (10 miles south of Baghdad). Upon the founding of Seleucia, Seleucus I Nicator ordered the population of Babylon to be deported to Seleucia, and the old city fell into slow decline. Sony VPCCW2Z1E/B Battery
The city of Babylon continued to survive until the 2nd or 3rd century AD. An adjacent town developed which is today the city of Hillah in Babylon Province, Iraq.
Babylonia remained under the control of the Parthians, and later, Sassanians until about 640 AD, when it was conquered by the Islamic Rashidun Caliphate. Sony VPCY11S1E Battery It continued to have its own culture and people, who spoke varieties of Aramaic, and who continued to refer to their country as Babylon (Babeli) or Erech (Iraq). Some examples of their cultural products are often found in the Mandaean religion, and the religion of the Babylonian prophet Mani. Sony VPCY11S1E/S Battery From the 1st and 2nd centuries AD the Assyrians and Babylonians began to adopt Christianity, and the province of Babylon became a seat of a bishopric of the Church of the East until the 17th century. Neo-Aramaic-speakers exist today as a small minority only in northern Iraq (Assyria). Despite being the minority, the Assyrians remained Christians and many were killed as a result. Sony VPCW1 Battery
Arabic had become the main language in Babylonia by the 9th century, when the region was the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate.According to traditional accounts, the Muslim conquests (Arabic: الغزوات‎, al-Ġazawāt or Arabic: الفتوحات الإسلامية‎, al-Fatūāt al-Islāmiyya) also referred to as the Islamic conquests or Arab conquests,[2]began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the 7th century. Sony VPCW1E8R/BU Battery
He established a new unified polity in theArabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun (The Rightly Guided Caliphs) and Umayyad Caliphatessaw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim power.
They grew well beyond the Arabian Peninsula in the form of a Muslim Empire with an area of influence that stretched from the borders of China and the Indian subcontinent, across Central Asia, Sony VPCY11AGJ Battery
the Middle East,North Africa, Sicily, and the Iberian Peninsula, to the Pyrenees. Edward Gibbon writes in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire:
Under the last of the Umayyad, the Arabian empire extended two hundred days journey from east to west, from the confines of Tartary and India to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. And if we retrench the sleeve of the robe, as it is styled by their writers, Sony VPCY11AHJ Battery the long and narrow province of march of acaravan. We should vainly seek the indissoluble union and easy obedience that pervaded the government of Augustus and the Antonines; but the progress of Islam diffused over this ample space a general resemblance of manners and opinions. The language and laws of the Quran were studied with equal devotion at Samarcand and Seville: Sony VPCY11AVJ Battery
the Moor and the Indian embraced as countrymen and brothers in the pilgrimage of Mecca; and the Arabian language was adopted as the popular idiom in all the provinces to the westward of the Tigris.
The Muslim conquests brought about the collapse of the Sassanid Empire and a great territorial loss for theByzantine Empire. Sony VPCY11M1E Battery The reasons for the Muslim success are hard to reconstruct in hindsight, primarily because only fragmentary sources from the period have survived. Most historians agree that the Sassanid Persian and Byzantine Roman empires were militarily and economically exhausted from decades of fighting one another. The rapid fall of Visigothic Spain remains less easily explicable. Sony VPCY11S1E Battery Jews and Christians in Persia and Jews and Monophysites in Syria were dissatisfied and sometimes even welcomed the Muslim forces, largely because of religious conflict in both empires.[3] In the case ofByzantine Egypt, Palestine and Syria, these lands had only a few years before being reacquired from the Persians, and had not been ruled by the Byzantines for over 25 years. Sony VPCY11V9E Battery Fred McGraw Donner, however, suggests that formation of a state in the Arabian peninsula and ideological (i.e. religious) coherence and mobilization was a primary reason why the Muslim armies in the space of a hundred years were able to establish the largest pre-modern empire until that time. Sony VPCY11V9E/S Battery
The estimates for the size of the Islamic Caliphate suggest it was more than thirteen million square kilometers (five million square miles), making it larger than all current states except the Russian Federation.

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