The Tower of Babel: history and legend –

approximately between the years 2000 and 500 BC, Babylon was the capital of the Babylonian empire and an important religious and mercantile center. A developed city, with large constructions as they were The Tower of Babel or the Gardens of Babylon, gardens considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, of which only the incredible Egyptian pyramids.

The Tower of Babel | Babylon

The city of Babylon was famous throughout the ancient world, from which the Greek writer herodotus visited it, around the year 450 BC, after the conquest of the Persians. Herodotus went so far as to state that “exceeded in splendor any city in the known world”.

Babylon was full of immense palaces and templesrichly decorated, full of great infrastructure public and private how were the wonderful hanging gardensBesides of Ziggurat Etemenanki or what is believed to have been the Tower of Babel.

The ancient city of Babylon is located in present-day Iraq., 88 kilometers south of the city of Baghdad. The German Archaeologist Robert Koldewey and his team, between 1899 and 1913, excavated the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon and, brick by brick, rebuilt it. What they discovered was a city of Babylon in its final years, during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar IIbut the surprise is greater when to continue digging they find a much older Babylon.

In the 17th century BC, Babylon had become the center of a vast empire, during the reign of Hammurabi. Koldewey’s team found that Hammurabi’s Babylon had beautiful temples and palaces, as well as a complicated maze of narrow streets lined with houses. All the buildings were made of adobes, on foundations of baked bricks. Hammurabi’s capital was protected by strong walls. After the reign of Hammurabi, Babylon passed into the hands of the Kassites, who ruled it from 1660 BC to 1150 BC In the 7th century BC, the Assyrians captured and sacked the city.

It was not until the Babylonian general Nabopolassar defeated the Assyrians in 626 BC, when Babylon regained its former glory.

He and his son Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt the capital and transformed it into the most beautiful city in the ancient Middle East. Nebuchadnezzar’s capital occupied an area of ​​850 hectares, larger than many modern cities. At its peak, 250,000 people lived there.

The rectangular city was surrounded by a double line of walls. The outer one was 26 meters thick. The interior was just as massive, as Herodotus tells us that two chariots pulled by four horses each could pass together along the rampart path.

The Tower of Babel | The Temple of Marduk

South of Nebuchadnezzar’s palace was the temple of marduk, linked to the Ishtar Gate by a wide street called Avenida Procesional. This temple was the center of the most important festival in the city, which took place during the new year and lasted 11 days.

At its height, the king led a procession carrying a statue of Marduk through the Ishtar Gate to a shrine on the outskirts of the city. To the north of Marduk’s temple was a brick ziggurat, or temple-pyramid, which is supposed to be the origin of the Tower of Babel mentioned in the Bible. It rose up to 91 m high and on its top there was a small shrine to Marduk.

The Tower of Babel | Babel’s tower

It is not known exactly when it was built Etemenanki, the tower of Babel, but it probably existed before the reign of Hammurabi (circa 1792-1750 BC). The poem about the creation of Babylon is thought to Enûma Elish was written shortly after the reign of Hammurabi, since the poem mentions the Esagila, the temple of Mardukbeing created immediately after the creation of the world, and intuits the existence of Etemenanki, both are presumed to have existed for at least 100 years from the time he wrote this poem.

Peleg, whom the biblical texts quote, would have lived from about 2269 to about 2030 BC. c. According to the Bible, during the time of Peleg that “the earth was divided”. For the Israelites, this refers to the tribal division of the land among the descendants of Noah’s three sons, after the failure of the construction of the Tower of Babel.

A text from the King of Akkad, named Shar-kali-sharri, who lived in the time of the patriarchs, mentions that he restored a temple-tower at Babilum (Babel, Babylon), implying that such a building existed before his reign. In fact, in the Sumerian records it is mentioned as Kadingira, which is the Sumerian equivalent of the Akkadian Babilum.

All Western archaeologists tried to locate this famous construction in the area of ​​present-day Iraq. Among other sites, it was sought in Akar Quf (west of Baghdad), where Dur Karigalzu once stood (the twisted ruins of whose ziggurat, identified by some travelers with the Tower of Babel, still defies the winds that have shaped it); and at Birs Nimrud, where the ruins of the ancient Borsippa, located near the remains of ancient Babylon, to the southwest.

In 1913, Robert Koldewey andfound a structure in the city of Babylon which he identified as the tower of Babel. This tower would have been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, due to the changing destiny of the area. It was destroyed by the Assyrians and also by the Arameans.. And it was rebuilt several times by the Chaldean princes, including Nabopolassar (625-605 BC).

The Tower of Babel | religious vision

Church, He has a very different view of what happened to the Tower of Babel. For the texts of Genesis, the book that explains the origin of the world, it was the Lord who confused the languages ​​and scattered them throughout the earth. In the following text, excerpt from the Bible, we can see the explanation of the destruction of a tower that suffered multiple invasions, destruction and looting.

“Everyone spoke the same language and used the same words. And when men migrated from the East, they found a plain in the region of Senaar and settled there. Then they said to each other: “Come on! Let’s make bricks and put them to cook on the fire.

And they used bricks instead of stone, and asphalt served as a mix. Then they said: “Let us build a city, and also a tower whose top reaches to heaven, to perpetuate our name and not be scattered throughout the earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building, and said: “If this is the first work that you do, nothing that you propose to do will be impossible for you, as long as you form one people and all speak the same language. same language. Let us go down then, and once there, let us confuse their language, so that they no longer understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from that place, scattering them throughout the land, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel: there, in fact, the Lord confused the language of men and scattered them throughout the earth. Genesis chapter 11