The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
(Daniel 2.24) " Do not excute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king and I will interpret his dream"
Amazing exhibition now at the British Museum London
East bank of the River Euphrates, about 50 km south of Baghdad, Iraq, there was an amazing
Palace with legendary gardens built on the banks of the Euphrates river by King Nebuchadnezzar II (which might have never existed except in the minds of Greek poets and historians, although recent archaeological excavations uncovered the foundation of the palace). Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote: "The approach to the Garden sloped like a hillside and the several parts of the structure rose from one another tier on tier... On all this, the earth had been piled... and was thickly planted with trees of every kind that, by their great size and other charm, gave pleasure to the beholder... The water machines [raised] the water in great abundance from the river, although no one outside could see it." [Painting by Mario Larrinaga] . From this description, it seems that Babel was not only a beautiful and powerful ancient city but it actually resembled the nearest thing to a heaven on earth ....
But Babel's hanging gardens did not look like Mario Larrinaga's vision in his painting above but were even better. Historians believe they were 70 meters high in all on a base of 90 square meters wide. The structure was stepped up on 5 platforms with each smaller than the previous base thus forming corridors surrounding the structure at each level. On that long corridor, the plantation of the gardens was established and thrived to become what we call 'the hanging gardens of Babylon', which of course went on to become one of the ancient wonders of the world because of the amazing structure and beauty.
The Babylonians not only were great in their architecture but also thrived in Maths and Physics. and were the first to divide the day into 12 parts .. or hours! They were also the first to use the number 60 to divide each hour into minutes and seconds, a practice that was followed at the time by all neighbouring cities and then spread to the world. . So, we're still following ancient Babylonian genius till this day!
The Babylonians also excelled in the arts, not on the same grand scale as the ancient Egyptians, but to a degree that would put them as some of the best artists of their time nonetheless. On the walls of Babel, there stood huge reliefs of great big lions as well as scenes of warriors being victorius while fighting wars against enemies of the time and showing how powerful the city was. There are also reliefs of human characters with bird heads very much resembling Horus of ancient Egypt. Of course Horus was the main god of ancient Egypt well over one thousand years before Babylon existed! It is amazing though how the concept of the one god rippled through from Egypt to civilisations as far away as Iraq and after so long ... Food for thought ... :-)
As the Bible described it, Babylon came down because of corruption and sin .. It's wise men were executed for daring to attempt to save it ....
A great city and a thriving civilisation was brought down to it's knees because there was no 'true' leader, no knight in shining armour to save it from it's doomed fate ... but do we 'humans' ever learn from those who preceded us?! None of the actual hanging walls remain today, however, Baghdad still has an archaeological site with remnants of the ancient city.
... and so, Babylon and it's beautiful gardens became no more! ... ;-)
There are those who resemble Manhattan - New York to the Ancient city of Babylon and feel that Manhattan destruction is inevitable since it too is a city of corruption and sin .. will Manhattan be allowed to meet the same fate? I hope not .. I hope they are wiser down there :-)
AMAZING exhibition! It is at the British Museum until around mid March 2009 .. worth the visit ... I am passionate about 'interpreting' and learning from history and not just merely reading about it.
"His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird" Bible : Book of Daniel 4.33 ;-)
Babel revisited .. Resembling Babylon to Manhattan NYC .. by (Julee Holcombe)