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The Babylonians are the inhabitants of the southern Mesopotamian plain in the hinterland of Babylon . Babylon was several times the center of a city-state or a more extensive empire (Karduniaš), for example in the Old Babylonian Period and in the New Babylonian Period.

Old Babylonian Empire

Around 1831 BC The Amorite tribes that had invaded Palestine freed themselves from Isin's supremacy and founded the ancient Babylonian empire. The best-known Babylonian ruler of this time was Ḫammurapi (1728–1686 BC), namesake of the famous Ḫammurapi Codex , one of the oldest written collections of laws that have survived to this day - a stone pillar on which the laws were carved in cuneiform .

The irrigation system was expanded and the plow with seed hopper was introduced, which led to large increases in agricultural yields. Debt slavery and usury were also of great importance during this period .

Hammurapi's son Shamschu-ilana (1685–1648 BC) was able to defend the empire against incursions by the Kassites and Elamites . After his death, however, the empire quickly lost its importance. After Babylon around 1530 BC Was conquered by the Hittites , the kings of the sea (lands on the Persian Gulf ) occupied the country and founded the 2nd dynasty of Babylon.

1450 BC The land was conquered by the Kassites who lived until 1160 BC. Ruled. After their fall, the 4th dynasty emerged, the most prominent scion of which was Nebuchadnezzar I (1136–1113 BC). He successfully waged war against the Assyrians and Elamites. After his death, the empire fell around 1100 BC. Under Assyrian rule. The following domestic power struggles led to the insignificance of the royal power.

Foreign rule

At the beginning of the 1st millennium BC Chaldean tribes immigrated from eastern Arabia . The land changed hands several times between Elam and Assyria before it became known in 732 BC. Came under Assyrian rule.

New Babylonian Empire

In 626 BC The Babylonian Empire was re-founded by Nabopolassar (626–604 BC), favored by the decline of the Assyrian Empire . In 605 BC The remains of the Assyrian army were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II (604–562 BC). He conquered Syria and Palestine and destroyed them in 586 BC. BC Jerusalem (followed by the Babylonian exile described in the Bible ).

At that time, southern Mesopotamia was the central trading center of the Orient . The ruling caste in the state was the priestly aristocracy, which after the death of Nebuchadnezzar II did not tolerate a strong ruler next to it.

Under the last king Nabonid (555-538 BC) there was an open break with the priesthood. The Persian king Cyrus II (558-529 BC) used this and conquered Babylonia. The priests opened it to him in 539 BC. The city gates.

See also