TRADE AND COMMUNICATION IN THE ANCIENT WORLD-The Ancient City of Babylon
Babylon is amongst the first greatest cities in Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia which today is known as Iraq; was located in the land between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. Mesopotamia was located in a place popularly known as the Fertile Crescent. However, it is vital to note that in the present day the Fertile Crescent is part of quite a several Southwest Asia countries.
The Mesopotamia rivers regularly flooded in a regular pattern, resulting in a substantial amount of water as well as rich and the mountain depositing new topsoil into the valleys. Therefore, this region stands amongst the first areas where farming was a way of living for its inhabitants. An estimated ten thousand years back, the Mesopotamian farmers began growing grains; a good example being barley. The early farmers also began the domestication of animals including cattle and sheep; animals who both provided hides, wool, alternative food sources, as well as manure which was utilized as the field’s fertilizers.
Mesopotamian’s population consistently grew and subsequently expanded, leading its people to need more cultivation land. Achieving the expansion of the farms into areas within the desert areas and a substantial distance from the rivers, Mesopotamia invented a complex irrigation method utilizing dams, canals, together with aqueducts. Utilization of these projects enabled them to have substantial control over yearly floods of the rivers Euphrates and Tigris; however, the two rivers remained overwhelming to the dams to a degree.
Foundation of Babylon
The City of Babylon was founded around the year 2300 B.C. Babylon was founded by the Akkadian-speaking people who were ancient natives of southern Mesopotamia. Babylon under Amorite King Hammurabi grew to become a major military power. King Hammurabi ruled from the year 1792 B.C up to the year 1750 B.C. Hammurabi during his rule conquered the neighboring city-states, bringing much of the central as well as southern Mesopotamia under his rule; thus unifying the Babylonian rule, and leading to the creation of the Babylonia empire. King Hammurabi helped Babylon grow into a powerful as well as an influential city. Furthermore, he was the creator of one of the earliest World’s written legal codes that were complete; otherwise popularly referred to as the Code of Hammurabi. Nevertheless, these legal cords enable Babylon to successfully surpass the other cities within the region. Not to mention that the Hammurabi’s law codes enhanced the implementation of policies which were objectified towards the maintenance of peace and even the encouragement of prosperity. Moreover, King Hammurabi focused on the enlargement as well as the heightening of the city’s wall, engaging in the public work projects such as canals, temples, and opulent; and making diplomacy a key integral portion within his entire administration.
Ancient Babylonians had their main industry as the agriculture industry; however, trade was a critical part of the Babylonian civilization as well as their lives. Babylon’s ruling king did not that the capability of raising the taxes to fund the great war from the poor peasants, therefore, trade for the Babylon empire was the major key to their wealth. Their kings knew the best means and ways to enhance the preservation of the region’s own wealth and the importance of the promotion of trade. Therefore the Babylon Kings effectively supported the merchants; often ransoming them in the case of bandits or when hostile kingdoms have captured them. Nevertheless, with the trade promotion in the kingdom, the King could now implement taxes on people.
Moreover, to ensure the flourishing of trade-in Babylon the trade routes were heightened in regards to security ensuring protection from bandits; thus it was beneficial for trade when there existed large empires that were stable. Scholars explain that with one particular empire in control of the trade routes, peace and security will prevail, and eventually no wars will occur therefore leading to greater levels of greater prosperity. The city of Babylon stood out and became vital within the established Middle Eastern trade network. Babylon’s traders were exporting as well as importing goods; goods not only from their region but also from significantly distant regions.
The economy of Babylon was reliant on two key principles; these are trade and agricultural surplus. Babylon was significantly adept when it came to controlling the waterways through the utilization of dyke systems and irrigation. Babylon therefore in control of the fertile river valleys as well as the rivers gave way to a substantial yield and surplus agricultural products. The agricultural products consisted of a vast range from grains to vegetables to fruits. The great food supplies were substantially supplemented with the farm animals such as bovines and sheep. However, even with the existence of a significant surplus of agricultural products, Babylon was still deficient in the essential resources to effectively support the fast-growing city, thus the economic reliance on an efficient and strong trade network which enabled the supply of the lacking materials. Therefore, the economy of Babylon grew on trade relationships with distant countries such as Egypt, Anatolia, Europe, India, and even Persia. The key trade goods included wood, copper, manufactured products as well as gold; Items that Babylonians used in their day to day lives, as well as, in the making of weapons.
Babylon Art and Architecture
The Art and architecture in the Babylonian Empire flourished significantly throughout the Empire, but more specifically Babylon’s capital city of Babylon. The capital city of Babylon became famous because of its impenetrable walls. King Hammurabi was the first to encircle the city strategically with walls. Thereafter, King Nebuchadnezzar II fortified the city’s walls further adding three rings of walls which were all forty feet tall. Moreover, King Nebuchadnezzar II later built three enormous palaces. Each of the palaces’ was lavishly decorated using yellow and blue glazed tiles. Additionally, he built quite a several shrines in the city and empire as a whole. Amongst the shrines is Esagil which is the largest of the shrines; Esagil was built in dedication to Marduk. Esagil stood about two hundred and eighty feet tall.
A great debate still goes on amongst the scholars on the argument and believes that the Tower of Babel which was legendary stood as the foundation and inspiration of the real-life temple that was built in honor of Marduk; Marduk is Babylon’s patron god. Nevertheless, scholars have gone a long way to introduce Babylon and its origin, growth, and development throughout the ancient period before the years 200 BC.
Beaulieu, Paul-Alain. A History of Babylon, 2200 BC-AD 75. 2018.
Blake, Richard. The Curse of Babylon. 2013.
Liverani, Mario. Imagining Babylon The Modern Story of the Ancient City. 2016.
Seymour, Michael. Babylon: Legend, History, and the Ancient City. 2016.