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residential village (1990 pop. 12,249), Suffolk co., SE N.Y., on Long Island, on Great South Bay; settled 1689, inc. 1893. The first U.S. wireless station was built there by Marconi.


(băb`əlŏn), ancient city of Mesopotamia. One of the most important cities of the ancient Middle East, it was on the Euphrates River and was north of the cities that flourished in S Mesopotamia in the 3d millennium B.C. It became important when HammurabiHammurabi
, fl. 1792–1750 B.C., king of Babylonia. He founded an empire that was eventually destroyed by raids from Asia Minor. Hammurabi may have begun building the tower of Babel (Gen. 11.4), which can now be identified with the temple-tower in Babylon called Etemenanki.
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 made it the capital of his kingdom of BabyloniaBabylonia
, ancient empire of Mesopotamia. The name is sometimes given to the whole civilization of S Mesopotamia, including the states established by the city rulers of Lagash, Akkad (or Agade), Uruk, and Ur in the 3d millennium B.C.
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. The patron god of Babylon, Marduk (identical with Bel), became a leading deity in the Neo-Babylonian pantheon. The city was destroyed (c.689 B.C.) by the Assyrians under SennacheribSennacherib
or Senherib,
d. 681 B.C., king of Assyria (705–681 B.C.). The son of Sargon, Sennacherib spent most of his reign fighting to maintain the empire established by his father.
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, and its real spendor belongs to the later period of Babylonia after the city was rebuilt. The brilliant color and luxury of Babylon became legendary from the days of NebuchadnezzarNebuchadnezzar
, d. 562 B.C., king of Babylonia (c.605–562 B.C.), son and successor of Nabopolassar. In his father's reign he was sent to oppose the Egyptians, who were occupying W Syria and Palestine. At Carchemish he met and defeated (605 B.C.
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 (d. 562 B.C.). The Hanging Gardens were one of the Seven Wonders of the WorldSeven Wonders of the World,
in ancient classifications, were the Great Pyramid of Khufu (see pyramid) or all the pyramids with or without the sphinx; the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, with or without the walls; the mausoleum at Halicarnassus; the Artemision at Ephesus; the
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. The walls of Babylon, its palace, and the processional way with the famous Ishtar Gate were decorated with colorfully glazed brick. Among the Hebrews (who suffered the Babylonian captivityBabylonian captivity,
in the history of Israel, the period from the fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.) to the reconstruction in Palestine of a new Jewish state (after 538 B.C.).
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 under Nebuchadnezzar) and the later Greeks the city was famed for its sensual living. Under the rule of NabonidusNabonidus
, d. 538? B.C., last king of the Chaldaean dynasty of Babylonia. He was not of Nebuchadnezzar's family, and it is possible that he usurped the throne. He was absorbed in antiquarian and religious speculations, and he built temples while the state was left undefended.
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 the city was captured (538 B.C.) by Cyrus the Great and was used as one of the administrative capitals of the Persian Empire. In 275 B.C. its inhabitants were removed to SeleuciaSeleucia
, ancient city of Mesopotamia, on the Tigris below modern Baghdad. Founded (c.312 B.C.) by Seleucus I, it soon replaced Babylon as the main center for east-west commerce through the valley.
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, which replaced Babylon as a commercial center.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Sumerian Kadingirra, Akkadian Babilu, literally “gate of god”), in antiquity a city in northern Mesopotamia on the banks of the Euphrates; the ruins of Babylon are near the modern city of Hilla (Iraq). It was first mentioned in the legend of Sargon the Akkadian (third millennium B.C.). Babylon’s importance grew during the time of the first Babylonian dynasty (1894-1595 B.C.). Under Hammurabi it was transformed into a major political, cultural, and economic center not only of Babylonia but of all South-west Asia. About 1595 B.C., Babylon was captured by the Hittites, and about 1518 it fell under the sway of the Kassites. At the beginning of the first millennium, Assyria and the Aramaean tribes, the Chaldeans, fought for Babylon. In 732, Babylon became part of the Assyrian state. In 689 it was completely destroyed by the Assyrian king Sennacherib as punishment for an uprising. It was rebuilt about 680 by Sennacherib’s successor Esarhaddon. In 626, Nabopolassar, a Chaldean, seized power in Babylon and ruled from 626 to 604. Under Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled from 604 to 562, the city reached its golden age. A new architectural ensemble was created with magnificent palaces and mighty defensive installations. The city was captured in 539 by the Persian troops of Cyrus II. It was seized in 331 by Alexander of Macedon. Babylon was turned over in 312 to one of Alexander’s generals, the Macedonian Seleucus, who resettled most of the inhabitants of Babylon in his capital Seleucia, built near Babylon. After that Babylon lost its primacy and finally left the historical arena by the second century A.D.


The archaeological diggings of 1899-1917, the testimony of ancient Greek writers, and other sources revealed what ancient Babylon looked like in the sixth century B.C. Divided into two parts (western and eastern) by the Euphrates, the city was laid out in the form of a rectangle (with an area of about 10 sq km), encircled by three rows of brick walls with massive serrated towers and eight gates. The Ishtar Gate (the main gate) was faced with blue glazed brick with stylized representations of yellow-red and white-yellow bulls and dragons in relief. The paved Procession Street led to the temple complex of Esagila with its seven-stage ziggurat Etemenanki (the so-called Babylonian tower), whose stages were painted in different colors. The temple complex was located in the center of the city. To the north was the fortress-palace of Nebuchadnezzar II with the Hanging Gardens, a row of interior courtyards, and a throne room. The throne room was faced with blue glazed bricks and had an ornamental frieze and a representation of yellow columns. To the east are the remains of a Greek theater from the fourth century B.C.


Flittner, N. D. Kul’tura i iskusstvo Dvurech’ia i sosednikh stran. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958. Pages 274-77.
Koldewey, R. Das wiedererstehende Babylon, 4th ed. Leipzig, 1925.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


ancient city on Euphrates river; famed for its magnificence and culture. [Mid. East. Hist.: NCE, 202]
See: Luxury
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. the chief city of ancient Mesopotamia: first settled around 3000 bc
2. Derogatory (in Protestant polemic) the Roman Catholic Church, regarded as the seat of luxury and corruption
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


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