Thursday, April 15, 2004

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon A descriptive essay by Reina Z, Elisa L, Andrea G., with reconstruction and bibliography.

From the site:

The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were the most revered and awesome structures in all of history. Philo of Byzantium compiled the first list of Seven Wonders for travelers of the Hellenistic Era, which included only unique man-made structures, such as the Pyramids at Giza or sculptures like the Colossus of Rhodes . One Wonder that evokes a great deal of interest is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Philo highlighted the various qualities that made the gardens worthy of incorporation onto the list of Wonders in the 3rd century B.C. These gardens portrayed the majesty of the Babylonian culture and the advanced technology of its people. It was a terraced garden that exhibited many beautiful plants and held many fountains. Nebuchadnezzar II ordered this wonder to be built during his reign of 43 years between the years of 604-562 BC. He built it to please his homesick wife, Amyitis, who was from Media. She longed for the meadows and mountains of her homeland. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon awed and astounded many travelers and historians in ancient times. Although they no longer exist, the idea of such a magnificent feat of engineering still fascinates people today.

Nebuchadnezzar, the builder of the gardens, was the most important ruler of his dynasty. He was the son of Nabopolassar, and lived from 604-562 B.C. As a military commander, he followed in the footsteps of his predecessors, conquering many Cities. He marched through Palestine and besieged Jerusalem twice. Nebuchadnezzar was also one of the most renowned builders in the Near East, making Babylon the most beautiful city in the region. Around his city, he built walls, which formed a square. The walls measured 9 miles long. Beyond the wall was a deep moat, which kept the city safe from invasion. Herodotus states that the wall was 80 feet thick, 320 feet high, with 250 watchtowers, and 100 bronze gates. Nebuchadnezzar also built the Ishtar Gate. It was a double gate at the south end of the processional way, which was dedicated to the goddess Ishtar. It was covered with brilliant blue glazed bricks and bas-relief animal sculptures. When visitors came upon this gate they would be in awe. In addition to the Ishtar gate Nebuchadnezzar built a majestic palace for himself. Travelers marveled at the walls decorated with colorful friezes of blue and yellow enameled bricks. Nebuchadnezzar paved the street sidewalks with small red stone slabs. Along the edge of each stone were carved, "I am Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who made this," demonstrating Nebuchadnezzar's absolute power and influence over Babylon . Nebuchadnezzar used these works as a means of self-promotion and self-glorification, not unlike other kings of that time. “Although Nebuchadnezzar suffered from insanity at some point during his 43-year reign, he transformed his city into an urban wonder”, states Herodotus . Nebuchadnezzar died a world conqueror and an architectural role model.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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