Babylon is a contained seven-hour miniseries, but it hadn’t all been written. So all the actors were signing on based on the first two hours and an idea of where it might go.

Everybody was in the room together when we were doing those first table readings and rehearsals. The writers and the directors are watching the actors [and asking] “where’s the chemistry?” and “who has a natural rapport?” and “what aspects of the character really land and what isn’t working?” And then they tailor the scripts to the clay they’re working with.

I found that to be a really exhilarating process, because everyone was really open to what the actors had to offer in terms of the depth of the character homework they can do. I spend all day thinking about Liz Garvey and her perspective and where she comes from […] When you’re bringing this sort of depth of experience, like “I think this and this” about Liz’s background, or how she relates to Finn - all that, it ends up woven into the story. It’s a really rewarding experience as an actor.

—  Brit Marling on Babylon (x, ‘Smart Works’ SundanceTV panel) 
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Ancient Worlds - BBC Two 

Episode 1 “Come Together”

Limestone Kudurru (boundary stone, 11th century BC) from the reign of Marduk-nadin-ahhe -Babylonian king, the sixth of the Second Dynasty of Isin. He was the brother of the famous NebuchadrezzarI and pursued his brother’s policy of extending Babylonian influence. The final years of the king were troubled by numerous incursions of enemies, severe famines and droughts. The circumstances of his death are not known; according to Assyrian sources, he “disappeared.”

The kudurru consists of a block of black limestone, rising to a point. It has been rubbed down on four sides to take inscriptions, and the upper portion, from the point where it begins to taper, is carved with symbols. Larger symbols are resting on the serpent’s body and on the ledge above the inscription, some animals like a sitting dog, a bird on perch, a horned dragon, a ram-headed crook upon shrine and a goat-fish and.

The cuneiform inscription contains a deed recording a grant of land by Marduk-nadin-ahhe to Adad-zer-ikisha in return for services rendered during a campaign against Assyria. An addition to the text records that the king subsequently confirmed the gift under his own seal.

British Museum, London, UK 

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The Dragon of the God Marduk.

Nebuchadnezzar II (who reigned c.604-562 BC), the king of Babylon, started a series of ambitious building projects including the richly decorated Ishtar Gate (575 BC). A long processional avenue linked the sacred gate to the temple of the city god Marduk and his famous temple tower, known from the Bible as the Tower of Babel. The façades of the Ishtar Gate were decorated with reliefs on glazed bricks, representing dragons (Akkadian: mušḫuššu ; from Sumerian: MUŠ.ḪUS, lit. “reddish snake” sometimes also translated as “fierce snake” ), Marduk’s emblem, and bulls (aurochs) symbolizing the weather god Adad. The processional route away from the city was decorated with lions, the animals of Ishtar, goddess of love and war. They were to guard against advancing enemies, as is indicated by the name of the gateway: “Ishtar conquers its enemy”.

This dragon is preserved at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen (DK). Cm 115 x 164

One of two Babylonian lions at the Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago, dating back to 575 BCE. In the equivalent of Babylon’s Time Square, 120 life-size lions symbolizing the goddess Ishtar lined the walls of the Processional Street, where the entire city celebrated the New Year: the Resurrection of Tammuz, the Babylonian god of harvest. The Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

Photo by Babylon Chronicle

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A hypothetical view of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, from Dorling Kindersley’s “Eyewitness Mesopotamia.”  This is really quite a beautiful and plausible depiction, I think, almost a combination of chinampas and terraced agriculture…I’ve always been enamored with the Hanging Gardens, for reasons I can’t quite explain.  The concept of ancient hydraulic engineering especially fascinates me, as per the suggested hydraulic construction method of the Egyptian pyramids.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CO53v39auP4

3

Ancient Worlds - BBC Two

Episode 1 “Come Together”

Kudurru (boundary stone) from the Temple of Marduk in Babylon, dating from around 900-800 BC. It is a commemorative monument set up in honour of a private individual called Adad-etir, an official in the temple, known as ‘the dagger bearer’, and this stela was erected by his son.

The figures carved in relief on the front represent the father and son together. Their shaven heads show that they are both priests, it being normal in ancient Mesopotamia for a son to adopt his father’s profession. There are three divine symbols above the two priests: a winged solar disc representing the sun-god Shamash, a crescent of the moon-god Sin and a lion-headed mace on a pedestal.

The cuneiform inscription includes a curse upon anyone who defaces the stela. It translates:

"May Marduk, the great lord, in anger look upon him, and his name and his seed may he cause to disappear.
May Nabu, the scribe of all, curtail the number of his days.
But may the man who protects it be satisfied with the fulness of life.”

British Museum, London, UK