The Babylonian Empire was a Mesopotamian Semitic civilization that rose to power under the harsh rule of Hammurabi. While its capital city, Babylon, was the center of Mesopotamian civilization for nearly two millennia, the Empire of Babylonia was short-lived; it rose with Hammurabi in the beginning of the 18th century BC, and it disassembled after his death in 1750 BC.
The Babylonians valued hard work and education, symbolized in the proverb, “he, who would excel in the school of the scribes, must rise with the dawn”. There were libraries in most towns and temples, and both men and women were taught to read. Furthermore, the Babylonians were skilled in astrology and medicine, and believed in rationality and empiricism. However, they also lived under a set of strict and harsh laws implemented by Hammurabi. Death sentences were not rare and were sometimes given as punishment even for theft. It was Hammurabi’s belief that he was sent by God to bring righteousness and prevent the strong from harming the weak.
Compared to its short life, Babylonia left a great legacy. The Babylonian language would be used across the Middle East to communicate across borders. The invention of hanging gardens is attributed to Babylonia. And in Biblical history, Babylonia (and its capital) are often referenced as a symbol of the Antichrist’s evil world system - the quick rise to excess in comfort and power, followed by demise: “The great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.” [Revelation 18:21]
kingsandqueensnet’s weekly series, week III: favorite empires