Ancient Mesopotamia, “the land between the rivers” was the world’s first civilization. This region that lay along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in modern-day Iraq is also nicknamed the “Fertile Crescent” for its crescent moon shape and cultivable land. Learn more with Storyboard That!
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King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon(634 BCE - 562 BCE)
Nebuchadnezzar II was born around 634 BCE in Babylon. His father, Nabopolassar, had led a revolt to overthrown the ruling Assyrians. Nebuchadnezzar was raised to succeed his father as king. Nebuchadnezzar was educated about the ways of Babylon: their gods, their laws and the importance of conquering neighboring lands and peoples.
To fortify the city, Nebuchadnezzar had an enormous double wall built around the city of Babylon that stretched for 10 miles. He also had an elaborate double gate constructed as the the main entrance into Babylon. Called the Ishtar Gate, it was built in 575 BCE.
Nebuchadnezzar made his mark by restoring Babylon to its former splendor after the war. He had temples rebuilt and improved the royal palace. Legend has it that Nebuchadnezzar had the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon built for his wife, Semiramis, a Persian princess, as she was homesick for the lush green forests and mountains of what is modern day Iran. They were considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, although historians debate their existence.
Nebuchadnezzar tried to conquer more land for the Babylonian Empire, notably laying siege to the city of Jerusalem and taking many Hebrew people as prisoners. Because of this, Nebuchadnezzar was featured in the Bible. The Bible says Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel to interpret his dreams. He also tries to burn Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in a furnace for refusing to bow to him. Nebuchadnezzar was punished by God and was afflicted with mental illness, living in isolation for seven years.After his death, Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son Amel-Marduk.
Nebuchadnezzar became a general and in 605 BCE, he fought the armies of Egypt and Assyria for control of the region. King Nabopolassar died while Nebuchadnezzar was fighting. After the victory, Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon to be crowned king of the Babylonian Empire.