MesopotamiaBabylonia and Babylon By: Tyler Johnson, Nicholas On and Cody Pallin
Language and Writing The Babylonians were much like the Sumerians after their fall. They adopted the Sumerian counting system based on the number 60 and the wedge shaped line writing form of cuneiform. To write in cuneiform a piece of reed was cut at its end into a wedge a then used to punch and drag in a clay tablets to form characters. Since the Sumerians developed the writing form the Babylonians already were able to use the most modern writing form instead of early Sumerian pictographs. Although the Assyrians created the first mailing system there was no need for it in Babylonia, for unlike the Assyrians the Babylonians were not spread out and had enough military troops. In spoken language Scholars and priest also spoke Sumerian language, but most people spoke Babylonian language. This was a Semitic language which may have been Arabic or Hebrew. Overall the Babylonians had effective forms of communication and language.
Government The Babylonians had one of the strongest governments of all the Mesopotamian civilizations. Starting as a small Akkadian town named Babylon in 1900 BCE the Babylonians soon rose to power with their great ruler King Hammurabi. Leading their army King Hammurabi expanded and soon conquered all of Mesopotamia making Babylon the superior empire, of Babylonia. This made Babylonia several times bigger than Sumer. Although the Assyrians had a larger empire it was weaker due to it's too far spread soldiers and inadequate protection. They soon fell to the Babylonians and other civilizations. Although the Sumerians had some laws the Babylonians expanded the laws and enforced them creating some of the first laws called the Code of Hammurabi. These were to keep the strong from conquering the weak, they gave Babylonia order. The Babylonian king/government made sure everyone received food equally and that everyone had adequate shelter and housing.
Religion Babylonia had one of the most beautiful Ziggurats in all of Mesopotamia. Babylonia and Assyria had been in competition for a superior belief system. Babylonian gods have been said to have incredible super human powers. The main gods had their own temples. They had statues inside the temples to represent them. In the temples there were daily ceremonies. One of the most important ceremony was the New Year's festival. In the 7th century BCE there was at least 50 different temples. Sumer only had about 12 temples and they all shared the same god and religion. That was because Babylonia had a bigger, larger and stronger empire. Assyrians practiced two religions, while Babylonians practiced about 5 religions. Babylonians believed that the dead went into the afterlife. There was no hope for rewards for the righteous. Babylonians let the people decide what religions they wanted to believe in.
Economy Babylonia's most important industry was agriculture, which were moved to the Middle East in exchange for materials and textiles to be manufactured and to be traded again. Other industries were also well developed. Babylonia was one of the most fertile areas in the location of the desert. Assyrian's land was hard to tend to and was ofter raided by barbarians. Babylonians had a good supply of water and they used that as an advantage for their farming. As an example, they made little irrigation ditches and controlled them so when they needed water they would have it for their farms. Babylonians used complex maps and surveys to decide where their farms and industries would be. They were very exact on the location. To do that, they used a fairly developed mathematical system, which had 6 as the root number not 10 as we do now. In order for them to tell when a flood was going to come, Babylonians relied upon a good and accurate calendar. All this important technology Babylonia had, made all the other civilizations look up to them.
Division of Labor and Social classes Babylonia had two great advantages over all the other civilizations, one was they had one of the greatest soil in the world and and the other was that they had a ever supply of water which they had under control. This gave them the power of being one of the strongest civilizations in Mesopotamia out there at the time which gave them the opportunity to overpower other civilizations. The Babylonians were mostly farmers; they created a complex system of irrigation between the two rivers to feed their crops. Water was drawn through channels to the fields where it was used to water the plants. They mainly grew vegetables and grains which were transported throughout the Middle East in exchange for raw materials to make manufactured goods and textiles. Because to their complex irrigation systems and forms of farming production and with this complex system they made all the other civilizations get down on their knees!
Art, Architecture and Tools Babylon was believed to have two structuresthat were so impressive they were known throughout the civilized world.They also had the most beautiful structures and houses throughout Mesopotamia because they were skilled architects. They created the colourful Gate of Ishtar which at one time was one of the ancient wonders of the world and the the Hanging gardens that still stay on the list. They had so much water and food that they had extra that needed to be stored so they built so they dug big holes in the ground to store water and huge buildings for the food so they could be dried and then be preserved. The populations of the Babylonian cities was tremendous, so far as old documents reveal. The number of inhabitants of a city probably ranged from 10,000 to 50,000 leaving it easier for everyone to do their part to keep the community in tip top condition and to build a bigger army to take over the other civilizations like Assyria and Sumer.
Key Babylonian Strengths The Babylonians were a strong civilization, and during their time they achieved many things making them superior to Sumer and Assyria.
They created a strong governmental system and a code of laws known as The Code of Hammurabi.
They had strong armies and military strategy and under the rule of Hammurabi soon conquered all of Mesopotamia, the western Fertile Crescent.
They had many religious beliefs, and created a extremely advanced astronomy system as well believed in astrology.
They were great architects whom created the colourful Gate of Ishtar, and a standing ancient wonder of the world, the Hanging Gardens.
They developed after the fall of the Sumerians and helped conquer the Assyrians.
Overall the Babylonians were a amazing civilization that is in our opinion the greatest Mesopotamian civilization.