The Rise and Fall of Babylon: From Cultural Epicenter to Conquered City

TLDR Babylon, founded in ancient Mesopotamia, became a cultural epicenter and was ruled by various kings. The city faced cycles of destruction and rebuilding, was known for the Code of Hammurabi, and was conquered multiple times, leading to the theft of the statue of Marduk and the ultimate capture of Babylon.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Babylon was founded around 2000 BC in modern-day Iraq and became the cultural epicenter of ancient Mesopotamia, giving its name to the whole region of Babylonia.
04:36 The early kings of Babylon looked back to Sargon of Akkad as a legitimizing figure and the Babylonians had a strong antiquarian strain, with the last king of Babylon even constructing a museum of antiquities.
09:04 The discovery of cuneiform tablets has allowed scholars to gain a much better understanding of the history of Babylon, from its beginnings to the time of Nebuchadnezzar in the 6th century BC. The first known king of Babylon is Samu Abom, an Amorite, and our knowledge about him comes from these cuneiform tablets.
13:43 Babylon was primarily built with baked mud bricks, which would melt away over time, leading to a cycle of destruction and rebuilding, but the city was seen as sacred and at the center of things by the Babylonians, and Hammurabi, a great conqueror and lawgiver, played a significant role in its history.
18:05 The Code of Hammurabi is a collection of laws and royal rulings written poetically, featuring boasting from the king and addressing topics such as marriages and inheritance, with the king upholding the laws and socializing people according to the gods' understanding of justice. Hammurabi sees himself as a great conqueror and lawgiver, but his empire crumbles after his death and Babylon reverts back to being a provincial place.
22:27 The statue of Marduk is frequently stolen because it represents the patron of Babylon, and conquering Babylon means removing its great symbol.
26:56 Under the rule of the Cassites, Babylon begins to absorb independent city-states and becomes known as Babylonia, with the city itself being a great capital with architectural significance.
31:48 The Elamites sack Babylon, steal the statue of Marduk and the law code of Hammurabi, and take it back to their capital in Souza, Iran, where it is later found by French archaeologists and taken to the Louvre.
36:15 The Assyrians sack Babylon, destroy the city, and take the statue of Marduk back to Assyria as a symbol of their victory.
40:21 The Assyrians lay claim to Babylon's historical legacy by enshrining the statue of Marduk in Nineveh, but later restore the statue and sponsor the rebuilding of Babylon, leading to tensions between the two sons of the Assyrian king and ultimately resulting in war and the capture of Babylon.
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