Lake Van, the largest lake in Turkey, lies in the far east of that country in the provinces of Van and Bitlis. It is a saline soda lake, receiving water from numerous small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains. Lake Van is one of the world's largest endorheic lakes —a volcanic eruption blocked the original outlet from the basin in ancient times. Although Lake Van has an altitude of 1,640 m in a region with harsh winters, its high salinity prevents most of it from freezing, the shallow northern section freezes only rarely. Lake Van is 119 kilometres across at its widest point, averaging a depth of 171 metres with a maximum recorded depth of 451 metres; the lake surface lies 1,640 metres above sea level and the shore length is 430 kilometres. Lake Van has a volume of 607 cubic kilometres; the western portion of the lake is deepest, with a large basin deeper than 400 m lying northeast of Tatvan and south of Ahlat. The eastern arms of the lake are shallower; the Van-Ahtamar portion shelves with a maximum depth of about 250 m on its northwest side where it joins the rest of the lake.
The Erciş arm is much shallower less than 50 m, with a maximum depth of about 150 m. The lake water is alkaline and rich in sodium carbonate and other salts, which are extracted by evaporation and used as detergents. Lake Van is a tectonic lake, formed more than 600,000 years ago by the gradual subsidence of a large block of the earth's crust due to movement on several major faults that run through this portion of Eastern Anatolia; the lake's southern margin marks the boundary between metamorphic rocks of the Bitlis Massif and volcanic strata from the Neogene and Quaternary periods. The deep, western portion of the lake is a dome-shaped basin lying in a tectonic depression formed by a combination of normal and strike-slip faulting and thrusting; the lake's proximity to the Karlıova Triple Junction has resulted in fluids from the Earth's mantle accumulating in the strata beneath Lake Van, driving some of its geological evolution. Dominating the lake's northern shore is the stratovolcano Mount Süphan.
The broad crater of a second, dormant volcano, Mount Nemrut, lies close to the western tip of the lake. There is hydrothermal activity throughout the region. For much of its history, Lake Van has had an outlet towards the southwest. However, the level of this threshold has varied over time, as the lake has been blocked by successive lava flows from Nemrut volcano westward towards the Muş Plain; this threshold has been lowered at times by erosion. The first acoustic survey of Lake Van was performed in 1974. Building on this and Degens identified three distinct physiographic provinces within the lake: a lacustrine shelf that extends from the shore to a clear gradient change; the deepest part of the lake is the Tatvan basin, completely bounded by faults. The presence of terraces above the current lake level has long been recognized. On a visit in 1898, geologist Felix Oswald noted three raised beaches at 15, 40 and 100 feet above the lake level of the time, as well as drowned trees. Research in the past century has identified many similar terraces, the lake's level has fluctuated during that time.
Because Lake Van has no outlet, the present-day level is dependent on the balance between inflow and evaporation. The water level of the lake has altered dramatically. Investigation by Degens and others in the early 1980s determined that the highest lake levels had been during the last ice age, about 18,000 years ago. 9,500 years ago there was a dramatic drop to more than 300 metres below the present level. This was followed by an equally-dramatic rise around 6,500 years ago; as a deep lake with no outlet, Lake Van has accumulated great amounts of sediment washed in from surrounding plains and valleys, deposited as ash from eruptions of nearby volcanoes. This layer of sediment is estimated to be up to 400 metres thick in places, has attracted climatologists and vulcanologists interested in drilling cores to examine the layered sediments. In 1989 and 1990, an international team of geologists led by Dr. Stephan Kempe from the University of Hamburg retrieved ten sediment cores from depths up to 446 m.
Although these cores only penetrated the first few meters of sediment, they provided sufficient varves to give proxy climate data for up to 14,570 years BP. A team of scientists headed by palaeontologist Professor Thomas Litt at the University of Bonn has applied for funding from the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program for a new, deeper-drilling project to examine the lake's sediments. Litt expects to find that "Lake Van stores the climate history of the last 800,000 years—an incomparable treasure house of data which we want to tap for at least the last 500,000 years." A test drilling in 2004 detected evidence of 15 volcanic eruptions in the past 20,000 years. Similar-but-smaller fluctuations have been seen recently; the level of the lake rose by at least three metres during the 1990s, drowning much agricultural land, seems to be rising again. The level rose two meters in the ten years prior to 2004. Lake Van is s
Israel the State of Israel, is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the northern shore of the Red Sea. It has land borders with Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, Jordan on the east, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the east and west and Egypt to the southwest; the country contains geographically diverse features within its small area. Israel's economic and technological center is Tel Aviv, while its seat of government and proclaimed capital is Jerusalem, although the state's sovereignty over Jerusalem has only partial recognition. Israel has evidence of the earliest migration of hominids out of Africa. Canaanite tribes are archaeologically attested since the Middle Bronze Age, while the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah emerged during the Iron Age; the Neo-Assyrian Empire destroyed Israel around 720 BCE. Judah was conquered by the Babylonian and Hellenistic empires and had existed as Jewish autonomous provinces.
The successful Maccabean Revolt led to an independent Hasmonean kingdom by 110 BCE, which in 63 BCE however became a client state of the Roman Republic that subsequently installed the Herodian dynasty in 37 BCE, in 6 CE created the Roman province of Judea. Judea lasted as a Roman province until the failed Jewish revolts resulted in widespread destruction, expulsion of Jewish population and the renaming of the region from Iudaea to Syria Palaestina. Jewish presence in the region has persisted to a certain extent over the centuries. In the 7th century CE, the Levant was taken from the Byzantine Empire by the Arabs and remained in Muslim control until the First Crusade of 1099, followed by the Ayyubid conquest of 1187; the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt extended its control over the Levant in the 13th century until its defeat by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. During the 19th century, national awakening among Jews led to the establishment of the Zionist movement in the diaspora followed by waves of immigration to Ottoman Syria and British Mandate Palestine.
In 1947, the United Nations adopted a Partition Plan for Palestine recommending the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states and an internationalized Jerusalem. The plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency, rejected by Arab leaders; the following year, the Jewish Agency declared the independence of the State of Israel, the subsequent 1948 Arab–Israeli War saw Israel's establishment over most of the former Mandate territory, while the West Bank and Gaza were held by neighboring Arab states. Israel has since fought several wars with Arab countries, since the Six-Day War in 1967 held occupied territories including the West Bank, Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip, it extended its laws to the Golan East Jerusalem, but not the West Bank. Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories is the world's longest military occupation in modern times. Efforts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have not resulted in a final peace agreement. However, peace treaties between Israel and both Egypt and Jordan have been signed.
In its Basic Laws, Israel defines itself as a democratic state. The country has a liberal democracy, with a parliamentary system, proportional representation, universal suffrage; the prime minister is head of government and the Knesset is the legislature. Israel is a developed country and an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development member, with the 32nd-largest economy in the world by nominal gross domestic product as of 2017; the country benefits from a skilled workforce and is among the most educated countries in the world with one of the highest percentages of its citizens holding a tertiary education degree. Israel has the highest standard of living in the Middle East, has one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Furthermore, Israel ranked 11th in the UN's 2018 World Happiness Report. Upon independence in 1948, the country formally adopted the name "State of Israel" after other proposed historical and religious names including Eretz Israel and Judea, were considered but rejected.
In the early weeks of independence, the government chose the term "Israeli" to denote a citizen of Israel, with the formal announcement made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Moshe Sharett. The names Land of Israel and Children of Israel have been used to refer to the biblical Kingdom of Israel and the entire Jewish people respectively; the name "Israel" in these phrases refers to the patriarch Jacob who, according to the Hebrew Bible, was given the name after he wrestled with the angel of the Lord. Jacob's twelve sons became the ancestors of the Israelites known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel or Children of Israel. Jacob and his sons had lived in Canaan but were forced by famine to go into Egypt for four generations, lasting 430 years, until Moses, a great-great grandson of Jacob, led the Israelites back into Canaan during the "Exodus"; the earliest known archaeological artifact to mention the word "Israel" as a collective is the Merneptah Stele of ancient Egypt. The area is known as the Holy Land, being holy for all Abrahamic religions including Judaism, Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith.
Under British Mandate, the whole region was known as Palestine (Hebre
Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III
The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III is a black limestone Assyrian sculpture with many scenes in bas-relief and inscriptions. It comes from Nimrud, in northern Iraq, commemorates the deeds of King Shalmaneser III, it is on display at the British Museum in London, several other museums have cast replicas. It is the most complete Assyrian obelisk yet discovered, is significant because it is thought to display the earliest ancient depiction of a biblical figure – Jehu, King of Israel; the traditional identification of "Yaw" as Jehu has been questioned by some scholars, who proposed that the inscription refers to another king, Jehoram of Israel. Its reference to Parsua is the first known reference to the Persians. Tribute offerings are shown being brought from identifiable peoples, it was erected as a public monument in 825 BC at a time of civil war, in the central square of Nimrud, close to the much earlier White Obelisk of Ashurnasirpal I. It is now in the British Museum, it features five on each side.
They depict five different subdued kings, prostrating before the Assyrian king. From top to bottom they are: Sua of Gilzanu, "Jehu of Bit Omri", an unnamed ruler of Musri, Marduk-apil-usur of Suhi, Qalparunda of Patin; each scene occupies four panels around the monument and is described by a cuneiform script above them. On the top and the bottom of the reliefs there is a long cuneiform inscription recording the annals of Shalmaneser III, it lists the military campaigns which the king and his commander-in-chief headed every year, until the thirty-first year of reign. Some features might suggest that the work had been commissioned by the commander-in-chief, Dayyan-Assur; the second register from the top is thought to include the earliest surviving picture of a biblical figure. The name appears as mIa-ú-a mar mHu-um-ri-i. Rawlinson's original translation in 1850 seminal work "On the Inscriptions of Assyria and Babylonia" stated: "The second line of offerings are said to have been sent by Yahua, son of Hubiri, a prince of whom there is no mention in the annals, of whose native country, therefore, I am ignorant" Over a year a connection with the bible was made by Reverend Edward Hincks, who wrote in his diary on 21 August 1851: "Thought of an identification of one of the obelisk captives — with Jehu, king of Israel, satisfying myself on the point wrote a letter to the Athenaeum announcing it".
Hincks' letter was published by Athenaeum on the same day, entitled "Nimrud Obelisk". Hincks' identification is now the held position by biblical archaeologists; the identification of "Yaw" as Jehu was questioned by contemporary scholars such as George Smith as well as in more recent times by P. Kyle McCarter and Edwin R. Thiele, based on the fact that Jehu was not an Omride, as well as transliteration and chronology issues. However, the name read as "Yaw, son of Omri, is accepted to follow Hincks as the Biblical Jehu, king of Israel; the stele describes how Jehu brought or sent his tribute in or around 841 BC. Jehu severed Israel’s alliances with Phoenicia and Judah, became subject to Assyria; the caption above the scene, written in Assyrian cuneiform, can be translated: “The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king spears." Replicas can be found at the Oriental Institute in Chicago, Illinois, at Harvard's Semitic Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the ICOR Library in the Semitic Department at The Catholic University of America, in Washington, District of Columbia, in Salem, Oregon, at Corban University's Prewitt–Allen Archaeological Museum, at the Siegfried H. Horn Museum at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI, Museum of Ancient Art at Aarhaus University in Denmark and in the library of the Theological University of the Reformed Churches in Kampen, the Netherlands.
Kurkh Monoliths List of artifacts significant to the Bible British Museum page on the Black Obelisk Photo.
The Arameans were an ancient Northwest Semitic Aramaic-speaking tribal confederation who emerged from the region known as Aram in the Late Bronze Age. They established a patchwork of independent Aramaic kingdoms in the Levant and seized tracts of Anatolia as well as conquering Babylonia; the Arameans never formed a unified state but had small independent kingdoms across parts of the Near East. Their political influence was confined to a number of states such as Aram Damascus, Palmyra and the Aramean Syro-Hittite states, which were absorbed into the Neo-Assyrian Empire by the 9th century BC. In the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the Aramaeans, Chaldeans and indigenous Assyrians-Babylonians became indistinguishable, as these groups were culturally and ethnically absorbed into the native populace of Mesopotamia. By contrast, Imperial Aramaic came to be the lingua franca of the entire Near East and Asia Minor after King Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria made it one of two official languages of the vast Neo-Assyrian Empire in the mid-8th century BC, in recognition of the mostly-Aramean speaking population in areas Assyria had conquered west of the Euphrates and the large numbers of Arameans in Mesopotamia.
This empire stretched from Cyprus and the East Mediterranean in the west to Persia and Elam in the east, from Armenia and the Caucasus in the north to Egypt and Arabia in the south. The Achaemenid Empire spread Imperial Aramaic: north to the coast of the Black Sea and eastward to the Indus Valley; this version of Aramaic, influenced by Akkadian and by Old Persian developed into the Syriac dialect of Edessa. Between the 1st and 4th centuries AD, the Arameans began to adopt Christianity in place of the polytheist Aramean religion, the Levant became an important centre of Syriac Christianity, along with Assyria to the east from where the Syriac language and Syriac script emerged. Use of the Western Aramaic language has declined in the face of Arabic since the Islamic conquest of the area in the 7th century AD, the last vestiges of the spoken tongue in and around Maalula are in danger of extinction, although Assyrian population maintain spoken dialects of Akkadian influenced Neo-Aramaic as well as Syriac as a liturgical language.
Some Jewish communities and the Mandean people retain dialects of Aramaic. Today, an Aramean identity is held by a small number of Arabic-speaking Syriac Christians in south-central Turkey, in Syria, in the Aramean diaspora overseas. In 2014, Israel recognized the Aramean minority, an Arabic- and Aramaic-speaking Christian community; the toponym A-ra-mu appears in an inscription at the East Semitic speaking kingdom of Ebla listing geographical names, the term Armi, the Eblaite term for nearby Idlib, occurs in the Ebla tablets. One of the annals of Naram-Sin of Akkad mentions that he captured "Dubul, the ensí of A-ra-me", in the course of a campaign against Simurrum in the northern mountains. Other early references to a place or people of "Aram" have appeared at the archives of Mari and at Ugarit. However, there is no historical, archaeological or linguistic evidence that the Aramu, Armi or Arame were Arameans or related to them. Nomadic pastoralists have long played a prominent role in the history and economy of the Middle East, but their numbers seem to vary according to climatic conditions and the force of neighbouring states inducing permanent settlement.
The period of the Late Bronze Age seems to have coincided with increasing aridity, which weakened neighbouring states and induced transhumance pastoralists to spend longer and longer periods with their flocks. Urban settlements in The Levant diminished in size, until fully nomadic pastoralist lifestyles came to dominate much of the region; these mobile, competitive tribesmen with their sudden raids continually threatened long-distance trade and interfered with the collection of taxes and tribute. The people who had long been the prominent population within what is today Syria were the Amorites, a Canaanite speaking group of Semites who had appeared during the 25th century BC, destroying the hitherto dominant East Semitic speaking state of Ebla, founding the powerful state of Mari in the Levant, during the 19th century BC founding Babylonia in southern Mesopotamia. However, they seem to have been displaced or wholly absorbed by the appearance of a people called the Ahlamu by the 13th century BC, disappearing from history.
Ahlamû appears to be a generic term for a new wave of Semitic wanderers and nomads of varying origins who appeared during the 13th century BC across the Near East, Arabian Peninsula, Asia Minor, Egypt. The presence of the Ahlamû is attested during the Middle Assyrian Empire, which ruled many of the lands in which the Ahlamû arose, in the Babylonian city of Nippur and at Dilmun. Shalmaneser I is recorded as having defeated Shattuara, King of the Mitanni and his Hittite and Ahlamû mercenar
Carchemish spelled Karkemish, was an important ancient capital in the northern part of the region of Syria. At times during its history the city was independent, but it was part of the Mitanni and Neo-Assyrian Empires. Today it is on the frontier between Syria, it was the location of an important battle, about 605 BC, between the Babylonians and Egyptians, mentioned in the Bible. Modern neighbouring cities are Karkamış in Jarabulus in Syria. Carchemish is now an extensive set of ruins, located on the West bank of Euphrates River, about 60 kilometres southeast of Gaziantep, 100 kilometres northeast of Aleppo, Syria; the site is crossed by the Baghdad Railway. A Turkish military base has been built on the Carchemish acropolis and Inner Town, access to that part of the site is presently restricted. Most of the Outer Town lies in Syrian territory. Carchemish has always been well known to scholars because of several references to it in the Bible and in Egyptian and Assyrian texts. However, its location was identified only in 1876 by George Smith.
Carchemish had been identified, with the Classical city of Circesium, at the confluence of the Khabur River and the Euphrates. The site was excavated by the British Museum, between 1878 and 1881 through Consul Patrick Henderson and between 1911 and 1914 under the direction of D. G. Hogarth. In 1911 on the field there were D. G. Hogarth himself, R. C. Thompson, T. E. Lawrence, from 1912 to 1914 C. L. Woolley and T. E. Lawrence, while a last campaign took place in 1920 with C. L. Woolley and Philip Langstaffe Ord Guy. Excavations were interrupted in 1914 by World War I and ended in 1920 with the Turkish War of Independence; these expeditions uncovered substantial remains of the Assyrian and Neo-Hittite periods, including defensive structures, temples and numerous basalt statues and reliefs with Luwian hieroglyphic inscriptions. With the completion of mine clearing operations on the Turkish portion of the site, archaeological work was resumed in September 2011. Excavations in the Inner and Outer Towns were carried out by a joint Turco-Italian team from the Universities of Bologna and University of Istanbul under the direction of Prof. Dr. Nicolò Marchetti.
The second season, from August to November 2012, brought several new art findings and archaeological discoveries, the most remarkable of, Katuwa's Palace to the east of the Processional Entry. The third season, from May to October 2013, extended the exposure of Katuwa's palace, retrieving a cuneiform tablet with an exorcism in the name of the god Marduk, as well as the ruins of Lawrence's excavation house in the Inner Town, from which hundreds of fragments of sculptures and hieroglyphic inscriptions have been retrieved; the fourth season started in May 2014 and continued through October 2014: in Katuwa's palace several orthostats exquisitely carved with a procession of gazelle-bearers have been found, some of them in situ, next to a courtyard paved with squared slabs. In the Neo Assyrian period that courtyard was covered by a mosaic floor made of river pebbles forming squares alternating in black and white color. Lawrence's excavation house was excavated. During the fifth season, April to October 2015, more significant discoveries have been made in the palace area, both for Late Hittite sculptures, Neo Assyrian refurbishments, with tens of items—including two fragments of clay prysmatical cylinders inscribed with a unique cuneiform text by Sargon, intended for display, telling how he captured and reorganized the city of Karkemish—retrieved in a 14-m-deep well, sealed in 605 BC at the time of the Late Babyonian takeover.
The sixth season, May to July 2016, saw a number of excavation areas opened near the border, due to the added security represented by the construction of the wall. Thus, in 2016 a complete stratigraphic record was obtained for peripheral areas adding to our understanding of urban development between LB II and the Achaemenid period. In the seventh season, from 7 May to 18 July 2017, the major breakthroughs were the beginning of the excavations on the north-western end of the acropolis and the discovery in the eastern Lower Palace area of a monumental building dating from the LB II. Among the finds, in addition to new sculpted complete artworks from the Iron Age, fragments of Imperial Hittite clay cuneiform tablets and c. 250 inscribed bullae should be mentioned. Conservation and presentation works have now been completed in view of the opening on 12 May 2018 of an archaeological park at the site, thanks to the support of Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality. Financial support has been received by the three Universities mentioned above, by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
And the Sanko Holding, with the technical support of Şahinbey Municipality and Inta A.Ş. Archaeological investigations on the Syrian side have been conducted as part of the Land of Carchemish project: investigations of the Outer Town of Carchemish were undertaken in conjunction with the DGAM in Damascus and with the funding and sponsorship of the Council for British Research in the Levant and of the British Academy, under
The Kurkh Monoliths are two Assyrian stelae that contain a description of the reigns of Ashurnasirpal II and his son Shalmaneser III. The Monoliths were discovered in 1861 by a British archaeologist John George Taylor, the British Consul-General stationed in the Ottoman Eyalet of Kurdistan, in a town called Kurkh, now known as Üçtepe, in the district of Bismil, in the province of Diyarbakir of Turkey. Both stelae were donated by Taylor to the British Museum in 1863; the Shalmaneser III monolith contains a description of the Battle of Qarqar at the end. This description contains the name "A-ha-ab-bu Sir-ila-a-a", accepted to be a reference to Ahab king of Israel, although it is the only reference to the term "Israel" in Assyrian and Babylonian records, which refer to the Northern Kingdom as the "House of Omri", a fact brought up by some scholars who dispute the proposed translation, it is one of four known contemporary inscriptions containing the name of Israel, the others being the Merneptah Stele, the Tel Dan Stele, the Mesha Stele.
This description is the oldest document that mentions the Arabs. According to the inscription Ahab committed a force of 2,000 chariots and 10,000 foot soldiers to the Assyrian war coalition; the location of the discovery at the town called "Kurkh" was described as "...about 14 miles from Diyarbakir...situated at the eastern end of an elevated platform... on the right bank of the Tigris, close to the angle formed by the junction of the Giuk Su with the former, which receives the waters of the Ambar Su, on the left bank opposite." in the Ottoman Eyalet of Kurdistan in Al-Jazira. The location was known as Kerh or Kerh-i Dicle and is now known as Üçtepe, in the district of Bismil, in the province of Diyarbakir of Turkey. Kurkh was identified by Henry Rawlinson as the ancient city of Tushhan; this identification was challenged by Karlheinz Kessler in 1980. Taylor described his find as follows: "... I had the good fortune to discover a stone slab bearing the effigy of an Assyrian king, covered on both sides with long inscriptions in the cuneiform character, to within 2 feet of its base, which had purposely been left bare to admit of its being sunk erect in the ground, as a trophy commemorative of its capture by the king, at the point where his legions effected their forced entry into the city.
Some little way below it, on the slope of the mound, nearly concealed by debris, I exhumed another perfect relic of the same description." The stela depicting Shalmaneser III is made of limestone with a round top. It is 221 centimeters tall, 87 centimeters wide, 23 centimeters deep; the British Museum describes the image as follows: The king, Shalmaneser III, stands before four divine emblems: the winged disk, the symbol of the god Ashur, or, as some hold, of Shamash. On his collar the king wears as amulets the symbol of the weather-god, Adad; the gesture of the right hand has been much discussed and variously interpreted, either as the end of the action of throwing a kiss as an act of worship, or as resulting from cracking the fingers with the thumb, as a ritual act, attributed to the Assyrians by Greek writers, or as being a gesture of authority suitable to the king, with no reference to a particular religious significance. It seems clear that the gesture is described in the phrase'uban damiqti taraṣu','to stretch out a favourable finger', a blessing which corresponds to the reverse action, in which the index finger is not stretched out.
There is a cuneiform inscription written around the sides of the stela. The inscription "describes the military campaigns of his reign down to 853 BC."The stela depicting Ashurnasirpal II is made of limestone with a round top. It is 193 centimeters tall, 93 centimeters wide, 27 centimeters deep. According to the British Museum, the stela "shows Ashurnasirpal II in an attitude of worship, raising his right hand to symbols of the gods" and its inscription "describes the campaign of 879 when Assyrians attacked the lands of the upper Tigris, in the Diyabakir region." The inscription on the Shalmaneser III Stela deals with campaigns Shalmaneser made in western Mesopotamia and Syria, fighting extensively with the countries of Bit Adini and Carchemish. At the end of the Monolith comes the account of the Battle of Qarqar, where an alliance of twelve kings fought against Shalmaneser at the Syrian city of Qarqar; this alliance, comprising eleven kings, was led by Irhuleni of Hamath and Hadadezer of Damascus, describing a large force led by King Ahab of Israel.
The English translation of the end of the Shalmaneser III monolith is as follows: Year 6 610. In the year of Dâian-Assur, in the month of Airu, the fourteenth day, I departed from Nineveh, crossed the Tigris, drew near to the cities of Giammu, the Balih River. At the fearfulness of my sovereignty, the terror of my frightful weapons, they became afraid. Into Kitlala and Til-sha-mâr-ahi, I entered. I had my gods brought into his palaces. In his palaces I spread a banquet, his treasury I opened. I saw his wealth, his goods, his property, I carried off and brought to my city Assur. From Kitlala I departed. To Kâr-Shalmaneser I drew near. In -skin boats I cross
Babylon was a key kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia from the 18th to 6th centuries BC. The city was built on the Euphrates river and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods. Babylon was a small Akkadian town dating from the period of the Akkadian Empire c. 2300 BC. The town became part of a small independent city-state with the rise of the First Babylonian dynasty in the 19th century BC. After the Amorite king Hammurabi created a short-lived empire in the 18th century BC, he built Babylon up into a major city and declared himself its king, southern Mesopotamia became known as Babylonia and Babylon eclipsed Nippur as its holy city; the empire waned under Hammurabi's son Samsu-iluna and Babylon spent long periods under Assyrian and Elamite domination. After being destroyed and rebuilt by the Assyrians, Babylon became the capital of the short lived Neo-Babylonian Empire from 609 to 539 BC; the Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, although a number of scholars believe these were in the Assyrian capital of Nineveh.
After the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the city came under the rule of the Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanid empires. It has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world c. 1770 – c. 1670 BC, again c. 612 – c. 320 BC. It was the first city to reach a population above 200,000. Estimates for the maximum extent of its area range from 890 to 900 hectares; the remains of the city are in present-day Hillah, Babil Governorate, about 85 kilometres south of Baghdad, comprising a large tell of broken mud-brick buildings and debris. The main sources of information about Babylon—excavation of the site itself, references in cuneiform texts found elsewhere in Mesopotamia, references in the Bible, descriptions in classical writing, second-hand descriptions —present an incomplete and sometimes contradictory picture of the ancient city at its peak in the sixth century BC; the English Babylon comes from a transliteration of the Akkadian Bābilim. Archibald Sayce, writing in the 1870s, considered Bab-ilu or Bab-ili to be the translation of an earlier Sumerian name Ca-dimirra, meaning "gate of god", based on the characters KAN4 DIĜIR.
RAKI or based on other characters. According to Professor Dietz-Otto Edzard, the city was called Babilla, but by the time of the Third Dynasty of Ur, through a process of etymological speculation, had become Bāb-ili meaning "gate of god" or "god's gate"; the "gate of god" translation is viewed as a folk etymology to explain an unknown original non-Semitic placename. Linguist I. J. Gelb suggested in 1955 that Babil/Babilla is the basis of the city name, of unknown meaning and origin, as there were other similarly-named places in Sumer, there are no other examples of Sumerian place-names being replaced with Akkadian translations, he deduced that it transformed into Akkadian Bāb-ili, that the Sumerian Ka-dig̃irra was a translation of that, rather than vice versa. In the Bible, the name appears as Babel, interpreted in the Book of Genesis to mean "confusion", from the verb bilbél; the modern English verb, to babble, is popularly thought to derive from this name, but there is no direct connection.
Ancient records in some situations use "Babylon" as a name for other cities, including cities like Borsippa within Babylon's sphere of influence, Nineveh for a short period after the Assyrian sack of Babylon. The remains of the city are in present-day Hillah, Babil Governorate, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad, comprising a large tell of broken mud-brick buildings and debris; the site at Babylon consists of a number of mounds covering an area of about 2 by 1 kilometer, oriented north to south, along the Euphrates to the west. The river bisected the city, but the course of the river has since shifted so that most of the remains of the former western part of the city are now inundated; some portions of the city wall to the west of the river remain. Only a small portion of the ancient city has been excavated. Known remains include: Kasr – called Palace or Castle, it is the location of the Neo-Babylonian ziggurat Etemenanki and lies in the center of the site. Amran Ibn Ali – the highest of the mounds at 25 meters, to the south.
It is the site of Esagila, a temple of Marduk which contained shrines to Ea and Nabu. Homera – a reddish-colored mound on the west side. Most of the Hellenistic remains are here. Babil – a mound about 22 meters high at the northern end of the site, its bricks have been subject to looting since ancient times. It held a palace built by Nebuchadnezzar. Archaeologists have recovered few artifacts predating the Neo-Babylonian period; the water table in the region has risen over the centuries, artifacts from the time before the Neo-Babylonian Empire are unavailable to current standard archaeological methods. Additionally, the Neo-Babylonians conducted significant rebuilding projects in the city, which destroyed or obscured much of the earlier record. Babylon was pillaged numerous times after revolting against foreign rule, most notably by t