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747 BC - 539 BC - Chaldea (New Babylon) Medes

Ninth Dynasty of Babylon
Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria / PULUPOROS731727
Shalmaneser V of Assyria / ULULASILOULAIOS726722
SARGON II of AssyriaARKEANOS709705
Sennacherib of Assyria704703
Marduk-zakir-shumi II703
Merodach-Baladan II703
Sennacherib of Assyria 688681
Ashurbanipal of Assyria 668
Neo-Babylonian Dynasty

Babylonia, called also Chaldea, the fertile valley land in the basin of the Euphrates, has a length of three hundred miles and a width of perhaps fifty. The summers are long and oppressively hot; the winters mild and brief, with light frosts and very rare snows. The soil is fertile, but for cereals requires irrigation. The chief crops are dates, wheat, barley, millet, lentils, apples, pears, olives, and grapes.

In a remote antiquity, Chaldea was a populous, wealthy, and powerful nation. It had numerous cities, great irrigating canals, highly developed mechanical arts, famous products of cloth, leather, metal, and glass, an extensive maritime commerce centering at ports on the Euphrates and the Persian Gulf, and numerous caravans that transported freight across Asia. Its people excelled all contemporaneous nations in their systems of measuring dimensions, time, weight, and the circle, and in their knowledge of arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy.

The Babylonian government was despotic and rested on the submissiveness much more than on the affection of the people. In proportion to the number and wealth of its subjects, its military power was not great. The Chaldeans were no match in an open field for the Assyrians, Persians, Medes, or Parthians; and they never won a great victory over a superior or equal number of enemies. That many of the people were slaves is manifest from the magnitude of the public works, which must have required the labor of many thousands of men employed for a long succession of years.

The Babylonians were Semites. Theirs was the first great monarchy of Western Asia. For more than a thousand years they were the most powerful and wealthy of nations. About 1300 BC they were conquered by their Assyrian neighbors and kindred, and they remained tributary to the Assyrian Empire until 637 BC.

BelshazzarBel protects the king
BelteshazzarBel guards secrets
BelipniBel has made him
NebuchadnezzarNebo protects landmarks
NebuzaradanNebo has given the offspring
NabonassarNebo protects me
NabopolassarNebo protects my son
NabonahidNebo protects me
NabusallimNebo makes perfect
NabubilsamiNebo is the lord of names
MerodachbaladanMerodach has given a son
AbedneboThe slave of Nebo
Nearly every ruler's name has a religious meaning. Of Nabonassar, the first king in Ptolemy's list, nothing can be said to be known except the fact, reported by Berosus, that he destroyed all the annals of his predecessors for the purpose of compelling the Babylonians to date from himself. Accoring to the accounts of Polyhistor and Berosus, the earliest writers extant on Chaldean History and Antiquities, "Nabonassar [King of Babylon] having collected the acts of his predecessors, destroyed them, in order that the computation of the reigns of the Chaldean kings might be made from himself." Thus began therefore with the reign of Nabonassar, February 26, BC 747. The immediate successors of Nabonassar are still more obscure than himself. Absolutely nothing beyond the brief notation of the canon has reached us concerning Nadius (or Nabius), Chinzinus (or Chinzirus), and Porus, or Elulteus, who certainly cannot be the Tyrian king of that name mentioned by Menander.

Mardokampadus [r 721-710] is a monarch to whom great interest attaches. He is undoubtedly the Merodach Baladan, or Berodach-Baladan of Scripture, and was a personage of great consequence, reigning himself twice, the first time for 12 years, contemporaneously with the Assyrian king Sargon II, and the second time for six months only, during the first year of Sennacherib; and leaving a sort of hereditary claim to his sons and grandsons. His dealings with Hezekiah sufficiently indicate the independent position of Babylon at this period, while the interest which he felt in an astronomical phenomenon (2 Chron. xxxii, 31) harmonizes with the character of a native Chalda?an king which appears to belong to him. The Assyrian inscriptions show that after reigning 12 years Merodach-Baladan was deprived of his crown and driven into banishment, with Arceanus (his son, Sargon II) being upon the throne as viceroy, a position which he maintained for five years.

A time of trouble then ensued, estimated in the canon at two years, during which various pretenders assumed the crown. Sennacherib, bent on re-establishing the influence of Assyria over Babylon, proceeded against Merodach-Baladan in his first year, and having dethroned him, placed an Assyrian named Belib, or Belibus, upon the throne, who ruled as his viceroy for three years. At the end of this time, the party of Merodach-Baladan still giving trouble, Sennacherib descended again into Babylonia, once more overran it, removed Belib, and placed his eldest son-who appears in the canon as Aparanadius-upon the throne. Aparanadius reigned for six years, when he was succeeded by a certain Regibelus, who reigned for one year: after which Mesesimordacus held the throne for four years. Nothing more is known of these kings, and it is uncertain whether they were viceroys or independent native monarchs. They were contemporary with Sennacherib, to whose reign belongs also the second interregnum, extending to eight years, which the canon interposes between the reigns of Mesesimonhcus and Asaridanus.

Esarhaddon was styled "king of the world, King of Assyria, viceroy of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, the lofty prince, who fears Nabu and Marduk." Esarhaddon [Asaridanus], Sennacherib's son and successor, may be regarded as certain from the inscriptions ruled in person over both Babylonia and Assyria, holding his court alternately at their respective capitals. Manasseh, his contemporary, came to he "carried by the captains of the king of Assyria and Babylon" instead of to Nineveh, as would have been done in any other reign. Sasduchinus and Ciniladanus (or Cinneladanus), his brother (Polyhistor), the successors of Esarhaddon, were kings of whose history little is known. Probably they were viceroys under the later Assyrian monarchy, and are represented by Abydenus as retaining their authority over Babylon up to the time of the the siege of Nineveh.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:48:30 ZULU