Home Region:  Mesopotamia (Southwest Asia)

Neo-Babylonian Empire

EQ 2020  iq_neo_babylonian_emp / IqNeoBb

Babylon was re-populated by the Chaldean people and the rulers reclaimed the title of King of Babylon. While his father Nabopolassar was on the throne, Nebachudrezzar went on campaigns to defeat the Assyrian and Egyptian armies. [1] Having succeeded in creating the Neo-Babylonian empire, he returned to Babylon to be crowned. Nebachudrezzar then undertook a period of building creating some of the most iconic Babylonian architecture. He ruled the Neo-Babylonian empire by enforcing tithes of goods and labour, although some of the most distant Levantine city-states had a deal of autonomy. [2] So the empire continued for several decades until the reign of Nabonidus, whom is presumed to be unpopular. He left Babylon for ten years to live in the desert. Cyrus of the Achaemenid empire subsequently took over Babylon. Some say he was welcomed to depose Nabonidus, other evidence suggests he destroyed the city. [3]
At the height of it’s power in the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Babylon was given resources to become the centre of the known world for culture, learning and religion.
The audience of Babylonian documents appears to be the Babylonian nobles and priesthood, therefore, they mostly celebrate building projects. It is thought that the empire had reached it’s natural limit within ten years; with the Medians to the north and east, the Egyptians in the south-west and the desert to the south. Therefore, the threatening military literature that pervaded the Neo-Assyrian empire was not needed in the Neo-Babylonian empire. [4] As a result, less is known about the military capabilities of the Neo-Babylonian empire.
The major historical events do not appear to have significantly impacted the material culture. There is continuity in form and style through the Achaemenian transition. [5]

[1]: Oates, J. 1986. Babylon. London: Thames & Hudson. p.128-130

[2]: Vanderhooft, D.S. 1999. The Neo-Babylonian Empire and Babylon in the Latter Prophets. Harvard Semitic Museum Monographs 59. p.46

[3]: Oates, J. 1986. Babylon. London: Thames & Hudson.

[4]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.541

[5]: Baker, H. D. 2012. The Neo-Babylonian Empire. In Potts, D. T. (ed.) A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Volume II. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. p.915

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
38 S  
Capital:
Babylon  
Alternative Name:
Chaldeans  
Chaldean Empire  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[604 BCE ➜ 562 BCE]  
Duration:
[626 BCE ➜ 539 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Succeeding Entity:
IrAchae  
Preceding Entity:
IqNAssr  
Degree of Centralization:
unitary state  
Language
Religion
Religious Tradition:
Mesopotamian Religions  
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Polity Territory:
[750,000 to 850,000] km2  
Polity Population:
-  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
5  
Religious Level:
4  
Administrative Level:
6  
Professions
Professional Priesthood:
present  
Professional Military Officer:
present  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Full Time Bureaucrat:
present  
Law
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
present  
Irrigation System:
present  
Food Storage Site:
present  
Drinking Water Supply System:
inferred absent  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
present  
Port:
present  
Canal:
present  
Bridge:
present  
Special-purpose Sites
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
inferred present  
Script:
present  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
present  
Nonwritten Record:
present  
Non Phonetic Writing:
absent  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
present  
Sacred Text:
present  
Religious Literature:
present  
Lists Tables and Classification:
present  
History:
present  
Fiction:
present  
Calendar:
present  
Information / Money
Token:
present  
Precious Metal:
present  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent  
Article:
present  
Information / Postal System
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
inferred present  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
unknown  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
inferred present  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
inferred present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
inferred present  
  Fortified Camp:
inferred present  
  Earth Rampart:
present  
  Ditch:
inferred present  
  Complex Fortification:
present  
  Long Wall:
43 km  
Military use of Metals
  Iron:
inferred present  
  Copper:
inferred present  
  Bronze:
inferred present  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
present  
absent  
  Sling Siege Engine:
present  
absent  
  Sling:
inferred present  
  Self Bow:
inferred present  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
inferred absent  
  Composite Bow:
inferred present  
  Atlatl:
inferred absent  
Handheld weapons
  Sword:
inferred present  
  Spear:
inferred present  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
inferred present  
  Donkey:
inferred present  
  Camel:
inferred present  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
inferred present  
  Shield:
inferred present  
  Scaled Armor:
inferred present  
  Plate Armor:
inferred present  
  Limb Protection:
inferred present  
  Leather Cloth:
inferred present  
  Helmet:
inferred present  
Naval technology
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Neo-Babylonian Empire (iq_neo_babylonian_emp) was in:
 (626 BCE 539 BCE)   Southern Mesopotamia     Galilee
Home NGA: Southern Mesopotamia

General Variables
Identity and Location

Capital:
Babylon

Although Nabonidus left Babylon for 10 years and established the city of Taima in Northwest Arabia [1]
Language

[1]: Oates, J. 1986. Babylon. London: Thames & Hudson.


Alternative Name:
Chaldeans

[1]

[1]: Oates, J. 1986. Babylon. London: Thames & Hudson. p.126-127

Alternative Name:
Chaldean Empire

[1]

[1]: Oates, J. 1986. Babylon. London: Thames & Hudson. p.126-127


Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
[604 BCE ➜ 562 BCE]

Reign of Nebuchadrezzar who defeated the Egyptians in Syria and successfully beseiged Jerusalem [1]

[1]: Oates, J. 1986. Babylon. London: Thames & Hudson. p.128-130


Duration:
[626 BCE ➜ 539 BCE]

In 605 BCE the Babylonians defeated the Egyptians and the remanants of the Assyrian army at Carchemish, thus becoming the great power of Mesopotamia. [1]
In the 540’s BCE the Achaemenes fought their way east from Elam, conquering land. Babylon fell without resistance in 539 BCE. [2]

[1]: Oates, J. 1986. Babylon. London: Thames & Hudson. p.128

[2]: Oates, J. 1986. Babylon. London: Thames & Hudson. p.134-135


Political and Cultural Relations


Degree of Centralization:
unitary state

[1]

[1]: Vanderhooft, D.S. 1999. The Neo-Babylonian Empire and Babylon in the Latter Prophets. Harvard Semitic Museum Monographs 59. p.46


Language
Religion
Religious Tradition:
Mesopotamian Religions


Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Polity Territory:
[750,000 to 850,000] km2

in squared kilometers. [1] [2]

[1]: Vanderhooft, D.S. 1999. The Neo-Babylonian Empire and Babylon in the Latter Prophets. Harvard Semitic Museum Monographs 59. p.39-40

[2]: Kriwaczek, P. 2010. Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization. London: Atlantic Books. p.246


Polity Population:
-

Unknown, but the Neo-Babylonian period was one of population growth after a long period of decline. [1]

[1]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.545


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
5

levels. [1] (1) Babylon(2) regional capitals and vassal Levantine city-states. e.g. Jerusalem(3) smaller cities.(4) towns.(5) villages

[1]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.541


Religious Level:
4

levels.(1) king(2) cult leaders(3) priests [1] (4) regional religious leaders

[1]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.547


Administrative Level:
6

levels. Two notable fragments exist which give some information about the administrative levels across the Neo-Babylonian empire. They are the Etemenanki cylinder and the Istanbul prism fragment, both dated to the reign of Nebuchadrezzar. Most debate concerns the heirarchy of officials; in particular, whether those appointed by Babylon have higher status that the regional kings. [1]
Private ownership does not seem to have been prominent in the Neo-Babylonian period. Instead temples and palaces owned land. Private ownership was enabled by leasing large tenancies to individuals who could then lease out smaller plots. State administration, therefore, worked on multiple levels. [2]
Official administration levels [3]
(1) King of Babylonia(2) Governors(3) City officers/ Officials in marginal cities(4) Village Headman
The Babylonian empire conquered an area with pre-existing structures, many of which continued alongside Babylonian administration, such as vassal Levantine kings and local nobles within Mesopotamia. The Levantine kings appear to owe allegiance to the Babylonian kings, for example they paid in material goods towards Nebuchadrezzar’s building projects, but are largely self-controlled. [4]

[1]: Vanderhooft, D.S. 1999. The Neo-Babylonian Empire and Babylon in the Latter Prophets. Harvard Semitic Museum Monographs 59. p.94-99

[2]: Meyers, E. M. (ed.) 1997. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p.259

[3]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.541

[4]: Vanderhooft, D.S. 1999. The Neo-Babylonian Empire and Babylon in the Latter Prophets. Harvard Semitic Museum Monographs 59. p.97


Professions
Professional Priesthood:
present

[1]

[1]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.547


Professional Military Officer:
present

[1]

[1]: Sallaberger, W. 2007 Palace and temple in Babylonia. In Leick, G. (ed.) The Babylonian World. London: Routledge. p.273


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Full Time Bureaucrat:
present

[1]

[1]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.547


Law
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
present

Alongside the enforced flow of goods into the capital, trade developed as well. [1] Cut off from the main trade routes, Babylon set up a market to make it the final destination for trade. Other large market centres existed throughout the empire along the trading routes, e.g. Susiana and Lydia. [2]

[1]: Vanderhooft, D.S. 1999. The Neo-Babylonian Empire and Babylon in the Latter Prophets. Harvard Seimitc Muesum Monographs 59. p.47

[2]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.549


Irrigation System:
present

Irrigation around the Euphrates and Tigris rivers provided sustainable means of agriculture for thousands of years. [1] It has also been suggested, that a complex irrigation system would have been necessary if the hanging gardens of Babylon (thought to have been built by Nebuchadrezzar) existed. [2]

[1]: Mori, L. 2009. Land and Land Use: the Middle Euphrates Valley. In Leick, G. (ed.) The Babylonian World. London: Routledge. p.41-42

[2]: Baker, H.D. 2012. The Neo-Babylonian Empire. In Potts, D.T. (ed.) A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Volume II. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. p.916



Drinking Water Supply System:
absent

Wells are present in cities. [1] Was there a piped network to domestic residences? Presence of wells in cities suggests not - residents took their drinking water from the wells and brought it to their homes themselves.

[1]: Baker, H.D. 2012. The Neo-Babylonian Empire. In Potts, D.T. (ed.) A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Volume II. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. p.916


Transport Infrastructure

Nebuchadnezzar II "He also constructed large sewers lined with a mixture of bitumen, clay and gravel. He laid down the first paved streets by setting stone slabs in bitumen-mortar." (Bilkadi, Z. 1984. Bitumen: A History. Saudi Aramco World. November/December. pp 2-9. EXTERNAL_INLINE_LINK: https://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/198406/bitumen.-.a.history.htm )


The Neo-Babylonian empire included the port cities of the Levant [1]

[1]: Kriwaczek, P. 2010. Babylon: Mesopotamia and the Birth of Civilization. London: Atlantic Books. p.246


Part of a wide-reaching irrigation system. Part of Sippar was known as the Quay of Sippar, although it has not been discovered. Baker speculates that it might have been on the major watercourse, the King’s Canal [1]

[1]: Baker, H.D. 2012. The Neo-Babylonian Empire. In Potts, D.T. (ed.) A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Volume II. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. p.920


Bridge:
present

The city of Babylon straddled the Euphrates river and a bridge was maintained to join the two parts of the city [1]

[1]: Gill, A. 2008. Gateway of the Gods: Rise and Fall of Babylon. London: Quercus. p.104


Special-purpose Sites
Information / Writing System

Script:
present

cuneifrom [1]

[1]: Huehnergard, J. and Woods, C. 2008. Akkadian and Eblaite in Woodard, R.D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.84


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
present

[1]

[1]: Huehnergard, J. and Woods, C. 2008. Akkadian and Eblaite in Woodard, R.D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.84


Nonwritten Record:
present

[1]

[1]: Huehnergard, J. and Woods, C. 2008. Akkadian and Eblaite in Woodard, R.D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.84


Non Phonetic Writing:
absent

[1]

[1]: Huehnergard, J. and Woods, C. 2008. Akkadian and Eblaite in Woodard, R.D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.84


Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
present

Mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences [1]

[1]: Huehnergard, J. and Woods, C. 2008. Akkadian and Eblaite in Woodard, R.D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.84


Sacred Text:
present

[1]

[1]: Huehnergard, J. and Woods, C. 2008. Akkadian and Eblaite in Woodard, R.D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.84


Religious Literature:
present

[1]

[1]: Huehnergard, J. and Woods, C. 2008. Akkadian and Eblaite in Woodard, R.D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.84


Lists Tables and Classification:
present

[1]

[1]: Huehnergard, J. and Woods, C. 2008. Akkadian and Eblaite in Woodard, R.D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.84


History:
present

[1]

[1]: Huehnergard, J. and Woods, C. 2008. Akkadian and Eblaite in Woodard, R.D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.84


Fiction:
present

Myths and epics [1]

[1]: Huehnergard, J. and Woods, C. 2008. Akkadian and Eblaite in Woodard, R.D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.84


Calendar:
present

[1]

[1]: Huehnergard, J. and Woods, C. 2008. Akkadian and Eblaite in Woodard, R.D. (ed.) The Ancient Languages of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Aksum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p.84


Information / Money

"The Mesopotamians did not use coinage (invented in Asia Minor in the seventh century B.C.E.) but employed various commodities as media of exchange and measures of value: occasionally gold, copper, and tin, but most commonly silver and grain. The value of goods entrusted to merchants was reckoned in weights of silver or volumes of barley, as was that of the commodities that the merchants brought back from their expeditions. Silver rings, coils of silver wire that could easily be cut into pieces, and other small units (often of 5 shekels weight) were regularly used in transactions, the requisite quantity of silver being weighed out to make a purchase or pay for a service." [1]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 132) McIntosh, J. 2005. Ancient Mesopotamia: New Perspective. Santa Barbara: ABC Clio. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.


Precious Metal:
present

Silver, gold and copper were all used within Babylonia with fluctuating levels of popularity. [1]

[1]: Gill, A. 2008. Gateway of the Gods: The Rise and Fall of Babylon. London: Quercus. p.146


Paper Currency:
absent

"The Mesopotamians did not use coinage (invented in Asia Minor in the seventh century B.C.E.) but employed various commodities as media of exchange and measures of value: occasionally gold, copper, and tin, but most commonly silver and grain. The value of goods entrusted to merchants was reckoned in weights of silver or volumes of barley, as was that of the commodities that the merchants brought back from their expeditions. Silver rings, coils of silver wire that could easily be cut into pieces, and other small units (often of 5 shekels weight) were regularly used in transactions, the requisite quantity of silver being weighed out to make a purchase or pay for a service." [1]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 132) McIntosh, J. 2005. Ancient Mesopotamia: New Perspective. Santa Barbara: ABC Clio. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.


Indigenous Coin:
absent

"The Mesopotamians did not use coinage (invented in Asia Minor in the seventh century B.C.E.) but employed various commodities as media of exchange and measures of value: occasionally gold, copper, and tin, but most commonly silver and grain. The value of goods entrusted to merchants was reckoned in weights of silver or volumes of barley, as was that of the commodities that the merchants brought back from their expeditions. Silver rings, coils of silver wire that could easily be cut into pieces, and other small units (often of 5 shekels weight) were regularly used in transactions, the requisite quantity of silver being weighed out to make a purchase or pay for a service." [1]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 132) McIntosh, J. 2005. Ancient Mesopotamia: New Perspective. Santa Barbara: ABC Clio. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.


Foreign Coin:
absent

"The Mesopotamians did not use coinage (invented in Asia Minor in the seventh century B.C.E.) but employed various commodities as media of exchange and measures of value: occasionally gold, copper, and tin, but most commonly silver and grain. The value of goods entrusted to merchants was reckoned in weights of silver or volumes of barley, as was that of the commodities that the merchants brought back from their expeditions. Silver rings, coils of silver wire that could easily be cut into pieces, and other small units (often of 5 shekels weight) were regularly used in transactions, the requisite quantity of silver being weighed out to make a purchase or pay for a service." [1]

[1]: (McIntosh 2005: 132) McIntosh, J. 2005. Ancient Mesopotamia: New Perspective. Santa Barbara: ABC Clio. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/KK2E3KMD.


Article:
present

Food might be used for exchange, but predominantly only on a local level, since it lost its value over long distances. [1]

[1]: Gill, A. 2008. Gateway of the Gods: The Rise and Fall of Babylon. London: Quercus. p.146


Information / Postal System
Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Wooden Palisade:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.



Stone Walls Mortared:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.



Popular text refers to a ’Moat of Babylon’ (Neo-Babylonia) and the index of a work from 1915 mentions ’Moat, of Babylon’. Likely but cannot find reference at this time.


Fortified Camp:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Earth Rampart:
present

A Babylonian inscription "begins with the names and titles of Nebuchadrezzar the Great (604 B.C.) and discusses the building of various temples and palaces as well as the ramparts of Babylon and Borsippa." [1]

[1]: (Semper 2004, 347) Gottfried Semper. 2004. Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts, Or, Practical Aesthetics. Getty Research Institute. Los Angeles.


Ditch:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Complex Fortification:
present

Babylon had at least an inner and outer defensive wall [1]

[1]: Vanderhooft, D.S. 1999. The Neo-Babylonian Empire and Babylon in the Latter Prophets. Harvard Semitic Museum Monographs 59. p. 30



Military use of Metals

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Copper:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Bronze:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Projectiles
Tension Siege Engine:
present

The Babylonian Chronicles detail the fall of Assyria. They state that the king of Akkad (Babylonia) bought siege engines against the city of Rahilu, but it does not specify what kind of siege engine. [1]

[1]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.538

Tension Siege Engine:
absent

The Babylonian Chronicles detail the fall of Assyria. They state that the king of Akkad (Babylonia) bought siege engines against the city of Rahilu, but it does not specify what kind of siege engine. [1]

[1]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.538


Sling Siege Engine:
present

The Babylonian Chronicles detail the fall of Assyria. They state that the king of Akkad (Babylonia) bought siege engines against the city of Rahilu, but it does not specify what kind of siege engine. [1]

[1]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.538

Sling Siege Engine:
absent

The Babylonian Chronicles detail the fall of Assyria. They state that the king of Akkad (Babylonia) bought siege engines against the city of Rahilu, but it does not specify what kind of siege engine. [1]

[1]: Liverani, M. 2011. The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. London: Routledge. p.538


Sling:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Self Bow:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.




Crossbow:
absent

Absent in previous and subsequent polities


Composite Bow:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Atlatl:
absent

Absent in previous and subsequent polities


Handheld weapons
Sword:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Spear:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Animals used in warfare
Horse:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Donkey:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Camel:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Armor
Wood Bark Etc:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Shield:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Scaled Armor:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Plate Armor:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Limb Protection:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Leather Cloth:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Helmet:
present

Present in previous and subsequent polities.


Naval technology

Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.