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What is the Neo-Babylonian Empire history?

Neo-Babylonian Empire-like images

The Neo-Babylonian Empire was one of the most impressive periods of Mesopotamian civilization.

In particular, the period of Nebuchadnezzar II, who carried out the Babylonian Captivity, was its heyday, and his time is closely associated with the Old Testament.

But many people are not familiar with the rest of the Neo-Babylonian period.

In this article, I have compiled a detailed summary of the following!

History of the New Babylonian Empire from its birth to its fall.

Founding Father Nabopolassar

Babylon remained subordinate to Assyria for three centuries.

To learn more about the relationship between Assyria and Babylonia during that time,

Please read this article.

The Neo-Assyrian Empire also intervened militarily in Babylonia under various pretexts.

The enigmatic Nabopolassar

Then along came Nabopolassar, the leader of the revolt against Assyria.

He was the hero who liberated Babylon from Assyria.

He was also the founding father of Neo-Babylonian Empire.

He describes himself in an inscription:

Son of nobody

And his identity is still shrouded in mystery.

Active in the Battle of Nineveh

It is no exaggeration to say that Nabopolassar's life began and ended with his struggle against Assyria.

Although he did not control all Babylonian cities, he was not defeated by Assyria.

In fact, Nabopolassar allied with the Kingdom of Media and others to attack and destroy Nineveh, the Assyrian royal city.

This is called the "Battle of Nineveh".

The Babylonian conquest of Assyria continued and Assyria was finally destroyed.

The famous Nebuchadnezzar II

After the fall of Assyria, the  Neo-Babylonian Empire moved on to conquer Syria and Palestine.

However, these areas were backed by Egypt, which was supporting the remnants of Assyria.

The western region of Syria, which at the time was in Egypt's sphere of influence,

Nebuchadnezzar II image

Belong to the Neo-Babylonian Empire!

He decided to do so.

Battle of Carchemish

So, as president of the army, Nabopolassar gave his son Nebuchadnezzar a large army to send to those areas.

As a result, Nebuchadnezzar, who led the Babylonian army, accomplished the following:

  • Victory over Egypt
  • Control of most of Syria

This was the Battle of Carchemish.

However, it was not all good.

Death of Nabopolassar

In the same year of his victory over Egypt, his father Nabopolassar suddenly died.

Nebuchadnezzar suddenly succeeded to the throne and became King of Babylonia.

North of Babylonia, the Kingdom of Media was in power.

The political marriage between Nebuchadnezzar and the daughter of Media was consummated, establishing friendly relations between the two empires.

Here is an article detailing his activities as Nebuchadnezzar II.

To learn more about anecdotes of Nebuchadnezzar II,

Please read this article.

The Neo-Babylonian Empire Afterward

After the death of Nebuchadnezzar II, Babylonia was again plunged into political instability.

Successors in transition

Nebuchadnezzar II's son was assassinated by Nebuchadnezzar's son-in-law Neriglissar soon after his accession to the throne.

Neriglissar was the next king, but he did not last long because of his advanced age.

Next, Neriglissar's son ascended the throne, but was overthrown in a coup d'etat by his son and Nabonidus.

The Last Babylonian King

The last Babylonian king was Nabonidus, who initiated the coup.

He was not a member of the royal family.

He also believed in the moon god Sin, so he made this god the supreme deity instead of Marduk, who was the Babylonian state god.

The reaction of the Babylonian inhabitants to this policy of Marduk was

People image

No, no, that's impossible!

This became especially antagonistic to the priests.

To learn more about the polytheistic Babylonian gods,

What are the characteristics of the gods in Mesopotamian mythology?

Please refer to this article as well.

Cyrus the Great of Achaemenid Empire did not miss this opportunity.

He took advantage of the animosity of these inhabitants and entered Babylon without bloodshed.

To learn more about Cyrus the Great, the conqueror of Neo Babylonia,

Please read this article.

There is much more to the history of Mesopotamian civilization.

To learn more about the history of Mesopotamian civilization,

What is the Mesopotamian civilization?

Please also read this article.