The Chaldean Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II
Name: Nabû-kudurri-uşur in Akkadian (means 'Nabû protect my child') or Nebuchadnezzar
Important Dates: r. 605-562 B.C.
Claim to Fame: Destroyed the temple of Solomon and started the Babylonian Captivity of the Hebrews.
King Nebuchadnezzar II was the son of Nabopolassar (Belesys, to Hellenistic writers), who came from the Marduk-worshiping Kaldu tribes living in the extreme southern part of Babylonia. Nabopolassar started the Chaldean period (626-539 B.C.) by restoring Babylonian independence, following the fall of the Assyrian Empire in 605. Nebuchadnezzar was the most famous and important king of the Second Babylonian (or Neo-Babylonian or Chaldean) Empire, which fell to the Persian great king Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C.
Accomplishments of Nebuchadnezzar II
Nebuchadnezzar restored old religious monuments and improved canals, as other Babylonian kings had done. He was the first Babylonian king to rule Egypt, and controlled an empire that extended to Lydia, but his best known accomplishment was his palace --- a place used for administrative, religious, ceremonial, as well as residential purposes -- especially the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.
"Babylon, too, lies in a plain; and the circuit of its wall is three hundred and eighty-five stadia. The thickness of its wall is thirty-two feet; the height thereof between the towers is fifty cubits;9 that of the towers is sixty cubits; and the passage on top of the wall is such that four-horse chariots can easily pass one another; and it is on this account that this and the hanging garden are called one of the Seven Wonders of the World. "
Strabo Geography Book XVI, Chapter 1
"'There were in it also several artificial rocks, that had the resemblance of mountains; with nurseries of all sorts of plants, and a kind of hanging garden suspended in the air by a most admirable contrivance. This was to gratify his wife, who, being brought op in Media, among the hills, and in the fresh air, found relief from such a prospect.'
Thus writes Berosus [c. 280 B.C.] respecting the king...."
Josephus In Answer to Appion Book II
The Hanging Gardens were on a terrace supported by brick arches. Nebuchadnezzar's building projects included surrounding his capital city with a double wall 10-miles long with an elaborate entry called the Ishtar Gate.
"3] On the top, along the edges of the wall, they built houses of a single room, facing each other, with space enough between to drive a four-horse chariot. There are a hundred gates in the circuit of the wall, all of bronze, with posts and lintels of the same."He also built a port on the Persian Gulf.
Herodotus The Histories Book I.179.3
"These walls are the city's outer armor; within them there is another encircling wall, nearly as strong as the other, but narrower."
Herodotus The Histories Book I.181.1
Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho at Carchemish in 605. In 597, he captured Jerusalem, deposed King Jehoiakim, and put Zedekiah on the throne, instead. [See Clay Bulla Documents Biblical Hebrew King.] Many leading Hebrew families were exiled at this time.
Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Cimmerians and Scythians [see Tribes of the Steppes] and then turned west, again, conquering Western Syria and destroying Jerusalem, including the Temple of Solomon, in 586. He put down a rebellion under Zedekiah, whom he had installed, and exiled more Hebrew fammilies. He took the inhabitants of Jerusalem prisoner and brought them to Babylon, for which reason this period in Biblical history is referred to as the Babylonian captivity.
See: Neo-Babylonian Dynasty.
Nebuchadnezzar is on the list of Most Important People to Know in Ancient History.
- "Seat of Kingship"/"A Wonder to Behold": The Palace as Construct in the Ancient near East," by Irene J. Winter; Ars Orientalis Vol. 23, Pre-Modern Islamic Palaces (1993), pp. 27-55.
- "Nebuchadnezzar King of Justice," by W. G. Lambert; Iraq Vol. 27, No. 1 (Spring, 1965), pp. 1-1
- Images of Nebuchadnezzar: the emergence of a legend,, by Ronald Herbert Sack