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The Sumerian World-Routledge () | Mesopotamia | Sumer
The subject of anthropology: gender, symbolism and psychoanalysis - By Henrietta L. Babylon, located about 80 km 50 miles south of modern Baghdad in Iraq, was an ancient city with a history of settlement dating back to the 3rd millennium BCE. The Babylonian king then set about making his capital one of the most splendid cities in the world. The Ishtar Gate was built c.
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The majority of scholars agree that the idea of cultivating gardens purely for pleasure, as opposed to the production of food, originated in the Fertile Crescent , where they were known as a paradise. From there the notion would spread throughout the ancient Mediterranean so that by Hellenistic times even private individuals, or at least the wealthier ones, were cultivating their own private gardens in their homes.
Gardens were not just about flowers and plants, either, as architectural, sculptural, and water features were added, and even the views were a consideration for the ancient landscape gardener. Gardens became such a desired feature that fresco painters, such as those at Pompeii , covered entire walls of villas with scenes which gave the illusion that on entering a room one was also entering a garden.
All of these outdoor pleasant places, then, owed their existence to ancient Mesopotamia and, above all, to the magnificent Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Get it for free for a limited time. Herodotus , the 5th-century BCE Greek historian, describes the impressive irrigation system of Babylon and the walls but does not mention any gardens specifically although the Great Sphinx is also curiously missing from his description of Giza. The first mention in an ancient source of the gardens is by Berossus of Kos, actually, a priest named Bel-Usru from Babylon who relocated to the Greek island.
Writing c. Berossus describes high stone terraces which imitated mountains and which were planted with many types of large trees and flowers. Terraces would not only have created a pleasant aesthetic effect of hanging vegetation but also made their irrigation easier. Berossus also explains why the gardens were established, to make a wife of the Babylonian king, a Mede called Amytis, feel less homesick for her green and hilly homeland. Alas, there is no reference to a queen of that name in Babylonian records.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Several other sources describe the gardens as if they were still in existence in the 4th century BCE, but all were written centuries after the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and all were written by writers who almost certainly never visited Babylon and who knew little of either horticulture or engineering. Strabo, the Greek geographer c. He also mentions the presence of stairs to reach the various levels. Meanwhile, the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus, also writing in the 1st century BCE, notes that the terraces sloped upwards like an ancient theatre and reached a total height of 20 metres 65 ft.
He describes the terraces as being built on pillars and lined with reeds and bricks. There are known precedents for large gardens in Mesopotamia which pre-date those said to have been at Babylon. In any case, even if the hypothesis of Nineveh is accepted, it still does not preclude the possibility of gardens at Babylon. There were also gardens after the supposed date for the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, those at Pasargadae in the Zagros Mountains built by Cyrus the Great d.
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All such gardens usually had terraces to aid irrigation, high walls to provide shade, trees were clustered together so as to better maintain their vital moisture and withstand scorching winds, and, of course, all were located near an abundant water source. That gardens were commonly associated with palaces in just about every culture from ancient China to Mesoamerica has led some scholars to speculate that the gardens at Babylon, if they did exist, would also have been near or in one of the royal palaces of Nebuchadnezzar on the banks of the River Euphrates. Some of the monuments of the ancient world so impressed visitors from far and wide with their beauty, artistic and architectural ambition, and sheer scale that their reputation grew as must-see themata sights for the ancient traveller and pilgrim.
In many early lists of the ancient wonders the gardens were listed alongside the magnificent walls of the city of Babylon which were, according to Strabo, 7 km long, in places 10 metres thick and 20 metres high, and regularly punctuated by even taller towers. The author P. Jordan suggests that the gardens made it on to the established list of Seven Wonders of the Ancient World because they "appealed for sheer luxurious and romantic perversity of endeavour" Your mind is rooted the reliable sport of links.
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