Babylon – The cultural and economic capital of the Middle East

It seems unbelievable that the city, which was for 1,500 years, the cultural and economic capital of the Middle East, died without any solid reasons, such as an epidemic, conquest, earthquake.

This great city was founded by Amorites in the 19th century BC, and was conquered by the Assyria in the 7th century BC. It has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world from c. 1770 to 1670 BC, and again between c. 612 and 320 BC. It was perhaps the first city to reach a population above 200,000. Estimates for the maximum extent of its area range from 890 to 900 hectares (2,200 acres).

The Chaldeans defeated Assyria in 612 BC and formed the New Babylonian Empire. As a result of wars and conquests, the population of Babylon by this time had very few direct descendants of the ancient Babylonians – amorites – this is important.

The economy of Babylon was based on an irrigation system that irrigated the interfluve of the Tigris and the Euphrates. Excess water was discharged into the sea through the Tigris. This was necessary, because during the flood these rivers carried gravel and sand from the Armenian highland. If do not dump excess water, then these gravel and sand, clog the fertile soil of the interfluve.

In 582 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II, married the Egyptian princess Nitokris, to strengthen peace with Egypt. Together with the princess, her suite, consisting of educated Egyptians, arrived in Babylon. Probably, after consulting with her retinue, Nitokris advised her husband to build a new canal and increase the area of irrigated land. Following the example of how it was done in Egypt. The king accepted her advice and built the Pallukat Canal, which began north of Babylon and which irrigated many lands beyond of the river flood plains of Tigris and Euphrates.

Because of this, the water flow of Efrat slowed and alluvium from the Armenian plateau began to settle in the irrigation canals. For this reason, the costs for maintaining the irrigation system have increased. There was a salinization of the soil. Agriculture has ceased to be cost-effective. The outskirts of Babylon and the city itself were gradually declining and the population was leaving the city. By the beginning of AD from this huge and beautiful city there were only ruins.

If among the inhabitants of Babylon, there would be more local residents (living in the area since the creation of the irrigation system – amorites), familiar with the specifics of local irrigation and reclamation, this catastrophe could be avoided. King, from the local residents, could predict the disastrous consequences of creating the channel. Or he could consult other knowledgeable local residents – amorites.

But the king was a foreigner – a Chaldean. His advisers were also Chaldeans. And they all did not think about the specifics of the geography of the country they conquered, and in which they destroyed the majority of the local population. They all wanted to increase their profits by increasing the irrigated land. All repeats.

Egyptian engineers automatically brought their irrigation techniques from the Nile to Efrat. But the water of the Nile in high water carries a fertile silt. And the sand of the Libyan desert is an excellent filter and cleans the water of the Nile. The invaders of Babylon, who killed or dispersed, most of the local residents – amorites, and themselves subsequently became residents of Babylon, all this information was unknown.

This is an example of the fact that war and aggression are economically unprofitable. With the peaceful development of events in this region, at present Babylon could have been an agricultural center and a tourism center. And we would all admire the beauty of this city. But greed has ruined this city.


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