Babylonian Empire Leaders: Hammurabi Starting technologies: Agriculture The Wheel Unique unit: Bowman Unique building: Garden First colony: Persian Empire DESCRIPTION: Strategy:
The Babylonians don`t just walk the line between Builder and Warmonger: they`ve settled down to raise a civilization on it. Hammurabi`s "Organized" trait and the health-yielding Garden building, the Babylonian replacement for the Colosseum, make Babylonian cities fast-growing affairs. But Hammurabi`s "Aggressive" trait and the Bowman`s significant bonus against melee units allow Babylonian players to wreak impressive early-game havoc.Background:
The Babylonian Empire was, rather than a new idea, a reinvigoration of the old Sumerian Empire, which had also occupied what is today Southern Iraq. Babylonia was formed from a collection of roughly a dozen city states and was named for its capital city of Babylon. Originally a disorganized region, Babylon and Babylonia began to grow as a center for culture, trade, and religion under the rule of Hammurabi in 1728BC. Location of one of the seven ancient wonders - the Hanging Gardens - Babylonia became the jewel of the ancient world.
Hammurabi was the first known ruler of united Babylonia as well as its greatest lawgiver. Hammurabi`s Code of Laws regulated Babylonian life in such a way as to make the consequences of most criminal acts publicly known. Citizens could then structure their behavior based on these laws leading to a more organized society. So comprehensive was the Babylonian Code that little about its laws or governmental system changed in the entirety of its 1,200 years of existence. Babylon was so revered for this system that cities and states as far as the Mediterranean would emulate it for centuries.
After the death of Hammurabi (1750 BC), the empire slowly declined in power and influence until it was eventually conquered by the Kassites (around 1600 BC) from what are now the mountains of Iran. The Kassites ruled over Babylonia for 576 years, reinvigorating the empire under their reign. Although Hammurabi ruled over Babylonia as a series of interconnected city states, the Kassites were the first rulers of Babylonia to transform the country into an organized territory. The Kassites created trade routes to countries as far away as Greece, Armenia and Turkey. Trade with these nations brought further wealth and status to Babylonia.
Towards the end of the Kassite era of rule, Babylonia once again began to fall into decline, in part due to external political and military pressure. In 627 BC, the last Kassite ruler died, and Babylonia revolted under the command of a new leader, Nabopolassar. Nabopolassar`s son, Nebuchadnezzar II, ruled Babylonia and brought about another golden era. During his rule, Babylonia became a military power, invading and taking territory in Egypt and Assyria. Not long afterwards, in 539 BC, Cyrus of Persia invaded Babylonia, conquering it, and forever ending Babylonia`s existence as an independent territory.
Despite numerous regime changes, education reached exceptional heights among the Babylonians. Technical achievements such as the creation of a base 60, "sexigesimal," system of mathematics, are still used to this day. Sixty seconds per minute, sixty minutes per hour: modern time, is in fact, Babylonian time.
Much like the Sumerian Empire from which they were descended, Babylonia was a nation of fanatical record-keepers. Starting with Hammurabi and continuing down until the empire`s dissolution at the hands of Cyrus and the great Persian emperors, every financial transaction, every court verdict, every contract, and just about anything that could be written down, was - on clay tablets. With laws pertaining to almost every aspect of daily living, a significant amount of data was recorded, and much of this has been uncovered and excavated during the modern era. Researchers have even found several optical devices, similar to magnifying glasses, which were used to allow record keepers to write in smaller cuneiform, in order to fit more information on each clay tablet.
Babylonia played an important role in the development of law throughout the world. The creation of Hammurabi`s Code of Laws, and the zeal with which his successors, both blood-related and not, upheld those laws, demonstrated for all of history how successful and wealthy a nation could become by following an organized system of government.