By Michael Seymour
Babylon: for eons its very identify has been a byword for luxurious and wickedness. 'By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept', wrote the psalmist, 'as we remembered Zion'. one of many maximum towns of the traditional global, Babylon has been eclipsed through its personal sinful attractiveness. for 2 thousand years the genuine, actual city lay buried whereas one other, ghostly urban lived on, engorged on debts of its personal destruction. extra lately the positioning of Babylon has been the centre of significant excavation: but the excellent result of this paintings have performed little displace the numerous different attention-grabbing ways that the town has persevered and reinvented itself in tradition. Saddam Hussein, for one, notoriously exploited the Babylonian fable to affiliate himself and his regime with its wonderful earlier. Why has Babylon so creatively fired the human mind's eye, with effects either stable and ailing? Why has it been so captivating to such a lot of, and for therefore lengthy? In exploring solutions, Michael Seymour' s ebook levels widely over house and time and embraces artwork, archaeology, background and literature. From Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar, through Strabo and Diodorus, to the booklet of Revelation, Brueghel, Rembrandt, Voltaire, William Blake and glossy interpreters like Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino and Gore Vidal, the writer brings to mild a carnival of disparate resources ruled by way of the strong and intoxicating thought of depravity. but eye-catching as this darkish mythology was once and has endured to be, at its root lies a striking and complicated imperial civilization whose advanced state-building, legislations- making and faith ruled Mesopotamia and past for millennia, prior to its incorporation into the nonetheless wider empire of the Achaemenid kings.
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