Babylonia in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
Babylonia is a plain which is made up of the alluvial
deposits of the mountainous regions in the North, where the
Tigris and Euphrates have their source. The land is bounded
on the North by Assyria and Mesopotamia; on the East by
Elam, separated by the mountains of Elam; on the South by
the sea marshes, and the country Kaldu (Chaldaea); and on
the West by the Syrian desert. Some of the cities of the
lower country were seaport towns in the early period, but
now are far inland. This land-making process continues even
at the present time at the rate of about 70 ft. a year.
This plain, in the days when Babylonia flourished, sustained
a dense population. It was covered with a network of canals,
skillfully planned and regulated, which brought prosperity
to the land, because of the wonderful fertility of the soil.
The neglect of these canals and doubtless, also, the change
of climate, have resulted in altered conditions in the
country. It has become a cheerless waste. During some months
of the year, when the inundations take place, large portions
of the land are partially covered with swamps and marshes.
At other times it looks like a desolate plain.
Throughout the land there are seen, at the present time,
ruin-hills or mounds of accumulation of debris, which mark
the site of ancient cities. Some of these cities were
destroyed in a very early era, and were never rebuilt.
Others were occupied for millenniums, and their history
extends far into the Christian era. The antiquities
generally found in the upper stratum of the mounds which
were occupied up to so late a period, show that they were
generally inhabited by the Jews, who lived there after the
Babylonians had disappeared.
The excavations conducted at various sites have resulted in
the discovery, besides antiquities of almost every
character, of hundreds of thousands of inscriptions on clay
and stone, but principally on the former material. At Tello
more than 60,000 tablets were found, belonging largely to
the administrative archives of the temple of the third
millennium BC. At Nippur about 50,000 inscriptions were
found, many of these also belonging to temple archives. But
about 20,000 tablets and fragments found in that city came
from the library...
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