The area called Mesopotamia lies in the Middle East, in what is now the country of Iraq. The word “Mesopotamia” comes from the Greek, and means “between the rivers.” It’s called this because two big rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, are located here. Many great civilizations have come and gone, with many great cities. The best known was the city of Babylon. Scroll down for more info!

Click on an image below for more information about that topic.

In 689 BC, Babylon was attacked by King Sennacherib of Assyria. He ruled the northern part of Mesopotamia, and wanted the southern half as well. Babylon fought back and was completely destroyed. By 580 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar II had rebuilt the city and made it into one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. He ruled from 605 – 562 BC. He is mentioned in the Bible as the Babylonian king who attacked and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and took many Jews into captivity. He is the Babylonian king that took Daniel captive, and the one who threw the three Hebrews into the fiery furnace (Daniel 1-4). The lion image is from the Ishtar Gate in Babylon, built by Nebuchadnezzar II. His seal is pictured above.

Queen Amyitis was the wife of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II. She missed the mountainous, green area where she was born, so the king built her the so-called Hanging Gardens. They were a remarkable feat of engineering that looked like a mini-mountain, with lots of ledges and overhangs. The Gardens were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, according to the later Greeks. Historians are not sure they existed; only recently have archaeologists found ruins which could have been the Gardens. Do a little research to find out what the other six wonders were!

A ziggurat was a Mesopotamian temple tower. They looked a little like pyramids, since they were big at the bottom and got smaller step by step as they got taller. Only priests were allowed to enter. Some people think that the Tower of Babel mentioned in Genesis 11 may be related to ziggurats somehow.

Cuneiform writing is one of the oldest types of writing in the world. A reed was cut, sharpened, and pressed into a moist clay tablet to create wedge shapes. Actually, the word “cuneiform” comes from Latin and means “wedge-shaped.” This type of writing was first invented by the Sumerians, and later used for other languages of Mesopotamia such as Babylonian. At first, the writing was just pictures of the objects represented; as time went on, it developed into a more advanced system, representing the sounds of syllables rather than pictures of objects.