Tradition says that once all people spoke the same language. Once they dared to build a tower high up to heaven, and were punished. The Lord mixed languages so that people stopped understanding each other. As a result, the tower collapsed.
Archaeologists have found the first evidence of the existence of the Tower of Babel, found the first material evidence of the existence of the Tower of Babel – an ancient tablet, dating from the VI century BC. The plate itself depicts the tower and ruler of Mesopotamia, Nebuchadnezzar II.
A memorial plaque was found almost 100 years ago, but only now scientists began to study it. The find has become an important proof of the existence of the tower, which, according to biblical history, caused the appearance of different languages on the earth.
Scientists suggest that the construction of the biblical tower was begun under Nabopalasar during the reign of King Hammurali (circa 1792-1750 BC). However, the construction was completed only 43 years later, during the time of Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 BC).
Scientists say that the content of the ancient tablet in many respects coincides with the biblical story. In this regard, the question arose – if the tower actually existed, then how true is the story with the wrath of God, which deprived people of a common language.
Perhaps one day an answer will be found to this question.
Inside the legendary city of Babylon in modern Iraq are the remains of a huge structure, and ancient records suggest that it was the Tower of Babel. For scientists, the tablet suggests another proof that the Tower of Babel was not simply a work of fiction. It was a real building in antiquity.
The Biblical legend of the Tower of Babel
The biblical legend of how people wanted to build a tower to the skies, and for this they received punishment in the form of a division of languages, is better to read in the biblical original:
1. On the whole earth there was one language and one dialect.
2 Moving from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
3 And they said one to another, Let us build bricks and burn them with fire. And they began to have bricks instead of stones, and earth resin instead of lime.
4 And they said, Let us build ourselves a city and a tower, which is high up to the heavens, and make ourselves a name, before we are scattered in the face of all the earth.
5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the children of men had built.
6 And the LORD said, Behold, one people, and one tongue all; and that’s what they began to do, and they will not leave behind what they planned to do;
7 Let us go down and mix their language there, so that one does not understand the speech of the other.
8 And the LORD scattered them from thence throughout all the earth; and they stopped building the city [and the tower].
9 Therefore was given him the name of Babylon, for there the Lord confused the language of all the earth, and from there the Lord scattered them throughout all the earth.
History, construction and description of the Etikenanka ziggurat
Babylon is known for many of its structures. One of the main personalities in the glorification of this glorious ancient city is Nebuchadnezzar II. It was in his time that the walls of Babylon, the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis, the Gate of Ishtar and the Road of Procession were built. But this is only the edge of the iceberg – throughout all forty years of his reign Nebuchadnezzar was engaged in the construction, restoration and decoration of Babylon. About his work done, he left behind a large text. We will not dwell on all points, but it is here that there is a mention of ziggurat in the city.
This tower of Babel, which according to legend could not be completed due to the fact that the builders began to talk in different languages, has another name – Etemenanki, which in translation means the House of the cornerstone of heaven and earth. Archaeologists in the excavations were able to discover the huge foundation of this building. This turned out to be a typical ziggurat for Mesopotamia (we can also read about ziggurat in Ur), located at the main temple of Babylon Esagile.
For all the time the tower was several times demolished and restored. For the first time on this site, the ziggurat was built before Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC), before it had already been dismantled. The legendary building itself appeared under the reign of Nabu-Lalassar, and the final construction of the summit was undertaken by his successor Nebuchadnezzar.
A huge ziggurat was erected under the guidance of an architect from Assyria Aradahdeshu. It consisted of seven tiers with a total height of about 100 meters. The diameter of the structure was about 90 meters.
At the top of the ziggurat was a sanctuary covered with a traditional Babylon glazed brick. The sanctuary was dedicated to the chief deity of Babylon, Marduk, and it was for him that a gilded bed and table were set up, and gilded horns were fixed on the top of the sanctuary.
At the base of the Tower of Babel in the Lower Temple was a statue of Marduk himself of pure gold weighing 2.5 tons. About 85 million bricks were used for the construction of the Etikenanka ziggurat in Babylon. The tower stood out among all the buildings of the city and created the impression of power and greatness. The inhabitants of this city sincerely believed in the convergence of Marduk in their place of habitation on the earth and even talked about this famous Herodotus, who visited here in 458 BC (a century and a half after the construction).
From the top of the Tower of Babel was seen and the other from the neighboring city – Euriminanki in Barsipp. It is the ruins of this tower for a long time attributed to the biblical. When Alexander the Great dwelt in the city, he proposed to rebuild the majestic structure anew, but his death in 323 BC left the building permanently dismantled. In 275, Esagila was rebuilt, but the Ethemenians were not rebuilt. Reminder of the former great construction was only its foundation and immortal mention in the texts.