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The Babylonians
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For centuries, Babylon has been a symbol of the decadent city par excellence, signifying a deep mistrust of urbanization in general. In the Bible, the city has only negative connotations; and while later classical writers admired the city's size and splendour, they deplored some of its more unusual customs. Whatever the perspective taken, it was usual to take Babylon as standing for the whole of Mesopotamian civilization. The history of the Babylonians spans some 1800 years, from the time of Hammurabi, famous for his Law-Code, to the time when Alexander's heirs ruled the Near East. Archaeological discoveries and cuneiform tablets recovered from Babylonian cities allow us an impression of the Babylonian people and their society, their intellectual and spiritual preoccupations. Gwendolyn Leick's approachable survey introduces these people, the reality behind the popular myth of Babylon. She explores the lives of kings and merchants, women and slaves, and the social, historical, geographical and cultural context in which their extraordinary civilization flourished for so many centuries. Enjoyable and accessible, this is the ideal introduction to the Babylonians for both students and the interested general reader.
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