Simirimis and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
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Simirimis and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon is one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. Hamurabi

The hanging gardens of Babylon, is also known as the Hanging Gardens of Simiramis and is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. I have written that the Taj Mahal was a testament of one ruler's love for his precious wife and the hanging gardens is no different.

My beloved comes from Iraq where the hanging gardens were said to have existed. He tells me so many fascinating stories from his homeland. Even if you are a westerner, chances are you are familiar with Iraq, not only because of what is happening in that country today, but if you were born a Christian you know that most of the Bible stories take place in Iraq. Christians have all heard of the ancient city of Babylon which today lies in ruins, but was once the cultural and intellectual seat of that part of the world. Christians understand Babylon to be the "den of iniquity" which to me could have appeared that way to simple sheep herders, but no different from the impression that the sheltered rural farmer of today would have in western countries when he goes out and visits any big city in the world. There is good and there is bad in a large metropolis, and it was no different back then, as I would imagine.

The site of the ruins of Babylon is close to Al-Hillah and about 100 miles from Matt's birthplace, Basra, in southern Iraq. However, everything about the hanging gardens is steeped in mystery and perhaps legend more than truth, which has gotten some historians thinking that the site never existed in the first place.

When I researched my article over a year ago for a research project I was doing at the time, I mentioned this to Matt and he was not daunted. The site existed, it was written about and recorded in history by an Iraqi writer living in Mesopotamia who said the hanging gardens was actually in Persia (Iran); yet the famed Greek historians Herodotus, Strabo and Diodorus Siculus did write about the splendors of Babylonia in great detail.

"Herodotus claimed the outer walls were 56 miles in length, 80 feet thick and 320 feet high. Wide enough, he said, to allow a four-horse chariot to turn. The inner walls were "not so thick as the first, but hardly less strong."

So if it was an Iraqi writer or Greek writer who wrote about it, it doesn't matter, for Matt is satisfied that the hanging gardens existed. It has also been written that the hanging gardens were destroyed after several earthquakes in the region around 200 BC.

I started this article by saying the hanging gardens is a testament of a ruler's love for his wife and although that still stands true, which leader and which wife is the question. Apparently we have two versions, the first and most popular version in the west is that the ruler was the great king Nebuchadnezzar who built them for his very beautiful wife Amytis, daughter of the Median King Astyages, in 553 BC (Medes was Northern Iran, not yet Persia at the time). He also boasted it was dedicated to his God, Marduk (connected with vegetation and water).

Matt maintains that it was Hamurabi (son of Nebuchadnezzar) who built the gardens of Simiramis for his wife. He tells me he has never heard of Amytis, but the love story still is chronicled in history all the same. You see, the Queen was a stranger to Mesopotamia and the flat dessert land she found there. She missed the beautiful mountains, water, and vegetation of her northern homeland. The king commissioned to have the mountains and waterfalls she loved so much come to her. He created the mountain, having his workers and slaves carry stone by stone up the mountain to create a series of vaults that he covered over with dirt and then vegetation.

Engineers have contemplated on how this waterfall, that ran up the manmade mountain filled with trees and vegetation and down again, could have been constructed. They have agreed that it must have been some kind of pulley and cart system, which the ancients were using. The German architect Robert Koldewey (1855-1925) is accredited with discovering the ancient city of Babylon in modern day Iraq. He also found the cellar of the hanging gardens of Babylon, but some call this discovery into question, defending their belief that the site is too far inland from the Euphrates River for workmen to be able to carry the buckets of water.

Matt also says "so what" to that,--the people of Mesopotamia in that period of history used canals and underground irrigation systems to get the water from the Euphrates. They had to, as the desert conditions of the area did not produce much rainfall. Thus it would be not a matter of how close the gardens were to the river to authenticate them.

The actual site might be disputed to today but the love of a powerful ruler and his homesick wife is not.

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Comments (2)

Nicely done. Really enjoyed this. Tweeted!

thanks Donald