No one looking at the site of ancient Babylon today would suspect that these hot and dreary wastes along the Euphrates were once the rich and powerful capital of a civilization that almost created astronomy, added richly to the progress of medicine, established the science of language, prepared the first great codes of law, taught the Greeks the rudiments of mathematics, physics and philosophy, gave the Jews the mythology which they gave to the world, and passed on to the Arabs part of that scientific and architectural lore which they aroused the dormant soul of medieval Europe.
The story of the flood and of the Garden of Paradise originated from the Sumerians. I’ve got to wonder about the automatic labeling of these stories as “myths”. The Bible is criticized when a story is not told anywhere else – no verification; and it is also criticized when a story is told by others – they just stole someone else’s myth. One cannot have it both ways.
But back to the Babylonians. They did not enjoy the isolation of the Egyptians. It originated by conquest of the Akkadians of the Sumerians; it was destined to be conquered again and yet again. Durant reckons Hammurabi as the greatest of their leaders. Their best legacy was their achievements in commerce and law.
Durant's Brief Outline
- From Hammurabi to Nebuchadrezzar
- The Toilers
- The Law
- The Gods of Babylon
I believe that this series is one of the great works of modern history literature. Its material is essential knowledge.