BAC 2008


Ancient Babylon

PART ONE: READING                                                                           (14 pts)

Read the passage carefully then do the activities.


A. COMPREHENSION                                                                                                        (07pts) 

Ancient Babylon

      Babylon was the name of the main centre of agriculture in the region known as Mesopotamia. The city of Babylon was considered the holy city of the state Babylonia. Babylonia was comprised of two territories Sumer and Akkad. The Sumerians were an ancient group of people that were known for having one of the earliest forms of writing called cuneiform.


      Hammurabi, the first king of the actual Babylonian Empire, once again made Babylon the capital of the Empire in the region. Though the date of rule for Hammurabi is unknown, it is believed that he inherited the throne from his father, Sin-muballit, in 1792 B.C. and remained on the throne till his death in 1750 B.C. At this time, the kingdom of Babylonia extended through nearly the entire Mesopotamian region. Hammurabi was a successful ruler since he was able to take all of the cities and territories south and north of Babylonia under his rule. However, King Hammurabi was most famous for comprising a set of laws for the people of Babylon to follow. These laws were known as the Code of Hammurabi.


      Some historians believe Babylon was the first modern Metropolis. It was the biggest city in the region and became the home of many faithful followers of Hammurabi. This wasn’t just because Hammurabi believed in being a fair ruler, but it was also because Babylon became the centre of agriculture in the Middle East and beyond. Hammurabi helped to develop a process for irrigation that would ensure the crops of the Fertile Crescent. The people depended on the land for food, so successful irrigation methods were quite important to the success of the crops in this otherwise arid region.


      Once Hammurabi died, the city of Babylon was ruled by Nabopolassar in the 7th century B.C. He was the first to begin the process of returning Babylon to the empire it had been in the days of Hammurabi. Despite the efforts of Nabopolassar to make Babylon a true empire again, he was unable to achieve that glory. It was his son, Nebuchadnezzar II who would actually make Babylon into a more popular and prosperous empire. He started this process by making Babylon beautiful, so he created the Hanging Gardens of Babylon which is now considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. After Nebuchadnezzar II had died, Babylon became a part of the Persian Empire under the rule of Cyrus. This lasted until the ultimate takeover by the most famous Macedonian King, Alexander the Great. Alexander’s rule extended into the East, making his empire the largest unified empire the world has ever seen.


      Today, the few remaining structures from the empirical period of Babylonian rule exist. Located along the East bank of the Euphrates River, which is where the main part of the city of Babylon was located, sit three remaining structures.  Throughout the years, war-torn Iraq has all but destroyed what remains of one of the most intriguing and developed empires the world has ever seen.


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