NEO-BABYLONIAN EMPIRE
(605–539 B.C.)
   It was founded by the Babylonian king Nabopolassar (reigned 626–605 B.C.), who with the help of the Medes brought the Neo-Assyrian empire to its knees by destroying Nineveh and other major Assyrian cities. Nabopolassar’s son Nebuchadrezzar II (reigned 605–562), an able military commander, managed to ward off Egyptian claims on the western former Assyrian provinces in Syria and the Levant, and he maintained control over the central south Anatolian regions as well. The Iranian regions remained under Persian rule. The Babylonian empire was thus the heir to the Assyrian empire and reaped the economic rewards, which were primarily invested in reconstructing the ancient Babylonian cities, especially Babylon. The empire weathered serious internal political problems after Nebuchadrezzar’s death; his son Amel-Marduk was assassinated by his brother-in-law Neriglissar, who only ruled three years, leaving a minor on the throne, which triggered further bloody intrigues. Nabonidus (reigned 555–539 B.C.) emerged victorious from the fray and, perhaps in anticipation of Persian ambitions under the new Achaemenid dynasty, moved westward to Arabia, where he built up a strong Babylonian presence before returning to Babylon. In any event, his efforts were fruitless. He faced Cyrus II in battle and was defeated. The Persian king then took possession of Babylon and assumed the Babylonian throne, marking the end of Babylonian independence.
   See also NEO-BABYLONIAN.

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. . 2012.

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