The Wonder City of the Ancient World

Manila Bulletin, March 5, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Wonder City of the Ancient World


Byline: Nelly F Villafuerte

MANY of us who refuse and resist reading the Holy Bible say that the Holy Bible is a very dull book. I disagree with the perception that the Holy Bible is a very dull book. On the contrary, the Holy Bible is a very exciting book that has close relevance to our life in this modern world. There are many Biblical accounts that attest to the fact that the Holy Bible is a very exciting book. An example is the Babylon-Iraq connection.

* * *

Not many know that Iraq is the second most mentioned nation in the Holy Bible. Next to Israel. The world Iraq, however, is not mentioned in the Holy Bible. The words used in the Holy Bible for Iraq in the ancient world are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia. Yes, the land area now known as modern Iraq is identified with Mesopotamia, the land between Tigris and Euphrates mentioned in the Holy Bible. The Euphrates-Tigris Valley referred to sometimes as the Mesopotamian plain/region was called the Fertile Crescent. Mesopotamia is a Greek word that means the land between two rivers. This is where the earthas earliest peoples lived. This is the place where the Bible story begins. This is the historical place where many dynasties and empires rose and fell, such as Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, and Babylonia.

* * *

Still on Mesopotamia or the land between two rivers a[bar] this is the site of modern Iraq and some Biblical cities like Babylon. In the ancient world, Babylon was the wonder city. Babylon was at the zenith of its power and glory during the days of Daniel, the Hebrew statesman-prophet at Babylon (see the Book of Daniel, Old Testament). Babylon was then known as the Queen City, City of Gold, the Glory of Kingdoms. In the ancient world Babylon was the favorite place of kings and royalties,including Alexander the Great. Until its fall and the fulfillment of this prediction in the Holy Bible (see II Kings, Old Testament).

* * *

Today, the glory of Babylonia is a thing of the past. Only the archaeological excavations in modern Iraq confirm that thousands of years ago, the ancient peoples (like the Sumerians, Akkadians, and later the Assyrians) who settled in the fertile plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (see book of Genesis, Chapter 2, Verses 10-14) had flourishing civilizations. Now, for the most part, Babylon is a desert waste.

* * *

Unknown to many, Iraq has a rich cultural heritage. Although many of us are more familiar with Iraq as the land of Saddam Hussein. Iraq has hundreds of thousands of archaeological sites. About 10,000 sites have been identified but only a few have been excavated. Meaning that many of Iraqas ancient material past still remains buried. Unfortunately, just after the invasion of Iraq a few years ago in 2003, Babylon was chosen as the site for military base of troops. It was reported that some military commanders set up their camps in the heart of the Babylon, thus damaging the archaeology of Iraq and its cultural heritage to the whole world. In short, the impact on historical ruins brought about by the military vehicles and the thousands of sandbags have outraged archaeologists and antiquities experts from all over the world.

* * *

It is not a coincidence that the ancient Mesopotamian capital of Babylon is 55 miles south of Baghdad capital of Iraq. …

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