A brief history of the Fertile Crescent 3000BCE – 570BCE (11)

Posted: April 5, 2016 in Ancient Near Eastern History, History
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Fertile Crescent (By 92bari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Fertile Crescent (By 92bari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons)

When Nebuchadrezzar died in 562 he was followed by his son Evil-Merodach but his reign was short. According to one source ‘he managed affairs in a lawless and outrageous fashion’. Another says he paid little heed to his counsellors or the temples. He was certainly deposed and probably murdered within the year at the behest of his Sisters Husband Neriglissar, who took the throne. He died a few years later following a military campaign and was succeeded by his son, who in turn was killed by Nabonidas who came to the throne in 556. His claim to the throne is not clear as his heritage was Assyrian, having been born in the city of Harran, once briefly the capital of the Assyrian Empire. Inscriptions imply that he came from a lowly background. The records do however, suggest that he might have been married to a daughter of Nebuchadrezzar and so although he had no claim to the throne, his son did as a grandson of the great King. This could be borne out by the fact that Nabonidas reigned in a power-sharing arrangement with his son Belshazzar (of the feast and writing on the wall fame). Belshazzar was noted as being a good soldier, but a poor politician who had a knack of upsetting people by his actions. Amongst these were the religious and military elites of the kingdom. The reason for the former is clear as he and his father suppressed the worship of Marduk, the traditional god of Babylon in favour of the moon god. The most likely reason for this is that Nabonidas’ mother was the high priestess of the Moon God Temple in Harran.

Relief of Cyrus at the gate of Pasargadae. "Olympic Park Cyrus-3" by Siamax. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olympic_Park_Cyrus-3.jpg#/media/File:Olympic_Park_Cyrus-3.jpg

Relief of Cyrus at the gate of Pasargadae. “Olympic Park Cyrus-3” by Siamax. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olympic_Park_Cyrus-3.jpg#/media/File:Olympic_Park_Cyrus-3.jpg

The Persians King Cyrus was becoming very popular in Babylon. In contrast to Nabonidus and Balthasar, Cyrus portrayed himself as the saviour of the true Babylonian religion, chosen by Marduk to restore order and justice and the worship of Marduk to the people of Babylon.
Cyrus invaded Babylon in 539 and within a few years the whole Neo-Babylonian empire was under Persian rule.

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