Hanging Gardens of Babylon "found" ... at Nineveh


I really enjoyed Dalley’s book The Legacy of Mesopotamia. Somehow I missed that she’s just come out with a new book called The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon. Well, Christmas is coming.

Someday I’d really like to visit Iraq to try and find and retrace the steps of Gilgamesh and see where the hanging gardens might have been. Right now doesn’t seem like a good time to do so, though. I’m glad Dalley’s carrying on her work.

I’m afraid she’s a bit mistaken. Those are the somewhat less famous Hanging Gardens of Nineveh.
The hanging gardens of Babylon are a bit farther south.


The real story here is that a respected scientist is proposing that an ancient site of interest is older than previously thought and no one has yet tried to burn them at the stake.


Uh, Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrian’s and the Babylonians were arch enemies for hundreds (thousands?) of years. The city of Babylon ended when the Assyrian Empire killed everyone in the city, burned every building, diverted a river over the ruins, and then salted the earth and seeded what remained with thorny and poisonous plants. Saying that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were really in Nineveh is like saying that the Statue of Liberty was actually in Moscow, the Colosseum was really in Carthage, and the Eiffel Tower was actually Berlin.

I’m not saying that this archaeologist is wrong, just that it seems like a pretty large oversight in history if the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were really in the capital of their arch nemesis that would eventually erase Babylon, one of the greatest cities of the old world.

The article says something about the confusion stemming from a later, third party culture (I think it was the Greeks) calling Assyria or Nineveh “New Babylon.” So, you’re right, but we still call Native Americans “Indians” for the same reason. In the next millenium, someone will hear about this for the first time and make the comment “But that’s impossible! No Indians lived in ancient North America! India is on the opposite side of the world!” Once a name gains traction, it tends to persist even among people who know it’s wrong. The burning of the Library of Alexandria seems like it might figure into this misnomer’s persistence, too.

@Listener43, your comment seems like sarcasm, but I’ll go ahead and @ you anyway.

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