Alongside Hammurabi, Nebuchadnezzar II is remembered as one of Ancient Babylon's most influential kings. Nearly 1,000 years after his famous predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar oversaw the expansion of the Neo-Babylonian Empire during the seventh and sixth centuries BC, which placed him in conflict with Egypt and the ancient kingdom of Judah. His ruthless conquest of Judah resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and the entire kingdom, and it ultimately earned him notoriety in the Old Testament, where he is mentioned in the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
In addition to being depicted in the Bible, Nebuchadnezzar was well known among ancient historians and contemporary writers because of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the ancient wonders of the world. According to ancient accounts, Nebuchadnezzar constructed the Hanging Gardens for his homesick wife by creating terraced and cultivated orchards that were built over a series of buildings made of glazed ceramic. An estimated several thousands of gallons of water was drawn from a reservoir through a network of reeds and bricks, held together by asphalt and cement, with lead used as a sealant. The Gardens were built on a citadel 80 feet high, with walls 22 feet thick. To this day, Nebuchadnezzar is associated with the Hanging Gardens, even as scholars continue to question whether the Hanging Gardens were actually built in Babylon or even existed at all.
While Nebuchadnezzar’s name lives on mostly due to the Bible and the Hanging Gardens, behind it all was a man documented by the Babylonians and his contemporaries as a competent and successful king.
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