Neo-Babylonian Empire

   A term coined by modern historians to denote the Babylonian realm ruled by the dynasty begun by King Nabopolassar (reigned 626-605 b.c.), accordingly referred to as the Neo-Babylonian dynasty (sometimes called the Chaldean dynasty). The Neo-Babylonian Empire lasted from 626 to 539 b.c. Though short-lived compared to most other ancient Mesopota-mian empires, it witnessed much new construction of cities, palaces, temples, and bridges and is unusually well documented for a Mesopotamian realm.
   The founder of the dynasty and empire, Nabopolassar, is remembered best for his destruction of the Assyrian Empire with the aid of the Medes, led by King Cyaxares II. After the Assyrian strongholds of Nineveh and Harran were taken, Cyaxares' daughter, Amytis, married Nabopolassar's son, Nebuchadnezzar II. The latter, who ruled from 605 to 562 b.c., defeated an Egyptian army that had been sent to help the ailing Assyrians. Nebuchadnezzar eventually reigned over all of Mesopotamia plus Syria, Palestine, and parts of Anatolia, a large realm that roughly approximated the extent of the now-defunct Assyrian Empire. He also launched dozens of construction projects in Babylon and elsewhere in Mesopotamia.
   Nebuchadnezzar's reign marked the political height of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. After his death his son, Amel-Marduk, ruled only a few months before he was assassinated by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar. Neriglissar himself ruled only three years and was an ineffectual ruler. When he died, his son, Labashi-Marduk, who was still a child, became king, which opened the way for palace intrigues and a plot to usurp the throne. After only nine months, Nabonidus, the son of a local priestess of the moon god, was king. During his reign (555-539 b.c.) he invaded Arabia, where he spent ten years. During that time cyrus II of Persia was building up his own forces, which he unleashed against Babylonia in 539, defeating Na-bonidus and ending Babylonian independence. Thereafter, the Babylonians remained always subjects of other empires, including those of the Persians, Greeks, Parthians, and Sassanians.

Ancient Mesopotamia dictioary. . 2015.

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