By Michael Seymour
Babylon: for eons its very identify has been a byword for luxurious and wickedness. 'By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept', wrote the psalmist, 'as we remembered Zion'. one of many maximum towns of the traditional global, Babylon has been eclipsed by way of its personal sinful attractiveness. for 2 thousand years the true, actual city lay buried whereas one other, ghostly urban lived on, engorged on money owed of its personal destruction. extra lately the location of Babylon has been the centre of significant excavation: but the incredible result of this paintings have performed little displace the various different attention-grabbing ways that the town has continued and reinvented itself in tradition. Saddam Hussein, for one, notoriously exploited the Babylonian fantasy to affiliate himself and his regime with its wonderful earlier. Why has Babylon so creatively fired the human mind's eye, with effects either sturdy and in poor health? Why has it been so enchanting to such a lot of, and for therefore lengthy? In exploring solutions, Michael Seymour' s publication levels generally over area and time and embraces paintings, archaeology, heritage and literature. From Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar, through Strabo and Diodorus, to the publication of Revelation, Brueghel, Rembrandt, Voltaire, William Blake and sleek interpreters like Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino and Gore Vidal, the writer brings to gentle a carnival of disparate assets ruled via the strong and intoxicating inspiration of depravity. but pleasing as this darkish mythology used to be and has endured to be, at its root lies a impressive and complex imperial civilization whose advanced state-building, legislations- making and faith ruled Mesopotamia and past for millennia, ahead of its incorporation into the nonetheless wider empire of the Achaemenid kings.
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Extra info for Babylon: Legend, History and the Ancient City
Every year regularly it is tinged with blood … Their story is that during these days Adonis is wounded, and that the river’s nature is changed by the blood which flows into its waters; and that it takes its name from this blood. 9. I went up also from Byblos into the Libanus, a single day’s journey, as I had heard that there was an ancient temple of Aphrodite there founded by Cinyras. 101 Professor Jane L. Lightfoot, editor of Lucian: On the Syrian Goddess (De Dea Syria),102 introduces the reader to the eyewitness perspective of one Lucian, from the sacred city of Hierapolis in northern Syria.
Aphrodite and Venus: Myth Timeless and Temporal 47 Such a psycho-erotic plea to the love goddess is designed to transform Sappho’s status from unrequited lover to maddening object of desire. Turn-taking heightens the erotic prayer formula, leading one to argue that this panegyric to Aphrodite, itself a dramatic ritual of lyrical performance, actually steals the limelight from Sappho’s troubled psyche. 107 Speculation on Sappho’s life and works continues; for instance, that she migrated to Sicily during the reign of Aristocles, and that her lyric poems were burnt by the anti-pagan Western and Byzantine churches in the Middle Ages, with Gregory Nazianzan’s verses substituted instead.
They accept romance as a sequence laid down by Aphrodite and anticipate their own willing seduction in Argos. They refer to the Erotes and Aphrodite as stagemanaging a process, one consistent with all ancient interpretations of the goddess. But The Suppliants (the well-preserved first of a trilogy (preceding The Egyptians and Danaids) reveals the girls’ mass murder of their Egyptian husbands to save their father’s life. Even so, Aphrodite seems more dignified in Seven Against Thebes (467 BC) as a source of comfort for a desperate polis when the power struggle between Eteocles and Polynices deteriorates rapidly.
Babylon: Legend, History and the Ancient City by Michael Seymour