Beautiful History of “Hanging Garden of Babylon”
King Nebuchadnezzar II who ruled Babylon (near Iran) for 43 years in 605 BC built this one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world. He builds this garden for his wife, Amytis, a princess of Media, who loved gardening. This garden reminded her of birth land. But there is no mention of this beautiful garden in Kings recording, cuneiform.
An alternative theory suggests that Semiramis an Assyrian Queen built the garden in 810 BC. It is one of the ancient world wonders which don’t have any proof of its existence. It is believed that the garden was built in different layers in the terrace high above the ground. The hanging is derived from Greek word “Kermastos” or the latin word “pensilis” which means overhanging. Since not much evidence of the garden existed there were many theories related to this hanging garden.
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One of them is that the garden was located 75 feet above the ground level and it needed almost 8200 gallons of water for plants. It was also speculated that water would have been carried to the top to water the plants. In 800 BC, a Greek historian, Herodotus suggested that the garden walls were 320 feet high and 56 miles long with a width of 80 feet. He had also described the walls to be embedded with gold statues. But he didn’t mention the hanging garden in his Histories.
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Berossus, a priest, is the only writer to describe the association of hanging garden to King Nebuchadnezzar II. According to Diodorus Siculus, a Greek historian, the garden was around 400 feet long and wide with 80 feet tall walls between 60 and 30 BC. And later, Robert Koldewey, a german archaeologist in the period between 1899 and 1917 found evidence to support Diodorus’s discovery.
He also described holes in the garden floor which many have been used for watering the plants. But many archaeologists have raised doubts in the discovery of Koldeway as he found the holes too far from the river which would have difficult to water the plants. It is not exactly known how the garden got destroyed, but some popular theories such as war, erosions, and earthquake exist.
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There were many theories which state that the hanging garden is just a fictional description due to lack of evidence. A very recent theory states that King Sennacherib, an Assyrian King who resigned between 704 and 681 BC had constructed the garden which is near Nineveh. In late 20th century, it was suggested that the story of Hanging garden is just a myth. But a British Scholar, Stephanie Dalley, put forward that the cities were confused during the time and credit of the garden went to King Nebuchadnezzar II.
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She also put forward many arguments to prove her point like the there were written description of water engineering in Sennacherib’s writings. She had given evidence to suggest the location of the garden near Nineveh. Historical records of Assyrian give evidence of the existence of hanging garden in Nineveh. There is a structure of garden represented from Nineveh in The British Museum’s Garden relief.
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