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Information on the Neo-Babylonian city is available from archaeological excavations and from classical sources.Babylon was described, perhaps even visited, by a number of classical historians including Ctesias, Herodotus, Quintus Curtius Rufus, Strabo, and Cleitarchus.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, although a number of scholars believe these were actually in the Assyrian capital of Nineveh.One of the earliest is a tablet describing the Akkadian king Šar-kali-šarri laying the foundations in Babylon of new temples for Annūnı̄tum and Ilaba.Babylon also appears in the administrative records of the Third Dynasty of Ur, which collected in-kind tax payments and appointed an ensi as local governor.These reports are of variable accuracy and some of the content was politically motivated, but these still provide useful information.References to the city of Babylon can be found in Akkadian and Sumerian literature from the late third millennium BC.After the Amorite king Hammurabi created a short-lived empire in the 18th century BC, he built Babylon up into a major city and declared himself its king, and southern Mesopotamia became known as Babylonia and Babylon eclipsed Nippur as its holy city.
The empire waned under Hammurabi's son Samsu-iluna and Babylon spent long periods under Assyrian, Kassite and Elamite domination.The Book of Genesis, chapter 10, claims that king Nimrod founded Babel, Uruk, and Akkad.Ctesias, quoted by Diodorus Siculus and in George Syncellus's Chronographia, claimed to have access to manuscripts from Babylonian archives, which date the founding of Babylon to 2286 BC, under the reign of its first king, Belus.These included 967 clay tablets, stored in private houses, with Sumerian literature and lexical documents.Historical knowledge of early Babylon must be pieced together from epigraphic remains found elsewhere, such as at Uruk, Nippur, and Haradum., Bāwēl) was a key kingdom in ancient Mesopotamia from the 18th to 6th centuries BCE.