» Home > In the News

Babylon in Nineveh

8 May 2013

At www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/may/05/babylon-hanging-garden-wonder-nin… … S Dalley of Oxford University has accumulated a lot of evidence to show the Hanging Gardens were erected in Nineveh rather than in Babylon, in the reign of Sennacherib rather than Nebuchadnezzar. The two cities are 300 miles apart and the Assyrians had a history of creating parks and gardens.

Dalley found that a 7th century Assyrian inscription had been mistranslated in the 1920s – and this brought the sleuth out in her. She was astonished to find Sennacherib had erected a complex system of canals, dams and aquaducts to bring water from the mountain streams 50 miles distant. Recent excavations at Nineveh have found traces of the aquaducts, one of them was so big it ruins look like a piece of motorway infrastructure (from aerial photography). 

Dalley has written a book, The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon, Oxford University Press:2013. Sennacherib's palace was guarded by a pair of colossal copper lions and the steps to the entranceway were made of precious stones. The garden recreated a mountain landscape – with terraces, pillared walkways, exotic plants and trees, and rippling streams of water gushing over stones. According to Dalley the only ancient author to name Nebuchadnezzar as the creator of the hanging garden was Josephus – and he lived in the first century AD. Dalley also claims that even in the Bible there is considerable confusion between Nineveh and Babylon, quoting the Book of Ruth. Little of Nineveh has been excavated – and come to that, not much of Babylon. 

Skip to content