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Ancient Mesopotamia
The Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon



The Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.41

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    balal, multi-storied, sun-baked, blueprint, olden, truthful, heyday, disrupt, agreement, homeland, vaulted, civilization, alias, present-day, traditional, elusive
     content words:    Hanging Gardens, When God, And Babylon, Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar II, Median King, Euphrates River, Seven Wonders, Ancient World, Assyrian Queen Sammu-ramat


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The Tower of Babel and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
By Vickie Chao
  

1     In the olden days, Mesopotamia -- the bulk of it in present-day Iraq -- was where all the action took place. More than 5,000 years ago, people in Mesopotamia built the world's first cities. They created the world's first written language. And they brought forth the world's first civilization. Back in their heyday, they had two buildings that were their pride and joy. The first was the Tower of Babel. The second was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
 
2     According to the Bible (the Book of Genesis 11: 1-9), the Babylonians had an ambitious plan. In order to make a name for themselves, they wanted to build a splendid city and a giant tower in the land of Shinar (Babylonia). As they sketched out the blueprint, they decided that they wanted the top of their tower to reach the heavens. When God heard of the idea, He was not pleased. To disrupt the work, God made each of the workers speak a different language. Since they could no longer talk to each other, they had to stop the project. Eventually, those workers all moved away to settle in other parts of the world. God later called this city Babel because it sounded like the Hebrew verb balal (meaning "to confuse"). Babel, thus, became an alias of Babylon. And Babylon was the capital of Babylonia.
 
3     While the Bible gives us a pretty detailed account about the Tower of Babel, we cannot be sure how truthful the story is. We only know that this tale was used to explain why there were so many languages on Earth. For centuries, scholars have been trying to find out if the Tower of Babel actually existed. So far, they have not been able to reach an agreement. Some believe that the Tower of Babel is a myth. Others think it is real. Those who do have argued over its exact location.

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