Siege of Limonum, early 51 B.C.
The siege of Limonum, early 51 B.C., was an unsuccessful attempt by the Andes, one of the last rebellious tribes in Gaul, to capture the chief town of the Pictones tribe. After the destruction of Vercingetorix's army at Alesia the remaining Gallic rebels decided not to raise another central army and instead to try and wear the Romans out with constant uprisings around the edges of the country.
One of those uprising was led by Dumnacus, the general of the Andes tribe, which occupied the area to the north of the lower Loire. While Caesar and most of his legions were occupied in the north-east, putting down the Bituriges, Carnutes and Bellovaci tribes, Dumnacus led his army south of the Loire, into the lands of the Pictones, and laid siege to Limonum (modern Poitiers).
The nearest Roman troops were two legions under Caius Caninius Rebilus. At the start of the winter of 52-51 B.C. he had been posted in the lands of the Ruteni, close to the north-western border of the Roman Province in southern Gaul, but by the late winter he had been given authority over a large part of western Gaul. Caesar was clearly worried that Caninius didn't have enough men to hold down such a large area, and so after the defeat of the Bellovaci he sent Caius Fabius and twenty five cohorts (two and a half legions) west to reinforce him.
Fabius had not yet arrived in the area when letters reached Caninius from Duracius, one of Rome's allies in the west, informing him of the situation in the country of the Pictones. Caninius led his legions towards Limonum, but as he approached the town he discovered that the town was being besieged by at least 12,000 men, and that Caninius was trapped inside. Aware that his legions were not particularly strong, Caninius built a well sited camp, and wrote to Fabius to inform him of the situation.
Dumnacus responded to the arrival of the Romans close to Lumonum by attacking their camp, but after several days of futile and costly assaults he turned back to continue his attack on the town.
The siege was only raised when Dumnacus discovered that Fabius, with his two and a half legions, was approaching. Dumnacus realised that he was about to be trapped between a strong Roman army and the defenders of the town, and decided to retreat back across the Loire. The Gauls were intercepted by Fabius before they could reach safety, and the retreating army suffered a very heavy defeat (battle on the Loire).
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Cleopatra, (Greek: “Famous in Her Father”) in full Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator (“Cleopatra the Father-Loving Goddess”), (born 70/69 bce —died August 30 bce , Alexandria), Egyptian queen, famous in history and drama as the lover of Julius Caesar and later as the wife of Mark Antony. She became queen on the death of her father, Ptolemy XII, in 51 bce and ruled successively with her two brothers Ptolemy XIII (51–47) and Ptolemy XIV (47–44) and her son Ptolemy XV Caesar (44–30). After the Roman armies of Octavian (the future emperor Augustus) defeated their combined forces, Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide, and Egypt fell under Roman domination. Cleopatra actively influenced Roman politics at a crucial period, and she came to represent, as did no other woman of antiquity, the prototype of the romantic femme fatale.
Why is Cleopatra famous?
While queen of Egypt (51–30 BCE), Cleopatra actively influenced Roman politics at a crucial period and was especially known for her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. She came to represent, as did no other woman of antiquity, the prototype of the romantic femme fatale. Cleopatra inspired numerous books, plays, and movies.
How did Cleopatra come to power?
When her father, Ptolemy XII, died in 51 BCE, Cleopatra and her brother, Ptolemy XIII, coruled until she was forced to flee, about 50 BCE. Aided by Julius Caesar, her lover, she returned to power upon her brother’s death in 47. She ruled with her brother-husband, Ptolemy XIV, and then with her son Caesarion.
What was Cleopatra like?
Cleopatra was charismatic and intelligent, and she used both qualities to further Egypt's political aims. She was also ruthless, reportedly killing several family members in order to solidify her power. The only member of her house to learn Egyptian, she was said to be a popular ruler.
How did Cleopatra die?
With the arrival of the conquering Octavian (the future Roman emperor Augustus), Cleopatra’s husband, Mark Antony, committed suicide under the false impression that she was dead. After burying him, the 39-year-old Cleopatra took her own life, though how is uncertain. Some claim it was by means of an asp, the symbol of divine royalty.
Pompey the Great assassinated
Upon landing in Egypt, Roman general and politician Pompey is murdered on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt.
During his long career, Pompey the Great displayed exceptional military talents on the battlefield. He fought in Africa and Spain, quelled the slave revolt of Spartacus, cleared the Mediterranean of pirates, and conquered Armenia, Syriaਊnd Palestine. Appointed to organize the newly won Roman territories in the East, he proved a brilliant administrator.
In 60 B.C., he joined with his rivals Julius Caesar and Marcus Licinius Crassus to form the First Triumvirate, and together the trio ruled Rome for seven years. Caesar’s successes aroused Pompey’s jealousy, however, leading to the collapse of the political alliance in 53 B.C. The Roman Senate supported Pompey and asked Caesar to give up his army, which he refused to do. In January 49 B.C., Caesar led his legions across the Rubicon River from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy, thus declaring war against Pompey and his forces.
Caesar made early gains in the subsequent civil war, defeating Pompey’s army in Italy and Spain, but he was later forced into retreat in Greece. In August 48 B.C., with Pompey in pursuit, Caesar paused near Pharsalus, setting up camp at a strategic location. When Pompey’s senatorial forces fell upon Caesar’s smaller army, they were entirely routed, and Pompey fled to Egypt.
Pompey hoped that King Ptolemy, his former client, would assist him, but the Egyptian king feared offending the victorious Caesar. On September 28, Pompey was invited to leave his ships and come ashore at Pelusium. As he prepared to step onto Egyptian soil, he was treacherously struck down and killed by an officer of Ptolemy.
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The Roman emperor Elagabalus may have taken power at the tender age of 15, but his four-year reign was anything but innocent. A native of Syria, Elagabalus seized control of Rome in 218 after his mother and grandmother sparked a revolt by claiming he was the illegitimate son of the recently murdered emperor Caracalla. The young ruler wasted little time in causing controversy. Before he had even arrived in the capital city he installed the Syrian sun god Elagabal—whose cult he ruled as high priest𠅊s the chief deity of Rome. He went on to shock the public with his sexual excesses, which supposedly included cross-dressing, prostitution and a romantic relationship with his chariot driver. Elagabalus also earned the scorn of Rome’s political class by allowing his mother to enter the male-only halls of the senate.
Already viewed by many in the empire as corrupt, Elagabalus caused yet another scandal when he married a vestal virgin𠅊 class of priestesses who were supposed to remain chaste𠅊nd proclaimed their union would produce god-like offspring. His debauched behavior eventually alienated the Praetorian Guard, and in 222 the 18-year-old emperor was assassinated and replaced by his cousin, Alexander Severus. Elagabalus was later characterized as one of the most decadent of all Rome’s leaders, but some modern historians have argued that his eccentric behavior was likely exaggerated by his political enemies in an attempt to discredit him.
Cleopatra’s Seduction of Mark Antony
With her infant son as co-regent, Cleopatra’s hold on power in Egypt was more secure than it had ever been. Still, unreliable flooding of the Nile resulted in failing crops, leading to inflation and hunger. Meanwhile, a conflict was raging in Rome between a second triumvirate of Caesar’s allies (Mark Antony, Octavian and Lepidus) and his assassins, Brutus and Cassius. Both sides asked for Egyptian support, and after some stalling Cleopatra sent four Roman legions stationed in Egypt by Caesar to support the triumvirate. In 42 B.C., after defeating the forces of Brutus and Cassius in the battles of Philippi, Mark Antony and Octavian divided power in Rome.
Mark Antony soon summoned Cleopatra to the Cicilian city of Tarsus (south of modern Turkey) to explain the role she had played in the complicated aftermath of Caesar’s assassination. According to the story recorded by Plutarch (and later dramatized famously by William Shakespeare), Cleopatra sailed to Tarsus in an elaborate ship, dressed in the robes of Isis. Antony, who associated himself with the Greek deity Dionysus, was seduced by her charms.
Alexander the Great (356 - 323 BC)
Alexander the Great in battle on his horse, Bucephalas © Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the nature of the ancient world in little more than a decade.
Alexander was born in Pella, the ancient capital of Macedonia in July 356 BC. His parents were Philip II of Macedon and his wife Olympias. Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Philip was assassinated in 336 BC and Alexander inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom. He quickly dealt with his enemies at home and reasserted Macedonian power within Greece. He then set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire.
Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without suffering a single defeat. His greatest victory was at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC. The young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, overlord of Asia Minor and pharaoh of Egypt became 'great king' of Persia at the age of 25.
Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered around two million square miles. The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far to the east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, while the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.
Alexander was acknowledged as a military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and those of his soldiers. The fact that his army only refused to follow him once in 13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.
1100-1500: The Middle English Period
The Middle English period saw the breakdown of the inflectional system of Old English and the expansion of vocabulary with many borrowings from French and Latin.
- 1150—Approximate date of the earliest surviving texts in Middle English.
- 1171—Henry II declares himself overlord of Ireland, introducing Norman French and English to the country. About this time the University of Oxford is founded.
- 1204—King John loses control of the Duchy of Normandy and other French lands England is now the only home of the Norman French/English.
- 1209—The University of Cambridge is formed by scholars from Oxford.
- 1215—King John signs the Magna Carta ("Great Charter"), a critical document in the long historical process leading to the rule of constitutional law in the English-speaking world.
- 1258—King Henry III is forced to accept the Provisions of Oxford, which establish a Privy Council to oversee the administration of the government. These documents, though annulled a few years later, are generally regarded as England's first written constitution.
- Late 13th century—Under Edward I, royal authority is consolidated in England and Wales. English becomes the dominant language of all classes.
- Mid to late 14th century—The Hundred Years War between England and France leads to the loss of almost all of England's French possessions. The Black Death kills roughly one-third of England's population. Geoffrey Chaucer composes The Canterbury Tales in Middle English. English becomes the official language of the law courts and replaces Latin as the medium of instruction at most schools. John Wycliffe's English translation of the Latin Bible is published. The Great Vowel Shift begins, marking the loss of the so-called "pure" vowel sounds (which are still found in many continental languages) and the loss of the phonetic pairings of most long and short vowel sounds.
- 1362—The Statute of Pleading makes English the official language in England. Parliament is opened with its first speech delivered in English.
- 1399 At his coronation, King Henry IV becomes the first English monarch to deliver a speech in English.
- Late 15th century—William Caxton brings to Westminster (from the Rhineland) the first printing press and publishes Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Literacy rates increase significantly, and printers begin to standardize English spelling. The monk Galfridus Grammaticus (also known as Geoffrey the Grammarian) publishes Thesaurus Linguae Romanae et Britannicae, the first English-to-Latin wordbook.
5. The Rise And Fall Of Babylon
The early history of Babylon is shrouded in mystery. First mentioned in the Bible is the record of Genesis 10:8-10 which names Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, as the founder of the city in the dim prehistoric past. Its name was derived from a later experience revealed in Genesis 11 where the inhabitants of the land of Shinar, the southern portion of Mesopotamia, are recorded as building a tower designed to reach the heavens. This may have been the beginning of a practice of building towers with religious significance. Such a tower is known as a ziggurat, designating an artificial mound of brick and soil elevated above the surrounding terrain.
The Biblical description of the tower is in keeping with the characteristics of the area. Lacking stones, they made brick and used slime or bitumen native to the area in the construction of the tower. According to Scripture, the inhabitants had said,
Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth (Genesis 11:3, 4).
The Scriptures record that the Lord judged the people and confounded their language with the result that the city and the tower were left unfinished (Genesis 11:5-8). The place according to Genesis 11:9 was “called Babel because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” It seems probable that the name given to the city in Genesis 10:10 actually supplanted the original name at this time, and this incident contributes to the long history of Babylon as a center of religious significance, and as a source of false religion and rebellion against the true God.
Although the city of Babylon does not rise to prominence until 1830 b.c., the area in which it is located, called Babylonia, had a long history. Early civilization near the site of ancient Ur in lower Babylonia dates from the fourth millennium b.c. and successive civilizations have been traced from 2800 b.c. The period of the early dynasties (2800-2360 b.c.) recorded an advanced civilization including great temples, canals, and other construction. The old Akkadian period (2360-2180 b.c.) included the extensive empire of Sargon from Persia to the Mediterranean. This was followed by the Neo-Sumerian period (2070-1960 b.c.), in which time Abraham was born. The land was sacked by the Elamites and Amorites in the period 1960-1830 b.c.
The history of Babylonia proper, known as the Old Babylonia period (1830-1550 b.c.), included the brilliant reign of Hammurabi (1728-1686 b.c.) whose famous Code was discovered in 1901. Babylonia was next invaded by the Kassites in the period 1550-1169 b.c. This was followed by Dynasty II of Isin (1169-1039 b.c.), whose kings were native Babylonians. In the period from 1100 to 625 b.c. the land suffered various invasions including that of Assyria. In 729 b.c. Tiglath-pileser became king of Babylon and later in 689 b.c. attacked by Sennacherib, Babylon was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt by Esarhaddon, and was finally wrested from Assyria around 625 b.c. when the Neo-Babylonian Empire was founded by Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar. With the help of the Medes, Nineveh was destroyed in 612 b.c. Necho of Egypt was defeated in 605 b.c. The stage was now set for the brilliant reign of Nebuchadnezzar which included the earlier conquering of Jerusalem in 606 b.c., the ultimate captivity of its inhabitants, and the destruction of the city itself.
The Prophecies Of Isaiah Concerning Babylon
Apart from a reference to a “Babylonish garment” in Joshua 7:21, there is no Biblical reference to Babylon after Genesis 11 until the great prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel unfolded God’s plan for the ancient city. Most of the Biblical prophecies relating to Babylon are in relation to the captivity and God’s revelation to Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel concerning the ultimate end of the captivity both for Israel and for Babylon. Most remarkable, however, are the prophecies of Isaiah delivered a century before Babylon had risen to power and recorded at a time when Babylon was still in obscurity with no indication of its coming greatness. Outstanding chapters in Isaiah’s predictions are 13, 14, and 47 with scattered references elsewhere (21:9, 39:1, 3, 6, 7 43:14 48:14, 20).
The predictions of Isaiah have to do with Babylon’s ultimate destruction in the Day of the Lord. The near and the far view are often mingled as in chapter 13. The destruction of Babylon is pictured in Isaiah 13:1-11 as part of God’s program to punish the entire world (cp. 13:11). The historic conquering of Babylon by the Medes and the Persians is mentioned specifically in Isaiah 13:17-19.
Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb their eye shall not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
The prophet seems to refer to the far view, that is, the destruction of Babylon in relation to the second coming of Christ in 13:20-22. Here it is declared:
It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.
As far as the historic fulfillment is concerned, it is obvious from both Scripture and history that these verses have not been literally fulfilled. The city of Babylon continued to flourish after the Medes conquered it, and though its glory dwindled, especially after the control of the Medes and Persians ended in 323 b.c., the city continued in some form or substance until a.d. 1000 and did not experience a sudden termination such as is anticipated in this prophecy.
Interpretation has been made more difficult by the varied meanings of Babylon itself. Sometimes the term (in the Hebrew Babel) refers to the city whose history continued and was flourishing even during the Apostolic period when it became a center of Jewish learning after the destruction of Jerusalem. Sometimes the term is used in reference to the political power of Babylon which obviously fell in one night when the Medes and the Persians took control of Babylon. Sometimes it is used in a religious sense, for Babylon has been the fountain of many of the pagan religions which have competed with Judaism and Christian faith ever since. The interpretation of Isaiah 13:20-22 is inevitably determined by the meaning assigned to Revelation 17, 18.
Many interpreters agree that Babylon in its religious and political sense will be revived at the end of the age. Debated is the conclusion that the city itself will have a physical revival to become the capital of the world at the end of the age. Such a rebuilding of the ancient city would make possible a literal fulfillment of the prophecy of complete and sudden destruction as predicted in Isaiah 13:19-22.
Isaiah 14 seems to confirm that the ultimate destruction in view is one related to the second advent of Christ and the Day of the Lord. The satanic power behind Babylon addressed as “Lucifer, son of the morning” (14:12) is portrayed both in his original rebellion against God and in his ultimate judgment. The destruction of Babylon is related to the judgment upon “all the kings of the nations” (14:18).
Another massive prophecy against Babylon is found in Isaiah 47. Here a prediction of Babylon’s utter humiliation is given, and the foreview seems to relate primarily to the capture of Babylon by the Medes and the Persians. The sad pronouncement is made at the conclusion of the passage, “None shall save thee” (Isaiah 47:15). The major attention given to Babylon in Isaiah’s prophecies confirm Babylon’s importance in prophecy relating to the nations.
The Prophecies Of Jeremiah Concerning Babylon
The prophet Jeremiah like Isaiah devotes two long chapters to the prediction of Babylon’s ultimate judgment and destruction (Jeremiah 50, 51). If the prophecies of Isaiah are remarkable for their anticpation of Babylon’s rise to power and the captivity of Judah a hundred years before it actually occurred, the prophecies of Jeremiah are notable because they were delivered at the peak of Babylon’s power when it seemed most unlikely that the great nation would fall. Babylon is pictured as being punished because of its cruel treatment of Israel (50:17, 18 51:24, 49).
Practically all of the predictions of Jeremiah seem to relate to the fall of Babylon by the attack of the Medes and the Persians. Only occasionally does there seem to be a reference to a future ultimate destruction as in Jeremiah 51:62-64. The prophecies of Jeremiah predicting the fall of Babylon at the hands of the Medes and the Persians were graphically fulfilled approximately sixty-five years later, as recorded in Daniel 5.
Major attention is devoted to the captivity of Judah in the prophecies of both Jeremiah and Ezekiel. There is almost constant reference to the Babylonian captivity of Judah in Jeremiah beginning in chapter 20 numerous references are also found in Ezekiel. Much of Jeremiah’s ministry was to his own generation as he predicted the downfall of Jerusalem and the victory of the Babylonian armies. Jeremiah is seen as the true prophet of God in contrast to the false prophets who had predicted victory over Babylon (cp. Jeremiah 28:1-17). Jeremiah’s prophecies were largely ignored. The first copy of his book was destroyed by the king (36:23). Jeremiah himself suffered affliction and imprisonment (37:15-38:13). With the capture of Jerusalem, the prophecies of Jeremiah were fully vindicated.
Most important were Jeremiah’s prophecies concerning the duration of the captivity, designated as seventy years in Jeremiah 25:11 and 29:10. It was this prophecy which was read by Daniel which led to his prayer for the return of the captives to Jerusalem (Daniel 9:2).
A prominent theme of Jeremiah’s prophecies were predictions against Egypt in which he anticipated that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Egypt. As a traditional enemy of Israel, Egypt was thus to experience God’s judgment in the form of coming under the power of Babylon. Jeremiah devotes considerable Scripture to this theme, including 43:10-13 44:30 46:1-26. In chapter 44 Jeremiah sends a message to the Jews in Egypt in which he predicts that their attempt to escape the power of Babylon would only result in their own destruction.
The Prophecies Of Ezekiel Concerning Babylon
Ezekiel echoes the prophecies of Jeremiah relating to the Babylonian captivity (Ezekiel 17:12-24) and like Jeremiah predicts the conquering of Egypt (29:18, 19 30:10-25 32:1-32). Added is the prediction of the destruction of Tyre in Ezekiel 26:7- 28:19.
It is obvious from these many passages in the prophets that Babylon occupies a large place in the prophetic program of the Old Testament for the nations surrounding Israel. It is with this context that Daniel the prophet takes up the theme and relates God’s dealings with Babylon to His ultimate purpose of bringing all nations into subjection unto the Son of God.
The Prophecies Of Daniel Concerning Babylon
Daniel’s first recognition of Babylon prophetically was in his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Babylon was represented in the great image by the head of gold, and Daniel recognized the importance of Nebuchadnezzar:
Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold (Daniel 2:37, 38).
After the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel’s vision recorded in chapter 7 includes much added revelation. In his description of the first beast which represents Babylon, Daniel states, “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it” (Daniel 7:4).
Babylon was indeed like the lion, the king of beasts, and had eagle’s wings like the king of birds. That the wings would be plucked and the beast would stand as a man with a man’s heart was the divine portrayal of Nebuchadnezzar’s experience in Daniel 4 as well as an anticipation of the ultimate humiliation of the Babylonian rulers in Daniel 5. In Daniel’s interpretation of the tree vision of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, he had predicted Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation in which he suffered seven years of insanity before his reason returned. Nebuchadnezzar was ready then to give praise to God as he does in Daniel 4:2, 3, 34-37. The prophecies of Daniel were meticulously fulfilled.
The Fall Of Babylon
The fall of the Babylonian Empire came suddenly when the Medes and the Persians overran the city of Babylon in a night attack in 539 b.c. Prior to this event, the Babylonian Empire had already fallen on evil days. When Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 b.c., he was succeeded by his son Amel-Marduk who was assassinated only two years later. In 560 b.c. Neriglissar took the throne. When he died in 556 B.C, after only four years of reign, he was succeeded by his son who was assassinated shortly after he came to the throne. Nabonidus then assumed power appointing his son Belshazzar as co-ruler. It was this Belshazzar who held the ungodly feast of Daniel 5 and perished at the hands of the Medes and Persians.
At the time of the downfall of the city of Babylon recorded in Daniel 5, the city was still a monument to the genius of Nebuchadnezzar. According to Herodotus, the city was approximately 14 miles square with the Euphrates River bisecting it north and south. Two sets of walls inner and outer protected the city and, according to standards of the day, rendered it safe from attack from without. If Herodotus can be believed, the walls were indeed formidable being 350 feet high and 87 feet thick. Walls also lined the river on either side and 150 gates of solid brass protected the entrances. On the wall were some 250 watchtowers, 100 feet higher than the wall itself. The outside wall had a deep water moat some 30 feet wide.
During the height of its power, provisions were stored in Babylon supposedly sufficient for twenty years of siege and designed to discourage anyone attacking it. Within the walls the city was laid out in square blocks with beautiful houses lining the streets usually three and four stories in height. The city also included great parks and gardens, some of which, such as the hanging gardens described by Diodorus, were outstanding wonders in the ancient world. The gardens were built on terraces and supported large trees. A great bridge some 660 feet long and 30 feet wide bridged the Euphrates River and connected the eastern and western halves of the city. Notable buildings were also found such as the palace of the king, the temple of Bel over eight stories in height, and many other buildings of less importance.
It was this city, proud of its supposed invulnerability, which had ignored the rapidly expanding power of the Medes and the Persians. Media as a separate kingdom had matched the rise of the Babylonian Empire. After the Medes had captured Asshur in 614 b.c. under alliance with the Chaldeans, they had also captured Nineveh. The downfall of the Assyrian Empire, marked by these events, paved the way for the rise in power of Media which was in alliance with Nebuchadnezzar during most of his reign. Persia was also, rising in power, however, and under Cyrus II Media was conquered by the Persians about 549 b.c. Media and Persia were united in a common government which lasted until Alexander the Great in 331 b.c. Their armies had proceeded to conquer much of the territory around Babylon before the fateful night in 539 b.c. (Daniel 5).
Setting siege to the large city of Babylon, the Medes had dug a canal diverting the water that flowed under the city wall. At the very time of Belshazzar’s impious feast, they were entering the city on the dry channel underneath the mighty walls. The drinking feast celebrated by the one thousand lords apparently was shared by other inhabitants so that the normal watch kept on the walls was not observed, allowing the invaders valuable time in conquering the city before their presence was fully known. At the very time the Medes were pouring into the city, the handwriting appeared on the wall (Daniel 5:5, 24-28). Daniel correctly interpreted the writing as spelling the doom of the Babylonian Empire and the beginning of the empire of the Medes and the Persians (Daniel 5:28, 31). Thus ended the fabulous reign of the Babylonian Empire, the symbol of Gentile glory and moral and religious wickedness.
Continued Influence Of Babylon
Although the fall of Babylon marked the end of political rule of Babylonian rulers, much of the Babylonian culture, its pagan religions, and its ideology were continued in the kingdoms which followed. Babylonian influence was perpetuated down through the centuries especially in ancient pagan religions. Babylon, the symbol of religious confusion, was to appear again in the apostate church of Revelation 17, and its political power was to be revived in the final form of the Roman Empire as depicted in Revelation 18. Even if literal Babylon is not rebuilt as a city in the last days and subjected to the sudden destruction described in Revelation 18, Babylon as an influence for evil politically and religiously will not be terminated until Jesus Christ comes in power and glory to reign.
The Bottom Line
Globalization and the maturity of the world economy have prompted calls for the retirement of antitrust laws. In the early 1900s, anyone suggesting that the government didn’t need to have a hammer to smash big business would have been eyed suspiciously, like a member of either a lunatic fringe or one of Wall Street’s big money cartels.
Over the years, these calls have been coming from people like economist Milton Friedman, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, and everyday consumers. If the history of government and business is any indication, then the government is more likely to increase the range and power of antitrust laws rather than relinquish such a useful weapon.
U.S. oil and gas output increased by about 57% over the past decade until early 2020 as advances in fracking technology unlocked vast reserves in various areas of the country. Fracking returned the U.S. to the status of one of the world's biggest oil producers, reducing U.S. demand for imported oil and turning the U.S. into a net exporter. At its peak, the Permian Basin region of Texas and New Mexico has produced more crude oil than most OPEC nations.
Partly as a result, the price of crude oil fell from about $87 per barrel in early 2010 to just under $51 by January 2020.