Because of the historical significance and legendary status achieved by the city of Babylon, the term "Babylonian" is often used as a blanket term to refer to all of the cultures and tribes of the southern Mesopotamian region, including the Sumerians, Akkadians, Amorites, Hittites, Kassites, Assyrians, Arameans, and Chaldeans.
Historical records show the first mentions of the city of Babylon as early as the 23rd century B.C. For centuries, it had been an insignificant suburb of the Sumerian capital of Ur until around 1792 B.C., when Hammurabi came to power. Under Hammurabi, the constant bickering between the Sumerians and Akkadians came to an end and the famous Code of Hammurabi ("An Eye for an Eye") was established. "The Code" contained 283 paragraphs that covered topics ranging from penal codes to family law. It is widely considered to be the most complete early code of laws, though literary scholars frown at Hammurabi's lack of imagination and originality, citing the number of times he ended a paragraph with the words "he shall be put to death." Luckily for Hammurabi's historical legacy, the Greek archon Draco would eventually enter his "dark period" and write a much more "stringent" set of rules, ensuring his (infamous) place in history, and letting Hammurabi off the hook.
Under Hammurabi, Babylon became the commercial and political center of southern Mesopotamia, gaining prestige and wealth. This, of course, drew considerable attention to the city, and it became a favorite target for local tribes to attack. After Hammurabi's death, his son took over the family business, but he wasn't quite as capable as his dad, and the Kassites started attacking the city, weakening it enough to allow it to be captured centuries later. The Kassites held Babylon for four centuries, then lost it to the Assyrians, who promptly lost it back to the Kassites, who then succumbed to Elamite raiders. The Assyrians regained control and held on until the late 7th century B.C., when the Assyrian empire was toppled by the Chaldeans.
Under the infamous Chaldean leader Nebuchadnezzar II, Babylon entered its second golden age. Aside from the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah, Nebuchadnezzar II is best known for his efforts to rebuild Babylon. Under Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon returned to glory as one of the most wondrous cities in the world. The fabled Hanging Gardens were constructed by Nebuchadnezzar's decree, reportedly to help his Median wife overcome her longing for the "mountainous scenery" of her homeland. He also rebuilt the Temple of Marduk and its ziggurat, which are now referred to collectively as the Tower of Babel.
After Nebuchadnezzar's death, the Persians captured Babylon and it remained firmly in Persian hands until Alexander the Great overthrew the Persian Empire. Alexander planned to make Babylon the center of his empire, however, he died in Nebuchadnezzar's palace before those plans could be carried out. Alexander's empire would not survive his death, and the city was eventually deserted, thus bringing to an end the glory that was Babylon.
In Civilization III, the Babylonians are considered a Scientific and Religious civilization, therefore, they start with Bronze Working and Ceremonial Burial, and have significant bonuses to their religious and scientific pursuits. See the new developer update for more on these bonuses.
Unique Unit: the Bowman
Since they were continually being attacked, the Babylonians knew a thing or two about siege tactics. Their on-again, off-again relationship with the Assyrians taught them the value of armored, yet maneuverable archers. Babylonian bowmen wore tunics of scale mail armor and helmets, and carried a composite bow that allowed them to strike targets from a long range (though not very accurately). The Babylonians also used cavalry and chariots, but the bowmen corps were the dominant force in their army.
The Bowman is a more armored version of the archer that other civilizations can build. This increased defense makes the Bowman a very useful combat unit, both as an aggressor and as a defender.
| Attack || Defense || Move |