The Tower of Babel is a household name, a symbol of disorder and chaos. People learn about this building not completed to heaven even in childhood, but not everyone knows that the Tower of Babel really exists.
In ancient Mesopotamia (the territory of present-day Iraq), 90 km from the city of Baghdad, on the left bank of the Euphrates River, the ancient city of Babylon was located. The center of the country of Babylonia, which flourished for fifteen hundred years, was surrounded on all sides by impregnable walls with towers, the thickness of which reached 30 meters.
Streets paved with multi-colored tiles and houses of the nobility decorated with bas-reliefs were reliably protected by high earthen ramparts and deep ditches filled with water. Wealthy Babylon was proud of the engineering miracle of that time: a bridge over the Euphrates River 115 meters long and 6 meters wide.
Interesting! The palace that the king built for himself was called an earthly miracle. The king’s throne room was decorated with numerous columns made of pure gold.
For 40 years, the ruler of Babylon – Nebuchadnezzar – restored, decorated and built Babylon. During his reign, the Tower of Babel was erected, which remained unfinished because the builders stopped understanding each other: they began to speak different languages.
The biblical tradition of the tower of Babel
The emergence of multilingualism is a mystery of human existence. None of the theories put forward by scientists nowadays gives an answer to such a complex and controversial question. The legend of the Tower of Babel puts everything in its place.
The biblical tradition reads as follows:
- There was one language and one dialect throughout the whole earth.
- People, moving from the east, found a plain in the land of Sennar and settled there.
- And they said to each other: Let’s make bricks and burn them with fire. And they had bricks instead of stones, and earthen pitch instead of lime.
- And they said, Let us build ourselves a city and a tower with a height of up to heaven, and let us make a name for ourselves, before we are scattered over the face of the whole earth.
- And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men were building.
- And the Lord said: Behold, one people and one language for all, and this is what they have begun to do, and they will not leave behind what they have in mind.
- Let us go down and confuse their language there, so that one does not understand the speech of the other.
- And the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city and the tower.
- Therefore the name Babylon was given, for there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth.
So with the construction of the “heavenly gates” began the division of people into races and the emergence of various dialects of the language.
Why building the Tower of Babel is a sin
After the Great Flood, only Noah and his family managed to escape. When the family left the Ark, God commanded: “Be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth.” The sons of Noah became the progenitors of a new humanity.
In the year 101 after the Flood in the land of Sennar, people decided by their own efforts to ascend to heaven in order to immortalize themselves. The construction of the tower proceeded quickly: people worked together, clearly assigning responsibilities. They began to build their civilization without God, hoping for their own valor.
Interesting! “If a person stops believing in God, he begins to believe in everything else,” Dostoevsky said.
People believed that they would build a tower up to heaven, because they considered themselves wise.
The Lord noticed: a brick falls from the upper tier of the tower, and a person grieves for a long time about how difficult it is to raise it back to the height. If a person fell from a height and crashed to death, then no one noticed or worried. After all, someone else immediately took his place.
God sometimes interferes in the free affairs of a person and frustrates his plans in order to prevent human arrogance and show the limits of God. The Lord considered human intention to be pride – a grave sin – and the tower remained unfinished. Noah’s descendants settled in different places.
Was the Tower of Babel
Historians have proven that the biblical legend told of a real structure. The tower of Babel, called the ziggurat, was built in the 2nd millennium BC. In the valley of Mesopotamia, during the heyday of Babylonian civilization, a huge multi-stage tower was erected – a ziggurat.
Interesting! The priests observed the starry sky from the tower and drew maps of the location of the heavenly bodies. They believed that they would be able to predict the future, because the development of events on earth, in their opinion, depends on the position of the heavenly bodies.
A seven-tiered pyramid, a 30-storey skyscraper , lined with baked bricks on the outside, occupied a 360-meter foundation. Upstairs, surrounding the floors from the outside, a winding staircase led with benches on each tier. It was not easy to climb to the end of the tower: rest made the path to the sky easier.
Each tier of the tower is painted in an individual color: black and white, purple red and blue, bright red, silver and gold. The last tier of the building was crowned with a magnificent temple in honor of the god Marduk , the patron saint of the city.
In the sanctuary, covered with glazed bricks and gold, a gilded bed and a table were installed. Gilded horns were fixed on the top – a symbol of fertility. The inhabitants of the city sincerely believed that Marduk descended to his dwelling place on earth.
The Tower of Babel is powerful and majestic, it took 90 million bricks to build. At the base, in the lower temple, there was a statue of Marduk made of pure gold weighing 2.5 tons. The tower was surrounded by houses of priests, temple buildings and buildings for pilgrims.
The ruins of the ziggurat were discovered by the German scientist Koldewey in 1898. From the Tower of Babel, half burned down from the monstrously high temperature and melted structure remained. The building was damaged both outside and inside.
Interesting! Orthodox Christians believe that in this way God unleashed righteous anger on people, sending lightning bolts to the Tower of Babel. The city was covered with a powerful wave of energy and in a matter of seconds turned it into ruins.
Archaeologists have unearthed the foundation and the lower part of the wall. The remains of the surviving structure have become a symbol of God’s wrath.
Phraseologisms associated with the Tower of Babel
Phraseologisms – indivisible phrases – help a person to express a thought vividly and figuratively.
- Tower of Babel – so they say about a tall building, structure.
- The Tower of Babel is an ambitious project that is difficult to accomplish.
- The Tower of Babel is an undertaking that will perish because of pride and arrogance.
- Babylonian pandemonium is a confusion, hectic and hectic activity that ends in failure.
- Babylonian pandemonium – polyphonic noise, turmoil, chaotic crowd of people.
Plots about the Tower of Babel are common in Christian iconography.