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But about B. The sixth king of this dynasty, Hammurabi about B. From that proud position the city was never deposed; for even when the Assyrians ruled the land from Nineveh. The development of the kingdom which Hammurabi had founded was continued during the second dynasty of Babylon, at the end of which about B. The Kassites had come originally from the mountains of Elam; and they furnished to Babylonia some kings eminent as warriors and in the arts of peace.

Among them were Kadashman-Bel and Burnaburiash about B. During the years that this dynasty ruled over Babylonia the kingdom of Assyria achieved complete independence, and the power of Babylonia waned greatly. The dynasties that followed dynasty 4 of Isin, dynasty 5 of the Sea Lands, dynasty 6 of Bazi produced few men of the highest rank either as warriors or as organizers; and modern knowledge of the latter part of the period is more or less fragmentary. The seventh dynasty had but one king, an Elamite of unknown name about B.

In B. Tiglathpileser III. Not until B. Nabopolassar B. His son see Nebuchadnezzar carried on his plans with notable success, and was succeeded by Evil-Merodach B. After Labashi-Marduk B. A new power had arisen in Elam; and Cyrus, who began to reign as king of Anshan, had become king of Media in B. Revolts against Nabonidus in Babylonia opened the way for Cyrus; and in B. Nabonidus fell into his hands and could no longer call himself "king of Babylonia. Babylonia, farmore than Assyria, represented the real genius of the Semitic people; and its conquest by the semi-barbaric races of the East seemed a sad ending to its brilliant roll of centuries.

In the Bible, Babylon and the country of Babylonia are not always clearly distinguished, in most cases the same word being used for both. In some passages the land of Babylonia is called Shinar; while in the post-exilic literature it is called the land of the Chaldeans. In this land was located the Tower of Babel Gen. In the historical books Babylonia is frequently referred to there are no fewer than thirty-one allusions in the Books of Kings , though the lack of a clear distinction between the city and the country is sometimes puzzling.

Allusions to it are confined to the points of contact between the Israelites and the various Babylonian kings, especially Merodach-baladan Berodach-baladan of II Kings xx. In Chron. In the poetical literature of Israel Babylonia plays an insignificant part see Ps. The Book of Isaiah resounds with the "burden of Babylon" xiii. In the number and importance of its references to Babylonian life and history, the Book of Jeremiah stands preeminent in the Hebrew literature. So numerous and so important are the allusions to events in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar that within recent times Jeremiah has become a valuable source in reconstructing Babylonian history.

The inscriptions of Nebuchadrezzar are almost exclusively devoted to building operations; and but for the Book of Jeremiah, little would be known of his campaign against Jerusalem. The Talmud gives the boundaries of as much of Babylonia as contained Jewish residents, but in doing so mentions geographical names which are not always clearly identifiable.

The places mentioned in II Kings xvii. Some of these places were identified as being inhabited by Jews in the post-Biblical period. Thus R. Payne Smith, "Thesaurus Syriacus," col. Both Jews and Syrians apply the name to the whole province of Calachene. Ganzaka is also mentioned elsewhere as one of the remotest points in which Jews of genuine stock, descended from the actual exiles, resided. This statement was made by Rab; but Samuel names Nahrwan see Ritter, l. Toward the north "above" , Rab gives as boundary a place on the Tigris which S.

Cassel understands as the Bagravene mentioned by Ptolemy, a district eastward of the Tigris sources. Southward "below" along the Tigris, Jews are said to have been domiciled as far as Apamea in Mesene.

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Samuel names a point farther north, a "bridge" over the Euphrates, identical with the well-known Zeugma on that river, as appears from R. Johanan's statement in the passage cited; this was a strategically important point on the boundary of Commagene, called "Bir" to-day. But the district Biram, mentioned in the Talmud l. It is more probable that by the latter place the district of Bahrain was meant, apeninsula on the west side of the Persian gulf and a territory which in the times of Arabian domination, indeed, was frequently included in Irak.

Nor, in speaking of Bahrain, are the words "above" and "below" employed to designate its position on the Euphrates, as with the other locations; instead, "on the other side" is used, which must mean southward, the previous side mentioned being north. Biram is identical with Beth Baltin, a spot between Syria and Babylonia, which was the extreme point to which the proclamation of the New Moon was forwarded: all beyond that was "Golah" the Exile ; i. Zarah 57 a. This wide extent of country contained numerous districts bearing the following names in rabbinical literature:.

The provinces were subdivided officially and by common usage into smaller districts, as marked by the numerous canals and waterways; hence the functions of the "canalwardens" see below. Such a district was styled a "parbar," a word occurring in I Chron. One of the canals referred to above was called "the Jewish" Nahr al-Yahudi; M. Streck, "Die Alte Landschaft Babylonien," i.

From Sherira's "Letter," p. This name is probably intended in "Toledot Alexander" ed.

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In view of the undoubted fact that the Jewish inhabitants of Babylonia were of purer racial extraction than the Jews of Palestine, the former considered themselves, especially after the fall of Jerusalem, as the genuine Israel, and their differing traditions and customs as of higher authority than those of thehome country. Indeed, these differences were intensified and cherished. Such expressions as "here" and "yonder," "in the east," and "in the west," are employed to specify differences of usage.

The latter expressions are particularly rife as applied by the Masoretes to the verification of the Biblical text and comparisons of variant readings; but are likewise applied to minor differences of ritual and legal custom, especially in the time of the Geonim—differences which a modern scholar has enumerated to the number of seventy-three J. Of a different nature are the variations between the Babylonian and Jerusalem or Palestinian Talmuds, known already to the Geonim, who, of course, always preferred "our Talmud" the Babylonian , and accordingly transplanted the study of the latter to Europe, where it became the dominant authority for modern Judaism in general.

But this independence of Palestine and Palestinian authority was not achieved by Babylonian Judaism all at once: it came about gradually. Thus, the exilarch R. Huna I. Babylonian scholars rightfully ranked themselves higher than their Palestinian colleagues, not, however, without incurring the ridicule of the latter for so doing Zeb. Jeremiah always speaks of the "stupid Babylonians" Yoma 57 a. The Mishnah Yoma vi.

It was declared to be improper to entrust the oral tradition to men of Nehardea, or, according to another reading, to the Babylonians at all Pes. Scholars in Palestine were called "Rabbi," whereas in Babylonia they were styled "Rab," possibly a difference of dialect only. In Babylonia, finally, people spoke more correctly and with sharper intonation than in Palestine. At a period when Hebrew was still spoken in Palestine—at least in scholarly circles—the people in Babylonia had already adopted Aramaic, owing to the proximity of the Aramaic-Syriac districts.

Hillel is expressly stated to have spoken a Babylonian Aramaic or Targum dialect Ab.


Persian never became the vernacular of the Babylonian Jews: a few words only were borrowed from it; more, perhaps, than from the Greek Levias, "A Grammar of the Aramaic Idiom. Rabbi Joseph fourth century asks: "Why do we speak Aramaic in Babylon? There are, of course, hundreds of Persian —or, more correctly, Pahlavi—words in Babylonian texts; and the amoraim of the first and second generations, like Rab and Judah, frequently intermingle Persian words in their utterances.

The Jewish incantations see below are Aramaic, and the Geonim render their responsa only in Aramaic, even during the Arabic period, as Sherira's and Hai's writings prove. But, of course, Arabic was then the ruling idiom, and Saadia—not a born Babylonian, it is true—calls the Aramaic "the language of the fathers" comment. Hebrew, of course, was retained in a measure, as everywhere, by the Jews; and the Karaites especially wrote mainly in Hebrew.

Pethahiah, the traveler, was rejoiced to find that Aramaic was closely related to Hebrew. The uncultivated Parthians could, of course, exercise no religious influence upon the Jews; but it was otherwise with the Persians, and it is still a moot point to-day to what extent Judaism, both Biblical and post-Biblical, was influenced by Zoroastrianism.

In Palestine it was acknowledged that the names of the angels see Angelology were of Babylonian origin Gen. Talmud and Midrash speak very often of the Persians. Persian trousers, a characteristic garment, are, according to some, mentioned several times 'Ab. Zarah 2 b ; Meg. Interesting, too, is the mention of the Persian festivals Yer.

Zarah i. Buber, iv. But all this changed when the Arabs became masters of the country; by them all the inhabitants who were not Moslems were treated with contempt, if not with cruelty. The Christians experienced this more sharply than the Jews in the predominantly Jewish district Nehardea, there were no Christians in olden times; Pes.

The constitution of the Nestorian Church had for the Arabs great similarity to that of the Jews with their exilarchs and heads of academies. Hai Gaon had friendly intercourse with the Catholicus of the Nestorians. Layard first found them "Discoveries," p. Journal of Archeology," , iv. The illustration of one of these bowls, given on page , is from the "Revue des Etudes Juives. Babylonia was always a fertile country, yielding produce of every kind. Both Jewish and non-Jewish writers describe its wealth of date-palms Pes. The locust insect is also said to have been imported thence Yer.

Olive-oil, however, was lacking; its place being supplied by sesame-oil Shab. Linen was widely manufactured Ta'an.


The Jews evidently contributed to Babylonia's foreign commerce, which in the earliest days was centered in Seleucia and Ctesiphon. In later days, when Bagdad rose to prominence, markets had already been held there Streck, l. To-day trade is still mainly in the hands of the Jews in these localities, as, for instance, in Bassora Ritter, "Erdkunde," x. Their connection with agriculture is not quite so clear, although it is quite certain that there were farmers among them. The Talmud mentions the interesting fact that the Palestinian Jews gave one-third of their yearly offering "terumah" "for Babylon, Media, the distant provinces, and all Israel" Yer.

There was no stone in Babylonia Midr. The Jews are reported as having erected handsome synagogues and colleges; the pillars of the college at Pumbedita being particularly praised 'Er. The learned of Babylonia dressed more elegantly and were prouder in demeanor than those of Palestine Shab. The climate was healthful, so that it was said that there was no leprosy in Babylonia Ket. The earliest accounts of the Jews exiled to Babylonia are furnished only by the scanty details of the Bible; certain not quite reliable sources seek to supply this deficiency from the realms of legend and tradition.

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Chronicles," i. The "Small Chronicle's" statement, that Zerubbabel returned to Palestine in the Greek period, can not, of course, be regarded historical. Only this much can be considered as certain; viz. At the period of the revolt of the Maccabees, these Palestinian descendants of the royal house had emigrated to Babylonia, to which an obscure notice by Makrizi in De Sacy, "Chrestomathie Arabe," i.

It was only with Alexander's campaign that accurate information concerning the Jews in the East reached the western world. Alexander's army contained numerous Jews who refused, from religious scruples, to take part in the reconstruction of the destroyed Belus temple in Babylon Josephus, "Contra Ap. The accession of Seleucus Nicator, B. Zarah 10 a , and Rapoport, "'Erek Millin," p. This so-called "Greek" era survived in the Orient long after it had been abolished in the West see Sherira's "Letter," ed.

Neubauer, p. Nicator's foundation of a city, Seleucia , on the Tigris is mentioned by the Rabbis Midr. The last-named settled a large number of Babylonian Jews as colonists in his western dominions, with the view of checking certain revolutionary tendencies disturbing those lands Josephus, "Ant. Mithridates subjugated, about the year , the province of Babylonia, and thus the Jews for four centuries came under Parthian domination.

Jewish sources contain no mention of Parthian influence; the very name "Parthian" does not occur, unless indeed "Parthian" is meant by "Persian," which occurs now and then. The Armenian prince Sanatroces, of the royal house of the Arsacides, is mentioned in the "Small Chronicle" as one of the successors diadochoi of Alexander. Not long after this, the Partho-Babylonian country was trodden by the army of a Jewish prince; the Syrian king, Antiochus Sidetes, marched, in company with Hyrcanus I.

In 40 B. The Jews of Babylonia, it seems, had the intention of founding a high-priesthood for the exiled Hyrcanus, which they would have made quite independent of Palestine Josephus, "Ant. But the reverse was to come about: the Palestinians received a Babylonian, Ananel by name, as their high priest "Ant. In religious matters the Babylonians, as indeed the whole diaspora, were in many regards dependent upon Palestine. They went on pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the festivals, and one, whose full name is given in Mekilta on Deut.

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  • Sherira himself, although strongly biased in favor of his own home, acknowledges that when the Sanhedrin and the colleges were flourishing in Palestine, neither existed in Babylonia; which fact would seem to warrant the inference that the Babylonian Jews must have sent to Palestine for religious instruction, as, for instance, in the case of Hillel. According to the "Small Chronicle," however, the exilarchs at this period already had their court-scholars.

    How free a hand the Parthians permitted the Jews is perhaps best illustrated by the rise of the little Jewish robber-state in Nehardea see Anilai and Asinai. Still more remarkable is the conversion of the king of Adiabene to Judaism see Adiabene. These instances show not only the tolerance, but the weakness of the Parthian kings.

    The Babylonian Jews wanted to fight in common cause with their Palestinian brethren against Vespasian; but it was not until the Romans waged war under Trajan against Parthia that they made their hatred felt Eusebius, "Hist. Accustomed in Jerusalem from early times to look to the east for help Baruch iv. Rabbi Akiba's journeys to Nehardea Yeb. London, b it is maintained that Bar Kokba waged war with the Romans in Mesopotamia: this can be only a reminiscence of the struggles under Trajan. The Bar Kokba disaster no doubt added to the number of Jewish refugees in Babylon.

    In the continuous struggles between the Parthians and the Romans, the Jews had every reason to hate the Romans, the destroyers of their sanctuary, and to side with the Parthians, their protectors. Possibly it was recognition of services thus rendered by the Jews of Babylonia, and by the Davidic house especially, that induced the Parthian kings to elevate the princes of the Exile, who till then had been little more than mere collectors of revenue, to the dignity of real princes F.

    Thus, then, the numerous Jewish subjects were provided with a central authority which assured an undisturbed development of their own internal affairs. About the year of the common era, Hananiah, nephew of R. Upon the overthrow of the insurrection and interruption of communication with Palestine, Hananiah set about arranging the calendar, which hitherto had been the exclusive prerogative of thePalestinian patriarch; possibly he even meditated the erection of a new temple.

    This spirit of independence must certainly have been gratifying to the resh galuta; but when the Palestinian Sanhedrin sent two messengers to Babylon with the sarcastic suggestion that Ahijah the resh galuta should build another altar and that Hananiah should play the harp thereto, the remonstrance sufficed to bring the people to their senses again, and to nip the dangerous schism in the bud.

    This episode made such a strong impression upon the public mind that there are several accounts of it Ber. Judah b. Bathyra, who had a college in Nisibis, also influenced Hananiah to give up his intention; nevertheless, the college of the latter was still recognized in Palestine as authorized Sanh. Nathan, a son or brother of the exilarch, was vice-president of the Palestinian Sanhedrin at this time. From this period on, instances are numerous of talented Babylonians attaining high esteem in Palestine.

    Babylonian Oil Magic in the Talmud and in the Later Jewish Literature (1913)

    The Babylonians were well aware of their preeminence; and a Babylonian amora thus expressed himself concerning it: "When the Torah was forgotten in Israel, Ezra came from Babylon and restored it; when forgotten again, Babylonian Hillel came and rehabilitated it; forgotten once more, R. The Persian people were now again to make their influence felt in the history of the world. Artaxerxes I. Ardeshir I. Different from the Parthian rulers, who in language and religion inclined toward Hellenism, the Sassanids intensified the Persian side of life, favored the Pahlavi language, and restored with zeal the old religion of the Magi, founded upon fireworship, which now, under the favoring influence of the government, attained the fury of fanaticism.

    Of course, both Christians and Jews suffered under this; but the latter, dwelling in more compact masses, were not exposed to such general persecutions as broke out against the more isolated Christians. The attitude of the first Sassanid, Ardeshir I. Gibbon "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," ch. Against the statement, also, is the evidence of Ibn Daud that in Ardeshir's days the Jews and Persians loved each other, as also in the days of King Sapor.

    Cassel believes that the Jews were favored by the Persians; and Graetz knows of no persecution under Ardeshir. There is, however, in the "Small Chronicle"—although not in its proper place—a statement that "the Persians obtained dominion in the year after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, and instituted a persecution of the Jews. London, 93 a sets this event in the period of the exilarch Nehemiah, in the year after the Destruction. Certain Talmudical accounts, belonging to the period, corroborate this; thus, R. Kahana says: "Hitherto the Persians [Parthians] permitted Jews to exercise capital punishment; but now the Persians do not permit it" B.

    When the news was brought to R. Difficulties were put in the way of the Jews in such matters as the slaughtering of cattle for food, and as to their bathing-places and cemeteries, which were subject to intrusion ib. On certain Persian holy days, the Guebers would not permit any light in the houses of the Jews Sanh. The patriarch Judah II. Munich, however, has [Rome] for. All these things must have taken place under the vigorous Ardeshir. How powerful was the impression made by him upon the fancy of the Jews, may be gathered from the so-called Apocalypse of Elijah ed.

    Jellinek, in "B.

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    Buttenwieser, Leipsic, , which most probably refers to Ardeshir's war against the Romans "Jew. To his campaign in the obscure statement of the Latin author Solinus must be referred, that Jericho was destroyed by "Artaxerxes" Th. Reinach, in the Kohut Memorial Volume, pp. The schismatic Mani, founder of Manicheism, appeared at this time: his execution doubtless because Manicheism exerted some influence upon Judaism under Shabur is mentioned by Ibn Daud p.

    It was, however, before the accession of the Sassanids that the powerful impetus toward the study of the Torah arose among the Jews of Babylonia which made that country the very focus of Judaism for more than a thousand years. It would seem that Palestinian scholarship had exhausted itself with the compilation of the Mishnah; and it was an easy matter to carry the finished work to Babylonia.

    When Rab returned thither, there was already an academy at Nehardea under the leadership of an obscure R. Shila, who bore the title "resh sidra.


    Nehardea, a long-established seat of Jewish life in Babylonia, first attained flourishing eminence through this prominent teacher, Mar Samuel; and when, with the death of Rab , the splendor of Sura vanished, Nehardea remained for seven years the only academy "metibta" in Babylonia. From this period on, the history of the Jews in Babylonia, hitherto obscure, becomes quite clear see Academies in Babylonia.

    The mass of tradition zealously preserved in the Babylonian academies furnishes a series of dates and facts which illuminate their life. Although even Rab himself had to endure harshness at the hands of the exilarch's officers, from this time on it would appear that the exilarchs, in accordance with the prevailing spirit of veneration for learning, began to devote themselves to the acquisition of knowledge as well as of power, approaching thus the example of the Palestinian patriarchs.

    King Sapor I. But Samuel, too, liked the Persians. He was the author of the celebrated saying, "The law of the land is the law to go by" B. Under Sapor began the bitter contest with the Romans for possession of the rich lands of the Euphrates, so thickly populated by Jews. The Persians penetrated to the very heart of the Roman territory, until Odenath, prince of Palmyra, moved against them and took their booty from them Zenobia, wife of menath, is quite distinctly referred to in the Talmud.

    Many rabbis also escaped to Pumbedita, which city now became the seat for a thousand years of the most celebrated Babylonian Jewish college next to Sura. The Jews then enjoyed, it would appear, half a century of repose; not too long a respite for the enormous intellectual work going on. By Christian writers the Jews are accused without warrant of having instigated the slaughter of twenty-two bishops by Sapor II. The "Small Chronicle" narrates that when Huna was exilarch, and Rabbah chief of the academy, Sapor went against Nisibis and conquered it.

    A persecution of the Jews is mentioned as taking place in Theophanes, ed. De Boor, p. Rabbah b. The charge was made against him that the 12, disciples who assembled twice a year for the usual public study "kallah"; see Academies in Babylonia did so merely to avoid paying the tax see B.

    Rabbah fled and perished miserably, lost in a place called Agma swamp? His successors, R. Rabbah and, still more, his pupils Abaye and Raba are considered as the founders of the acute Talmudic dialectics practised in Pumbedita. After the short presidencies of R. Joseph and Abaye, the renowned Raba became the head of Pumbedita; in his days it was the only remainingacademy in Babylonia; for Sura had ceased to exist.

    Papa, however, presently founded a new school in Naresh near Sura, which later on was removed to that city, where, under R. Ashi, it attained to high eminence. Hover to zoom. Be the first to review. Item not available at this location, please try another pincode. Delivery in days Free hrrhrhrhhr Delivery Charges: Rs. Additional Handling Charges are levied for other expenses incurred while delivering to your location. More Delivery Options. Delivery in days. Free Delivery Charges: Rs. Shipping Charges : Rs. We will let you know when in stock.

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