Monday, June 13, 2011

Ishtar Gate

      Ishtar Gate, enormous burnt-brick entryway was located over the main thoroughfare in the ancient city of Babylon It was built in about 575 BC, during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar II. It was one of the eight gates of the inner city of Babylon. The foundations of the gate were discovered between 1899 and 1914. The entire Ishtar Gate was reconstructed to a height of 47 feet and now resides at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

The Ishtar Gate is one of the most dramatic finds from ancient Babylon. The Ishtar Gate was more than 47 feet high and was decorated with beautifully colored glazed bricks. Its reliefs of dragons and bulls symbolized the gods Marduk and Adad. Enameled tiles of glorious blue surrounded the brightly colored yellow and brown beasts. In front of the gateway outside the city was a road with walls decorated with reliefs of lions and glazed yellow tiles.

It was the main entrance to the inner streets and temples of Babylon. The gate itself was a double one, and on its south side was a vast antechamber. Through the gatehouse ran a stone- and brick-paved avenue, called the Processional Way that has been traced over a length of more than half a mile. The Ishtar Gate was the starting point for processions. The Babylonians would assemble in front of it and march through the triumphal arch and proceed along the Sacred Way to the 7-story Ziggurat, which was crowned near the temple of Marduk.

King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon dedicated the great Ishtar Gate to the goddess Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. She is often described as the daughter of Anu, the god of the air. In most of the myths concerning her, she is described as an evil, heartless, women who destroyed her mates and lovers. Her greatest lover was the farm god Tammuz, who is similar to the Greek Adonis. After he died she went into the underworld to retrieve him but her efforts were vain and she returned to the living world alone. Later, in the great epic of Gilgamesh, she tried to make Gilgamesh her husband, but he refused her and reminded her of her former lovers, whom she mercilessly killed or left injured. She reported this to her father, Anu, and he gave her the mystical bull of heaven to avenge herself. Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu stopped and killed the mighty creature and threw its headless body at her feet. They also insulted her, and she responded by sending disease to kill Gilgamesh's best friend Enkidu. She is one of Aphrodite's counterparts.

King Nebuchadnezzar II’s goal was to beautify his capital. He was known for awesome building projects such as the restored temple of Marduk and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Originally the gate, as part of the Walls of Babylon, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World until, in the 6th century AD, it was replaced with the Lighthouse of Alexandria.
Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

  1. I am going to use some of the information in your blog as a source for a project I am doing for school. I cannot find your name listed to credit as the author. Please help!