A new digital model of Babylon is being produced soon by the University of Uppsala, and more about that in a minute... Just want to put in first that they've completely ignored (and probably because they don't know about it) the fact that Babylon was built on sacred geometrical principles of 'as above, so below'.
I think if we blend this information with the digital model, it will be quite useful to us. So here's a blog post I did on the sacred geometry of Babylon first, with the focus on Ishtar's Gate.
Sacred geometry of Babylon
Babylon was originally named Babilu and it meant Gateway to the Gods. The Greeks renamed it to Babylon.
The Ishtar Gate was built in the 6th century BCE by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II, and it was constructed of beautiful blue lapis lazuli and decorated with golden bas reliefs of animals like dragons and lions.
The whole city of Babylon had been laid out according to the laws of sacred geometry which reflected the concept ‘as above, so below’. In other words, it was laid out based on the number 864, because this is the sacred foundation number that reflects space and time.
There are 8,640 million years in a Day and Night of Brahma and 86,400 seconds in a 24 hour day. That’s why the numbers 8 and 64 crop up so often ~ 64 hexgrams in the i-Ching, 64 sections to the Eye of the Horus, 64 squares on a chess board etc etc. 64 is the atomic weight of copper which is the metal associated with Venus, previously known as Ishtar. Lord Shiva has 64 manifestations and there are 64 Dakinis in the Vedic Indian literature. 8 x 8 = 64, and so 88 is a very special number.
The eighth of the eight gates (88) of Babylon was Ishtar’s Gate, dedicated to the goddess Ishtar and the holiest gate in Babylon. It would only be used on holy days when great processions would leave the city and pass through Ishtar’s Gate to the ziggurat dedicated to Marduk.
Ishtar’s Gate, in other words, was a portal … and is a portal to this day, because portals are timeless although they may manifest in different places, and in different ways.
Digital model of Babylon
A digital model of Babylon is under development. Both archaeological material and ancient texts are used on a detailed level for the reconstruction of this famous ancient city. Architectural computer programs will be used for building the model, which will be placed in environmental and historical contexts. An integrated GIS analysis is planned for the city’s relation to the surroundings on different scales. The model will be used for developing and testing alternative reconstructions, creating new questions and providing answers. The development of the city will be shown on different historical levels. The model is planned to be gradually available on the Internet.
Centre of Babylon seen from the North with the Street of Procession, the Ishtar Gate, palaces, and in the background the 90 meter high zikkurrat tower.
The ArchiCAD program is used for the model and the Artlantis program for the renderings. The preliminary work has been part both of the Urban Mind Project at Uppsala University supported by Mistra, and the Excellence Cluster Topoi at Freie Universitšt Berlin.
This project will be part of the planned Babylon project in Berlin, where a reworking of the findings of Koldewey’s famous excavation 1899-1917 is in preparation. It is the intention in the coming years to use the model for detailed interpretations of the different periods of the city’s history thereby including both the large numbers of contemporary ancient texts and the archaeological material. The large scale excavation with registration of find spots of huge numbers of objects combined with the use of modern technology allow for promising advances in the interpretation of Babylon.
Probably at least from late Old Babylonian times until the beginning of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, ca. 1600-600 BC, Babylon consisted of two town areas with the Euphrates flowing in the middle. The central areas with the Marduk temple, the zikkurrat and the Ishtar Gate, and probably also the palace were situated on the eastern riverside in the same traditional places as well-known from later periods. Town walls with moats surrounded the city. Most of the buildings were constructed with unbaked bricks, the traditional building material in the Ancient Near East.
Babylon seen from the South at the beginning of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II. The Euphrates is flowing in the middle, town walls with moats are encircling the inner city areas with the centre east of the river.
During the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC), when Babylon was the centre of the large Neo-Babylonian Empire and the leading world metropolis, the city area was doubled and a new town wall with moats was built in the east. Many of the monumental buildings were rebuilt on a much larger scale and baked bricks, not the traditional unbaked ones, were used in huge quantities as building material. During the following 2500 years these good brick walls were gradually demolished and the bricks were reused for buildings in other cities. The German excavations some 100 years ago finally succeeded to stop most of the demolishing and provided a rather well documented basis for all further studies.
Babylon seen from the South at the end of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II. The Euphrates is flowing in the middle, town walls with moats are encircling the inner and outer eastern city areas with the rebuilt monumental centre east of the river.
Babylon during all known periods before and after Nebuchadnezzar will also be reconstructed within the digital model covering in different ways the time from the Old Babylonian period until today.
Street of Procession
For a few limited areas of Babylon, it has been possible to add more details to the model. The Street of Procession north of the Ishtar Gate has on the walls in the model received parts of the well-known decorations with glazed relief brick. On the walls of the street, several of the famous glazed relief lions can be seen, and some trials of bulls and dragons have been preliminary placed on the Ishtar Gate. Other walls known to have had such decoration, but where the details has to be studied, is just covered with blue bricks in the present state of the model.
Babylon. Detail of the Street of Procession. In this reconstruction, the slightly sloping street has each section with glazed brick decoration almost 2 bricks higher than the previous section.
The reconstruction of the different levels of the elevations of the Street of Precession during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar in the area north of the Ishtar Gate can be given as an example of the technical possibilities. The street was elevated some 20 meter during the 43 years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign according to excavations and cuneiform texts. The section of the street taken from the model shows the five Nebuchadnezzar levels as they are presently reconstructed. The uppermost level had the decoration of glazed bricks on the side of the street. The third street level from above, marked reddish brown in the model, is the level, which today can be seen when visiting Babylon. During the periods with the lower levels of the street, there was only a gate; the palace walls along the part of the street shown here belong to the later upper levels. The documentation of the reconstruction will be published elsewhere.
Babylon, Street of Procession north of the Ishtar Gate. Technical profile with the attested levels dated to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II. The reddish brown street level, the third from above, can now be seen in Babylon.
Most of the work on the model still remains. An integrated approach with archaeology and ancient texts combined with modern technical and environmental studies is planned for the continuation of the project. A short introduction to the project with some preliminary results can be found in my article Work on a Digital Model of Babylon using Archaeological and Textual Evidence.
Many thanks to: http://www.lingfil.uu.se/staff/olof_pedersen/Babylon_Model/