Admin moved page How Did Nebuchadnezzar Impact Ancient Near Eastern History? to How Did Nebuchadnezzar Impact Ancient Near Eastern History
François-Xavier_Fabre_Nabuchodnosor_Has_Zedekiah’s_Children_Killed_before_his_Eyes. jpg|250px|thumbnail|left| 1787 Painting by François- Xavier Fabre of Nebuchadnezzar Killing Zedekiah’s Children before His Eyes]]
Nebuchadnezzar II (ruled 604-562 BC), the second king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, most commonly known just as “Nebuchadnezzar” in modern times, is one of the most important but also one of the most misunderstood leaders of the ancient world. Depicted as wantonly cruel in the Old Testament, it is a historical fact that he was responsible for taking the Kingdom of Judah into captivity and destroying the Solomonic Temple. With that said, Nebuchadnezzar II’s leadership style, policies, and tactics differed little from those of other notable kings in the same era. Once one cuts through some of the hyperbole surrounding Nebuchadnezzar II, it quickly becomes evident that he affected the ancient Near East in several profound ways.
====The Neo-Babylonian Dynasty====
The Neo-Babylonian Dynasty came to life through struggle and strife with its northern neighbor, Assyria. Babylon had long been the object of desire for many of the Near East empires and had been sacked by the Hittites and Elamites before the Assyrians placed the city directly under their control from 705-627 BC. Babylonian primary sources depict Assyrian rule as odious and oppressive, with the Assyrian King Sennacherib (ruled 704-681 BC) being seen as particularly cruel. Sennacherib was said to have let the temples fall into ruin and even removed Marduk's sacred cult statue, the patron god of Babylon, to Assyria. <ref> Kuhrt, Amélie. <i> The Ancient Near East: c. 3000-330 BC.</i> (London: Routledge, 2010), pgs. 582-85 </ref> Eventually, though, the Assyrians overextended their empire, allowing the Babylonians to form an alliance with the Medes and overthrow Assyrian rule.
====Nebuchadnezzar II’s Expansion of the Neo-Babylonian Empire ====
Not long after Nebuchadnezzar II became the king, he marched with his army back into the Levant to assert Babylonian supremacy in the region. According to the primary text known as the “Babylonian Chronicle,” the campaign was done for punitive reasons and a show of strength to any city thinking of either going to Egypt to support or assert their independence.
After Jehoiakim died in 597 BC, his son, Jehoiachin, became the king of Judah at age eighteen. According to II Kings 24:10-16, Jehoiachin and thousands of other Judeans were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar II. The precise reason why Jehoiachin was removed is never clarified, but the event is corroborated in Babylonian chronicles.
“Year seven, month Kislimu: The king of Akkad moved his army into Hatti land, laid siege to the city of Judah, and the king took the city on the second day of the month Addaru. He appointed in it a (new) king of his liking, took heavy booty from it, and brought it into Babylon.” <ref> Pritchard, James B, ed. <i>Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament.</i> 3rd ed. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 564</ref>
====How did Nebuchadnezzar impact Judah (modern-day Israel)====
====Nebuchadnezzar II’s Building Projects====
[[File: Ishtar_Gate.jpg|250px|thumbnail|left|The Ishtar Gate of Nebuchadnezzar II Now in the Berlin Museum]]
Once Nebuchadnezzar II had secured his dynasty’s empire's boundaries, he was free to pursue more peaceful endeavors in Babylon. For several decades before Nebuchadnezzar II came to power, Babylon had languished, with many of its once great monuments falling into ruin.