Etemenanki

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reconstruction drawing of Etemenanki
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reconstruction drawing of Etemenanki

Etemenanki, "The temple of the creation of heaven and earth", was the name of a ziggurat to Marduk in the city of Babylon of the 6th century BC Chaldean (Neo-Babylonian) dynasty. Originally seven stories in height, little remains of it now save ruins. Etemenanki was later popularly identified with the Tower of Babel.

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Construction

The city of Babylon had been destroyed in 689 BC by Sennacherib, and was restored by Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar II. It took 88 years to rebuild. Its central feature was the temple of Marduk (Esagila), to which the Etemenanki ziggurat was associated. The seven stories of the ziggurat reached a height of 91 meters, and contained a temple shrine at the top.

Descriptions

The Etemenanki is described in a cuneiform tablet from Uruk from 229 BC, a copy of an older text (now in the Louvre in Paris). It gives the height of the tower as seven stocks (91 meters) with a base of 91 meters square. This mud brick structure was confirmed by excavations conducted by Robert Koldewey after 1913. Large stairs were discovered at the south side of the building, where a triple gate connected it with the Esagila. A larger gate to the east connected the Etemenanki with the sacred procession road (now reconstructed in the Pergamon museum in Berlin).

References in popular culture

Etamnanki (an alternate spelling), abbreviated as ETAK, is the name of Admiral Bosch's secret project in the computer game Freespace 2. Etemenanki is also the name of a website (http://www.goroadachi.com/etemenanki) by Goro Adachi.

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