What is the Tower of Babel?

article migration image tower of babel reaches for heaven jpg

According to the famed parable in Genesis, the Tower of Babel was a structure designed to be tall enough to reach the heavens. This was much to God’s dismay, so as a consequence, he thwarted their plans by confusing their language and scattering the people around the world.

While there are similar stories from other cultures, the Genesis tale is perhaps the most well-known version. Is it merely a Bible parable, or is there some truth behind the story of the famed tower?

Location of the Tower of Babel

According to this particular story, the tower was built in a place called Shinar. While no one can be sure of its exact location, it’s generally believed Shinar was Babylonia, somewhere in Mesopotamia.

Evidence of the Tower of Babel

Aside from depictions in the Bible and similar stories, there had never been any evidence for the Tower of Babel’s existence until the discovery of a clay tablet in Iraq.

The tablet dates back to around 600 BCE and depicts the seven tiers of a ziggurat, along with a portrait of King Nebuchadnezzar II. The text is the most notable aspect of the tablet, which reads:

“NEBUCHADNEZZAR, KING OF BABYLON AM I – IN ORDER TO COMPLETE E-TEMEN-ANKI AND E-UR-ME-IMIN-ANKI I MOBILIZED ALL COUNTRIES EVERYWHERE, EACH AND EVERY RULER WHO HAD BEEN RAISED TO PROMINENCE OVER ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD – LOVED BY MARDUK, FROM THE UPPER SEA TO THE LOWER SEA, THE DISTANT NATIONS, THE TEEMING PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, KINGS OF REMOTE MOUNTAINS AND FAR-FLUNG ISLANDS – THE BASE I FILLED IN TO MAKE A HIGH TERRACE. I BUILT THEIR STRUCTURES WITH BITUMEN AND BAKED BRICK THROUGHOUT. I COMPLETED IT RAISING ITS TOP TO THE HEAVEN, MAKING IT GLEAM BRIGHT AS THE SUN”

The text explicitly states that Nebuchadnezzar spearheaded the initiative to build the tower, assembling people from around the world to construct it. The tower is referred to as “E-Temen-Anki” (often stylized as “Etemenanki”).

Etemenanki

Etemenanki is an ancient tower local inhabitants have long suspected to be the remains of the Tower of Babel, but there had been no evidence to support this theory until the discovery of the aforementioned clay tablet. The site was rediscovered in the 19th century by the local population and excavated in 1913 by Robert Koldewey.

Today, only some of the remains of Etemenanki are visible as much of the site is overgrown. However, it is believed to have been originally about 91 meters tall.

Tower of Babel: Fact or Fiction?

One can argue the story of the Tower of Babel isn’t entirely incredulous. People around the world built towering structures to honor their respective gods for centuries. The pyramids of Egypt, Teotihuacan, Chichen Itza, and similar structures throughout the world are all notable examples, along with the slew of towering temples scattered worldwide.

With this in mind, the idea of people collaborating to build a tower with the goal of reaching the heavens doesn’t seem that far fetched. Combine this with the evidence of Etemenanki, and there is quite a strong case for the existence of the Tower of Babel; however there always room for exploration.

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Did The Druids Share a Common Ancestry With Other Ancient Civilizations?

ancient british druids

There are few groups in history more enigmatic than those known as the druids. Today there are two neo-druidic sects, whose philosophy centers around a reverence for nature, diversity, and love. These are the often-cloaked people known to perform ceremonies in nature and at megalithic sites such as Stonehenge.

The Druids of antiquity are steeped in legend and folklore, having no written record of who they truly were or where they originally came from. The general consensus holds that they were a highly revered group, with a divine connection to nature and authoritative wisdom that trumped even the highest nobility. They are widely known to be of Celtic origin, but some alternative theories see them as having a common ancestry with ancient Eastern cultures or even one possibly originating in Atlantis.

Ancient Druids

In ancient times, Druids were known as wise elders who would congregate around oak trees. In fact, the word Druid or Druwid in Celtic translates to oak-knower or “knowing the oak tree,” though little is known what exactly this erudite group was really like. The recorded history of the ancient Druids typically falls into two categories; those that are based on ancient Roman writings, and those based on interpretations of writings seen as distorted Roman propaganda.

The Celtic Druids inhabited the area of Europe once known as Gaul, where they were eventually conquered by the Romans. One of the best-written accounts of the ancient Druids comes from Julius Caesar who described them as civilized, wise, and noble people, with the exception of their alleged ritual human sacrifice. Caesar and Tacitus led the conquering of Gaul and the subsequent persecution of the Druids, viewing them as overly superstitious and having dictatorial control over society.

The Druid religion was said to have sacrificed criminals in a massive wooden effigy, known as a wicker man, which was filled with people and set on fire. Caesar claimed that the Gauls were so consumed by the superstitions of Druidic rituals that they were quick to sacrifice, and would even offer up innocent people if they lacked sufficient criminals. Many contest this image of the Druids as inaccurate and an attempt by Caesar to depict them as a society worth integrating into Roman culture, albeit one that needed civilizing.

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