Best known for: Building the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and conquering the Jews
Nebuchadnezzar II was the greatest king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. He is known for rebuilding much of Babylon and restoring it to its former glory. He also built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon which is considered one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.
Nebuchadnezzar was born around 634 BC in the city of Babylon. His father was Nabopolassar, the king of Babylon. Growing up, Nebuchadnezzar was raised as the crown prince of the nation. He learned about the Babylonian gods, the laws of Babylon, and how to fight and lead an army.
When Nebuchadnezzar was born, Babylon was ruled by the Assyrian Empire. However, while still a boy his father led a revolt against the Assyrians. He allied with the Medes and defeated the Assyrians sacking the city of Nineveh in 612 BC.
Going to War
As Nebuchadnezzar grew older he took on more responsibility. He became the general of his father's army. In 605 BC he took a great army and marched against the armies of Egypt and Assyria. He fought them at the Battle of Carchemish where he crushed them removing the last resistance to the Babylonian Empire in the Middle East.
Nebuchadnezzar's father died while he was away at battle. He quickly returned to Babylon and claimed his crown. He was now king of the Babylonian Empire.
With his enemies defeated, Nebuchadnezzar went about restoring the city of Babylon. He rebuilt and improved many of the temples of the gods. He also built an enormous palace that included the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon which were considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Nebuchadnezzar also improved the defenses of the city of Babylon with an enormous double wall that stretched for 10 miles around the city.
Nebuchadnezzar continued to expand the reach and control of the Babylonian Empire. He conquered the city of Jerusalem and took many of the Hebrew people captive, taking them into exile to Babylon. He also conquered the Cimmerians and the Scythians.
Nebuchadnezzar II in the Bible
Nebuchadnezzar was a major figure in the Bible, especially the Book of Daniel. In the book he asks Daniel to interpret his dreams when no one else can. He also tries to burn Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace for not bowing down to him, but miraculously they survive.
The book describes how Nebuchadnezzar is humbled by God for boasting. He is stricken with insanity and lives like an animal for seven years.
Nebuchadnezzar died around 562 BC. He was succeeded by his son Amel-Marduk.
Interesting Facts about Nebuchadnezzar II
His name means "Oh god Nabu, defend my firstborn son."
Archeologists aren't sure if the Hanging Gardens really existed or are just a legend.
He married the daughter of the Median king to seal an alliance with them.
It is said he built the Hanging Gardens for his homesick wife.
The former dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, considered himself the reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar.