Babylon is the most famous city whose ruins lie in modern-day Iraq southwest of Baghdad.
The name is thought to derive from bav-il or bav-ilim which, in the Akkadian language of the time, meant ‘Gate of God’ or `Gate of the Gods’ and `Babylon’ coming from Greek.
Babylon, however, is more than just an archaeological site, it is a place of history and legend. The city owes its fame to the many references the Bible makes to it.
Babylon today is near the heart of modern Iraq. And if one wishes to find the politician who threw the most money at archaeology in the 1980s, then step forward Saddam Hussein, who invested heavily in heritage and in enormous reconstructions at Babylon.
The truth is that Babylon had long ago been brought to earth, besieged by wars, weather and time. The looting and leveling in 2003 were merely the latest attacks on the shrinking fabric of the city, seat of a world-spanning empire.
Though its most ancient ruins are virtually extinct, through its cycle of destruction and reconstruction and in our collective memory of what it means to be human, Babylon will always endure.