People > Nabopolassar
Nabopolassar (658-605 BC) was a Chaldean that was able to take control over the civilization of Babylonia and eventually defeat the Assyrian Empire with a combined military alliance of people from throughout the region.
Nabopolassar was the father to Nebuchadnezzar II who oversaw the brief golden age of Neo-Babylonia. It was under the brief Chaldean dynasty that Babylonia saw a resurrection in culture and prestige that would last even through the time of Alexander the Great.
Nabopolassar was instrumental in creating the military alliance that led to the final defeat of the Assyrian Empire. The death of King Ashurbanipal around 627 BCE created massive internal chaos and instability within Assyria. Conquering the city of Babylon first in 626 BCE he declared himself King of Babylonia. He made Babylon his new capital city and by 616 BCE he had united all of the territory of Babylonia back together and was able to launch an assault on the Assyrian capital cities.
Nabopolassar joined forces with the Median King Cyaxares and battled with Ashurbanipal's son Ashur-etil-ilani for control over Assyria. By 615 BCE the Babylonians and Medias had won a decisive victory and conquered Nippur. While Nabopolassar was moving his forces to siege the capital city of Ashur the Medians were able to conquer it first. This only left the capital city of Nineveh as the major sphere of influence of Assyrian power.
In 612 BCE the combined Babylonian and Median armies destroyed the capital city of Nineveh and slaughtered many of the royal dynasty. One general in the royal family named Ashur-uballit II was able to flee the city and became King of Assyria after Sin-shar-ishkun who was possibly his brother that died at Nineveh.
Ashur-uballit II attempted to rally the remnants of the Assyrian military. Here the forces of Nabopolassar beat the Assyrians once again and sacked the entire region of Harran throughout 610 BCE.
The final showdown of the Neo-Babylonia and Assyria clash of civilizations occurred at the Battle of Carchemish (605 BCE). During this engagement a number of soldiers and mercenaries from Egypt under Necho II attempted to help defend the Assyrian army.
Retreating from the loss in Harran, the Assyrian commander Ashur-uballit reached out to their allies in Egypt in order to assist them in reclaiming lost territory. The Egyptians responded and raised a massive mercenary army to aid the Assyrians. On their march from Egypt to Assyria the massive army took the coastal route that led them directly to the Kingdom of Judah. As Necho attempted to pass through the hills in the southern Jezreel Valley he found the passage was blocked by the Judean troops.
The king of Judah at the time named Josiah sided with the Nabopolassar and attempted to hold off the Egyptian troops at the city of Megiddo. A brutal battle was fought between the Egyptians and the Judeans resulting in the death of King Josiah and a loss for Judah. The Egyptian army under Necho advanced towards Syria in order to link up with the forces of Ashur-uballit. The two combined forces attempted to take back the territory of Harran from the Babylonians but they were unsuccessful.
In 605 BCE the Babylonians and the combined Assyrian and Egyptian forces fought one final time at the Battle of Carchemish. It was here under the leadership of future Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II that the Babylonians finally defeated Necho and the remnants of the Assyrian army.
Death & Legacy
Nabopolassar was very ill at the time and abdicated the throne soon before his death. Just after winning the fight in the Battle of Carchemish, Nebuchadnezzar was forced to rush back to Babylon to secure the throne. Thus when Nabopolassar died in 605 BCE the leadership of the new Chaldean Babylonia passed successfully and Nebuchadnezzar was able to rule over one of the greatest golden ages in the history of Babylon.
Under the reign of Nabopolassar and ultimately Nebuchadnezzar as well there was a boom in the building of various construction projects throughout Babylonia. In fashion with the Assyrian-Babylonian culture before them the Chaldeans built gardens, temples and walls. Nearly all of the cracked and crumbling temples and ziggurats were rebuilt and Babylon itself was enlarged greatly.
New walls were constructed in Babylon such as the Ishtar Gate along with a new fortification technique called the double enciente which consisted of moats and towered fortress walls.
It is also believed that during this time period either Nabopolassar or his son began construction of the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon.