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An ancient city in Mesopotamia, the capital of Babylonia in the 2nd millennium bc under Hammurabi. The city (of which only ruins now remain) lay on the Euphrates and was noted by Classical writers for its luxury, its fortifications, and its legendary Hanging Gardens. The name is also given in Revelation to the mystical city of the Apocalypse, and it is taken as the type of a great and decadent city. Babylon is also used (chiefly among Rastafarians) as a contemptuous or dismissive term for aspects of white culture seen as degenerate or oppressive, especially the police.

Babylonian Captivity the captivity of the Israelites in Babylon, lasting from their deportation by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 bc until their release by Cyrus the Great in 539 bc. It is taken as a type of grieving exile.

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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