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Babylon

Nabonidus

560s BC
Babylon (Present-Day Iraq)

The perpetrators of the assassination (Labashi-Marduk), the influential courtier Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar, then took power. Despite the turmoil that had surrounded his rise to the throne, the empire itself had remained relatively calm through the difficult period, but there was significant opposition to Nabonidus, who began his reign with the traditional activities associated with the king; renovating buildings and monuments, worshipping the gods and waging war (also campaigning in Cilicia). Nabonidus wasn't of Babylonian ancestry, but rather originated from Harran in former Assyria, one of the main places of worship of the god Sîn (associated with the moon). The new king very openly elevated Sîn's status in the empire, dedicating more attention to this god than to Babylon's national god Marduk. As such, Nabonidus was hated by the Babylonian clergy. This hatred was increased when Nabonidus increased governmental control over the temples in an attempt to solve ongoing management problems with the empire's religious institutions.


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