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The Rise and Fall of Babylon: Gateway of the Gods [Hardcover]

Anton Gill
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 July 2012

Anton Gill charts the history of Babylon, home of the famous Hanging Gardens and a wonder of the ancient world in itself. Beginning with a survey of Ancient Mesopotamian dynasties, he chronicles the city's rise under Hammurabi, its troubled fortunes in the centuries that followed, its golden age under a dynasty of Chaldean kings in the sixth and seventh centuries BC, and the life of its last great king, Nebuchadnezzar II - himself a military genius, law-giver and architect of the marvellous city once called 'the gateway of the gods'.

Studded with detailed profiles of the rulers of the period and embellished with colour illustrations, maps and timelines, Gateway of The Gods: The Rise and Fall of Babylon is a vivid and richly informative portrait of an extraordinary era.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (5 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857386646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857386649
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 19.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Antony Cutler is the pseudonym of acclaimed novelist and Renaissance historian ANTON GILL. Under his own name he has published a series of thrillers set in Ancient Egypt, and a history-mystery, The Sacred Scroll. An English Literature graduate of Clare College, Cambridge, he has been a freelance writer since 1984, and has been translated and published worldwide. He has written a wide variety of historical non-fiction, and previously worked in theatre, radio and television. Anton is married to the actress Marji Campi, and divides his time between London and Paris.

ANTON GILL: selected books published since 1984.
(This list covers main books only. It does not include minor stuff, short stories, plays and features.)


MARTIN ALLEN IS MISSING (study of missing children in London) - Corgi Books, London, 1984 - ISBN 13-digit: 9780552124669

HOW TO BE OXBRIDGE (satirical history of Oxford and Cambridge universities since World War Two) - Grafton Books, London, 1985; Kenkyusha, Tokyo, 1988 - ISBN13: 9780246124326

CROQUET, THE COMPLETE GUIDE (social history of the game of croquet on both sides of the Atlantic) - Heinemann, London, 1986 - ISBN13: 9780434981007

MAD ABOUT THE BOY (biography of pop-singer Boy George) - Century, London, 1987 - ISBN13: 9780712609838

THE JOURNEY BACK FROM HELL (study of post-war lives of survivors of the German concentration camps of World War Two - winner of the H. H. Wingate Prize for non-fiction, 1988) - Grafton, London, 1988 and 1989; Morrow, NYC, 1989; Avon, NYC, 1990; HarperCollins UK, London, 1994; reprinted 1996 and 1998 - ISBN13: 9780586206508

BERLIN TO BUCHAREST (travels in Eastern Europe just before the counter-revolutions there - ie in 1988 and 1989) - Grafton, London, 1990; David and Charles, NYC, 1992; Hollandia, Amsterdam, 1993 - ISBN13: 9780246134851

CITY OF DREAMS (German VOGUE top five novels, 1997)
CITY OF THE DEAD (top ten bestsellers, fiction, France, 1997)
(three thrillers set in ancient Egypt about the time of the reign of Tutankhamun)
- Bloomsbury, London, 1991-1993; 1994; Eichborn, Frankfurt, 1992-1995; Droemer Knaur, Munich, 1994-1996; de Boekerij, Amsterdam, 1994-1996; 1998; Editions 10/18 - Les grands detectives - Paris, 1994-1996; Plaza y Janes Editores, Barcelona, 1995-1997 and Planeta DeAgostini, Madrid, 1997-2002; Mondadori, Milan, 1995-1997; Alpress, Frydek-Mistek (Czech Republic), 1996-1998; Alien, Athens, 1997-2000 (and continuing as of 2003); repr. USA (Felony & Mayhem) 2006-2008) - ISBN13s: 9780747511934/9780747511764/9780747555555509004

A DANCE BETWEEN FLAMES (a general history of Berlin between the two world wars) - John Murray, London, 1993; Carroll and Graf, NYC, 1994; Abacus, London, 1995 - ISBN13: 9780719549861

AN HONOURABLE DEFEAT (a history of the German Resistance to Hitler and Nazism, 1933-1945) - Heinemann Mandarin, London, 1994; Henry Holt, NYC, 1994; UK & US pbk 1995 - 9780434292761

RULING PASSIONS (sexuality and the British Empire) - BBC Books, London, 1995 - ISBN13: 9780563370918

THE HANGING GALE (novel based on drama serial about the C19 Irish famine) - BBC Books, London, 1995 - ISBN13: 9780563371939

(three further Egyptian thrillers, published between 1997 and 2003 by the mainland European publishers listed above.) ISBNs: N/A

THE DEVIL'S MARINER (a biography of the seventeenth-century explorer and pirate William Dampier) - Michael Joseph, London, 1997 - ISBN13: 9780718141141

THE LAST TALONS OF THE EAGLE (with Gary Hyland; about avant-garde German military aeroplane development in the Second World War) - Headline, London, 1998 - 9780747221561

EXTINCT (with Alex West; natural history book to tie in with Channel 4 TV series of same name) - Channel 4 Books, 2002 - ISBN13: 9780752261621

PEGGY GUGGENHEIM - THE LIFE OF AN ART ADDICT - HarperCollins UK 2001/USA 2002 (as ART LOVER)/ Random House - Mondadori, Barcelona, Spain 2002/Globus Brazil 2004/Poland/S. Korea/Italy/Greece - 2004 +. Paperback editions 2004 + /Hungary 2006; repr. UK 2007 - ISBN13: 9780002570785

THE GREAT ESCAPE (account of the escape of RAF POWs from Stalag-Luft III in 1944) - Headline, 2002; Poland, 2004; paperback 2004

IL GIGANTE (Florence, Michelangelo and the David, 1492 - 1504) - Headline, 2002; St Martin's Press, USA, 2004; also Japan, Korea, Italy, 2004 - 2005 - ISBN13: 9780747235759

ANCIENT EGYPTIANS (history of the land & people, accompanies C4 series) HarperCollins, 2003; paperback UK 2004 - ISBN13: 9780007143993

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? - TRACING YOUR FAMILY BACK TO THE TUDORS (accompanies BBC series) HarperCollins, 2006 - ISBN13: 9780007230082

EMPIRE'S CHILDREN (history of the fall of the British Empire, accompanies Channel 4 series) HarperCollins, 2007 - ISBN13: 9780007247141

GATEWAY OF THE GODS (a history of Ancient Mesopotamia) Quercus - UK publ. Nov 2008 - ISBN13: 9781847246691

ASSASSIN'S CREED: RENAISSANCE (writing as Oliver Bowden; ndp) (novel) Penguin Books, UK and worldwide from Nov 2009 (25 in top 50 London, Christmas, 2009) - ISBN13: 9780114106309

THE SLEEP OF REASON (novel - unpublished/2010 -) - ISBN: N/A

VAMPIRES OF ROME (novel - work in progress/2010 -) - ISBN: N/A

TITANIC: THE REAL STORY OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS SHIP (non-fiction - accompanies C4 series, Titanic - The Mission) Channel 4 Books/Transworld, October 2010 - ISBN: not yet available

ASSASSIN'S CREED - BROTHERHOOD (by 'Oliver Bowden' as above) Penguin Books, UK & worldwide from Nov 2010 - ISBN: not yet available

THE SACRED SCROLL (novel) Penguin Books, UK 2011 - ISBN: not yet available

London/Paris, 2010

All enquiries:

Mark Lucas/Julian Alexander
LAW Writers' Agency
14 Vernon Street
London W14 0RJ

+44 (0)20 7471 7900

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Ancient Mesopotamia - centred on the southern part of the floodplain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (in what is modern Iraq) - has long been known as the cradle of human civilization. It was here, in the fourth millennium BC, that the world's first city-states came into being, and with them many of the social, legal and economic structures that we recognize today. Between 6000 BC and 1900 BC a number of different peoples - Sumerians, Akkadians, Gutians, Amorites and Elamites - established dynasties in the region, power constantly shifting between them. Around 1800-1750 BC, however, the Amorite king Hammurabi unified Mesopotamia under then hegemony of Babylon. Although its power waxed and waned over the succeeding centuries, Babylon retained its importance as a cultural, religious and political centre until its fall to the Persians in 539 BC. Anton Gill tells the complete thousand-year story of the splendour that was ancient Babylon - the 'gateway of the gods'. Beginning with a survey of the early Mesopotamian dynasties, he goes on to chronicle the city's rise under Hammurabi, its troubled fortunes in the centuries that followed, its golden age under a dynasty of Chaldean kings in the seventh and sixth centuries BC, and the life of its last great king Nebuchadrezzar II. Ruling from c.605 until 562 BC, Nebuchadrezzar created a Neo-Babylonian empire that extended over much of the Levant, and presided over a magnificent flowering of culture, including the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Anton Gill not only describes the political and military triumphs of Nebuchadrezzar's reign but also explores its many achievements in the cultural sphere - from art to mathematics, from economics to legal matters, and from astronomy to writing - as well as features of everyday life, from sex and shopping to food, drink and customs. Studded with detailed profiles of the rulers of the period, and embellished with 130 colour illustrations, maps and timelines, The Rise and Fall of Babylon is a vivid and richly informative portrait of an extraordinary era.

From the Back Cover

The extraordinary story of the first civilizations and the most magnificent city of the ancient world. Begins in 6000 BC at the 'cradle of civilization' and explains the key history of our earliest kingdoms and cities including Mesopotamia, Sumer, Assyria, Nineveh and Ur. Tells the stories of Sargon the Great, Hammurabi 'the law-giver' and the legendary Nebuchadnezzar, as well as many other great kings of antiquity. Beautifully illustrated with more than 130 full-colour illustrations, artefacts and maps. Details the thousand-year splendour of Babylon, 'the gateway of the gods' and home to the fabled Hanging Gardens, the Ishtar Gate and the Great Ziggurat - the 'original Tower of Babel'. Explores everyday life and Babylonian culture, including developments in art, architecture, law-making, economics, mathematics and astronomy that we still follow today. An enlightening journey through 5000 years of humanity's earliest history.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction! 15 Oct 2009
By Joolz
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Beginning with a general history of Mesopotamia, Gateway Of The Gods focuses on Babylon's `golden age' under such famous kings as Nabopolassar, Nebuchadrezzar The Great and Nabonidus, principally being concerned with aspects of life such as art, science, literature & business. A shorter section concludes by outlining what came next, including its modern rediscovery. It is sumptuously presented in a modern style on glossy paper with many large-scale illustrations, sidebars and panels giving greater detail of specific subjects than otherwise during the main body of text.

Gill is a jobbing author rather than academic historian, but he has done an excellent job to bring Babylon to life. Most bases are covered in just enough detail to give an excellent flavour of his subject without swamping an unwary reader with too much extraneous detail. All major figures and topics are introduced in logical sequence. His bibliography is short but tellingly includes most of the important books I would expect to see there, which is a good sign.

I could have done with Gateway Of The Gods when I first took an interest in the Ancient Near East more than 30 years ago. Instead, my introduction came via George Roux's Ancient Iraq (Penguin History) which remains probably the best overall book for non-academics, yet its dense text-book style is not easy for a new reader to get to grips with. Gateway Of The Gods may be seen as yet another glossy "coffee table" overview, but it is a superior one that can be purchased with confidence.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars babylon 27 May 2009
This excellent book deals with Babylon the capital of Mesopotamia that area of present day Iraq which lies between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers but which latterly covered what is now Israel,Syria,Iraq and Kuwait.
Although there was civilisation in this area from 6000BC it is the period 1800BC to 539BC that this location became the centre of the worlds civilisation until defeated by the Persians.
The book is divided into three a)the cradle of civilisation 6000 to 1800BC b)the golden age of Babylon and c)Babylon sunset.Each section is very well written and illustrated with excellent images of artefacts and buildings.A time line for each chapter is very useful.
Part two documents Babylons contribution to history,languages,arts,science,business and trade,festivals and rituals and finally daily life and how each affected the known world.
There is a very good glossary and in the epilogue the author makes very valid criticisms of the Americans in failing to protect the museums and libraries following the Iraq invasion.
A book to be highly recommended.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars babylon 19 April 2009
This book really brings to life the ancient past, and the history is presented in a clear very readable manner. The illustrations are superb and I can recommend this book to everyone.
Les Price
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Babylon explained 4 April 2009
This excelled book explains with clarity the many and complicated periods of the history of Babylon, the author writes in a way that makes the subject accesable to all without losing any of his scholorship
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6 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inaccurate Information 14 Aug 2010
The book starts off very well, yet after spending time reading it, (if you know anything about ancient history/Bible characters at all ) you will soon recognise some mistakes.

A few of the mistakes are as follows:


. P100 - "Daniel who took the Babylonian name Belshazzar" = WRONG. (Daniel's name was changed to Belteshazzar NOT Belshazzar).

.BELSHAZZAR- Was the firstborn son of Nabonidus, and coregent of Nabonidus in the last years of the Babylonian Empire. He is mentioned in the Bible account only by the prophet Daniel, and for long his position as "king of Babylon" was denied by Bible critics. (Da 5:1, 9; 7:1; 8:1) However, archaeological evidence in the form of ancient texts has since demonstrated the historicity of the Bible account.


. P100 - "Yahweh and his wife Aserah".= WRONG (Nowhere in scripture does it ever mention this name or suggest Yahweh/ Jehovah is married to any other deity/god. Only Israelites that turned to false pagan worship may have instituted such corrupt religious thinking and design. See, Isaiah 43:11).

. ASERAH- Aserah was the great Mother Goddess of Canaan according to the Cannanites. A land and prople that the Israelites were told to stay away from due to their idolatry and false worship (Leviticus 18:3). In fact a marriage rite practiced by Aserah worshipers appeared to have involved the cooking of a kid in its mother's milk, a procedure forbidden by Yahweh and Jewish priests. (Exodus 23:19)

. 2 Kings 23:4-7- Also shows how Yahweh/Jehovah ordered all things related to other false gods such as Aserah and Baal to be removed and completely destroyed.

. SYMBOLIC USES- Throughout the Scriptures, Jehovah speaks of himself as a husband.
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