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The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced Hardcover – 23 May 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1st Edition edition (23 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199662266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199662265
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 1.8 x 14.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 443,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Wonderfully readable and meticulously researchedas gripping as any thriller, beautifully written and illustrated with an astonishing conclusion (The Good Book Guide)

This meticulously researched book reveals the truth about a Wonder of the Ancient World, an astonishing creation involving sophisticated hydraulics to create a garden so marvellous that it challenged God. (Times Higher Education.)

A gripping detective story, wonderfully written and illustrated, with an astonishing conclusion. Unmissable. (The Tablet)

An enjoyable read throughout. (BBC History magazine)

[L]earned and never less than gripping ... when the inadequacies of a received tradition are as glaring as they clearly are in the case of the Hanging Garden, it is a cause for celebration that there are scholars of the calibre of Stephanie Dalley to propose a convincing alternative. (Tom Holland, Literary Review)

This fascinating book reads more like a detective story than a scholarly account of an ancient civilization ... Ms Dalley makes a brilliant and convincing argument. (Land & Business)

[B]old, clear and immensely interesting... Every good summer needs a controversy and Dalley's high-class book and sheer likeability have now given us an excellent one. (Robin Lane Fox, Financial Times)

[Dalley] makes a compelling case. Scholars will doubtless find matter for debate, but her central argument rings true. (Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times {Culture})

Deeply researched and rigorously argued - and certain to raise both hopes and objections. (Kirkus Reviews)

This scholarly work is full of absorbing details. (Penelope Hobhouse, The Garden)

Dalley's obvious passion for the book shines through in the book, as does a wealth of knowledge and her commitment to provide the evidence to prove her case The writing is fluid and interesting, suiting specialist and non-specialist alike ... I whole-heartedly recommend this book. (Stephen Harmer, Garden Design Journal)

[A] brilliant piece of detective work Well-written and thought-provoking, and certainly for the general reader. (Richard Mawrey, Historic Gardens Review)

The location of this leafy Seventh Wonder has long been disputed; Dr Dalley presents meticulous, fascinating evidence for its siting in Assyria. History books will be rewritten. (Oxford Today)

Even the greatest skeptic will learn a lot about ancient Assyria and Babylonia, and much more ... Highly recommended. (M. Van De Mireoop, CHOICE)

About the Author

Stephanie Dalley is an Honorary Research Fellow at Somerville College, Oxford, a Member of Wolfson College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. With degrees in Assyriology from the Universities of Cambridge and London, her academic career has specialized in the study of ancient cuneiform texts and she has worked on archaeological excavations in Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Jordan. She has written several books on the myths and culture of ancient Mesopotamia, with special reference to their impact on later civilizations, many of which have been translated into Arabic, Italian, and Japanese. She lives in Oxford with her husband and maintains a large garden.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting piece of ancient Mesapotamian history which we often forget in favour of history of the Nile civilization much of which followed a melenia after Mesapotamia. Dr.Dalley writes a very interesting book which has been followed by a program on television. She is obviously a very well informed Assyriologist and obviously loves that part of what is today the North of Iraq. However her conclusion that the Gardens were in Nineva and not Babylon is based on her conclusion that there is no evidence of the Hanging Gardens being in Babylon. The German Archiologist Robert Koldeway, in 1899 dug the various sites at Babylon for nearly fourteen years and unerthed many of its features including those reported by Diodorus. Among these was what appeared to him to be the cellar of the gardens including a room with three large holes in the floor. From which Koldeway concluded that this had been the location of the chain pumps that raised the water to the top of the gardens from where irrigation water would flow by gravity. The source of water would have been either a small farm channel from the Euphrates which flowed through Babylon or alternatively, if the three shafts were deep enough , from seepage from the river. The flow required to irrigate an area of 1.5 ha, which is the area given by Dr. Dalley for the Nineva gardens would require no more than a continious flow of three liters a second to deliver a water daily requirement of about 90 cubic meters in the summer months in the central climatic zone of Iraq, where Babylon is located. I found Dr.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Traditionally, of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the only one supposedly never properly identified has been the Hanging Garden of Babylon. Although considerable evidence has existed to solve the puzzle, different experts have at different times discounted many of them. In this book, the extant evidence is reinterpreted in light of the latest understanding of the history and technological achievements of the Mesopotamians, and a rather convincing case made for the Gardens to be Assyrian, rather than Babylonian. Exactly how this identification has been made is well illustrated, with wide-ranging asides on related topics that serve to illustrate the lives, habits and cultural high-points of the Great Kings. Very well worth the read if you are interested in Assyrian and Babylonian history, and how these cultures have been perceived by outsiders.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I had wondered as I opened this book whether I was going to meet an author of the chariot of the gods school. I need not have feared because Stephanie Dalley's vast experience is rooted firmly in Assyriology. The mystery of the Hanging Gardens is explored from the historical accounts, contemporary practice, contemporary evidence and an assessment of the status of Nineveh from Assyria to the Sassanids. Although the Hanging Gardens are the reason for the book this is a welcome excuse to revisit the remarkable agricultural and religious world that lived between the two rivers. I shall not give away the author's solution to the mystery because the journey is as enjoyable as the destination.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Despite being accepted as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon have been written off by many historians as legendary due to the inconsistent nature in which they are accounted for in contemporary sources. Some sources describe a manmade pyramid with plants and trees apparently rooted in towering stone terraces. Other sources make no mention of any garden at all. Unlike the Pyramids at Giza, there remains no trace of them ever existing.

In this short but fascinating book Stephanie Dalley makes a thorough and mostly convincing argument that explains why the Hanging Gardens cropped up in some sources but not in others - they weren't actually in Babylon, but Nineveh. By cross-referencing references from Greek and Roman texts with ancient cuneiform inscriptions on weathered clay tablets found in what is now Iraq - and always with a sceptical eye - she puts forward a good case as to how various European travellers in the 7th century BC could believe they were all writing about the same place, despite being several hundred miles apart.

This book isn't just about pinpointing the true location of the Hanging Gardens, however. Dalley also counters the arguments of historians who claim the Gardens had to be mythical because their construction were beyond the capabilities of the age, specifically with regard to raising water to keep the plants and trees irrigated. After all, Archimedes didn't invent his screw until centuries later. Dalley presents what she argues is evidence that the concept had already been in practical use for a long time.

This is academic history enlivened by Dalley's obvious passion for the subject. She first posited her theory decades ago, and has clearly spent a lot of time since constructing such a watertight, comprehensive argument.
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