|Euphrates · Tigris|
|Eridu · Kish · Uruk · Ur
Lagash · Nippur · Ngirsu
|Susa · Anshan|
|Akkad · Mari|
|Isin · Larsa|
|Babylon · Chaldea|
|Assur · Nimrud
Dur-Sharrukin · Nineveh
|Sumer (king list)|
|Kings of Elam
Kings of Assyria
Kings of Babylon
|Enûma Elish · Gilgamesh|
|Sumerian · Elamite|
|Akkadian · Aramaic|
|Hurrian · Hittite|
Chaldea or Chaldaea (Arabic كلدان, Kāldān), "the Chaldeans" of the KJV Old Testament, was a marshy land located in Southern Iraq and Kuwait which came to rule Babylon. Tribes of settlers who arrived in the region in 625-539 B.C.E. became known as the Chaldeans. Quite where they originally came from is unknown.
The 11th dynasty of the Kings of Babylon (6th century BC) is conventionally known to historians as the Chaldean Dynasty. Their kingdom in the southern portion of Babylonia lay chiefly on the right bank of the Euphrates. Though the name came to be commonly used to refer to the whole of Mesopotamia, Chaldea proper was the vast plain in the south formed by the deposits of the Euphrates and the Tigris, extending to about four hundred miles along the course of these rivers, and about a hundred miles in average width.
Chaldea was an ancient name for the marshy lands in the far south of Mesopotamia, at the head of the Persian Gulf – present day Iraq and Kuwait. It is called in Chaldean mat Kaldi—that is, "land of Chaldea"—but there is also used, apparently synonymously, the expression mât Bit Yakin. It would appear that Bit Yakin was of the land; and the king of Chaldea is also called the king of Bit Yakin, just as the kings of Bab the estuaries of the Tigris and Euphrates, which then discharged their waters through narrow bonds and obtained the ascendency over all Babylonia.
In 652 BC a series of wars broke out in the Assyrian Empire over who should rule. These wars greatly weakened the empire. Sensing this weakness, the Chaldeans (kal-Dee-unz), led the medes in attacking the Assyrians. In 612 BC they destroyed Nineveh and the Assyrian empire. In its place, the Chaldeans set up a new empire of their own. Nebuchadnezzar, the most famous Chaldean king lasted only 72 years after a 200 year Assyrian Empire.
Important Kaldu cities were Bit-Yâkin (the original homeland at the Persian Gulf), Bit-Dakuri, Bit-Adini, Bit-Amukkani, and Bit-Shilani. King Ukinzir (Greek: Chinzeros) conquered Babylonia, ruling 731-729, but was again defeated by Tiglath-Pileser III. During the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727), Babylonia saw a significant influx of Kaldu settlers.
Merodach-Baladan of Bit-Yâkin gained the support of the Elamites and was king of Babylonia several times between 721 and 710, being deposed by the Assyrians, but always succeeding in seizing the reins of power again. In 702, he once more campaigned against Sennacherib before being finally defeated at Kish. King Mushezib-Marduk was king just before Sennacherib's sack of Babylon in 689 BC.
It was only under Nabopolassar in 625 that the Kaldu attained lasting control over Babylon, after having defeated Assyria and Egypt at Karchemish, founding the Chaldean dynasty, which lasted until 539 and the rise of the Achaemenid Empire.
Chaldean settlement ties the Middle East to early European history as Chaldean colonists led by Aschenez are thought to have been amongst the founders of the city now known as Reggio Calabria, on the east side of the straight between Sicily and Calabria, Italy. The Chaldean colonization made Reggio one of first cities of Europe, according to local historians.
When the Chaldean empire was absorbed into the Achaemenid, the name Chaldean lost its meaning as the name of an ethnic group, and came to be applied to a class. The Persians found the Chaldeans masters of reading and writing, and especially versed in all forms of incantation, in sorcery, witchcraft, and the magical arts. Thus, in Greek, "Chaldean" came to acquire the meaning of "astrologer" (e.g. in Strabo). In this sense it is also used in the Book of Daniel (Dan. 1:4, 2:2ff.).
The southern portion of Babylonia, Lower Mesopotamia, lying chiefly on the right bank of the Euphrates, but commonly used of the whole of the Mesopotamian plain. The Hebrew name is Kasdim, which is usually rendered "Chaldeans" (Jer 50:10; Jer 51:24,Jer 51:35).
"In former days the vast plains of Babylon were nourished by a complicated system of canals and water-courses, which spread over the surface of the country like a network. The wants of a teeming population were supplied by a rich soil, not less bountiful than that on the banks of the Egyptian Nile. Like islands rising from a golden sea of waving corn stood frequent groves of palm-trees and pleasant gardens, affording to the idler or traveller their grateful and highly-valued shade. Crowds of passengers hurried along the dusty roads to and from the busy city. The land was rich in corn and wine."
Recent discoveries, more especially in Babylonia, have thrown much light on the history of the Hebrew patriarchs, and have illustrated or confirmed the Biblical narrative in many points. The ancestor of the Hebrew people, Abram, was, we are told, born at Ur of the Chaldees. "Chaldees" is a mistranslation of the Hebrew Kasdim, Kasdim being the Old Testament name of the Babylonians, while the Chaldees were a tribe who lived on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and did not become a part of the Babylonian population till the time of Hezekiah. Ur was one of the oldest and most famous of the Babylonian cities. Its site is now called Mugheir, or Mugayyar, on the western bank of the Euphrates, in Southern Babylonia. About a century before the birth of Abram it was ruled by a powerful dynasty of kings. Their conquests extended to Elam on the one side, and to the Lebanon on the other. They were followed by a dynasty of princes whose capital was Babylon, and who seem to have been of South Arabian origin. The founder of the dynasty was Sumu-abi ("Shem is my father").
But soon afterwards Babylonia fell under Elamite dominion. The kings of Babylon were compelled to acknowledge the supremacy of Elam, and a rival kingdom to that of Babylon, and governed by Elamites, sprang up at Larsa, not far from Ur, but on the opposite bank of the river. In the time of Abram the king of Larsa was Eri-Aku, the son of an Elamite prince, and Eri-Aku, as has long been recognized, is the Biblical "Arioch king of Ellasar" (Gen 14:1). The contemporaneous king of Babylon in the north, in the country termed Shinar in Scripture, was Khammu-rabi. (See also Amraphel.)
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