Ancient empire in Asia in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Semitic in language and civilization, and founded c.2800 B.C. by Sargon I, its greatest ruler was Hammurabi (c.2100 B.C.) who united Babylonia and became famous for the exhaustive code of civil and criminal law compiled during his reign. In 710 B.C. Babylonia was subjugated by Sargon II of Assyria, but regained independence c.626 B.C. under Nabopolas-Bar whose son Nabuchodonosor conquered Syria, destroyed Jerusalem (586 B.C.), and subjugated Tyre. After him the empire declined, becoming a province of Persia upon the victory of Cyrus the Great in 538 B.C. Babylon, ancient capital of Babylonia, is regarded as the site of the Tower of Babel

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