Timothy Potts is Director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. He is the author of Mesopotamia and the East.
 (September 2013)

Looking for the Hanging Gardens

Georges Antoine Rochegrosse: The End of Babylon, circa 1890
Before the mid-nineteenth century, when the British explorer Austen Henry Layard unearthed the spectacular Assyrian palaces of Nineveh (modern Mosul), the ancient empires of Mesopotamia could be glimpsed only through the lens of classical and biblical writings. These were almost uniformly hostile and understandably so, for the Assyrians and Babylonians …

Buried Between the Rivers

“To overturn the appointed times, to obliterate the divine plans, the storms gather to strike like a flood. [The gods] An, Enlil, Enki, Ninhursag have decided its fate—to overturn the divine powers of Sumer…to destroy the city…to take kingship away from the Land [of Sumer]…. The people, in their fear, …