Etemenanki is the name of the large temple tower in Babylon. Its Sumerian name E-temen-an-ki means "House of the foundation of heaven on earth."

Modern rendering of the ancient Etemenanki Ziggurat in Babylon.

The Etemenanki ziggurat, built on the banks of the Euphrates River in ancient Babylon, was completed in the sixth century B.C.E. The structure was dedicated to the patron god of Babylon, known as Marduk. The temple’s Sumerian name is E-temen-an-ki, meaning “house of the foundation of heaven and earth.” According to an ancient inscription, the original structure consisted of seven levels and measured 300 feet high. The Assyrian king Sennacherib sacked the city of Babylon in 689 B.C.E., destroying Etemenanki. In 331 B.C.E., Alexander the Great captured Babylon and ordered the ziggurat to be rebuilt. Two years later, he returned to find little progress and ordered his army to demolish the ruins. Today, the remains of Babylon are in Iraq, about 50 miles south of Baghdad. Saddam Hussein had a view of the ruins from his summer palace.



A Macedonian (Greek) general who conquered the Persians and ruled over a vast empire, from Greece to the Indus River, in the 330s B.C.E.

Together with the Tigris, the Euphrates is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia.

A Babylonian deity who becomes the chief god of the Babylonian pantheon, as recounted in the Babylonian creation story Enuma Elish.

The first major civilization of ancient Mesopotamia, arising in the fifth millennium B.C.E. and lasting through the early second millennium B.C.E.; the Sumerians invented the first writing system, cuneiform.

An ancient Mesopotamian temple, taking the form of a stepped pyriamid.

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