The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon
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The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon : An Elusive World Wonder Traced

By (author) Stephanie Dalley

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The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon is an exciting story of detection involving legends, expert decipherment of ancient texts, and a vivid description of a little-known civilization. Recognised in ancient times as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the legendary Hanging Garden of Babylon and its location still remains a mystery steeped in shadow and puzzling myths. In this remarkable volume Stephanie Dalley, a world expert on ancient Babylonian language, gathers for the first time all the material on this enigmatic World Wonder. Tracing the history of the Garden, Dalley describes how the decipherment of an original text and its link to sculpture in the British Museum has enabled her to pin down where the Garden was positioned and to describe in detail what it may have looked like. Through this dramatic and fascinating reconstruction of the Garden, Dalley is also able to follow its influence on later garden design. Like a palimpsest, Dalley unscrambles the many legends that have built up around the Garden, including the parts played by Semiramis and Nebuchadnezzar, and following the evolution of its design, she shows why this Garden deserves its place alongside the Pyramids and the Colossus of Rhodes as one of the most astonishing technical achievements of the ancient world.

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  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 136 x 216 x 24mm | 499.99g
  • 01 Aug 2013
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford
  • English
  • 90 black and white in-text illustrations and 8 colour plates
  • 0199662266
  • 9780199662265
  • 102,244

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Author Information

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.

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Review quote

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

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