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Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylon (605-562 BC)

Nebuchadnezzar II (Nabu-Kudurri-usur, 'O Nabu, protect the son') came to the throne in 604 BC, on the death of his father Nabopolassar. The Babylonians had gained the Assyrian empire with hard fighting having allied themselves with the Medes from Iran.

After his coronation in Babylon the new king campaigned in Syria for five months. In 601 BC Nebuchadnezzar marched to the Egyptian frontier. The Babylonian and Egyptian armies clashed and both sides suffered heavy losses. Over the next few years the struggle between the Babylonians and Egyptians continued and in the course of these campaigns Jerusalem was captured (597 BC). Problems in this region persisted when Zedekiah, the Babylonian-appointed king of Judah, rebelled. As a result, in 587-6 BC Jerusalem was taken again and a large section of the population deported.

The most spectacular evidence of Nebuchadnezzar's military successes are his building works in Babylonia. All the great old cities were extensively rebuilt. Most notable was the development of Babylon. The fabulous remains were revealed by German excavations early this century and much material is now in the Vordersaistiche Museum Berlin. After 594 BC little is known about the political events of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. He was succeeded by his son Amel-Mardul (biblical Evil-Merodach) in 562 BC.