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

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Recognized in ancient times as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the legendary Hanging Garden of Babylon & its location remain to this day a mystery steeped in shadow & puzzling myths. Now offering a brilliant solution to a question that has challenged archeologists for centuries, The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon is an exciting story of detection a ...more
Hardcover, 1st, 301 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Oxford University Press (NYC) (first published May 23rd 2013)
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Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received and read an uncorrected proof via Netgalley.

There really is no other way to start, so here goes.

I never thought that reading about a screw so could be so engrossing.

Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about Archimedes’ screw. And I’m not being sarcastic. Stephanie Dalley makes reading about the screw absolutely fascinating. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it’s true.

The screw is important because the time and use of the device are central to the idea of how the
Lois Bujold
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers interested in ancient history of the Mideast
Recommended to Lois by: saw the TV show

Well, hm.

This book is as much argument as history, of the author's theory that the Hanging Garden of Babylon was not built by Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon (where it has never been found) but by Sennacherib in Nineveh, where likely remains exist. There are paragraphs where every single sentence is footnoted.

It is not Ancient History 101, and does not stop to coddle the novice. It would offer the most to a reader already well-versed in the history of Mesopotamia. For a reader who is not (like me), th
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Chris
ancient history - mesopotamia> euphrates> babylon
read feb 2013

Disclaimer: I received and read an uncorrected proof.

This book is dedicated to the memory of my parents
Denys and Katie Page
who packed me off to Nimrud in northern Iraq in 1962
for the first of many adventures in archaeology and epigraphy.

Acknowledgements (it is always nice when the author decides to put this section at the front - shows a pleasant bowing of ego.)
List of Colour Plates
List of Figures
Timeline (I lo
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I picked this up because I saw a BBC special about the topic and wanted more information.. this is an interesting topic but a bit dry.. it is really a scholarly defense of her theory that the Hanging Gardens were really built in Nineveh.. and not Babylon.. sad that archeology in the past messed up a lot of the digs and now so much is either inaccessible due to the political situation and/or destroyed.. I think the tv program is better for the average person rather than this book.
Brad Dunn
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
this book is perfect, I suspect, for those doing diligent research on Babylon, Mesopotamia, or Assyria. I was really just looking for a book on the old garden. As a book, it can be a little dull to read. there is some interesting stuff in here, and I learnt a few things, but only as I floated in and out of consciousness. There is a lot of technical engineering details about inventions of the era which are not exactly enthralling. Important - yes. Im probably just the wrong audience for this book ...more
B.G. Brainard
Sep 14, 2013 rated it liked it
I bought the book hoping to find out more about the hanging garden of Babylon, because I was researching the subject for a book I was writing. Her conclusions did not help much with my research about the ancient city of Babylon, but did open my eyes to the Assyrian King Sennecherib's queen, garden, and palace in Nineveh.
Adam Mills
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely interesting and compelling case for the location, layout and structure of arguably the most famous of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joshua Horvath
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Very interesting material, a little dryly presented though.
Rob Crompton
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read. Prof Dalley cuts through the dead weight of hitherto unquestioned assumptions and makes a truly exciting discovery.
Zoe Meyer
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am doing a research paper on the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and this was immensely helpful. It has lots of information for the avid reader. Not for quick facts however, pretty long...
Erik Graff
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ancient history fans
Recommended to Erik by: Martin Miller
Shelves: history
Dalley, Stephanie, The Mystery of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced. Oxford University Press, New York, 2013. Hardcover. 279 + xxii pp. $34.95.

I was first introduced to “The Seven Wonders of the World” by an elementary school textbook. Along with the Great Pyramid, the Colossus of Rhodes and the rest, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were illustrated as something like vines descending from a stepped temple described as a “ziggurat”. Interested in the beginnings and end
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dalley's solid conclusion is that the hanging gardens were actually in the northern Iraqi city of Ninevah, and not in Babylon. I'm little versed in Assyrology, so her book also serves as a short introduction for me, though its certainly not meant to be. Each chapter addresses critical points supporting her argument: many cities could be known as Babylon; a survey of the water works which would have watered the gardens, and most importantly, reinterpreting archaeological finds which have mistaken ...more
Margaret Sankey
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beginning with popular culture representations (and a startling number of New Yorker cartoons), Dally, a cuneiform scholar, traces the fascination with a Hanging Garden of Babylon back through ancient sources to eyewitness accounts and Assyrian technical boasting to locate it in Nineveh, constructed by Sennacherib as a very smart and appropriate royal patronage project addition to already sophisticated aqueduct and water management skills. Mapping and computer drafting, as well as BBC funded rec ...more
Linda Hunt
Mar 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Written very much like a college textbook, this is not something to read just for fun. The author has done a lot of research and study in order to present her facts - which are different from the traditional beliefs of the Hanging Gardens, and which she supports well. I had a hard time getting through it, but I did. If anyone is writing a research paper, at a high school or college level, this is the book to use. It includes pictures and drawings, as well as the information, and is well-footnote ...more
Elizabeth Smith
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent book and the premise makes perfect sense. This book will appeal to experts and enthusiasts of Mesopotamian studies more than to the general reader, I think. It needs a more complete map of ancient Mesopotamia and a king-list to be entirely intelligible to the non-specialist, but Dalley has engaging prose and good illustrations. A fascinating topic, to be sure.
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating description of the painstaking work of exploring the world wonder; the hanging garden of Babylon. It is like a complicated jigsaw with many pieces missing. I now understand a small part of the ancient history of the middle east. Stephanie Dalley writes well and enticed me on to the next revelation.
Peter Olmsted
Nov 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this. However I have a habit of enjoying incredibly dry history books. Great to fall asleep to.

It's a compelling, thoughtful argument that sheds extensive light on the elusive Hanging Gardens.
Martin Rundkvist
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
This confused book fails to present a cohesive argument. Its main thesis is that the Hanging Gardens were in Niniveh on the Tigris in Assyria, not in Babylon on the Euphrates in Babylonia as the historical sources agree.
Andrew Hoseason
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book successfully demonstrates that the Hanging Gardens were in Nineveh rather than Babylon. For me, the most convincing evidence is that the ancient accounts match the hilly landscape of Assyria rather than the plains of the Tigris/Euphrates.
Sara M
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Some of the hypotheses seem to be nothing more than wild guesses, but the book is a great piece of scholarship nonetheless.
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really quite informative. Would have loved to have this work while in school.
Mar 31, 2015 added it
Shelves: read-in-2015
Fascinating to learn that the Hanging Garden was in Nineveh and built by Sennacherib.
Sep 24, 2013 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
Gah! I tried but it just bored me to sleep every time! Didn't get very far.
Timoer Frelink
Oct 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read. This is history writing at its best. Would have given 4,5 stars.
May 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Very interesting book regarding the Hanging Gardens and the authors research as to the true location and builder. Not for everyone tho, as it is more "text book".
Gregory Colt
rated it really liked it
Aug 14, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Jan 09, 2018
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Nov 20, 2016
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