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The Ancient World and Fashion > Peoples of Western Asia

Babylon had a period of greatness during the eighteenth century BCE, when it was ruled by King Hamurabai. However, after 1750, the city gradually declined, and was finally conquered by the Assyrians in 689 BCE. Then, around 620 BCE, the Babylonians began to fight back. By the time King Nebuchadnezzar II came to the throne in 605 BCE, Babylon had taken control of the Assyrian Empire. The Babylonians ruled their empire for the next sixty years,before being conquered by the Persians.


Two Babylonian servants accompany their richly dressed master.

Dress in Babylon

One of King Nebuchadnezzar’s greatest achievements was the rebuilding of Babylon. During his reign it became one of the richest cities in the world, full of temples and palaces and home to the famous hanging gardens. Inside the splendid city of Babylon, the wealthy lived a life of comfort and ceremony. Men and women wore a loose, flowing tunic, with wide half-sleeves, caught in at the waist by a broad, decorative belt. Men carried tall, ornamental staffs and wore a fez-like headdress.Tunics were made from dyed linen, and a second, woolen tunic was sometimes also worn when the weather became cooler. Servants in Babylon wore simple, short, undyed tunics, belted at the waist. One of their tasks was to walk in front of their wealthy masters with a large whisk,driving away the flies!

The people of Babylon were skilled workers in silver and gold, and both men and women loved to wear golden jewelry. A surviving statue of the goddess Ishtar shows her wearing a necklace made from concentric golden rings and two outsize golden earrings-one resembling a bunch of grapes and the other, a shell.

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