Nebuchadrezzar: A name rich with color, strength, and prestige belongs to one of the few Babylonian kings known by name today. Conqueror of kingdoms and restorer of Babylon, he left behind a legacy like no other. Born in the seventh century B.C., he came to power as Babylonia was regaining its power in the region. He built on this momentum and took Babylonia to new heights, leaving behind Babylon’s beautiful Ishtar Gate and the grand Processional Way. His capture of Judah and exile of Jerusalem’s Hebrews would have a profound impact on Judaism’s sacred texts, many of which were composed in Babylon. Nebuchadrezzar’s empire would not long survive him. A short 22 years after his death, Babylonia fell to Cyrus the Great, king of Persia. (See also: Inside the 30-year quest for Babylon's Ishtar Gate.)
Nebuchadrezzar’s feats were built on those of his father, Nabopolassar, founder of the Chaldean empire. Governor of the region of Chaldea, Nabopolassar seized the throne of Babylonia around 625 B.C., which until then had been controlled by the waning Assyrian Empire.
Nabopolassar forged a coalition with the Medes to the east and fought against the Assyrians for the next decade. In 612 B.C. they sacked Assyria’s then capital Nineveh and toppled their rule. Babylonia had long been in the shadow of Assyria, and now it was time for it to rise.