What Did the Babylonians Invent?

The Babylonians invented astronomy and an advanced form of mathematics, built grand cities and canals, and are credited with codifying laws. The Hanging Gardens, which Nebuchadnezzar built, remains one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and many Babylonian mathematical ideas are in use today.

The Babylonians are credited with inventing astronomy and devising a 12-month calendar. With their system of astronomy, they accurately predicted eclipses. They studied the heavens and used their results to predict and prevent danger.

The Babylonians also created a base-60 number system, some of which remains in use. For example, there are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour. Babylonians created 59 symbols to represent their numbers, and they are credited with understanding and using the idea of zero. In Babylonian math, zero is represented by a blank space.

Likely best known for building the Tower of Babel, the Babylonians believed they could build a tower to heaven. In the Bible, God was unhappy with this and to punish them, caused them to speak different languages and no longer understand each other. Historians believe that the tower may have been a tribute to the god Marduk and that Alexander the Great demolished the Tower.

King Nebuchadnezzar built The Hanging Gardens for his wife, but what makes this one of the world’s best inventions is its ingenious use of irrigation to water the garden in the middle of a desert. Babylonian engineers created a chain pump that brought in water from the Euphrates River and also designed special bricks to keep the garden in place.