The Tower Of Babel
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Ever since the inception of life on Earth, several generations of mankind have traversed the planet and while they may not have survived the test of time, they did manage to leave imprints which have endured to this day and remind us of the days gone by. Amongst all the historical evidence that has been left behind, it is the monuments which have survived through the eons and in spite of being mute, are eloquence personified. What could be a better proof of this than the Tower of Babel which is probably one of the oldest buildings standing today, a strong reminder of an important milestone that shaped civilization as it stands today?
Tower of Babel, referred to as Migddal Babel in Hebrew, is believed to have been constructed in the city of Shinar, meaning Babylonia, which in the present day corresponds to Hillah in Iraq. A typical example of ‘ziggurat’ which played the crucial role of being central to planning the layout of cities, this tower was meant as an embodiment of cumulative power of human beings. While Babel is a derivative of ‘balal’, a Hebrew word that means jumble, the expression ‘Tower of Babel’ collectively translates to Gate/Gates of God. However, in the Bible, it is always referred to as the ‘city and its tower’ or simply ‘the city’.
Amongst the several reasons as to why the Tower of Babel is regarded as a turning point in the history of civilization, primary is that it marked the transition of society from one language to several dialects. As a result, the linguistic unity that people shared before the construction of the tower vaporized after it had been built, thus causing chaos and mayhem all around. Also evident was the irony that the motive underlying construction of the tower was to save the city from dispersal and scatter it did subsequent to completion.
Legend has it that the idea of constructing a tower so high that it touched the heavens was stoked by Nimrod who happened to be a ruling monarch at the time. In many ways, its construction is described as a period of transition wherein people used man-made materials like bricks and tar for construction rather than those existing in nature like stone and mortar. Historians also interpret it as the time when the Earth disintegrated into several continents and its inhabitants began speaking different dialects, thus resulting in complete breakdown of communication.
An aspect pertaining to the Tower of Babel that has been the topic of debate pertains to its height wherein most of the phrases coined in the ancient era describe it as touching the sky. What is not sure is whether it was an indication of height or arrogance of builders that prompted such a description. While the exact figure is a matter of conjecture and varies as per the source, a common opinion is that the usage of bricks played an instrumental role in ensuring its durability and longevity.
That said, the Tower of Babel was the first example of what mankind was capable of accomplishing through cooperation, collaboration and coordination and this established the importance of standing united for the sake of noble objectives.