Babylon: Visions of Vice


BABYLON REVISITED: For centuries, the Tower of Babel has been a recurring subject of paintings, including this one by John Martin

The Bible paints an unflattering portrait of Babylon as a corrupt civilization cursed by ambition, excess and power-hungry kings. In the Book of Genesis, its residents build the Tower of Babel in a vainglorious effort to reach heaven — and God strikes it down, angered by man's overweening pride. By the time of the New Testament, Babylon's image is even more sinister: the Book of Revelation personifies it as a whore seated on a dragon, condemning the city as "the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth."

Reviled and admired, envied and feared, Babylon —...

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