Tom Holland

Here Be Griffins

There is always a particular pleasure in being asked to review a book that you were planning to buy anyway. I was sent Stephanie Dalley’s The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon by this magazine a few months ago, but had been waiting to read it for much longer than that. The book’s argument – that the Hanging Garden supposedly built by Nebuchadnezzar had in fact been located further north, in the Assyrian city of Nineveh – was not new to me. A few years earlier, while researching a book of my own on the Persian Wars, I had come across an essay by Dalley intriguingly entitled ‘Why Did Herodotus not Mention the Hanging Gardens of Babylon?’ I read on with a feverish interest. Much was hanging for me (as it were) on the answer that the article gave.

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