Babylonia was a civilization in Lower Mesopotamia (now central and southern Iraq) dating back to the 18th century BC. Babylon was its capital. Babylonia emerged out of the territories of the former kingdoms of Sumer and Akkad. Babylonia adopted the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use, and retained the Sumerian language for religious use, although by that time it was no longer a spoken language. The Akkadian and Sumerian cultures played a major role in later Babylonian culture, and the region would remain an important cultural centre, even under foreign rule. Babylonia was absorbed into the Persian Empire in 539 BC.
Many references are made to Babylon in the Bible, both literally and allegorically. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Tower of Babel are two legendary landmarks of Babylonian civilization, seen as symbols of luxurious and arrogant power respectively.