In what is known today as Iraq, a region known as Babylonia existed from 1895 to 619 BCE. The origins of the region can be traced to little more than a small town in the Akkadian Empire - the result of which was that individuals who lived in this region spoke Akkadian - but it dramatically grew in size and prominence beginning under the leadership of Hammurabi. As with any growing region, Babylonia would often engage in periods of crisis with Assyria. With the death of Hammurabi, however, the area would dramatically decline, ultimately existing as little more than a small kingdom.
In Babylonia, buildings were often constructed of clay bricks; early forms of plaster and columns would emerge from this architectural base. Over time, these would evolve into enameled tiles and frescoes, creating some brilliant pieces of artwork that have survived to this day. Because stone was a rare commodity in the region, gem cutting became a precision form of art. In terms of medicine, the Babylonians were far superior to their peers; they were responsible for introducing the ideas of diagnosis, prognosis, prescriptions, and physical examinations to the field. Documents outlined symptoms and potential diagnoses, as well as treatments that had been found to be effective in the past. Literary advances also emerged from Babylonia, the most famous of which was the 12-book Epic of Gilgamesh. It is not surprising, then, that this advancement has allowed Babylonia to rise to a position of great importance in the study of western civilization, as well as in the Abrahamic faiths of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.