Born in Hamburg to Jewish parents, Julius Oppert (1825-1905) later moved to France, where he established a reputation as a remarkably gifted Assyriologist, making significant contributions to the decipherment of cuneiform Akkadian. Between 1851 and 1854, he accompanied the orientalist Fulgence Fresnel (1795-1855) on the French expedition to Mesopotamia. In recognition of his role, involving important excavations at the site of the ancient city of Babylon, Oppert was granted French citizenship. In May 1855, however, a great many of the discovered antiquities were lost when the raft transporting them sank in the Tigris under the weight of its priceless cargo. The present work appeared in two volumes between 1859 and 1863; the publication of the second volume preceded that of the first, as Oppert prioritised the analysis of the cuneiform inscriptions. Volume 1 (1863) contains an account of the journey and the archaeological results.