Be careful what you ask for, ultimately you'll only get three true wishes!
— One of the teachings of the Babylonians, Sonic Riders
The Babylonians, also known as the children of Babylon, are a species that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. They were an ancient alien civilization and the ancestors of the Babylon Rogues who got stranded on earth in the far past, where they gained a reputation as legendary thieves. Extremely technologically advanced back in those time and in the present day, the Babylonians are responsible for the creation of Babylon Garden, the Arks of the Cosmos and the earliest form of Extreme Gear.
The Babylonians' exact anatomy is largely unknown, though legends depict them as humanoid beings with pointy faces, feather-like fingers and quills on the back on their heads. Supposedly, they had the characteristics of genies and presumably either resembled terrestrial, anthropomorphic birds or their descendants attained avian characteristics after breeding with anthropomorphic birds on earth. Chances are, both of these two assumptions have some element of truth.
Characteristics and culture
The Babylonians were initially implied to be genies, although their alien ancestry might imply something else entirely. They were highly advanced in terms of technology, being ages ahead of the earth's time. Even in ancient times, their technology was more advanced than those in the present day. As a testament to their prowess, their creations have the potential to possibly dominate or even destroy the world.
The ancient Babylonians used a unique writing system, utilizing symbols resembling foreign letters or syllables. While this type of writing has seemingly been abandoned over time, the descendants of the Babylonians and treasure hunters like Knuckles still know how to read them.
On earth, the Babylonians proved to be treasure hunters and robbers by nature and would fly around the world to search of treasure. Contributing to the fact that their crimes were great enough to incur the wrath of the Gods, it would suggests that the Babylonians were a somewhat amoral and unethical people. In addition to their thieving reputation, they were also known to be Extreme Gear specialists.
Arrival and colonization
Much of the Babylonians' history is shrouded in mystery, and their original home world is unknown. A highly advanced people in terms of technology, the Babylonians traveled through space in an ancient spaceship known as Babylon Garden, which was powered by the Arks of the Cosmos, devices that harnessed the power of gravity. When they passed by earth in the ancient past however, a malfunction caused by the Babylonians' inability to control the Arks of the Cosmos threatened to make their ship's engine core create a black hole―a "lightless black"―that would consume everything. Reaching a decision, the Babylonians condemned themselves by disconnecting the Arks of the Cosmos from their ship and sending them into earth's orbit while Babylon Garden crash-landed on Earth. There, the Babylonians could only wait for the Arks of the Cosmos to resurface as they had hoped so they could use them to return to their home planet. As such, whenever they saw a shooting star, they would wish to go back home in hopes that it was an Ark of the Cosmos landing on earth. As speculated by Amy, the tradition of "wishing upon a star" may have originated from the grounded Babylonians' yearning to return to space and get back to their home world.
Starting a new life on earth, the Babylonians settled down on the still-floating Babylon Garden and built an island for themselves around its substructure, Astral Babylon. Over time, the Babylonians built up a reputation as a legendary band of great thieves and robbers known as the Babylon Rogues, who would roam the world, stealing treasure and loot alike. According to stories, the Babylonians gave a boy an "Angel Wing" made from the their advanced technology as a gift at one point, which stories said allowed the boy to "rule the world."
During the time of Stolen, the thirteenth leader of the Babylon Rogues, the Babylonians completed their ultimate invention, the Magic Carpet (the prototype for the first Extreme Gear), which would let them travel all over the world to gather treasure without the effort needed to keep themselves flying. Thanks to that invention, the Babylonians and their descendants would become specialists in the art of Extreme Gear. Eventually, the Magic Carpet was placed under the protection of the Babylon Guardian.
Reclaims and losses
Over time, Babylonians recovered two Arks of the Cosmos that fell from orbit. To keep them safe and their dangerous power out of reach, the Babylonians sealed one Ark of the Cosmos on Gigan Rocks and the other in the Crimson Crater until it was safe to re-launch Babylon Garden. According to legend though, the Babylonians eventually incurred the wrath of the Gods because of their crimes, and Babylon Garden was buried in the sands near Sand Ruins, while the Babylonians were supposedly scattered for all time.
While the Babylonians seemingly lived on by breeding with the inhabitants of earth, they and their history slowly faded and would become legends. In addition, their descendants would forget all about their alien origins and achievements, leaving nothing behind but misunderstood legends about Babylon Garden's treasures and their scattered relics. Those descendants that remembered or otherwise learned of their heritage believed their ancestors were genies, and not necessarily aliens. Many of the technological achievements of the Babylonians were also forgotten, and the knowledge of the Arks of the Cosmos' ended up as stories spoken of in the legends of the Babylon clan, the only known family of Babylonians known to this day. This clan continued their thieving ways as the Babylon Rogues for generations to come, with the Key to Babylon Garden, a relic from the Ancient Babylonians' which could return Babylon Garden to the skies, being passed down along with them.
In the present day, the only known descendants of the Babylonians are Jet the Hawk, Wave the Swallow and Storm the Albatross. World-renowned scientist Dr. Eggman would also attempt twice to use the inventions and treasures of the Babylonians to achieve world domination. These attempts involved instigating the reemergence of Babylon Garden in order to steal the Treasure of Babylon, and attempting to the procure the Arks of the Cosmos.
With Dr. Eggman's help, the present-day generation of Babylon Rogues uncovered Babylon Garden with the aid of the Key to Babylon Garden and the seven Chaos Emeralds. Thanks to the combined power of the key and the Emeralds, Babylon Garden was unearthed and returned to the skies. Eggman then tried to steal the Treasure of Babylon, hoping it was like the Angel Wing mentioned in the stories about the Babylonians, which let its wielder "rule the world". However, Team Sonic and the Babylon Rogues got to the treasure first and discovered it was an ancient flying carpet, which Eggman saw no use for in his campaign to conquer the world. A few months later, the Babylonians' true nature as alien genies came to light following the series of events that started when the last Arks of the Cosmos landed on earth. Upon discovering the Arks, Eggman tried to use them to take control of all the world's robots, but he was stopped by Sonic and Jet. In the aftermath, however, SCR-HD, under the influence of the Arks of the Cosmos's programming, stole all the Arks of the Cosmos and brought them to Babylon Garden, causing a black hole to be unleashed. Fortunately, this catastrophe was stopped by Team Sonic and the Babylon Rogues. Afterwards, the Babylon Rogues decided to stay on earth instead of going back to their ancestors' home planet, just as the ancient Babylonians dreamed of.
List of known Babylonians
In other media
In the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics, the Babylonians closely resemble Mobian birds. About a millennium ago, they crash-landed on Mobius in Babylon Garden, where their ship's malfunctioning wormhole generator threatened to destroy Mobius with a black hole. To keep the ship from launching automatically, the Babylonians removed the ship's ignition matrix and hid its parts away. The Babylonians colonized Mobius acfterwards, with half of them embracing travel and independence while the other half adopted a strict militaristic lifestyle under the family of the Battle Kukkus. The stories of the Babylonians and Babylon Garden persisted, though their exact knowledge and history were lost in time, including to the descendants of the Babylonians.
- In the real world, Babylonians were an ancient empire centered around the city of Babylon, located within present day Iraq. It lasted from around 1800 BC until it was subsumed into the Persian Empire in 539 BC.
- In Sonic Rush Adventure, where Sonic, Tails, Blaze and Marine are exploring the sea of Blaze's world, a reality parallel to Sonic's dimension, several hints to an ancient civilization much like the Babylonians can be found. The foremost proof of this is a lost floating city, named Sky Babylon, which was hidden underground due to it falling from the heavens.
- Sonic Team (21 February 2006) Sonic Riders. Gamecube. Sega. Level/Area: Digital Dimension. "Jet: I never imagined we Babylonians could be descendants of real genies."
- Sonic Team, CRI Middleware (22 February 2008). Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. PlayStation 2. Sega. Area/Level: Security Corridor. "Miles "Tails" Prower: Sonic, the Babylonians weren’t able to control the power of those meteorites!"
- Sonic Team, CRI Middleware (22 February 2008). Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. PlayStation 2. Sega. "Wave the Swallow: ...We’ve reached our decision. We must sever the engine unit from this vessel. For if we delay, the contraction of the engine core will lead the lightless black to consume everything."
- Sonic Team, CRI Middleware (22 February 2008). Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. PlayStation 2. Sega. Area/level: Ending sequence. "Miles "Tails" Prower: They crash landed on this planet in ancient past... They disconnected the units... / Amy: And left it in orbit hoping that some day it would fall back down to the surface. Every time they saw a shooting star... / Sonic: I bet they’d wished they could get back to their home planet."
- Sonic Team, Sonic Team USA (17 March 2006). Sonic Riders. PlayStation 2. Sega. Area/Level: Splash Canyon. "Tails: Yes; the mark of the Babylon Rogues. A long time ago, there was a floating island known as Babylon Garden. Supposedly, robbers lived there. According to rumors... this "legendary" band, the Babylon Rogues, were great thieves. Legend also says that the Babylon Rogues incurred the wrath of the Gods because of their crimes, and that the island was cast into the depths of the Earth. After that, supposedly the Babylonians were then scattered for all time, never to be found. But they say that the Babylon Rogue's treasure still remains on that island, waiting to be discovered. There are also rumors that the Babylon Rogues were Extreme Gear specialists."
- Sonic Team, CRI Middleware (22 February 2008). Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. PlayStation 2. Sega. Area/Level: Gigan Rocks. "Knuckles the Echidna: ...We, the children of Babylon, seal one star here, and another within the great scar, formed in heaven’s fall, until the time of the divine's wings rising."
- Sonic Team, CRI Middleware (22 February 2008). Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. PlayStation 2. Sega. Area/Level: MeteorTech Premises. "Jet the Hawk: They aren't just some rocks. They're spoken of in Babylon clan legend as..."
- Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (Wii) United Kingdom instruction booklet, pg. 3.