The True Story of Semiramis, Legendary Queen of Babylon

The True Story of Semiramis, Legendary Queen of Babylon Female rulers in historic Mesopotamia were uncommon. But people who did rule made their mark on records. In the Neo-Assyrian regime of the 9th century B.C., one lady commanded a whole empire stretching from Asia Minor to what’s these days western Iran. She became Sammu-ramat, notion to intend “excessive heaven.” Her 5-12 months rule, whilst short, appears to have inspired long-lasting admire amongst her subjects and the world.


Centuries after her reign, Greek writers, and historians targeted on Sammu-ramat and her achievements. They hellenized her name to Semiramis. From here, the Assyrian queen passed from the sector of facts into the realm of legend. Some cast her as a lovely femme fatale in a tragic love story. Classical authors attributed exquisite accomplishments to Semiramis: commander of armies, and builder of the partitions of Babylon and monuments at some point of her empire.


Her allure did not decrease with time. She later inspired the Italian medieval poet Dante, who positioned her in hisInferno wherein she is punished for her “sensual vices.” The French Enlightenment author Voltaire wrote a tragedy approximately her, which was later made into Rossini’s 1823 opera,Semiramide.


Inspired by way of legends approximately the fierce Assyrian queen, seventeenth-century painter Louis de Caullery depicts Semiramis searching a lion, a symbol of royalty, in the front of the gates of Babylon. The portray is part of the collections at Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France.



The real tale of the flesh-and-blood Sammu-ramat remains elusive. The query lingers: What did she achieve 2,800 years in the past that so involved the world and allowed romantic legends to sprout round her legacy?



Archaeologists have located 4 principal artifacts that offer as a minimum some proof to piece collectively her biography. In the ancient town of Nimrud (in cutting-edge-day Iraq), statues committed to Nabu, the Babylonian god of know-how and writing, point out her call. There also are stelae, one from Kizkapanli, a metropolis in gift-day Turkey, and the other from Assur in Iraq, that mention her. Taken together, the 4 inscriptions establish at least the bare bones of her tale: The queen certainly lived inside the Assyrian Empire among the ninth and 8th centuries B.C., become married to King Shamshi-Adad V, who reigned from 823 to 811 B.C., and turned into the mother of King Adad-nirari III.



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With these key data in place, historians have shaped a clearer idea of her importance, and understand that she entered Assyrian history at a essential second for the empire. Her husband changed into the grandson of Assyria’s high-quality ruler, Ashurnasirpal II, a flamboyant monarch who built a amazing palace at Nimrud within the early 9th century B.C. This occasion is commemorated by the Banquet Stela, which recorded heaps of guests and a celebration that lasted for 10 days. Ashurnasirpal II stabilized the empire, putting down revolts with a degree of cruelty that he made no attempt to conceal. One inscription tells of the vengeance meted to rebels at one precise town of his realm:


I had a column constructed on the metropolis gate and I flayed all of the leaders who had rebelled and I blanketed the column with their skins. Some, I impaled upon the column on stakes and others I bound to stakes around it.


The empire that Ashurnasirpal II’s grandson inherited may additionally were strong and wealthy, but it did now not live that way for lengthy. King -Shamshi-Adad V appears to have spent a awesome deal of -sources in defeating his rebellious elder brother, who desired to take the throne. By the time Shamshi-Adad died in 811 B.C., the empire changed into financially and politically weakened. His younger son, Adad-nirari III, turned into too younger to rule. It could be left to Queen Sammu-ramat to repair balance to Assyria through her regency.

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