Semiramis: Legendary Queen of Assyria

Post by Darci Clark

Ancient Babylonian Goddess
Ancient Babylonian Goddess

This blog is dedicated to some of the most fascinating topics in ancient history, alternative history, and mythology.  The namesake of this blog, Semiramis, was a mythological queen of Assyria. Legend says she was born of a Syrian fish goddess and a mortal man. When her mother abandoned her at birth, she was protected by doves until she was taken in by a shepherd.

The ancient writer, Diodorus Siculus, says that Semiramis married the Assyrian king Ninus and gained control of the empire when he died, even though she had born him a son, Ninyas. He says she was so eager to surpass her husband’s achievements,  she was responsible for a mammoth building project employing two million of her subjects. In  Greek tradition she was credited with building the fabulous city of Babylon including the impressive walls, even though we know now that it was Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century BCE who was responsible.  She was also known as a great warrior who conquered Ethiopia, Libya, and Egypt. Semiramis was also believed to be a sexually voracious woman who slept with her soldiers and then had them executed, refusing to marry and give up her power.

After reigning forty-two years, her son, Ninyas, conspired against her to gain the throne. She did not retaliate and turned the kingdom over to her son. Legend says she transformed into a dove and flew away, causing the Assyrians to worship the dove and thus deifying Semiramis.

Semiramis has been associated with the historical queen Sammuramat who ruled Assyria for fifteen years in the late ninth century BCE.  Whether myth or reality, Semiramis is one of the most captivating women known in ancient history.


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