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Semiramis prepares to lay down the law.
Gather 'round the campfire
Icon folklore.svg
Urban legends

Semiramis (/səˈmɪrəmɪs/) was a goddess/legendary queen/historical queen (scholars still aren't sure which) of Assyria who somehow acquired the reputation of being exceptionally beautiful and exceptionally lustful, as well as a kick-ass warrior.[note 1] As a result, she got into a shedload of operas and plays, including operas bearing the title Semiramide by Cimarosa, Meyerbeer, and Rossini. In cinema, she frequently appears in sword-and-sandal[1] films, and has been played by Rhonda Fleming and Yvonne Furneaux. By all reports, she was fun to be with.

The legend[edit]

Legends state that she was daughter of the Assyrian mermaid-like goddess Derceto,Wikipedia a.k.a. Atargatis, and a mortal. She was fed by doves as an infant. Later, she was married to Ones, a general of the Assyrian king Ninus. The king wanted her as his queen, being impressed by her bravery in combat. But the general refused to give her to the king, so the king made an offer the former could not refuse. Ones went batshit crazy and ended hanging himself, leaving Semiramis free to marry the king. After Ninus was killed by an arrow, Semiramis became queen and ruled alone for 42 years. She expanded her empire from Egypt to India, where she was repelled after having been wounded.[2]

Other legends consider her the inventor of the chastity belt and the first woman to castrate men. They generally regarded her as basically a spoiled whore brat who, scorned after the Armenian king Ara refused to marry her, marched to battle against Armenia just to kill him in battle. She then tried to raise Ara from the dead [note 2] by praying to the gods, and of course she failed. So she disguises one of her lovers as said king telling she was successful, so the war would end.

She appears in the Divine Comedy in the second circle of Hell, reserved for the lustful. Dante writes:

To sensual vices she was so abandoned,
That lustful she made licit in her law,
To remove the blame to which she had been led.

She is Semiramis, of whom we read
That she succeeded Ninus, and was his spouse;
She held the land which now the Sultan rules.
—Dante, Divine Comedy, canto V

On the other hand, Swinburne seemed to have liked her:

I am the queen Semiramis.
The whole world and the sea that is
  In fashion like a chrysopras,
The noise of all men labouring,
The priest’s mouth tired through thanksgiving,
   The sound of love in the blood’s pause,
The strength of love in the blood’s beat,
All these were cast beneath my feet
   And all found lesser than I was.
—Algernon Charles Swinburne, The Masque of Queen Bersabe

The real history[edit]

The actual domain of Shamurramat was nothing to sneeze at.

In all likelihood, the origin of Semiramis' legend is the Asyrian queen Shammuramat,Wikipedia[3] who governed the Assyrian empire as regent from 811 to 806 BCE. The myths came later as it was a novelty to have a large empire ruled by a woman who waged successful wars against those who started them (Greeks and Indo-Iranians)[4] — she, of course, was not the daughter of a goddess, nor did she carry her conquests as far as her mythical equivalent.

The reason she was attributed such grandiose feats may well have been the lack of knowledge many ancient cultures had about the Mesopotamians.[note 3] Whenever somebody saw some impressive ruins, or heard some local tale about a culturally Akkadian warlord (be they Assyrian or Babylonian), she just got the credit because she was the only monarch of that type anybody remembered. Similar hypotheses have been put forward for Ninus, (who is perhaps a warped form of Tukulti-Ninurta) Nebuchadnezzar II (who takes on several traits from Nabonidus in the Hebrew Bible), and Sardanapalus (who has the garbled name of Ashurbanipal, the death of Shamash-shum-ukin, and a life style that is very much a cliché Greco-Roman take on "oriental depravity").

The woo[edit]

Alexander Hislop,Wikipedia a 19th century Protestant Scottish minister, claimed in his book The Two Babylons[5] that Semiramis was a real ancient Mesopotamian person who invented both polytheism and goddess veneration[note 4] and was the queen consort of Nimrod (even though the two lived centuries apart, assuming Semi ever exist at all), the one who supposedly built the biblical Tower of Babel. Long history short, according to him they founded the "Babylonian Mystery Cult" (even though mystery cults were specifically a Greek thing), she ordered that her own fine person should be venerated as the Queen of Heaven, and that her child was the nature male deity Tammuz.Wikipedia All mother-child deity or divine pairings of history down to the Mary-child Jesus are just the Semiramis-Tammuz duo refurbished, so by this logic Catholicism is just paganism in disguise. As far a we are aware, Hislop has yet to receive his rightfully-earned posthumous Olympic Gold Medal in mental gymnastics.

Even if scholars have rejected his ideas as just manure — to begin with, no reference at all to Semiramis or any other consort of Nimrod exists in the Bible, nor Semiramis is called "mother of harlots" in those texts where she is mentioned[6] — obtained by mixing by myths from many cultures,[7] the woo lives on in places as Jack Chick tracts — who puts Nimrod as her son, no less batshit insane people as David Icke, who conflates her with the Reptilians,[8], and among Fundies who often throw in the mix the Whore of Babylon and the Biblical queen Jezebel to justify why women cannot rule alone and/or without fearing Yahweh, be as queens, majors, or whatever[note 5].

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. And all this was years before Xena.
  2. Not as a zombie
  3. Remember, even critical monarchs like Eannatum, Sargon, and Hammurabi were almost completely forgotten for thousands of years.
  4. Yeah, there are no polytheistic religions and/or other goddesses, mother or not, in other parts of the world far away from Babylon.
  5. Then again that is a preacher who's obsessed with Illuminati/NWO nonsense, the End Times, claims that far-left parties practice Occultism and Satanism, and the coming of the Antichrist. Bullshit is a gateway for more bullshit, it seems


  1. See the Wikipedia article on Sword and sandal.
  2. Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History, book 2
  3. "Sammu-ramat (queen of Assyria)". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2017-12-06. 
  4. Georges Roux — Ancient Iraq
  5. Hislop, Alexander. "The Two Babylons". Retrieved 2017-12-06. 
  6. Grabbe, Lester L. Can a 'History of Israel' Be Written? p. 28, 1997, Continuum International Publishing Group
  7. Ralph Woodrow "THE TWO BABYLONS: A Case Study in Poor Methodology", in Christian Research Journal volume 22, number 2 (2000) of the (Article DC187)
  8. David Icke, The Biggest Secret, 52-54