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The Legend of Semiramis

The Legend of Semmiramis

Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible; G.G. The Jerusalem Publishing House Ltd. Jerusalem

In ancient days when legend and myth were placed at the border of reality often signifying an intangible truth, there is one story that stands alone hidden deep in the archives of historical obscurity. It is seldom present in the popular literature of the great epics of old like the Odyssey, Hercules, Helen of Troy and so forth; nor has it ever received considerable recognition as one of the great classics locked into the confines of an in-dept study for future literary expeditions. Yet beneath it's structure lies a mystery, or perhaps, more of an aberrant narrative that intertwines with so many other epics of it's time that one would become confused as to interpret who this person really is.

This article is written to shed a light on the saga of the mysterious, but fascinating queen Semiramis, the ancient effigy of the Assyrian empire. Famed for her beauty, strength, wisdom, voluptuousness, and alluring power, she is said to have built Babylon with its hanging gardens, erect many other cities, conquer Egypt and much of Asia including Ethiopia, execute war against the Medes and Chaldeans; which eventually lead to an unsuccessful attack on India where she nearly lost her life. As G.J. Whyfe-Melville states in his novel of Sarchedon: A Legend of the Great Queen, "She was beautiful no doubt, in the nameless beauty that wins, no less than in the lofty beauty that compels. Her form was matchless in symmetry, so that her every gesture, in the saddle or on the throne, was womanly, dignified, and graceful, while each dress she wore, from royal robe and jeweled tiara to steel breast-plate and golden headpiece, seemed that in which she looked her best. With a man's strength of body, she possessed more than a man's power of mind and force of will.

A shrewd observer would have detected in those bright eyes, despite their thick lashes and loving glance, the genius that can command an army and found an empire; in that delicate, exquisitely chiseled face, the lines that tell of tameless pride and unbending resolution; in the full curves of that rosy mouth, in the clean-cut jaw and prominence of the beautifully molded chin, a cold recklessness that could harden on occasion to pitiless cruelty - stern, impracticable, immovable as fate." She built such an inuring reputation that queen Margaret of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway (1353-1412 A.D.) And Catherine II the Great of Russia (1729-1796) were both labeled as the Semiramis of the North.

The only complete significant documentation that I found intact about Semiramis is recorded in the historical writings of Diodorus Siculus (Library of History), a Greek historian about the same time as Julius Caesar. Although he is listed in the category of an elute expert on ancient history, many scholars have come to the conclusion that much of his writings, especially those of the narratives of Semiramis, are plagiarized and based on historical legends colored with elaborations of thought and disguised fantasies, and therefore cannot be recognized as existential tangible truth or fact.

As the story unfolds, it begins with king Ninus (Greek: tentatively Ramman-Nirari) of Assyria, who builds a great city in honor of his name, and the city becomes Nineveh (Roman: Ninus) the capital of the Assyrian empire. He was a great warrior who subdued the greater parts of Asia, becoming the first great king, and conqueror of the ancient world of his time, and as Diodorus writes...there were none other before him...that of which he knew of. If this be true then some scholars would place him approximately about 2182 B.C., which would be in proximity to Nimrod of the Bible, ruler of the land of Shinar as outlined in Gen.10:10-11. The etymology of Nimrod is quite uncertain and the Bible does not go into further detail about him apart from these few lines written in Genesis, except that he was the founder of Nineveh along with a number of other well known ancient cities. The Hebrew historian Flavius Josephus, in the Antiquities of the Jews, depicts Nimrod as a tyrannical leader, demanding complete dominion and control over the people.

As Josephus writes: "He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it was through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He gradually changed the government into tyranny - seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence upon his power." He likely rose to power by being a mighty protector over the land with his fearless gift of hunting and killing predatory wild animals that were a threat to human civilization, therefore receiving the title "mighty hunter before the Lord (Gen. 10:9). In post-biblical traditions, Nimrod, the inciter of "rebellion" who ruled Babel, was often identified as a giant, or Nephilim (Gen. 6:4), equivalent to the Anakim of Dueteronomy (Duet. 2:21-20;9:2). He was the chief instigator of the tower of Babel. This was a revolt which led to building a tower in the course of staging revenge against God, lest He flood the world again.

The tower was a symbol of worship and protection and became well known by many as the ziggurat of Etemenanki, in honor of the Babylonian supreme god Marduk; a dominant central point of worship that spread out to many other nations that were to come (thirty-four of these staged towers have now been located in twenty-seven ancient cities of the Middle East - the greatest of them all was the one at Babylon). If the name is originally Hebrew, which is highly improbable, then it would mean, "to rebel", and linked to the Akkadian Amarutuk he eventually evolved into the god "Marduk", which would then lead into the realm of ruler-worship.

However, it is probably Mesopotamian in origin and most frequently suggested as equivalent to the word Ninurta, though this is not without philological difficulty or opposition. Ninurta, read apparently Nimurta in dialectic Sumerian, is presumably a polemic distortion of the origin of the name Nimrod, the famous hunter of Hebrew mythology, which is incorporated in one of the oldest Hebrew documents. If the form Ninurta is accepted, and assumed, it would refer strictly to a mythic god, and point to the Babylonian deity, the war-god called "the Arrow, the mighty hero" whose cult assumed widespread importance in Mesopotamia during the late second millennium B.C. Nimrod would then border on the total concept of mythology. If it refers to a historical person, the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta I (1246-1206 B.C.) could be an accurate choice, since he was the first Assyrian monarch to rule over Babylonia and have cultic centers in Babel, Caleh, and others known cities of this time.

According to Speiser (1924-1946), a leading authority on biblical lands, cultures and excavations of important Sumerian rites in Iraq, he notably felt Tukulti-Ninurta I served as a prototype for the composite Greek hero Ninus, associated with Nineveh, who became the character united with Semiramis of Diodorus Siculus' Antiquities of Asia; however, G.J. Whyfe-Melville in his book, Sarchedon: A Legend of the Great Queen, makes note that Ninus is an ancestral linage of thirteen generation down from the historical Nimrod. There also followed an interval of subjugation to the Semitic-speaking Akkadians (2300-2150 B.C.), so named after the city of Akkad whose greatest rulers, Sargon and especially his grandson Naram-Sin, may have conceivably provided the model for Nimrod and Ashur in the Genesis story. However, if the Cushite origin of Nimrod listed from Genesis is maintained, the Egyptian monarch Amenophis III (1411-1375) would be suitable according to von Rad. In the history of Sumerian literature he could also be ranked as Etana, king of Kish (2800 B.C.) the "man who stabilized all the land" who also was resin to deity, or the hero Gilgamish from the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamish. Regardless of origin, Nimrod must have become a figure of legendary proportions in the ancient Near East culture whose stories were extremely fluid.

He was adopted by, and adapted to so many titles, that many phases of ancient cultures lived on even into medieval chronicles. He left such an influence that the prophet Micah calls Assyria the "land of Nimrod" (Mic. 5:6). The main draw back to this prodigy as the conquering hero of Assyria associated with Semiramis and the surrounding regions is the lack of notoriety given to a queen, or spouse who would assist her ruling husband during these early conquests; for it is noted that all the conquering heroes of this ancient era were predominantly male-origin only. In fact, the dominant rule applying to leadership is, "No woman may reign over the sons of Ashur, we only owe allegiance to a king. It is our privilege and our law." There is definitely no mention of Semiramis in any Hebrew documents, or Biblical texts. It must stand to reason that the placement of Semiramis must surely come at a much later date...a time that would be more familiar to Diodorus since his lack of Assyrian history is possibly to obscure for him to have full knowledge of all the facts...And it must be understood that nearly all the ancient accounts of Assyria and the surrounding area do not refer to the earlier primitive cities and it's culture, but to the later capital and residence of King Nebuchadnezzar. Even Herodotus, another Greek writer, from his own personal observation describes this account in the first book of his history. Semiramis, by many opinions, is believed to be totally fictitious and never really did exist, however, there does remain a three-side standing wall between the ancient old and new palace where a detailed etching of a curious hunting-piece, in which Semiramis, on horseback is throwing her javelin at a leopard, while her husband, Ninus is piercing a lion. It is near this last palace that the famous Hanging Gardens were, and so commonly celebrated by both the Greeks and Italians.

The legendary king Ninus, a name perhaps derived from the Assyrian nunu, meaning "fish", was the son of Belus, also known as Cronus (Belus, originated from the Babylonian Bel, which evolved into the Canaanite Baal, and later identified with the Greek god Cronus). Herodotus gives us another genealogy for king Ninus, which makes him a descendant of Heracles (Hercules) through his grandfather Alceus who was the son of Heracles and Omphale, but this would make Ninus several generations to young for the historical time span noted by other Greek writers. In any case, he was an impetuous ruler, the inventor of warfare, and the first to assembles huge armies to succeed in his conquest for power. He took as his ally Ariaeus king of Arabia, and with him conquered all Asia except for India. At the siege of Bactria, he ran against resistance, however with the aid of one of his viziers wife, he was able to subdue this region, and eventually marry this woman who later became the Great Queen.

This legend that has branched out into many other cultures, and which has found its ruling into different mythical disguises, now seems to be preserved under the Syrian version by Diodorus Siculus who drew largely from Ctesias of Cnide. He tells us that in Ascalon, a part of Syria, a certain goddess was said to live in the lake near the town. This goddess, Derceto, sometimes also known as Atargatis, had the upper portion of a woman but her lower parts were that of a fish (in other versions she was simply a beautiful woman). It was told that Aphrodite (Assyrian: Ashtaroth), the goddess of love, who bore a grudge against her, made her fall violently in love with a young Syrian called Caystrus by whom she gave birth to a daughter. After the latter's birth, Derceto in her shame and guilt exposed her child, did away with the father and hid herself at the bottom of the lake. By an act of miracles, the doves found the infant and brought up the child, stealing the milk and, later, the cheese which she needed from nearby shepherds.

The shepherds finally discovered the little babe, who was of great beauty, hidden amongst the Acacia shrubs and brought her to their chief Simmas of the royal herds, who now took her as his own to raise. He gave her the name Semiramis, which means in Syrian, "the one who comes from the doves [Sumats]." As she grew to the age of a nubility, one of the king's advisors and general, Onnes, (other titles use Menon) was ordered to inspect the flock's when he noticed her surpassing beauty. Captivated by her splendor, innocence, and charm, he took her back with him to Nineveh and immediately married her. They had two children, supposedly twins..Hyapate and Hydaspe. They seemed very happy and Semiramis, being very clever, had given her husband such good advice that he succeeded in all his endeavors.

At about this same time King Ninus, who was ruler in Assyria, organized and expedition against neighboring Bactria. Knowing that this would not be an easy conquest he collected and army of considerable size. After an initial setback he managed to overwhelm the country by the sheer number of his troops and only the capital, Bactra, held out against him. Needing the aide of Onnes, he sent for him, however Onnes, missing his beloved wife asked her to join him. As she watched the battle and after careful study she made several remarks about the way in which the siege was being conducted. Noticing that the attack was being directed from the plain, while both attackers and defenders were ignoring the citadel, she ask to take charge of a group of mountain soldiers, have them scale the cliffs which defended the site and turn the flank of the enemy defenses. The besieged soldiers were terrified and solemnly did surrender. Ninus was magnificently engulfed with admiration for the courage and skill Semiramis displayed. From the first moment that Ninus perused on her winsome face and her astonishing beauty, he had found in her a charm his heart was powerless to resist and he was half subdued already to immediately resolve to have her as his wife and queen. He offered to give Onnes his own daughter Sosana in exchange for Semiramis but Onnes refused. Ninus then threatened to destroy Onnes by gouging his eyes out, whereupon in fear, despair and agony, he surrendered to his kings demand and unfortunately put an end to his life by hanging himself. Ninus then succeeded in marrying Semiramis without difficulty and they had a son they named Ninyas.

Ninus, a much older paramour and extremely subjugating would burn with an enormous jealous rage if ever another man by chance happen to gaze upon her presence, lest only a priestly eunuch - or see her face unveiled. "In Assyria all woman are beautiful; but by the side of the Great Queen the fairest of them show like pearls against a diamond. When she turns her eyes on you, it is like the golden luster of noonday; and her smile is brighter and more glorious than sunset in the desert - sweeter, softer, lovelier, than the evening breeze amongst the palms. To look on her face unveiled is to be the Great Queen's slave forever more!" "I will have him flayed alive who gainsay it," was his direct order. "I have ceased to love most things now, from the roar of battle to the bubble of a wine-cup. But may I burn like a log of cedar in the fire of Belus when I cease to love my queen." A reflection he muttered to his beautiful patrician at the time of his approaching death. It is not known what had happen to the children she had by Onnes, but it was for certain that she did succeed the throne as Queen.

Her reign endured approximately forty-two years, while others accounts assume that this dominion was equally shared of which only the last five years - after the death of king Ninus - Semiramis ruled alone as queen until her son Ninyas collaborated the scepter and took the throne from her. According to another account Semiramis may have become bitter and vengeful, tricked her husband by obtaining permission to rule over Asia for five days just to avail herself the opportunity to cast the king into a dungeon, or as is also related, to put him to death, and thus attain the sovereign power for herself. As G.J. Whyfe-Melville states in Sarchedon: A legend of the Great Queen, that she forever carried an amulet at her breast (the shape of a dove in the form of an arrow) given to her by Onnes, and perpetually cherished as to his memory. Others conclude that it was the Prince Ninyas she had imprisoned shortly after the Kings death for masquerading as the queen in public and causing social disorder and disgrace (for their resemblance were strikingly similar). Whatever the case, her fame threw into the shadows that of Ninus; and later ages loved to tell of her marvelous deeds and her heroic achievements.

She began her reign by building a splendid mausoleum in honor of Ninus at Nineveh itself on the Euphrates plain as outlined in the edition of Pyramus and Thisbe (Herodotus). She then went full force on a building campaign and decided to have a large, immaculate city built for herself not far from Nineveh. This was the new city Babylon. It was marked out on horseback on the river bank of the Euphrates, and according to Diodorus, Semiramis employed about two million workman she accumulated from all parts of her imperial realm to complete this task. The perimeter of the walls alone were 66 kilometers long and the width were so wide that 6 harnessed chariots could ride abreast along these walls. They were approximately 100 meters high, though some historians stated that their height was greatly exaggerated and were much less. The city was defended by 250 towers, and the Euphrates, which ran through the middle of the city, was crossed by a bridge 900 meters long that was lined with awesome quays for 30 kilometers.

At each end of the bridge was built a fortified castle, and the queen's residence. They were linked by a subterranean passage under the river, which was diverted in order to carry this out. It was in the citadel of the western castle that the queen had her famous hanging gardens built. However, according to the actual historical account this garden was built on the request of a much later queen of Persian origin, who asked her husband, the Chaldean ruler Nebuchadnezzar, for a representation of the "paradises," a duplication of the vast pleasure-gardens of her homeland in Persia. Diodorus tells us that they were created by superimposing square terraces one on top of the other, like the steps in and amphitheater. Each of these terraces rested on vaulted freestone galleries, covered with a thick layer of lead, on top of which was put rich soil. Inside these galleries, like a number of porticos opening onto a terrace, the royal apartments had been laid out. A system of hydraulic machines brought the water from the river to feed the gardens.

She later traveled further into the land of Asia and built a vast park opposite Mount Bagistan, a number of ornate fountains at Ecbatana, and a reputation that far surpassed any other female warrior for the period of this time. Semiramis was said to have been responsible for many ancient cities on the banks of the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, and also for erecting many of the most unique and wonderful monuments and sites in all of Asia. Several of these major extraordinary works in the Middle East, were a bit extreme and astonishing for just one person, which became current in later ages; and the authors being unknown, were ascribed by popular tradition to credit these feats to this mysterious queen. Besides conquering Media, she subdued Egypt and a great part of Ethiopia, then quite weary she regressed home to Bactra, the site of her first exploit. While she was in Egypt she consulted an oracle of Ammon - exploring foreknowledge of her future. Instead, the oracle gave her the prediction about the time of her unusual departure. The oracle replied that she would come to her end when her son Ninyas would conspire against her and try to take her life.

When she returned back to Bactra she began making plans to invade India, and for several years she made elaborate preparations, only to become the most grievous mistake of her notorious but flamboyant reign. She raised a gigantic army and succeeded in crossing the Indus, but her troops were soon put to flight and herself suffered an injury that nearly cost her, her life. It was just too insidious of this strategy to match horse and chariots in battle with the size of ferocious, angry war-elephants. During the activity of battle she was severely wounded in one arm by an arrow, and a javelin that pierced through her back from the mighty king Stabrobates of India. She just scarcely managed to escape by crossing the Indus river, drawing her sword and destroying the bridge she had ordered to assemble, since her enemies would not dare pursue after her across the river.

It was not long after her recovery that her son Ninyas along with the eunuchs of the palace plotted against her. Ninyas had always been a troublesome burden for the queen, as in her confession she mentions that she had done so much for him, and received nothing in return. "I was a good mother to him, as any sun-burned peasant who brings her babe into the vineyard on her back; and will you believe, he cared more for a rough word or a rude jest from the Great King than for my fondest caress, my smile, my tears. When I have pleaded with him, even to his own advantage, he has turned his back on me, and laughed outright. He loved the meanest dancing-girl out of the market better than the mother to whom he owed his life, his beauty, his favor with the Great King." As the legend follows, Semiramis reigned an approximate of 42 years then turned the sovereignty of her rule over to her son Ninyas and clandestinely disappeared (at the age of 62 years). Legends were told and flourished throughout the ages that she took flight towards heaven in the form of a dove from which the fabulous nature of this narrative is apparent. That Semiramis became affiliated with the Syrian goddess associated with the name of Astarte of Ascalon, Anaitis of Persia, or Astoreth of Canaan, which were handed down from the earlier renditions of the Semitic Ishtar of Babylon; originating from the earlier profile of the goddess Innana of Sumer - to whom the dove was sacred. Another story that began circulating in Armenia about the "Khaldis-gods" was the mysterious Saris, an abbreviated form of the old Babylonian Ishtar, for it is said that Saris masquerades as Semiramis in the early legends of Indo-Armenia.

Moses of Khorene tells us how the Armenian king Ara was wooed by the Assyrian queen Semiramis. Ara refused her offers and eventually Semiramis marched into Armenia at the head of an army to force him to accept her. A fierce battle was fought, in which Ara was slain, and the Assyrian queen flung herself on the corpse in an agony of grief calling upon the gods to restore his life. And the story went that the gods of Aralez did restore his life. This tale is very similar to the Sumerian Gilgamish refusing Ishtar's affections in the Epic of Gilgamish, or the slaying, death and resurrection of Tammuz and the intervention of Ishtar to rescue him from death in the Babylonian elegy. A story that originated out of the early fertility rites, and lamentation worship of Innana and Damuzi from the ancient Sumerian legend..

Although Semiramis may have similar characteristics to the ancient goddesses' of these earlier cults, it is a known fact that her legend should be placed separate, in reality, she is not a mythical goddess, since her story never mentions her ranked as an icon of worship. Semiramis was attired with such magnificence which enhanced her own unrivaled beauty that she seemed to front her splendor as more than just mere human, but at the same time her reputation was portrayed more as a powerful, Syrian semi-divine/human heroine...a female prototype of Hercules. Unlike Hercules (Greek:Heracles) and Ninus, both fictitious characters originating from the minds of Greek folklore...Semiramis, is the Greek name, originating from a real canonized queen "Sammu-ramat", who was the mother of the Assyrian king Adad-Nirari III (reigned 810-783 B.C.) and wife of Shamshi-Adad V (823-811B.C.) who was the son of Shalmaneser III (859-824 B.C.). Her stela (memorial stone shaft) has been found at Ashur, while an inscription at Calah (Nimrud) shows her to have been dominant there after the death of her husband, before the rule of her son. Her regency was assumed roughly between 810-805 B.C., in the minority of her son Adad-Nirari III.

This is proven by the inscription detailed in the Cambridge Ancient History, part 3, The Assyrian Empire which says: "In 818 B.C., Shamshi-Adad began a war with Marduk-Balatsu-Ikbi, king of Babylon, which lasted intermittently for eight years. It is possible that the cause of dispute was the territory of Gannanate, for the Assyrians followed the eastern bank of the Tigris to the neighborhood of this city, taking Me-Turnat, Di'bina, Date-ebir, and Isduya by assault. The inhabitants of the district took refuge in a fortress which withstood only a short siege. Shamshi-Adad fell upon Dur-Papsukal, an island city which was defended by Bau-Akh-Iddin. The capture of this city brought immense loot, but Marduk-Balatsu-Ikbi had gathered considerable forces to face the invader, and had been joined by contingents from Chaldaea, Elan and Namri, as well as by the Aramanean tribes on the east bank of the Tigris. A battle was fought beneath the walls of Dur-Papsukal, and resulted in the rout of the Babylonian forces with a loss of 5000 killed and 2000 prisoners. Of the campaigns conducted in 812 and 811 the notices in the Eponym Canon 'against Chaldaea' and 'against Babylon,' supply the only record, but it is to be presumed that Shamshi-Adad entered the enemy's capital in the latter year, for the 'Synchronous History' speaks of his offering sacrifices in Babylon, Cuthah and Borsippa.

The extension, then, of the Assyrian borders continued during the thirteen years of Shamshi-Adad's V reign, to the east and southeast; it is clear that Adad-Nirari III succeeded in 811 to an authority unimpaired by the civil strife which had marked the last years of Shalmaneser IV (783-774 B.C.). The government of Assyria from 811 to 808 was actually conducted by the queen-mother, Sammu-ramat. Inscription show that she occupied an exceptional position in ancient history. On a stele found in a corner of the wall of the city of Ashur, where stood two rows of slabs recording the names of monarchs and royal officials, her name is recorded as the wife of Shamshi-Adad V, the mother of Adad-Nirari III, the daughter-in-law of Shalmaneser III. In the ruins of the temple of Ninurta at Kalakh, two statues of the god Nabu (son of Babylonian god Marduk) were discovered in a mutilated condition; but the inscriptions on them show that they were dedicated by the city-governor, Bel-Tarsi-Iluma, with a petition for the preservation of the king Adad-Nirari, the queen Sammu-ramat, and himself, and a later inscription of Adad-Nirari shows that the first three years were not reckoned part of his reign. It is apparently within reason to believe that the name Sammu-ramat is the archetype of Semiramis the Greek legend, and is in fact, the exaggerated accounts of the achievements of Semiramis and Ninus; there may be an echo of the times of the regency of Sammu-ramat and of the reign of her son.

There is also an annexation to this story, and to address further detail to these events the Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible; the Jerusalem Publishing house Ltd. Gives us a fair definition of the histories of "Shalmaneser". It is the name of five kings who ruled Assyria, only two of whom seem to be connected with the Hebrew Old Testament. Shalmaneser I, son of Adad-Nirari II, ruled from 1274-1245 B.C. Shalmaneser II, was the successor to Tiglath-Pileser II, ruled 1031-1020 B.C. Shalmaneser III, son of Ashurnasirpal, ruled 859-824 B.C. He continued his father's expansionist policies, extending Assyria's frontiers from Urartu to Persia, from Media to the Mediterranean coast including Asia Minor. He invaded Babylon and secured her complete subjection. He consolidated Assyrian domination over his conquests by establishing a sophisticated imperial structure, vassals, annual tribute, autonomy, trade relations and alliances and military campaigns, thus laying the foundations for the neo-Assyrian empire. He was the first Assyrian king to come into contact with the kings of Israel, in 853 B.C. he fought at Karkar on the Orontes River against a formidable anti-Assyrian coalition of 12 kings headed by Ben-Hadad of Aram-Damascus. While the Bible does not mention this incident, his "Monolith Inscription" testifies to the prominence of Ahab, the king of Israel, who fielded the largest armored force of chariots - 2000, as well as 10,000 foot soldiers. Although Shalmaneser claims a great victory, the fact that he avoided Syria for several years afterwards, suggests that his victory was indecisive.

The "Black Obelisk" found in Nimrud records his military achievements against the western kings, and depicts the payment of tribute by Jehu, king of Israel, humbly prostrating himself before him - an incident also passed over in silence in the Bible. Despite his boasts as "the mighty king, ruler of the universe", he died amid revolts which broke out throughout the empire, with which his brother and successor had to contend. In this account the "brother" would have to be Shamshi-Adad V, husband of Sammu-ramat, mother of Adad-Nirari III.

Shalmaneser IV, the son of Adad-Nirari III, ruled 783-774 B.C. then Shalmaneser V, successor of Tiglath-Pileser III, ruled 727-722 B.C.; he laid siege for three years against Samaria when Hoshea, king of Israel, backed by Egypt, rebelled against Assyria. At the end of the siege, Samaria capitulated and Hoshea was taken prisoner (2 Kgs. 17:1-6; 18:9-10). Apparently Shalmaneser V died or was murdered during the siege and his successor Sargon completed the conquest of the city.

If there were any famous journeys or exploits of queen Sammu-ramat during her short reign, it would seem possible that historians and scholars would amplify her reputation more than what we know about her at this day and age. As to this fact, there is not a shred of evidence as to her influential power, nor the extent of her legacy that anyone, including Diodorus, could bring to light as factual; let alone create an antiquity solid enough to expand upon the audacious narrative of this episode of Semiramis. And if his writings of Semiramis are examined very closely, it would seem that they match the conquering adventures of Alexander the Great and King Nebuchadnezzar, combined with the exploits of Shalmaneser III, Shamshi-Adad V and his wife, which in turn intertwine with the many mysteries of the ancient fertility deities; and implementing the excitement and flamboyancy of Greek rhetoric composition to form this Assyrian female counterpart. All this in order to give the reader the intense drama of mystery, animation and glamor, for it is a conclusive contingency that Sammu-ramat could have had a likeness to the qualities of beauty, wit and charm in order to expound this Greek legend into this effect. It is a puzzling question that an ancient historian of stature and qualifications like Diodorus, would write a document that is built around a rather fictitious and frugal character with very little, or in that matter, of any authentic exploitable structure, unless there was something lost in the fragmentation of Diodorus' writings that we at present are not familiar with.

Is it possible that he was at the advent of creating a document, or rather a novel with all the mortal characteristics that combine all the attributes of composite human nature; that of beauty, innocence, romance, desire, and love, along with alluring power, lust, manipulation, seduction, greed, betrayal, and eventually a moral twist that leads to an adherent saddening end? In any case Semiramis, the most beautiful chastely maiden that arose to become the all powerful, nobelist monarch in the mysterious Land of Shinar is quite a compelling, courageous saga that should be enjoyed by many. So how do we end this pris? In our imaginative minds, Semiramis can be elevated as the perfect dream of beauty and admiration, to an icon of ascendancy for trepidation and scorn. So how do we end this pris? By just the beautiful name "Semiramis" alone, for it seems to have a sense of irresistibility that carries with it the impaction of cryptic appearance, disguised in beauty and desire, that unquestionably leads to the consequential repercussion into devastation for tampering with forbidden fruit.... There are women whom it is very dangerous to love, as in Eden there stood a tree that it was death to taste. But the forbidden fruit was gathered nevertheless; and these beauties seem to allure more than their share of victims, to win more than their natural meed of triumph."



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