Alexandria Virtual Cultural Centre of WA

Semiramis in Art

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 This legendary queen of Assyria and Babylonia would be the girl of the Derkétô goddess (Atargatis) and a simple mortal. Exposed to its birth, it will be nourished by doves then collected by shepherds. It will marry an adviser of king Ninos, then the sovereign whom it will drive out of the throne.

Sémiramis building the temple of Babylon
 Hilaire-Germain-Edgar de Gas (Degas)
(approx. of 1860 to 1862)

It will base Babylon on Euphrate, embellishing it of sumptuous constructions and the hanging gardens (one of the Seven wonders of the world), after having made set up in Ninive an immense mausoleum for her husband. Its military conquests will lead it to seize Médie, Libya and Bactriane and part of India. Its forwardings will give place to fabulous work: recut mountains, deviated rivers, construction of extraordinary buildings. According to Hygin, Sémiramis would have perished on one to rough-hew after the death of the horse which it had taken for lover. Certain realization lent to Sémiramis would be the work of Naqî' has, the Pure one, called by the Nicrotis Greeks, originating in Syria or Palestine. Woman of Sennachérib and mother of Assarhaddon, it seems to have exerted the regency of Babylonia, between 683 and 670, and to have contributed to rebuild her capital devastated by her husband. Some of the work allotted to Sémiramis by the ancient authors recall those of Sennachérib to Ninive, others with those of Nabuchodonosor in Babylon. The legend of Sémiramis will also nourish that of queens and more or less mythical princesses of the Middle East, like Shirin of Sassanides, the queen of Arménie Samiran, or Shéhérazade of the time abbasside.


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