Molly Keefe

Feb 9, 1999

The ancient Queen of Assyria, Semiramis was born to King Ninus, ruler of Ninevah, the capital of the Assyrain kingdom. The King took Derceto to be his wife after a siege on Bactria. The Goddess Aphrodite held a grudge against the new Queen, so she caused the Queen to fall in love with a young Syrian man with whom she birthed her daughter. Overcome with shame, the Queen exposed the child, killed the father and hid herself away at the bottom of a lake. By an act of Miracles, doves found the infant and brought her to be raised with shepherds in a nearby village. They gave her the name Semiramis which means "one who comes from the doves." When she grew older, one of the King’s generals, Onnes was inspecting the flocks and became captivated by her beauty. He took her back to Ninevah and married her. Her reigned endured approximately 42 years, in which time she conquered India and Asia. It was towards the end of her reign that her son plotted against her and she disappeared. The legend has it that she took flight towards heaven in the shape of a dove. Her strength leads her to be a female prototype of Hercules, and a heroine.

This document was placed on the web by a student in Professor Thomas J. Sienkewicz' in CLAS230 Classical Mythology at Monmouth College, Monmouth, Illinois.  If you have any questions, you may contact him at