The Great Queen Semiramis of Assyria (800 BC) : from Biblitheca Historica

Semiramis hearing of the insurrection at Babylon by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, 1624

Before Alexander the Great (c 356-320 BC) marched to the frontiers of India through the wreck of the Persian Empire; before Cyrus the Great (c 600-530 BC), the first Emperor of the Persians conquered those frontier lands, there was the legendary queen Semiramis – who led the first recorded invasion from the West into India.

Much of Queen Semiramis’ life is between legend and myth. These legends are recorded by Diodorus Sicilus (c 1st century BC) in his great work, the Bibliotheca Historica, or Library of the History of the World. In it, Diodorus recorded excerpts from the major historians of the Ancient Mediterranean world – preserving fragments from numerous otherwise lost books. The legend of Queen Semiramis, which you hear in this excerpt from Book II, is taken from the work of Ctesias of Cnidus (5th Century BC). Ctesias was an Ionian Greek, and he was also the physician of the Emperor Artaxerxes(c 400-360 BC) of the Persian Empire.

In this excerpt, I have significantly edited the text to focus on Semiramis’ purported invasion of India in which her vast armies battled those of the Indian King Sthrabobates. Historically we know little about such an invasion. The real Queen Semiramis, better known as Shammumurat in Assyrian, ruled from 824-811 BC after the death of her husband, the King Shamsi-Adad V. We know she waged many successful campaigns in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Egypt and Libya. An Indian invasion, at least of the frontier territories of the Indus, is wholly within the realm of the plausible.

(Description text by Geopoliticus)


By Ernest Wallcousins (1883–1976) – From Myths of Babylonia and Assyria by D. MacKenzie (1915-now in the public domain).Originally uploaded to en.wikipedia; description page was here., Public Domain,

By The original uploader was Yak at German Wikipedia. – de:commons:Image:DemetriusIIICoin.png, Public Domain,