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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Semi-Mesopotamia

Earlier this afternoon, a Meebo patron asked Tracy for help finding the identity of the last queen of Mesopotamia. Unfortunately, the great and mighty internet powers that be were rendered temporarily frozen, making it impossible for her to retrieve this knowledge seeker's email address. The answer will, hopefully, be found (at least in some part) below.

According to A Dictionary of World History, Mesopotamia "is an ancient region of southwest Asia in present-day Iraq." Great! This brings to mind vague memories of Western Civ classes and talk of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The end is in plain sight, right? Ah, contraire, say you who remember a bit more from those long ago classes. It seems that there were at least four civilizations in ancient Mesopotamia: Akkad, Sumer, Babylonia, and Assyria. Holy sand castles (to borrow a phrase from my neighbor)! Which civilization did this person want to track down?

Luckily, another library assisting our Meebo patron discovered that they only wanted to know about a queen named Semiramis. So, here's the skinny on Ms. Semi. Philip's World Encyclopedia claims she was the "daughter of a fish goddess and the god of wisdom," but Knowles asserts that her father was just an Assyrian. The World Encyclopedia also says that she was "raised by doves." She co-founded Nineveh with her husband Ninus, but according to Hutchins this is just Greek myth. Philip's says that she founded the city of Babylon. My favorite account of her life, though, comes from Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. According to them, Semiramis married a guy named Menones. The Assyrian king came along and wanted to marry her, so Menones conveniently hanged himself. (Very reminiscent of David and Bathsheba, no?) Then Semiramis married the Assyrian king, Ninus, who gave her his crown. Then she had him killed. (Who was this woman, that men would do these incredibly inane things when she was around?) Apparently, she was later killed by her own son, Ninyas. What a great, homey little family tale! There's sort of a happy ending, though. When Ninyas killed Semiramis, she turned into a dove and flew away. Awww! Check out these two sites for more information: http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/MainFeaturesMesopotamia.htm and http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/lesson2.html

I hope this completely answers your questions, Meebo patron. By the way, Tracy found one last Semiramis nugget for you. It seems that Ricardo Montalban was in a 1954 called The Queen of Babylon. His love interest's name? Semiramis! She sure seems to enjoy the menfolk.



"Mesopotamia" A Dictionary of World History. Oxford University Press, 2000. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Mississippi Library Commission. 5 August 2009 http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t48.e2396

"Semiramis" A Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Edited by Elizabeth Knowles. Oxford University Press, 2006. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Mississippi Library Commission. 6 August 2009
http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t214.e6351

"Semiramis" World Encyclopedia. Philip's, 2008. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Mississippi Library Commission. 6 August 2009
http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t142.e10460


Semiramis. (2005). In Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (17th ed). London: Chambers Harrap. Retrieved August 06, 2009, from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/orionpf/semiramis

Semiramis. (2009). In The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather guide. Abington: Helicon. Retrieved August 06, 2009, from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/heliconhe/semiramis

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