King Ninus was believed to be the founder of the ancient capital city of Assyria, Nineveh. There were numerous things credited to him such as being the first to train dogs for hunting and horses for riding giving him the symbol of the centaur in Greek mythology. He is found on the Biblical Timeline during the 19th century BC
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The names of King Ninus with his wife Queen Semiramis were first mentioned in the historical account of Assyria written by Ctesias of Cnidus, who asserted to have gained the knowledge from the court physician of Artaxerxes II. King Ninus was further mentioned by the European historians up to the 19th century.
King Ninus was the son Belus or Bel, which may mean Ba’al or “Lord” in Semitic language. It was thought that he reigned for 52 years and in 17 years, he was able to add all of West Asia to his colonies with the aid of Arabia’s King Ariaeus. He was the first to build an empire. He won the battles against the king of Armenia named Barzanes and King Pharnus of Medea crucifying the latter.
According to the history written by Diodoros, Ninus had invaded all the Asian countries next to his kingdom and fought with the armies of Bactriana. It was during their attack on the kingdom’s capital, Bactra that he met his future wife, Semiramis. Semiramis was the wife of his general named Onnes.
Ninus and Semiramis had a son named Ninyas. After Ninus had died, Semiramis built a temple-tomb to honor him. She ruled as the queen regnant of all of Asia and fought with King Stabrobates of India but lost. She then gave the throne to her son Ninyas.
Nineveh was the heart of ancient Assyria. It is situated in the northern part of Iraq, to the east of the Tigris, in the middle of the once Assyrian Empire. It’s remnants are now found in the city of Mosul.
It was one of the most populous cities in ancient times with lands fertile enough for agriculture and pasture for animals.
It was first mentioned in 1800 BC as the main city in worshipping Ishtar. The Old Testament pictured it as an extraordinarily great city though the land covered by the city itself was not that huge. During the 1847 British Henry Layard excavated the ruins of King Sennacherib’s glorious palace that according to the story had more than 80 rooms.
It played an important role in the trade route as it was situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean giving Nineveh an advantage economically. This wealth and being the center city for the god Ishtar built the city’s greatness. But it did not last long. It was annihilated by the allied forces of Scythians and Cimmerians in 612 BC.
Today, this ancient city is inhabited by the Sunnis and the Kurds. On October 2010, Nineveh was one of the 12 heritage sites mentioned that were beyond repair. The devastation was due to urbanization, no proper preservation, and looting. But being the main city in oil processing, it could become an important city in Iraq’s politics.
Mythology and the Bible
King Ninus was first associated with the Biblical “mighty warrior” Nimrod in Clementine literature entitled Recognitions. Recent interpretations of Genesis 10 in the Bible states that it was Nimrod who established the city of Nineveh.
When translated literally the word means “the habitation of Ninus”. Apollodorus further asserted that “Ninus is Nimrod” with the support of Justin and Diodorus’ historical texts pointing out that Ninus had the same leadership attributes as that of the Biblical Nimrod.
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