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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art


Flourished ninth century B.C.E., Assyria (modern-day Iraq)

Much of what we know about Semiramis, the queen of Assyria, is legend. The daughter of a fish-goddess, she married King Ninus of Babylon after her first husband committed suicide. She convinced Ninus to give her power for one day, and on that day had him executed and took the throne. Semiramis had many affairs and had most of her lovers killed during this time. She was also known for a building program in Babylon as well as a military campaign to conquer several neighboring cities. She was succeeded on the throne by her son, who had her killed shortly after.

Vardkes Sureniants. Semiramis Staring at the Corpse of Ara the Beautiful, 1899. National Art Gallery of Armenia, Yerevan

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