Ninus according to Greek historians writing in the Hellenistic period and later, was accepted as the eponymous founder of Nineveh
Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and capital of the Neo Assyrian Empire. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq....

 (also called Νίνου πόλις "city of Ninus" in Greek), Ancient capital of Assyria, although he does not seem to represent any one personage known to modern history, and is more likely a conflation of several real and/or fictional figures of antiquity, as seen to the Greeks through the mists of time.

Many early accomplishments are attributed to him, such as training the first hunting dogs, and taming horses for riding. For this accomplishment, he is sometimes represented in Greek mythology as a centaur
In Greek mythology, a centaur or hippocentaur is a member of a composite race of creatures, part human and part horse...


The figures of King Ninus and Queen Semiramis
The real and historical Shammuramat , was the Assyrian queen of Shamshi-Adad V , King of Assyria and ruler of the Neo Assyrian Empire, and its regent for four years until her son Adad-nirari III came of age....

 first appear in the history of Persia written by Ctesias of Cnidus (c. 400 BC), who claimed, as court physician to Artaxerxes II, to have access to the royal historical records. Ctesias' account was later expanded on by Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

. Ninus continued to be mentioned by European historians (e.g. Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great was King of Wessex from 871 to 899.Alfred is noted for his defence of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of southern England against the Vikings, becoming the only English monarch still to be accorded the epithet "the Great". Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself...

), even up until knowledge of cuneiform
Cuneiform can refer to:*Cuneiform script, an ancient writing system originating in Mesopotamia in the 4th millennium BC*Cuneiform , three bones in the human foot*Cuneiform Records, a music record label...

 enabled a more precise reconstruction of Assyrian history in the 19th century.

He was said to have been the son of Belus
Belus or Belos may be:* The classical Latin or Greek rendition of Bel the Semitic honorific**Ba`al as a Semitic deity** Belus , the Greek Zeus Belos and Latin Jupiter Belus as translations of the Babylonian god Bel Marduk...

 or Bel, a name that may represent a Semitic title such as Ba'al, "lord". According to Castor of Rhodes
Castor of Rhodes
Castor of Rhodes was a Greek grammarian and rhetorician, surnamed Philoromaeus, and is usually believed to have lived about the time of Cicero and Julius Caesar....

 (apud Syncellus
George Syncellus
George Syncellus was a Byzantine chronicler and ecclesiastic. He had lived many years in Palestine as a monk, before coming to Constantinople, where he was appointed syncellus to Tarasius, patriarch of Constantinople...

p. 167), his reign lasted 52 years, its commencement falling in 2189 BC
22nd century BC
The 22nd century BC is a century which lasted from the year 2200 BC to 2101 BC.-Events:right|thumb|170px|The [[deluge |Deluge]] tablet of the [[Gilgamesh epic]] in [[Akkadian language|Akkadian]]...

 according to Ctesias. He was reputed to have conquered the whole of western Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 in 17 years with the help of Ariaeus, king of Arabia, and to have founded the first empire, defeating the legendary kings Barzanes of Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 (whom he spared) and Pharnus of Medea (whom he had crucified).
As the story goes, Ninus, having conquered all neighboring Asian countries apart from India and Bactriana, then made war on Oxyartes, king of Bactriana, with an army of nearly two million, taking all but the capital, Bactra. During the siege of Bactra, he met Semiramis, the wife of one of his officers, Onnes
Onnes in legend was one of the generals of the mythological Assyrian king, Ninus. He married Semiramis. He is said to have committed suicide, after which his widow married Ninus....

, whom he took from her husband and married. The fruit of the marriage was Ninyas, said to have succeeded Ninus.

A number of historians, beginning with the Roman Cephalion
Cephalion may be:*another name of Caphaurus, son of Amphithemis and the nymph Tritonis, killed the Argonauts Canthus and Euribates*Roman historian of the time of Hadrian. Wrote a history of Assyria from the time of Ninus and Semiramis to that of Alexander the Great...

 (c. AD 120) asserted that Ninus' opponent, the king of Bactria, was actually Zoroaster
Zoroaster , also known as Zarathustra , was a prophet and the founder of Zoroastrianism who was either born in North Western or Eastern Iran. He is credited with the authorship of the Yasna Haptanghaiti as well as the Gathas, hymns which are at the liturgical core of Zoroastrianism...

 (or first of several to bear this name), rather than Oxyartes.

Ninus was first identified in the Recognitions (part of Clementine literature
Clementine literature
Clementine literature is the name given to the religious romance which purports to contain a record made by one Clement of discourses...

) with the biblical Nimrod
Nimrod means "Hunter"; was a Biblical Mesopotamian king mentioned in the Table of Nations; an eponym for the city of Nimrud.Nimrod can also refer to any of the following:*Nimród Antal, a director...

, who, the author says, taught the Persians to worship fire. In many modern interpretations of the Hebrew text of Genesis 10, it is Nimrod, the son of Cush
Biblical Cush
Cush was the eldest son of Ham, brother of Mizraim , Canaan and the father of Nimrod, and Raamah, mentioned in the "Table of Nations" in the Genesis 10:6 and I Chronicles 1:8...

, who founded Nineveh, but this too is ambiguous: other translations (e.g., the KJV) render the same Torah verse as naming Ashur, son of Shem
Shem was one of the sons of Noah in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Islamic literature. He is most popularly regarded as the eldest son, though some traditions regard him as the second son. Genesis 10:21 refers to relative ages of Shem and his brother Japheth, but with sufficient ambiguity in each...

, as the founder of Nineveh.

More recently, the identification in Recognitions of Nimrod with Ninus (and also with Zoroaster, as in Homilies) formed a major part of Alexander Hislop
Alexander Hislop
Alexander Hislop was a Free Church of Scotland minister infamous for his outspoken criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the son of Stephen Hislop , a mason by occupation and an elder of the Relief Church...

's thesis in the 19th century tract The Two Babylons
The Two Babylons
The Two Babylons is an anti-Catholic religious pamphlet produced initially by the Scottish theologian and Presbyterian Alexander Hislop in 1853. It was later expanded in 1858 and finally published as a book in 1919...


Ctesias (as known from Diodorus) also related that after the death of Ninus, his widow Semiramis, who was accused of causing it, erected to him a temple-tomb, 9 stadia
Stadium or stadion has the plural stadia in both Latin and Greek. The anglicized term is stade in the singular.Stadium may refer to:* Stadium, a building type...

 high and 10 stadia broad, near Babylon
Babylon was an Akkadian city-state of ancient Mesopotamia, the remains of which are found in present-day Al Hillah, Babil Province, Iraq, about 85 kilometers south of Baghdad...

, where the story of Pyramus and Thisbe
Pyramus and Thisbe
Pyramus and Thisbe are two characters of Roman mythology, whose love story of ill-fated lovers is also a sentimental romance.The tale is told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses.-Plot:...

 (Πύραμος; Θίσβη) was later based. She was further said to have made war on the last remaining independent monarch in Asia, king Stabrobates of India, but was defeated and wounded, abdicating in favour of her son Ninyas.

Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a play that was written by William Shakespeare. It is believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and the Queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta...

has the story of Pyramus and Thisbe as a play-within-a-play. The actors constantly mispronounce the location "Ninus' Tomb" as "Ninny's Tomb," though they are corrected initially, and in vain, by "director" Peter Quince
Peter Quince
In William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Peter Quince is a carpenter who works in ancient Athens. He is one of the six craftsmen that put on a play for Theseus and Hippolyta at their wedding...


The story of Ninus and Semiramis is taken up in a different form in a 1st century AD Hellenistic
Hellenistic period
The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

 romance called the Ninus Romance, the Novel of Ninus and Semiramis, or the Ninus Fragments. A scene from it is perhaps depicted in mosaics from Antioch on the Orontes

Another Ninus is described by some authorities as the last king of Nineveh, successor of Sardanapalus
Sardanapalus was, according to the Greek writer Ctesias of Cnidus, the last king of Assyria. Ctesias' Persica is lost, but we know of its contents by later compilations and from the work of Diodorus...



Non-player character
A non-player character , sometimes known as a non-person character or non-playable character, in a game is any fictional character not controlled by a player. In electronic games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer through artificial intelligence...

 is named Ninus in the MMORPG
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game is a genre of role-playing video games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world....

 from Funcom
Funcom Productions A/S is a Norwegian video game developer specializing in online games. It is best known for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game titles Age of Conan, Anarchy Online, and its The Longest Journey series of adventure games...

, Age of Conan.


The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.