Ancient city of Nineveh

From about this time dates the splendor of Nineveh, the gorgeous Assyrian capital which rivalled Babylon. Nineveh, from its favorable situation, gradually became the greatest of the four chief cities of Assyria, wholly supplanting the older capital, Assur. Later ages attributed the origin of Nineveh to a mythical king, Ninus, and his goddess wife, Semiramis, who, they said, made herself queen of all Asia. But the story is a mere romantic fancy. There is more truth in the legend of another Assyrian monarch of these days, Assur-dain-pal, the Sardanapalus of the Greeks. The records show that he rebelled against his father, Shalmaneser, and ruled as king over several Assyrian cities for seven years. Two years after the old king had died Sardanapalus was overthrown by the armies of his brother (822 B.C.). According to legend, Sardanapalus was besieged in Nineveh, and when he saw capture was inevitable he massed his treasures, his wives, and his soldiers in one appalling funeral pyre, seated himself at the top, and, having set fire to the whole, perished.

What is known as the "Second Assyrian Empire," the period of the nation's real supremacy and permanent dominion over most of western Asia and even over Egypt, belongs to a later era, a time well within historic knowledge. This Second Empire had its origin in the year 763 B.C., when an eclipse of the sun started a religious rebellion in Nineveh. This eclipse seems to have been accepted as evidence that the god Asshur had turned his back upon the ancient race of kings, who traced their origin into the forgotten beginnings of Assyria. So there were nearly twenty years of tumult and civil war, at the end of which a new man, Pul, the son of a common gardener, had forced his way to the front as a successful general, and become king. Pul took the title of the great conqueror of the past and called himself Tiglathpileser, being the third monarch of that name.

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Read about Ancient city of Nineveh in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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