Also N IMROD ( nmrd of uncertain signification, Septuagint Nebród ).
The name of a descendant of Chus (Cush) , son of Cham (Ham), represented in Gen., x, 8-12, as the founder of the Babylonian empire and as a mighty hunter before the Lord. This last may be taken in the strict sense — hunter of wild beasts, for such we know the Babylonian princes to have been; or in the sense of warrior, the original word gibbor having the meaning "hero".
The name of Nemrod has not yet been discovered among those found in the cuneiform inscriptions, and the attempts made by Assyriologists to identify him with historical or legendary personages known to us through these sources rest on more or less plausible conjectures. Thus by some scholars (Delitsch, Hommel, P. Haupt, etc.) he is identified with Gilgamesh, the hero of the Babylonian epic. The latter, whose name appears frequently in the inscriptions, and who is often represented in the act of strangling a lion, is described in the poem as a powerful prince who subdues the monster ox-faced man Eabani and makes him his companion, after which he triumphs over the tyrant Humbaba, and slays a monster sent against him by the deities, Amu and Ishtar. Like the Biblical Nemrod he reigns over the city of Erech ( Douai, Arach), but the texts fail to mention the other towns enumerated in Gen., x, 10, namely: Babylon, Achad, and Chalanne (Calneh). For the philological reasons underlying this hypothesis see Vigouroux, s. v., and Hastings, s. v. Nimrod. Sayce less plausibly identifies Nemrod with the Kassite king, Nazi-Murutas, and T. Pinches (in Hastings) considers him to be the same as Marduk, the great Babylonian deity. In Genesis, x, 11, we read: "Out of that land came forth Assur, and built Ninive …" This rendering of the Vulgate seems preferable to that of the Revised Version: "Out of that land he (Nimrod) went forth into Assyria and builded Niniveh." Be that as it may, we know from other sources that Assyria with its capital Nineveh was at first a Babylonian colony, and it may be said to have been founded by Nemrod in the sense that it was a development of the power and civilization of Chaldea. A great number of Oriental legends grew up around the meagre Biblical data concerning Nemrod. Thus with probable reference to the supposed root of the name (mrd marad, "he revolted"), he is credited with having instigated the building of the tower of Babel and of being the author of Babylonian idolatry. Another legend is to the effect that Abraham having refused to worship the statue of Nemrod was cast into a fiery furnace. A trace of this legend appears in II Esd., ix, 7, where the translator of the Vulgate renders the original "Ur of the Chaldees" (from which the Lord called Abraham ), by "fire of the Chaldeans". It was only natural that the renown of Nemrod as a builder should have caused his name to be connected with nearly all of the principal mounds and ruins to be found in Mesopotamia.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online