Monday, April 23, 2012

Pyre Festival, Syria, to Goddess Astarte ('Ashtart)
'Ashtart, commonly known as Astarte (also Hebrew or Phoenician עשתרת (transliterated Ashtoreth), Ugaritic 'ttrt (also 'Attart or 'Athtart), Akkadian dAs-tar-tú [also Astartu], Greek Αστάρτη [Astártê]), was a major northwest-Semitic goddess, cognate in name, origin, and functions with the east-Semitic goddess Ishtar.

Astarte, the consort of the god Baal, was of western Semitic origin and was worshipped between about 1500 BCE and 200 BCE, mainly by Phoenician peoples (in Lebanon and Syria, for example).

Astarte, or Ashtoret in Hebrew, was the principal goddess of the Phoenicians, representing the productive power of nature. She was a lunar goddess and was adopted by the Egyptians as a daughter of Ra or Ptah.

In Jewish mythology, she is referred to as Ashtoreth, supposedly interpreted as a female demon of lust in Hebrew monotheism. This interpretation is also inherited by Christianity. The name Asherah may also be confused with Ashtoreth, but is probably a different goddess.
The Palestinians and Jews knew her as Astoreth, who was mentioned in the Bible (I Kings 11.5):
For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 
(More at 23 in Book of Days.)


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