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Mesopotamia / Religions / Gods and goddesses /
Babylonian and Assyrian religion /


In Babylonian and Assyrian religion, goddess of fertility, love, war and sex. She was known for being unreliabe and vengeful.
She was a continuation of the Sumerian goddess, Inanna.
The Babylonians considered her the divine personification of the planet Venus. Her symbol was a star of 8 points.
Central in her cults was sexuality, and sacred prostitution was an important part of her veneration. She was noted for many lovers, but her love was fatal, causing destruction or even death.
She was the daughter of Sin, or of Anu. Her main cult centres were at Nineveh and Arbela. A ziggurat was built for her in Uruk around 2000 BCE.
The goddess, Astarte, is often suggested to be derived from the myths and ideas of Ishtar. There are also simila rities between her cult and that of the Egyptian goddess, Isis, and later that of Mary and Jesus in Christianity, but then without the cruelty, rather her nurturing role for the god, Tammuz.
She is one of the main characters in the myth of Gilgamesh; Gilhgamesh rejects her courting considering the well-known fate of her former lovers. But this is of no avail, as this insults her, and she asks her father, Anu, to give her the Bull of Heaven which she sends to attack Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh manages to survive, and continue his quest.

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By Tore Kjeilen