Astarte


also spelled ASHTART, great goddess of the ancient Near East, chief deity of Tyre, Sidon, and Elath, important Mediterranean seaports. Hebrew scholars now feel that the goddess Ashtoreth mentioned so often in the Bible is a deliberate compilation of the Greek name Astarte and the Hebrew word boshet, “shame,” indicating the Hebrew contempt for her cult. Ashtaroth, the plural form of the goddess’s name in Hebrew, became a general term denoting goddesses and paganism.

King Solomon, married to foreign wives, “went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians” (I Kings 11:5). Later the cult places to Ashtoreth were destroyed by Josiah. Astarte/Ashtoreth is the Queen of Heaven to whom the Canaanites had burned incense and poured libations (Jer. 44).
Astarte, goddess of love and war, shared so many qualities with her sister, Anath, that they may originally have been seen as a single deity. Their names together are the basis for the Aramaic goddess Atargatis.

Astarte was worshipped as Astarte in Egypt and Ugarit and among the Hittites, as well as in Canaan. Her Akkadian counterpart was Ishtar. Later she became assimilated with the Egyptian deities Isis and Hathor, and in the Greco-Roman world with Aphrodite, Artemis, and Juno, all aspects of the Great Mother." (ex Britannica)

Hittite, North Syrian "Astarte" 2nd-3rd millenium BCE

Triple Bronze Sculpture 1500 BC Phoenician

 

Astarte was one of the earliest Mother Goddesses. The "brid-headed" figure above left are very common and thought to represent Astarte or one of her precursors. Parts of the world that honored the Astarte archetype were Indo-European, the Anatolian and Indo-Iranian branches, eg, areas where these statues are found. The bronze figure on the right is intriguing and rare. The facial features provide a link to the earlier terra-cotta figure on the left. Is this an early example of tripilism common in Indo-European mythology, especially relating to the Goddess and Maid, Woman and Crone?

Please email your thoughts to me: bill501@mindspring.com