Astarte in Phoenicia::Astarte


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Astarte in Phoenicia

Figurine of Astarte with a horned headdress, Louvre Museum

In the description of the Phoenician pantheon ascribed to Sanchuniathon, Astarte appears as a daughter of Epigeius (Greek: Uranus) and Ge (Earth), and sister of the god Elus. After Elus overthrows and banishes his father Epigeius, as some kind of trick Epigeius sends Elus his "virgin daughter" Astarte along with her sisters Asherah and the goddess who will later be called Ba`alat Gebal, "the Lady of Byblos".<ref>Je m'appelle Byblos, Jean-Pierre Thiollet, H & D, 2005, p. 73. ISBN 2 914 266 04 9</ref> It seems that this trick does not work, as all three become wives of their brother Elus. Astarte bears Elus children who appear under Greek names as seven daughters called the Titanides or Artemides and two sons named Pothos "Longing" and Eros "Desire". Later with Elus' consent, Astarte and Hadad reign over the land together. Astarte puts the head of a bull on her own head to symbolize Her sovereignty. Wandering through the world, Astarte takes up a star that has fallen from the sky (a meteorite) and consecrates it at Tyre.

Ashteroth Karnaim (Astarte was called Ashteroth in the Hebrew Bible) was a city in the land of Bashan east of the Jordan River, mentioned in [[s:Bible (King James)/Genesis#14:5Genesis 14:5]] and [[s:Bible (King James)/Joshua#12:4Joshua 12:4]] (where it is rendered solely as Ashteroth). The name translates literally to 'Ashteroth of the Horns', with 'Ashteroth' being a Canaanite fertitility goddess and 'horns' being symbolic of mountain peaks. Figurines of Astarte have been found at various archaeological sites in Israel, showing the goddess with two horns.<ref>Raphael Patai. The Hebrew Goddess. (Wayne State University Press 1990). ISBN 0-8143-2271-9 p. 57.</ref>

Astarte's most common symbol was the crescent moon (or horns), according to religious studies scholar Jeffrey Burton Russell, in his book The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity.<ref>Jeffrey Burton Russell. The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity. (Cornell University Press 1977). ISBN 0-8014-9409-5 p. 94.</ref>

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Astarte in Phoenicia
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