Ishtar

Ishtar (ĭshˈtär) [key], ancient fertility deity, the most widely worshiped goddess in Babylonian and Assyrian religion. She was worshiped under various names and forms. Most important as a mother goddess and as a goddess of love, Ishtar was the source of all the generative powers in nature and mankind. However, she was also a goddess of war and as such was capable of unremitting cruelty. Her cult spread throughout W Asia, and she became identified with various other earth goddesses (see Great Mother Goddess). One of the most famous of the Babylonian legends related the trials of her descent into the underworld in search of her lover Tammuz and her triumphant return to earth. In Sumerian religion, where her cult probably originated, she was called Inanna or Innina.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Ishtar from Fact Monster:

  • Astarte - Astarte Astarte , Semitic goddess of fertility and love. She was the most important goddess of the ...
  • Isin - Isin Isin , capital of an ancient Semitic kingdom of N Babylonia. The city became important after ...
  • Semiramis - Semiramis Semiramis , mythical Assyrian queen, noted for her beauty and wisdom. She was reputed to ...
  • Middle Eastern religions: The Gods - The Gods Probably the most important of the Middle Eastern religions was that which was developed ...
  • Virgo - Virgo Virgo [Lat.,=the virgin], constellation lying on the ecliptic (the sun's apparent path ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient Religion