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Canaanite/Ugaritic Mythology FAQ, ver. 1.2

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                     Canaanite/Ugaritic Mythology FAQ, ver. 1.2
   by Christopher B. Siren
   based on John C. Gibson's Canaanite Mythology and S. H. Hooke's Middle
   Eastern Mythology
   Last modified: May 25th 1998: Corrected several spelling errors.
   May 25th 1996: Added an entry on Molech.
   March 30th 1996: Fixed a couple of Lucian typos, added a biblical link.
   March 11, 1996: added some links to Shawn Knight's "Egyptian Mythology FAQ"
   February 12, 1996: Included more extra-Ugaritic information.
   prior to February 12: added link to Gwen Saylor's commentary on this FAQ.

     * I. Who do we mean by 'Canaanites'?
     * II. What Deities did they worship?
          + A. Primarily beneficent and non-hostile gods
          + B. Chaos gods, death gods, and cthonic gods.
          + C. Demigods and heroes.
     * III. What about their cosmology?
     * IV. Source material
     * V. Additional material of interest.
I. Who do we mean by 'Canaanites'?

   Linguisticly, the ancient Semites have been broadly classified into Eastern
   and Western groups. The Eastern group is represented most prominently by
   Akkadian, the language of the Assyrians and Babylonians, who inhabited the
   Tigris and Euphrates river valleys. The Western group is further broken
   down into the Southern and Northern groups. The South Western Semites
   inhabited Arabia and Ethiopia while the North Western Semites occupied the
   Levant - the regions that used to be Palestine as well as what is now
   Syria, Israel and Lebanon, the regions often referred to in the Bible as
   Recent archaeological finds indicate that the inhabitants of the region
   themselves referred to the land as 'ca-na-na-um' as early as the mid-third
   millenium B.C.E. (Aubet p. 9) Variations on that name in reference to the
   country and its inhabitants continue through the first millenium B.C.E. The
   word appears to have two etymologies. On one end, represented by the Hebrew
   cana'ani the word meant merchant, an occupation for which the Canaanites
   were well known. On the other end, as represented by the Akkadian kinahhu,
   the word referred to the red-colored wool which was a key export of the
   region. When the Greeks encountered the Canaanites, it may have been this
   aspect of the term which they latched onto as they renamed the Canaanites
   the Phoenikes or Phoenicians, which may derive from a word meaning red or
   purple, and descriptive of the cloth for which the Greeks too traded. The
   Romans in turn transcribed the Greek phoinix to poenus, thus calling the
   descendants of the Canaanite emigres to Carthage 'Punic'. However, while
   both Phoenician and Canaanite refer to approximately the same culture,
   archaeologists and historians commonly refer to the pre-1200 or 1000 B.C.E.
   Levantines as Canaanites and their descendants, who left the bronze age for
   the iron, as Phoenicians.
   It has been somewhat frustrating that so little outside of the Bible and
   less than a handful of secondary and tertiary Greek sources (Lucian of
   Samosata's De Syria Dea (The Syrian Goddess), fragments of the Phoenician
   History of Philo of Byblos, and the writings of Damasacius) remain to
   describe the beliefs of the people of the area. Unlike in Mesopotamia,
   papyrus was readily available so that most of the records simply
   deteriorated. A cross-roads of foreign empires, the region never truly had
   the chance to unify under a single native rule; thus scattered statues and
   conflicting listings of deities carved in shrines of the neighboring
   city-states of Gubla (Byblos), Siduna (Sidon), and Zaaru (Tyre) were all
   the primary sources known until the uncovering of the city of Ugarit in
   1928 and the digs there in the late 1930's. The Canaanite myth cycle
   recovered from the city of Ugarit in what is now Ras Sharma, Syria dates
   back to at least 1400 B.C.E. in its written form, while the deity lists and
   statues from other cities, particularly Gubla date back as far as the third
   millenium B.C.E. Gubla, during that time, maintained a thriving trade with
   Egypt and was described as the capital during the third millenium B.C.E.
   Despite this title, like Siduna (Sidon), and Zaaru (Tyre), the city and the
   whole region was lorded over and colonized by the Egyptians. Between 2300
   and 1900 B.C.E., many of the coastal Canaanite cities were abandoned,
   sacked by the Amorites, with the inland cities of Allepo and Mari lost to
   them completely. The second millenium B.C.E. saw a resurgence of Canaanite
   activity and trade, particularly noticable in Gubla and Ugarit. By the 14th
   century B.C.E., their trade extended from Egypt, to Mesopotamia and to
   Crete. All of this was under the patronage and dominance of the 18th
   dynasty of Egypt. Zaaru managed to maintain an independent kingdom, but the
   rest of the soon fell into unrest, while Egypt lost power and interest. In
   1230, the Israelites began their invasion and during this time the possibly
   Achaean "Sea Peoples" raided much of the Eastern Mediterranean, working
   their way from Anatolia to Egypt. They led to the abandonment of Ugarit in
   1200 B.C.E., and in 1180, a group of them established the country of
   Philistia, i.e. Palestine, along Canaan's southern coast.
   Over the next three or four hundred years, the Canaanites gradually
   recovered. Now they occupied little more than a chain of cities along the
   coast, with rival city-states of Sidon and Tyre vying for control over
   larger sections of what the Greeks began to call Phoenicia. Tyre won out
   for a time and the unified state of Tyre-Sidon expanded its trade through
   the Mediterranean and was even able to establish colonies as far away as
   Spain. The most successful of these colonies was undoubtedly Carthage, said
   in the Tyrian annals to have been established in 814 B.C.E. by Pygmailion's
   sister Ellisa. She was named Dido, 'the wandering one', by the Lybian
   natives and escaped an unwelcome marriage to their king by immolating
   herself, a story which Virgil also recounts in the Aeneid. Her dramatic
   death brought about her deification while the colonists continued to
   practice the Canaanite religion, spreading it under Carthage's auspices
   while that state expanded during sixth and fifth centuries B.C.E. Carthage
   outlasted its patron state as Tyre and Sidon were crushed under Assyrian
   expansion beginning during the reign of Sennacherib around 724 B.C.E. and
   ending under Nebuchadnezar around 572 B.C.E.
   The Phoenician era saw a shift in Canaanite religion. The larger pantheon
   became pushed to the wayside in favor of previously less important,
   singular deities who became or, in the case of Baalat, already were the
   patron city-gods, born witness to by ruling priest-kings.
II. What Deities did they worship?

   As mentioned above, different cities had different concepts of not only
   which gods were ranked where in the pantheon, but also of which gods were
   included and what some of their basic attributes were. While El or Il,
   whose name means 'god', is commonly described as the creator of the earth,
   the Arameans ranked Hadad before him. Also, many city gods were named Baal,
   meaning 'lord'. Baal-Sidon, the city god of Sidon was thus an entirely
   different deity than Baal-Hadad, the storm god. Given the dearth of
   material from outside of Ugarit, if other cities or regions are not
   mentioned in the entry, the details can be assumed to be particular to
  A. Primarily beneficent and non-hostile gods:
   El - (also called Latipan, and possibly Dagon)
   He is known as the Father of the gods, 'the father of mankind', the 'Bull',
   and 'the creator of creatures'. He is grey haired and bearded and lives at
   Mt. Lel. He is a heavy drinker and has gotten extremly drunk at his
   As a young god, he went out to the sea and, spying two ladies, one of whom
   is presumably Athirat, becomes aroused, roasts a bird and asks the two to
   choose between being his daughters or his wives. They become his wives and
   in due course they give birth to Shachar, Shalim, and possibly other
   gracious gods, who could be Athirat's seventy children and/or much of the
   rest of the pantheon. The new family raises a sanctuary in the desert and
   lived there for eight years.
   You're missing a statue of El.
          He orders that Yam be given kingship and sets Kothar-and-Khasis to
          build the new king a throne. The gods warn that Yam has been shamed
          and may wreck destruction, so El ameliorates him by renaming him
          mddil - 'beloved of El' and throws a feast for him. El warns though
          that this is contingent on his driving out of Baal, who may fight
          back. Following Yam's demise, he favors the god Mot.
          While Baal is declared king and judge, he remains a resident of El
          and Athirat's palace as El refuses him permission to build an
          apropriate mansion, in spite of Shapash. When Baal-Hadad's monsters
          assail the handmaidens of Yarikh and Lady Athirat of the Sea, he
          advises them to give birth to beasts which will lure Baal-Hadad away
          on a hunt.
          He favors King Keret, who may be his son, offering him riches upon
          the death of his many spouses and eventually promising him the
          princess Huray and many children, provided he make the proper
          sacrifices and follow his instructions. After Keret takes ill, El
          eventually convenes an assembly of the gods in order to ask one of
          them to rid Keret of his illness. Eventually, El dispatches the
          demoness Sha'taqat who cures Keret.
          Anat brings her complaints of Aqhat before him and threatens to
          strike him in the head when he gives his response. He then replies
          that he knows how contemptuous she is and won't stand in her way.
   Athirat (Asherah, Ashtartian - 'the Lady of the Sea', Elat - 'the goddess')
   El's loving consort and is protective of her seventy children who may also
   be known as the gracious gods, to whom she is both mother and nursemaid.
   Her sons, unlike Baal initially, all have godly courts. She frequents the
   ocean shore. In the Syrian city of Qatra, she was considered Baal-Hadad's
   While washing clothing with a female companion by the sea, she is spied by
   El, who roasts a bird and invites the two to choose between being his
   daughters or his wives. They choose to become his wives and in due course
   give birth to the gracious gods, the cleavers of the sea, including Shachar
   and Shalim. The new family builds a sanctuary in the desert and lives there
   for eight years.
   You're missing a relief of Athirat.
          Baal and Anat hope to use her to influence El on the issue of Baal's
          palace. Intially suspicious and fearful of them on behalf of her
          children, but she warms up when she see that they have brought
          gifts. She and Anat successfully intercede with El on Baal's behalf
          for permission for Baal to build a more suitable court.
          When Baal is found dead, she advocates her son Athtar be made king.
          Her sons, the "'pounders' of the sea", apparently colluded with Mot
          and were smited by Baal with sword and mace upon his return.
          Baal-Hadad's creatures devour her handmaidens, so she sends them to
          El. El tells them to go into the wilderness and there birth horned
          buffalo, which will distract Baal-Hadad.
          She and Anat serve as nursemaids for Keret's son Yassib, but reminds
          Keret of his pledge of wealth for Huray, perhaps causing his decline
          in health because of its lack of fulfillment. (See also Gwen
          Saylor's commentary on ver. 0.3 - Asherah)
            A Syrian goddess, who has occasionally been tentatively identified
            with nude fertility goddess statues. Also spelled Qodesh, meaning
            'holy', and used as an epithet of Athirat. She had been identified
            with the Egyptian Qetesh
        Qodesh-and-Amrur 'fisherman of Athirat'
            Baal's messenger to Kothar-and-Khasis. He is also Athirat's
            servant and dredges up provisions to entertain her guests from the
            sea with a net. It is interesting to note that in Dan 4:13(10)
            similar words appear to refer to an angel and have been translated
            as 'holy messenger' or 'holy sentinel'.
   Kothar-and-Khasis ('skillful and clever', also called Chousor and Heyan
          (Ea) and identified with Ptah)
          He is the craftsman god and is identified with Memphis.
          He is ordered by El to build Yam's throne. He upbraids Yam for
          rising against Baal and threatens him with a magic weapon. He gives
          Baal the magic weapons Yagrush (Chaser) and Aymur (Driver).
          He crafts Baal's bribe for Athirat, a temple serving set of gold and
          silver. He build's Baal's second house and insists over Baal's
          objections on including a window.
          He constructs a bow and arrows set for Aqhat, presenting them first
          to Daniel and staying for a feast.
   Shachar 'Dawn'
          Shalim's twin twin and one of the first, if not only, pair of
          gracious gods, the children and cleavers of the sea. They were born
          of El and Athirat or her female companion. The new family builds a
          sanctuary in the desert and lives there for eight years. According
          to Isaiah 14:12, he is the father of Helel or Lucifer, the
          'light-bringer', usually taken to mean the morning-star.
   Shalim 'Sunset/Dusk'
          Shachar's twin and one of the first, if not only, pair of gracious
          gods, the children and cleavers of the sea. They were born of El and
          Athirat or her female companion. The new family builds a sanctuary
          in the desert and lives there for eight years.
   Shamu (Baalshamem?)
          Not found in the Ugarit texts, this sky god was the chief of the
          pantheon at the Syrian city of Alalakh.
   Baal (also called Baal-Zephon(Saphon), Hadad, Pidar and Rapiu (Rapha?) -
          'the shade')
   The son of El, the god of fertility, 'rider of the clouds', and god of
   lightning and thunder. He is 'the Prince, the lord of earth', 'the
   mightiest of warriors', 'lord of the sky and the earth' (Alalakh). He has a
   palace on Mt. Zephon. He has a feud with Yam. His voice is thunder, his
   ship is a snow bearing cloud. He is known as Rapiu during his summer stay
   in the underworld.
   He upbraids the gods for their cowardice when they intend to hand him over
   to Yam's messengers and attacks them but is restrained by Athtart and Anat.
   Kothar-and-Khasis gives him the magic weapons Yagrush (Chaser) and Aymur
   (Driver). He strikes Yam in chest and in the forehead, knocking him out.
   Athtart rebukes Baal and calls on him to 'scatter' his captive, which he
   does. In a alternate version of this episode, he slays Lotan (Leviathan),
   the seven-headed dragon. The battle may have been representative of rough
   winter sea-storms which calmed in the spring and which were preceded and
   accompanied by autumn rains which ended summer droughts and enabled crops
   to grow.
   After his victory he holds a feast and remarks on his lack of a proper
   palace, instead retaining residence with El and Athirat. He sends
   messengers to Anat to ask her to perform a peace-offering that he might
   tell her the word which is the power of lightning and seek lightning on the
   holy Mt Zephon. She does so and he welcomes her. Hearing his complaints
   Anat leaves to petition El for a new palace for Baal. Rejected, Baal
   dispatches Qodesh-and-Amrur to Kothar-and-Khasis with a request to make a
   silver temple set with which to bribe Athirat. He and Anat view Athirat
   with trepidation keeping in mind past insults which he has suffered at the
   hands of the other gods. He and Anat ask Athirat to ask El for permission
   to build a more extravagant house and Athirat's request is granted.
   Gathering cedar, gold, silver, gems, and lapis at Mt. Zephon, he calls
   Kothar-and-Khasis, feeding him and instructing him on how to build the
   palace. He doesn't want a window, for fear of Yam breaking through or his
   daughters escaping, but Kothar-and-Khasis convinces him to allow its
   inclusion so that he might lightning, thunder, and rain through it.
   At its completion he holds a feast, takes over scores of towns and allows
   the window to be built. He threatens to ask Mot to invite any of Baal's
   remaining enemies to come for a visit and at night, binds the lightning,
   snow and rains. He sends Gupn and Ugar to Mot to invite him to acknowledge
   his sovereignty at his new palace. He sends messengers to Mot to carry this
   message to him and they return with a message of such weight that Baal
   declares himself Mot's slave. He hopes to ameliorate Mot by having Sheger
   and Ithm supply live sheep and cattle for the god to feast upon. Fearing
   Mot he seeks Shapshu's advice and sires a substitute on a cow. He (or
   possibly his substitute) dies and remains in the underworld for seven
   years. El dreams that he is alive again but he is absent. Ashtar attempts
   to take Baal's place, but can not. Shapshu searches for him. Baal returns
   and fights Mot's allies, the sons of Athirat and the yellow ones. After
   seven years, Mot returns, demanding one of Baal's brothers lest he consume
   mankind. Baal rebuffs him and they fight tooth and nail. Shapshu separates
   the two declaring that Baal has El's favor and Baal resumes his throne.
   You're missing a relief of Baal. 
          As Baal-Hadad, he sends monstrous creatures to attack the
          handmaidens of Yarikh, and of Athirat of the Sea. He hunts the
          horned, buffalo-humped creatures which were birthed by the
          handmaidens at the advice of El. During the hunt he is stuck in a
          bog for seven years and things fall to pot. His kin recover him and
          there is much rejoicing.
          Once when he was out hunting, Anat followed him. He spotted her,
          fell in love and copulated with her in the form of a cow. She gave
          birth to 'a wild ox' or a 'buffalo', telling him of the event on Mt.
          Zephon. This is probably not their only affair. (See also Theology
          100 Online Glossary - Baal, Encyclopedia Mystica - Baal)
        Gapn (vine)
            Baal's page and messenger to both Anat and Mot.
        Radmanu (Pradmanu)
            a minor servitor of Baal.
        Ugar (cultivated field?)
            Baal's other page and messenger to both Anat and Mot. He is
            possibly the patron city-god of Ugarit.
        Pidray 'daughter of the mist','daughter of light(ning)'
            Baal's daughter. She is sometimes a love interest of Athtar.
        Tallay ='she of dew', 'daughter of drizzle'
            Baal's daughter.
        Arsay = 'she of the earth', 'daughter of [ample flows]'
            Baal's daughter.
            Baal's daughter.
   Athtart (Athtart-name-of-Baal, Astarte, Ashtoreth, Ashtart)
          She is a consort of Baal, and lesser goddess of war and the chase.
          Outside of Ugarit, many nude goddess statues have been tenuously
          identified with her as a goddess of fertility and sex. In Sidon she
          merited royal priests and priestesses. There she served as a goddess
          of fertility, love, war and sexual vitality and to that end had
          sacred prostitutes. She was the Phoenecian great goddess and was
          identified with Aphrodite by the Greeks.
          She restrains Baal when he intends to attack Yam's messengers. She
          rerebukes Baal for holding Yam captive and calls on him to 'scatter'
          Yam, which he does.
          Apparently she, along with Anat, is willing to become Baal's
          cupbearer once he achieves a proper palace. (See also Theology 100
          Online Glossary - Astarte
   Anat (Anath, Rahmay - 'the merciful')
          She Baal's sister and the daughter of El. Goddess of war, the hunt,
          and savagery. She is an archer. Virgin, sister-in-law (progenitor?)
          of peoples (Li'mites'?). She and Athirat are nursemaids to the
          gracious gods.
          She restrains Baal when he intends to attack Yam's messengers. In
          missing texts, she killed Yam-Nahar, the dragon, the seven-headed
          serpent. She also destroyed Arsh, Atik, Ishat, and Zabib, all
          enemies of Baal.
          She holds a feast at Baal's palace to celebrate his victory over
          Yam. After the guests arrive, she departs her abode and adorns
          herself in rouge and henna, closes the doors and slaughters the
          inhabitant of two nearby towns, possibly Baal's enemies. She makes a
          belt of their heads and hands and wades through the blood. She lures
          the towns' warriors inside to sit and joyfully massacres them. She
          then makes a ritual peace offering and cleans up. This is possibly
          related to a seasonal fertility ritual welcoming the autumn rains.
          Anat receives messengers from Baal thinking that some new foe has
          arisen, but they assure her that he only wishes that she make a
          peace offering that he might tell her the secret of lightning and
          seek it on Mt. Zephon. She does so, demanding first to see the
          lightning, and is welcomed by Baal from afar. Hearing him complain
          of lack of a proper mansion, she storms off to El, creating tremors.
          She threatens to mangle his face lest he heed her and have Baal's
          court constructed, yet her plea is rejected. She is assisted in her
          petition, possibly by Athtart. She accompanies Baal to Athirat with
          a bribe and assists Athirat in her successful petition to El for
          Baal's court.
          After Baal dies, she searches for him and, finding his body goes
          into a violent fit of mourning. She has Shapash take his body to Mt.
          Zephon, where she buries it and holds a feast in his honor. After
          seven years of drought, she finds Mot, and cuts, winnows, and sows
          him like corn.
          She attends the feast where Daniel presents Aqhat with a bow and
          arrows set made by Kothar-and-Khasis. Desiring the bow, she offers
          Aqhat riches and immortality, for it. He refuses and so she promises
          vengeance upon him should he transgress and leaves for Mt. Lel to
          denounce him to El. Upset with El's response, she threatens to
          strike his head, sarcasticly suggesting that Aqhat might save him.
          El remarks that he won't hinder her revenge, so she finds Aqhat, and
          taking the form of a kinswoman, lures him off to Qart-Abilim.
          Unsuccessful with her first attempt there, she calls her attendant
          warrior Yatpan to take the form of an eagle, and with a flock of
          similar birds pray strike Aqhat as he sits on the mountain. They do
          so and Aqhat is slain, unfortunately, the bow falls into the waters
          and is lost and Anat laments that her actions and Aqhat's death were
          in vain.
          When Baal was out hunting, she followed after him and copulated with
          him in the form of a cow. She gave birth to 'a wild ox' or a
          'buffalo', visiting Mt. Zephon to tell Baal of the good news. This
          is probably not their only affair.
          The 'mistress' of Gubla she was not found in Ugarit. This great
          fertility goddess was the foremost deity of that city. She served as
          protector of the city and of the royal dynasty. She was associated
          with Baal-Shamen and she assimilated the characteristics of the
          Egyptian goddesses Hathor and Ast (Isis).
          Known as the 'lady of Carthage' and the 'face of Baal', Tanit was
          the great goddess of the Carthaginians and, with Baal Hammon
          co-protector of that city. She is listed first of all deities in
   Shapshu (Shapash)
          She is the sun-goddess (Akkadian Shamash, a male deity) and is known
          as the torch of the gods and pale Shapshu. She often acts as
          messenger or representative on El's behalf. She has some dominion
          over the shades and ghosts of the nether-world. Kothar-and-Khasis
          may be her companion and protector.
          She tells Athtar that he will loose kingship to Yam under El's
          auspice and rebuffs his complaints by recalling his lack of wife and
          She is said to be under Mot's influence when Baal is preoccupied
          with his lack of a palace and not raining. The weather then is
          particularly hot.
          When Mot's messenger seeks Baal, she advises the thunder-god to
          procure a substitute, to satisfy Mot and then take his servants and
          daughters and venture into the underworld. At the direction of Anat,
          she carries Baal's body back to Mt. Zephon. She is told by El that
          he dreamed Baal was alive and she searches for him. When Baal
          returns and fights with Mot, she separates them, declaring that Baal
          has El's favor.
          He is the moon god. 'The illuminator of myriads (of stars)', 'lamp
          of heaven', possibly also the crescent moon and 'lord of the sickle'
          and thereby the father of the Kotharat. He is patron of the city
          After sunset he embraces Nikkal-and-Ib and becomes determined to
          marry her. He seeks Khirkhib out to arbitrate the brideprice, but
          instead Khirkhib tries suggests other potential mates in the
          daughters of Baal. Undaunted, Yarikh presents a lavish brideprice to
          Nikkal-and-Ib's family and the two are wed.
          Baal-Hadad's creatures devour his handmaidens, so he sends them to
          El. El tells them to go into the wilderness and there birth horned
          buffalo, which will distract Baal-Hadad.
   Kotharat (was thought to be Kathirat) 'skillful'
          They are a group of goddesses associated with conception and
          childbirth. '...The swallow-like daughters of the crescent moon.'
          (Gibson p. 106). They are also associated with the new moon. They
          attend Daniel for seven days to aid in the conception of Aqhat and
          receive his sacrifice.
   Athtar (Ashtar, 'Athtar, Atra of the sky) 'the terrible'
          He is a son of Athirat, possibly a god of the desert or of
          artificial irrigation. He is sometimes a suitor of Pidray. As the
          great god of the Sabeans and Himyar (both South Arabian states), he
          was identified with Venus and was sired by the moon on the sun. He
          looses his kingship to Yam at the behest of El and is warned off
          from an attack on Yam by Shapshu. He complains to her of his lack of
          status, palace and court.
          He attempts to take Baal's place at his throne while Baal is dead,
          but he is too small for the seat and rejects it, becoming king of
          the earth instead.
   Sheger ('offspring of cattle')
          He is the god of cattle
          He is the god of sheep
          He is the father of the eagles.
          She is the mother of the eagles. She ate the body of Aqhat.
          He is the steward (carpenter?) of El and of Baal's house. His wife
          is the stewardess (carpenter?) of the goddesses.
   Sha'taqat 'drives away'
          She is the flying demoness who drives away Keret's disease on behalf
          of El with a touch of her wand to his head.
   'god(s) of the fathers'
          They are ancestral or clan deities, commonly associated with one
          family or another, outside of the main pantheon.
   Nikkal-and-Ib 'great lady and clear/bright/fruit' or 'Great goddess of
          fruit' (Ningal)
          She is possibly the daughter of Dagon of Tuttul, or else of
          Khirkhib. She is romanced by Yarikh and marries him after Yarikh
          arranges a brideprice with Khirkhib and pays it to her parents.
   Khirkhib (was thought to be Hiribi), king of summer, king of the raiding
          season (autumn)
          He is probably a Hurrian deity. He acts as a matchmaker between
          Yarikh and Nikkal-and-Ib, initially trying to dissuade Yarikh from
          pursuing her suggesting Pidray and Ybrdmy as alternative choices.
   Dagon of Tuttul
          He is a Syrian version of Dagon, and the probable father of
          Nikkal-and-Ib. Ugarit's Dagon was the father of Baal and may have
          been identified with El. There were also temples to Dagon in Mari
          and Emar. To the Phoenicians, he was a god of wheat and the inventor
          of the plow. The Philistines adopted him as their own and depicted
          him with the upper torso of a man and the back half of a fish. (See
          also the Assyro-Babylonian Dagan and the Hittite Kumarbi)
   Baal-Shamen (Baal-Shamain) 'lord of the skies'
          Lord of the Assembly of the gods at Gubla. He was the great god of
          the Aramaean kingdoms of Hama and Laash and the protector of their
   Milqart (Melqart, Baal Tsur, Milkashtart?) - 'king of the city', the
          hunter, 'fire of heaven'.
          Patron god of Tyre, he was the god of the Metropolis and of the
          monarchy at Tyre and Carthage. His cult spread throughout the
          Mediterranean region, but has not been found at second millenium
          sites. As with the Babylonian Nergal/Erra, he has been identified
          with Heracles archetypes. Greek sources imply that he was a dying
          and rising vegetation god, and that he was associated with the
          sacred marriage like the Sumerian god, Dumuzi. He was ritually
          immolated in an annual festival. He was also a god of the sea and
          was pictured mounted on a hippocampus.
   Eshmun 'the holy prince'
          He was a god of healing and the great god in Sidon. He was known in
          Tyre, Cyprus, and Carthage, but not in Ugarit. In the 5th century
          AD, Damascius identified him with the Greek god Asclepius.
  B. Chaos gods, death gods and baneful gods.
   Yam (Nahar, Yaw, Lotan?, Leviathan?)
          He is god of sea and rivers, he dwells in a palace under the sea. He
          carries a feud with Baal. He may have had in his following a dragon
          (tnn) which lives in the sea, a serpent (btn), and/or
          Lotan/Leviathan, or may have been all of those creatures.
          He is given kingship by El. He threatens vast destruction until El
          names him 'beloved of El' and sends him on his way to oust Baal.
          Upbraided by Kothar-and-Khasis, he dispatches messengers to El to
          demand the delivery of Baal. Baal strikes him with Yagrush and
          Chaser in the chest and forehead, knocking him down. He is slain and
          scattered at the urging of Athtart. The battle may have been
          representative of rough winter sea-storms which calmed in the spring
          and which were preceded and accompanied by autumn rains which ended
          summer droughts and enabled crops to grow.
          The 'darling of the gods', a monstrous attendant of Yam, slain by
          Anat. Arsh lives in the sea.
          The 'calf of El', an enemy of Baal. Slain by Anat.
   Ishat (fire)
          The 'bitch of the gods', an enemy of Baal, slain by Anat.
   Zabib (flame? flies?)
          The daughter of El, an enemy of Baal, slain by Anat.
   Mot(-and-Shar) 'Death and Prince/Dissolution/Evil'
          'the beloved one'- Mot is the god of sterility, death, and the
          underworld. In one hand he holds the scepter of bereavement, and in
          the other the scepter of widowhood. His jaws and throat are
          described in cosmic proportions and serve as a euphemism for death.
          When he has influence over Shapshu, it is unusually hot and dry. He
          sits on a pit for a throne in the city of Miry in the underworld.
          Prior to the conception of the gracious gods, he is pruned and
          felled like a vine by the vine dressers.
          He is favored by El following Baal's defeat of Yam and Baal refuses
          him tribute. When Baal's messengers deliver him an invitation to
          feast at Baal's new palace, he is insulted that he is offered bread
          and wine and not the flesh he hungers for. In fact, he threatens to
          defeat Baal as Baal did Leviathan, causing the sky to wilt and then
          eat Baal himself. Baal would then visit his palace in the
          underworld. He is pleased that Baal submits to him. Baal goes to the
          underworld and either he or his substitute is eaten by Mot.
          Presumably the sons of Athirat had some part in his death. After
          seven years of famine, Anat seizes Mot, splits, winnows, sows and
          grinds him like corn. Baal eventually returns and defeats Mot's
          allies. After seven years Mot returns and demands Baal's brother,
          lest he wipe out humanity. Baal rebuffs him and the two have a
          mighty battle, but are separated by Shapshu who declares Baal to
          have El's favor.
   'The yellow ones of Mot'
          Mot's henchmen who are slain by Baal upon his return.
          He is probably a cthonic deity.
          'prince Resheph' is the god of pestilence.
   aklm - 'the devourers'
          These are some creatures who fought Baal-Hadad in the desert, they
          remind some of grasshoppers.
   Rephaim (Rpum) - 'shades'
          These are deities of the underworld whom Daniel meets in his journey
          there. They may have been involved in negotiations with him for the
          return of his son Aqhat. Eight of them led by Repu-Baal (Rapiu?
          Baal?) arrive at a feast given by El in chariots, on horseback, and
          on wild asses.
   Molech (Melech, Malik, Milcom?, Milqart?)
          Not explicitly found in the Ugarit texts, Molech is a bit of an
          enigma. He shows up in the Old Testament in Leviticus 18 and 20, 1
          Kings 11, 2 Kings 23, and Jeremiah 32. From that he appears to be a
          god of the Ammonites - a region west of the Jordon - whose
          worshipers sacrificed children in fires at temples, some of which
          were in the Valley of Hinnom, i.e. Gehenna, just south of Jerusalem.
          The Old Testament also names the similarly spelt "Milcom" as a god
          of the Ammonites leading to the suspicion that they are the same
          god. Molech is probably not the original name of the deity. There
          has been a good deal of argument as to whether Molech could be
          identified with another foreign deity and which deity that would be,
          or whether molech was simply a term which referred to child
          sacrifice of any sort. The Canaanite gods Mot and Milqart of Tyre,
          and the Mesopotamian god Nergal, whom I believe is somewhere
          referred to as Malik=king, are a couple of the prime candidates for
          being Molech. For some online commentary on this check out Gwen
          Saylor's correspondence. For more in depth off-line discussion see:
          Day, John, Molech:A God of Human Sacrifice in the Old Testament,
          Cambridge University Press, New York, 1989.
  C. Demi-gods and Heroes
          Keret was a king (of Khubur?) and possibly the son of El (this may
          be an expression for a fortunate person) who lost his estate and his
          successive eight wives to death, disease, and accident before any
          one of them could produce an heir. Having fallen asleep in tears, he
          is visited by El in a dream and offered kingship and riches to
          assuage his sorrow. This is ineffective as Keret only desires sons
          and heirs. El directs him to make an animal and wine sacrifice to El
          and Baal on the tower and then muster an army to lay siege to the
          city of Udm. There, Keret is to refuse offers from the Udm's king
          Pabil and demand his daughter, the fair Huray. Keret does as
          instructed, vowing to himself to give Huray an enormous sum of
          wealth upon his success.
          Returning to his estate with Huray, Keret is blessed by El at Baal's
          behest and is promised eight sons, the first of which, Yassib, shall
          have Athirat and Anat as nursemaids. In addition, Huray will bear
          eight daughters all of whom as blessed as a first-born child.
          Athirat calls attention to Keret's promise of wealth to Huray which
          he has yet to fulfill.
          Later, Keret and Huray prepare a great feast for the lords of
          Khubur. Later still Keret has become deathly ill and Huray entreats
          guests at a feast to morn for him and make sacrifices on his behalf.
          The household is tense and Keret's son Elhu, despondently visits his
          father. Keret tells him not to sorrow, but to send for his
          sympathetic sister, Keret's daughter Thitmanat ('the eighth one').
          Her sympathy, heighted Keret expects from her surprise at his state
          will evoke the attention of the gods during a sacrifice he intends
          to perform. Indeed she weeps readily when the truth is revealed.
          Meanwhile, the rains have ceased with Keret's illness, but return
          after a ceremony on Mt. Zephon. El convenes an assembly of the gods
          and dispatches the demoness Sha'taqat who cures Keret. Keret's son
          and heir Yassib, unaware of his father's cure entreats him to
          surrender his throne as he has been remiss in his duties, but Yassib
          is rebuffed and cursed.
          'He of Harnan', a devotee of Rapiu (Baal) and a patriarchal king.
          Like Keret, Daniel is in mourning because unlike his brothers he had
          no sons. So, for several days he sacrificed food and drink to the
          gods. On the seventh day, Baal takes notice and successfully
          petitions El to allow Daniel and his wife, Danatay, to have a child,
          citing, among other reasons, that the child will be able to continue
          the contributions and sacrifices to their temples. El informs Daniel
          of his impending change of fortune. He rejoices and slaughters an ox
          for the Kotharat, pouring sacrifices to them for six days and
          watching them depart on the seventh. During some missing columns,
          Danatay gives birth to Aqhat. Later, Kothar-and-Khasis arrives with
          a specially crafted bow and arrows set for Aqhat. Daniel and Danatay
          hold a feast, inviting the god, and Daniel presents Aqhat with the
          bow reminding him to sacrifice the choices game to the gods. When
          Aqhat is slain, Daniel's daughter Pughat notices the eagles and the
          drought and becomes upset. Daniel prays that Baal might return the
          rains and travels among the fields coaxing the few living plants to
          grow and wishing that Aqhat were there to help harvest them. Pughat
          informs him of Aqhat's demise. Daniel then swears vengeance upon his
          son's slayer. In succession he spies some eagles, Hirgab, and Sumul.
          He calls upon Baal to break their wings and breast-bones, then he
          searches their insides for Aqhat's remains. Initially not finding
          them, he asks Baal to restore the eagles and Hirgab. Finding Aqhat's
          remains within Sumul, he buries him and calls upon Baal to break the
          bones of any eagle that my disturb them and curses the lands near
          which his son was slain. His court goes into mourning for seven
          years, at which time Daniel dismisses the mourners and burns incense
          in sacrifice to the gods. Pughat prays to the gods to bless her in
          her venture and disguises herself as Anat, intending to wreck
          vengeance upon those who slew Aqhat.
          The much anticipated child of Daniel and Danatay, Aqhat is presented
          with a bow and arrows set made by Kothar-and-Khasis early in his
          life by his father at a feast. Daniel reminds him to take the best
          of his kills to the temple for the gods. At the feast Anat offers
          Aqhat riches and eternal life if he would give her the bow. When he
          refuses, she promises to deliver vengeance upon him should he ever
          transgress. Presumably he fails to offer his best kills to the gods.
          Later he follows a disguised Anat to Qart-Abilim but presumably
          thwarts her new scheme to acquire his bow and lives there for a
          time, possibly under the favor of Yarikh. He is left on a mountain
          and while sitting for a meal is attacked by Anat's attendant Yatpan
          in the form of an eagle, along with other birds of prey, and is
          slain. Following his death, the land is poisoned and there is a
          period of famine and drought. Daniel recovers his son's remains from
          the eagle S,umul.
          Later, Daniel visits the underworld, probably in hopes of recovering
          Aqhat, and there encounters the Rephaim.
          She is one of Daniel and Danatay's daughters. When Aqhat is slain,
          She notices the eagles and the drought and becomes upset. Daniel
          prays that Baal might return the rains and travels among the fields
          coaxing the few living plants to grow and wishing that Aqhat were
          there to help harvest them. Pughat encounters Aqhat's servants and
          learns of his demise. After seven years of Daniel's court mourning,
          Daniel dismisses the mourners and burns incense in sacrifice to the
          gods. Pughat prays to the gods to bless her in her venture and
          disguises herself as Anat, intending to wreck vengeance upon those
          who slew Aqhat. She arrives and meets Yatpan, accepting his wine,
          and the rest is missing.
   Men in general
          from a side note (Gibson p. 68) men are considered made of 'clay'.
III. What about their cosmology? (Divine geography)

   Little is certain about the cosmology of the Canaanites. While the Ugaritic
   texts tell us of El, Athirat, and Rahmay's creation of the gracious gods,
   for the creation of the universe we must rely on the Greek sources of Philo
   of Byblos, Athenaeus, and Damascius, which are thoroughly drenched in Greek
   cosmology. In general they relate that from gods like chaos, ether, air,
   wind and desire was produced the egg Mot, which was probably not the same
   Mot as found in Ugarit. The egg was populated with creatures who remained
   motionless until it was opened, whence the sky and heavenly bodies were
   formed. Later the waters were separated from the sky, and gods of El's
   generation were formed. Additional hints about the divine geography
   gathered from the Ugarit texts are included below:
   Mt. Lel
          Where the assembly of the gods meet. It is El's abode and the source
          of the rivers and two oceans, as well as where those waters meet
          those of the firmament. It lies 'two layers beneath the wells of the
          earth, three spans beneath its marshes.' It had been thought to be a
          field and not a mountain. The mansion there has eight entrances and
          seven chambers.
   hmry 'Miry'
          Mot's city in the underworld, "where a pit is the throne on which he
          sits, filth the land of his heritage." (Gibson p. 66)
   the underworld
          'the place of freedom'. The Aramaeans believed that the souls of the
          blessed dead ate with Baal-Hadad.
   Targhizizi and Tharumagi
          These are the twin mountains which hold the firmament up above the
          earth-circling ocean, thereby bounding the earth. The entrance to
          the underworld and Shapshu's 'grave'. It is entered by lifting up a
          rock to a wooded height. The entrance is bounded by a river-shore
          land of pasture and fields known ironicly as "Pleasure" or
   Ughar or Inbab
          This is the location of Anat's mansion.
   Mt. Zephon
          Either the mountain is deified and holy, godlike in proportion, or
          El has a pavilion there. It has recesses within which Baal holds
          his feast. Baal had his first house of cedar and brick there, as
          well as his second house of gold, silver, and lapis-lazuli.
IV. Source material:

     * Aubet, Maria E., The Phoenicians and the West, Cambridge University
       Press, New York, 1987, 1993.
     * S. H. Hooke Middle Eastern Mythology , Penguin Books, New York, 1963.
     * John C. L. Gibson Canaanite Myths and Legends, T & T Clark Ltd.,
       Edinburgh, 1977.
     * Moscoty, Sabatino, The World of the Phoenicians, Frederick A. Praeger,
       Publishers, New York, 1968.
     * Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, ed. James
       Pritchard, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1955.
     * Szneycer, Maurice articles in Mythologies Volume One compiled by
       Bonnefoy, Yves, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1991.
     * Sykes, Edgerton Who's Who in Non-Classical Mythology, Oxford University
       Press, New York, 1993.
V. Additional material of interest.

   I've been corresponding with Gwen Saylor about this FAQ and other matters
   and she has been kind enough to allow me to reproduce her commentary on
   version 0.3. The first section of the e-letter is part of our discussion
   about Helel, and the commentary on this FAQ begins with the line "Second
   Topic -- Phoenician FAQ --".
     * M. Coogan Stories From Ancient Canaan
     * Day, John, Molech:A God of Human Sacrifice in the Old Testament,
       Cambridge University Press, New York, 1989.
     * C.H. Gordon Ugaritic Literature, Rome, 1949.
     * Hall, H. R., The Ancient History of the Near East, Methuan & Co. Ltd,
       London, 1950.
     * The Ancient Near East: Supplementary Texts and Pictures Relating to the
       Old Testament, ed. James Pritchard, Princeton University Press,
       Princeton, 1969.
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