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From: (Christopher B Siren)
Subject: Re: Astarte
Date: 2 May 1996 15:45:37 GMT

In article <4m76j8$> (TyphonBlue) 
>Do you have any information on Astarte? All I know is that she's a warrior
>goddess of Canaan and Syria and became the wife of the Egyptian God Set. 

It is rather difficult to find direct textual information about Astarte, 
most of the mythological information we have about the Canaanite pantheon
comes from the Ugaritic texts, yet in Ugarit Astarte appears to have been
less popular that she was in other Canaanite city states, so we have to 
rely more on archaeological evidence: temple inscriptions, bits and 
pieces of prayers, god-lists, statues of goddesses who may or may not 
have been Astarte, and the like.  Linguisticly, she is related to the 
Akkadian Ishtar, and the Egyptian Isis (Ast), and appears to have shared 
some of their characteristics.  This is what I found about her when 
researching the Canaanite/Ugaritic Mythology FAQ:

  Athtart (Athtart-name-of-Baal, Astarte, Ashtoreth) - 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.

In addition, my understanding is that she became more popular in the 
first millenium B.C. and absorbed some of the qualities attributed by
the Ugarits to Asherah and Anat.

Source material for the Canaanite Mythology FAQ:

Aubet, Maria E. _The_Phoenicians_and_the_West_, Cambridge University
  Press, New York, 1987, 1993.
Bonnefoy, Yves (compiler) _Mythologies_Volume_One_, The University of 
  Chicago Press, Chicago, 1991.
John C.L. Gibson _Canaanite_Myths_and_Legends_, T & T Clark Ltd., 
  Edinburgh, 1977.
S.H.Hooke _Middle_Eastern_Mythology_ , Penguin Books, New York,1963.         
Moscati, Sabatino, _The_World_of_the_Phoenicians_, Frederick A. Praeger, 
  Publishers, New York, 1968.
_Ancient_Near_Eastern_Texts_Relating_to_the_Old_Testament_, ed. James
  Prichard, Princeton University Press, Princetion, 1955.
Sykes, Edgerton _Who's_Who_in_Non-Classical_Mythology_, Oxford University
  Press, New York 1993.

My intention is to repost the Canaanite FAQ every other month to 
alt.mythology and alt.magick.tyagi.  Since May is an off month, if you are
interested in additional on-line information on Canaanite mythology, try

Chris Siren

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