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Canaanite/Ugaritic Mythology FAQ, ver. 1.2

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Subject: 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
   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 - Syria and ancient Palestine, the region often referred
   to in the Bible as Canaan.
   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
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 Ugarit.
  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
          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
          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 consort.
          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
   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 -
   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 children.
   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 Qart-Abilim.
   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
   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
   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 rulers.
   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
  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
   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
          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
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:
   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,
     * 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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   Visit the Sumerian Mythology FAQ?
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   Myths and Legends Chris' home page
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