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As the Goddess of Beauty, I rule over Venus, but also govern fertility, war, and destruction, so you had best respect me deeply. Therefore, fear me and do your best to satisfy me with tribute and reverence!
Ishtar

Ishtar is the Babylonian goddess of love and fertility along with death , disaster, fire, fire-quenching, rejoicing, victory, tears, war fair play, enmity and many others.

Overview

Ishtar is Anu's second consort, a daughter of Nanna and Ningal. Ishtar's sister is Ereshkigal, the goddess of the realm of the Irkalla.

Appearance

Personality

Ishtar was the deity of fertility and love, but also a jealous goddess who could bring vengeance against individuals, go to war, destroy fields, and make the earth's creatures infertile. Ever young, energetic, and passionate, Ishtar was moody, changing rapidly from love to enmity. She protected her favorites, but brought doom upon those who dishonored her, sometimes with terrible consequences for whole nations.

She is also known as the "Lady of Battles" because she is known as a very violent deity. She is the creator and guardian of life. She is also known as a Mother Goddess. In later myth she was known as Queen of the Universe, taking on the powers of Anu, Enlil, and Enki.

Powers and Abilities

History

At one point, Ishtar tended to a tree that she wants to use to carve a new throne and bed. Unfortunately, a dragon built its nest at the foot of her tree, a Zu Bird raised its young at the crown, and Kisikillillake, the Maiden of Lila, made her house in the middle. Petrified, Ishtar cries out to the gods and then Gilgamesh. The hero Gilgamesh then drives out all three, slaying the dragon, sending the Zu bird and its young flying to the mountains and Kisikillillake tearing her house down before fleeing to the wilderness.

After her husband, Tammuz, died, she tried to seduce the hero Gilgamesh. He refused her advances and recited her previous lovers. Ishtar, angered by his rejection, appealed to her father to send the Bull of Heaven to attack Gilgamesh. Enkidu and the hero manage to slay the beast and offer its heart to the sun-god Shamash, but not without consequences as Enkidu becomes ill and dies.

Ishtar gives a false explanation as to why she wants to visit the Babylonian Underworld, to the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper accepts the story, but is sure to inform Ishtar's sister Ereshkigal, of Ishtar's presence. Ereshkigal gives allowance to her sister for admittance. However, she is to follow the ancient rites that come.

At each of the seven gates Ishtar removes a article of clothing which is a symbol of Ishtar's decrease of power while in the Underworld. She would be weakened every-time a part of her attire was removed. While this is taking place, a great famine strikes the earth and everything begins to die.

As Ishtar arrives as the throne of Ereshkigal, completely nude, cold, and almost dead, she complains. But Ereshkigal silences her: she must perform the underworld rites as followed. Ishtar then usurps Ereshkigal's position on the throne, and sits in her place. The Annunaki (Seven demon-gods of the underworld), as punishment for this deed, sentence Ishtar to death. Her corpse is hung on a hook. Ereshkihgal cursed her sister, and Ishtar died. With Ishtar dead, the earth withered and would not produce, and neither animals nor human beings would bear young. Her corpse is hung on a hook.

With great effort, Ishtar's uncle, the water god Ea used magic to revive Ishtar, and Ereshkigal was not pleased. He sends a eunuch to make a bargain with her, clean water in exchange for his niece. Ereshkigal curses this eunuch and consults her Annunaki. They decide to release Ishtar, and as she passes through each of the seven gates again, she is given her clothing back. However, for the release of her sister, Ereshkigal demands a trade for her sister with a substitute 

On arriving upon the upper world, Ishtar is shocked to see her consort and husband, Tammuz, garbed in magnificent robe and sitting in the place of her, on the throne. Infuriated, Ishtar decides to send him to the underworld in her place. Tammuz hastily casts magic on himself to transform and flee to his sister, Gestinanna. Mercifully, Gestinanna agrees to take his place for one half of the year in the underworld, while Tammuz fulfills his role in the other half of the year. Sometimes, the legend is that Tammuz was willing to replace Ishtar for six months out of the year while she takes other six mouths.

Myths and Legends

Her counterparts are the Sumerian goddess Inanna along with Astarte, Freya, Anat, Aphrodite, Isis, Venus and many others. She is the personification of the planet Venus. Her father is uncertain, sometimes claimed to be the daughter of Suen, the moon god, or Anu, the sky god.

Her symbol is the eight-pointed star, and her holy city is Uruk, ruled by King Gilgamesh. Uruk is a town of sacred courtesansl part of her cult was devoted to prostitution. Her other symbols are the hook-shaped knot of reeds, lions, rosette, doves and the star Sirius.

Quotes

Gallery

Trivia

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