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Unexplained / Ancient civilizations / Ancient Egypt / Gods - Goddesses / 

Gods - Goddesses

Astarte - Ishtar


The Assyro-Babylonian goddess Ishtar, inducted into the Egyptian pantheon and made a daughter of Ammon-Ra. Sometimes identified (or confused, which is the same thing) with Isis.

Astarte was one of the earliest Mother Goddesses. The "bird-headed" figure above left are very common and thought to represent Astarte or one of her precursors. Parts of the world that honored the Astarte archetype were Indo-European, the Anatolian and Indo-Iranian branches, eg, areas where these statues are found. The bronze figure on the right is intriguing and rare.



Atum was one of the most ancient gods in Egypt and was part of the Heliopolitan cosmology. Originally an earth god, he became associated with Re, the sun god. Specifically, he was considered to be the setting sun. In later times he became associated with Ptah and eventually Osiris.

According to the priests of Heliopolis, Atum was the first being to emerge from the waters of Nun at the time of creation. Originally, he was a serpent in Nun and will return to that form at the end of time. However, Atum was depicted in art as a man wearing the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. As such, he is the first living man god conceived of by the ancient Egyptians. Until then, their gods were all forms of animals.

Following his self-creation from Nun, Atum created his children Shu and Tefnut by masturbating. This may seem impossible but Atum was a bisexual god. He embodied both the male and female aspects of life. Therefore, his semen contained all that was necessary to create new life and deities. The Egyptians called Atum "Great He-She" and his name meant "the complete one."

Later myths said that his children were products of his relationship with his shadow, or with the goddess Iusaaset.


Prominent god of the sky and storms whose cult spread from Ugarit in Syria into Egypt, where he possessed a priesthood by Dynasty XVIII. Aliyan Baal, son of a less well-attested god Dagan, dwelt on Mount Sapan (hence Ball-Zaphon) in North Syria but also became associated as a local deity of other sites such as Baal-Hazor in Palestine, and Baal-Sidon and Baal of Tyre(Melkart) in the Lebanon. Although the anme Baal can mean 'lord' or 'owner' it was being used as a proper name for a specific god by the sixteenth century BC.

Baal has a pointed beard, a horned helmet and wields a cedar tree, club, or spear. His epithet in the cuneiform texts, 'he who rides on the clouds', is admirable for a god of tempests and thunder- relating thereby to the Mesopotamian thunder- god Adad and in Egypt to the god Seth. Ramesses II in his almost fatal struggle against the Hittite confederation at the battle of Kadesh is called 'Seth great of strength and Baal himself'. The war cry of Ramesses III is like Baal in the sky, i.e. Baal's voice (the thunder) which makes the mountains shake. His relationship to the warrior-pharaoh image may account for the popularity of his cult at Memphis, capital of Egypt, and the theophorous name Baal-Khepeshef or 'Baal-is-upon-his-sword'.

In the Middle East Baal's dominion was greatly enhanced when he became the vanquisher of Yamm god of the sea. But Baal was killed in a struggle with Mot (possibly a personification of death) and descended into the Underworld. He returns to life by the intervention of his sister-lover Anat, who also slays his murderer. It is curious that the Egyptians did not, in extant texts at any ratem relate this myth symbolising the continual cycle of vegetation to their own Osiris legend.

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