Reference work entry
Ashtoreth was a goddess in the ancient Near East who appears several times in the Bible, with different versions of her name. Biblical texts spoke of the “Queen of Heaven,” perhaps referring to Ashtoreth, the only other major goddess mentioned. Ashtoreth is recorded in the Ras-Shamrah texts discovered in 1930–1933 in the land called Ugarit in biblical times, on the Mediterranean coastline, north of Israel, now in Syria. In one myth she is goddess of the sea and of fishermen and the wife of the god Baal. Fragmentary surviving texts say about her: “Homage to the Lady Asherah of [the Sea], Obeisance to the Progenitress of the Gods, (So) [she] will give a house to Baal like the [g]ods” (Pritchard 1958, p. 97). She is portrayed being a fertile source of life. Ashtoreth was related to similar goddesses of nearby cultures, such as Astarte of Phoenicia and Ishtar of Babylon, who also spread to other cultures.
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