Astarte Holding Her Breasts.
10th c BCE Levantine Phoenician or Canaanite Sculpture
(active c. 3000 BCE - 400 CE)
c. 1000 BCE
10th c BCE
Phoenician or Canaanite
Canaan. Ancient Asia.
Hayward CA. CSU East Bay Art Gallery.
Astarte was the Great Goddess of the Phoenicians and the Canaanites. The primary land of Phoenicia is modern Lebanon, but also icluded Malta and Carthage. The Land of Canaan stretched from Lebanon down to Gaza. It now includes Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Like her very similar ìsister goddessî Ishtar, Astarte probably started as a goddess of fertility, sex, and love, and then was turned into a war goddess. Her consort was Baal. Her cult was widespread reaching the Hebrews, Syrians, Hittites, Egyptians, and the Phoenician colony of Carthage. King Solomon, about 1000 BCE, married non-Hebrew wives who worshipped goddesses. He joined them. In 1 KINGS 11:5 we read that Solomon ìfollowed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians.î The authors of later Biblical books came down hard on this goddess and all goddesses. The goddess Ashtoreth is cited in the Bible in very negative ways. Many Hebrew scholars think that her name was a deliberate conflation of the Greek name ìAstarteî and the Hebrew word ìboshetî (shame). Thus the new word was ìShameful Thing.î One of her symbols was the dove. It is widely believed that the Greeks imported Astarte from the Phoenicians and called her Aphrodite, whose symbol was the dove. Cyprus was the place of transition, during the 9th/8th century BCE. That was about the time the Greeks were importing the writing system of the Phoenicians and making it suit the Greek language. That was the start of the European alphabet. The Mother Goddess in many cultures holds her breasts to symbolize unlimited fertility. Former collection: Harvey Merrill, San Francisco."
PHOENICIAN/CANAANITE Anonymous | Astarte Holding Her Breasts. | c. 1000 BCE | Phoenician or Canaanite | Phoenician/Canaanite c. 1000 BCE | Institute for Aesthetic Development. Brentwood CA. Text copyright-Lanier Graham | glob8-145