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Middle Eastern Myths

A
(Babylonia) A Chaldean moon goddess. Her emblem is a disk with eight rays, a number that is associated with the goddess of light in many cultures.
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Adad
(Babylonian/Mesopotamian) Babylonian: The god of wind, storm, and flood. Mesopotamian: Embodiment of violent thundering rainstorms. Portrayed both as a bull and a lion. His symbol is a forked lightning bolt.
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Adapa
(Babylonian/Mesopotamian) One of the Seven Sages and the hero of Akkadian myth which features him as a priest of Ea, who is tricked into refusing the food and drink of immortality.
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Adrammelech
God to whom infants were burnt in sacrifice.
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Agasaya
Semitic war goddess who was merged into Ishtar in her identity as fearless warrior of the sky.
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Ahriman
(Persia) Also known as Angra Mainyu. The son of Zurvan.
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Ahura Mazda
(Persia) The supreme god, and another son of Zurvan.
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Ai-ada
(Turk) The moon god.
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Aja
The Babylonian dawn goddess and consort of the sun god.
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Aka
The mother goddess in ancient Turkey.
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Al-Lat
A mythic figure of great antiquity she is one (she represented the earth and its fruits) of the trinity of desert goddesses named in the Koran; Al-Uzza (goddess of the morning star) and Menat (goddess of fate and time) being the others.
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Anahita
Persian goddess, both protective mother and warrior defender of her people, she was also the goddess of rivers and waters.
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Anath (Anat)
(Phoenician) Chief West Semitic goddess of love and war, the sister and helpmate of the god Baal (Bel). A goddess with four differing aspects: mother, virgin, warrior, and wanton. Though a "mother" she was ever a "virgin". Her lust for blood, and or sex, was legendary.
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Anatu
Mesopotamian goddess, ruler of the earth and queen of the sky.
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Anu
(Babylonian) The head of the gods, he had an army of stars to destroy evildoers.
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Anunitu
An early Babylonian goddess of the moon who was symbolized by a disk with eight rays. She was later merged with Ishtar.
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An-Zu
Assyrian goddess of chaos, who like Tiamat, was killed in order to form the universe.
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Apsu
In the Babylonian creation story Enuma elish, the world parents, Apsu and Tiamat, bear off-spring who later find themselves opposed to the parents. The off-spring defeat the parents in a battle, and from the immolated body of Tiamat the world is created.
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Ararat
The ancient Anatolian (Turkey) creator goddess.
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Arinna
(Hittite) Goddess of the sun.
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Ashnan
Sumerian goddess of grain.
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Ashtoreth (Astarte or Ashtart)
The supreme female divinity of the Phoenician nations, the goddess of love and fruitfulness. She symbolized the female principle, as Baal symbolized maleness. The Babylonian and Assyrian counterpart of Ashtoreth was Ishtar.
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Astarte
The supreme female divinity of the Phoenician nations. The goddess of love and fruitfulness. She symbolized the female principle. Astarte has been identified with various Greek goddesses: the goddess of the moon, Selene; the goddess of wild nature, Artemis; and the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. The Babylonian and Assyrian counterpart of Astarte was Ishtar.
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Baal (Bel)
(Phoenicia) Baal has the titles "Almighty" and "Lord of the Earth." He is the god of the thunderstorm, war, good harvests, and fertilty; the most vigorous and aggressive of their gods. Baal is usually depicted holding a thunderbolt. There is a myth that tells of a challenge to him from Yamm, the Sea God. Armed with magical weapons made by the craftsman god, Kothar, Baal manages to overcome Yamm. Another myth concerns Baal's relations with Mot, god of Death, whom he initially defies, but to whom he eventually succumbs. Anath disposes of Mot, and then dreams that Baal is alive again, and so it is. Mot also returns to life and they renew their war. This occurs year after year, synbolizing the return of the seasons.
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Baalat (Ba'Alat)
(Phoenicia) Baalat is queen of the gods. She is associated with books, libraries, and writers. She was worshipped primarily in the city of Byblos (which is the original source of papyrus) and Byblos is what the Greeks called papyrus and, eventually, books.
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Belit-Seri
Babylonian scribe of the underworld who kept the records of human activities so she could advise the queen of the dead on their final judgement.
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Beruth
Earth mother goddess of the Phoenicians. Today's Beirut is her city.
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Broxa
In Jewish folklore the name of a bird believed to suck the milk of goats during the night.
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Caelestis
(Carthage) A moon goddess.
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Chaos
(Babylonia) Mother of the gods.
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Chemosh
(Moab) The national god of the Moabites; human sacrifices were made to him.
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Cotys
(Phrygian) Earth goddess who presided over debauchery.
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Cybele
(Phrygian) A goddess of forests, mountains, and fertility.
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Daena
(Persia) The goddess who meets the souls of the dead (on the fourth day after death) and leads them to heaven or hell. She has a dog who sniffs at the soul and tells her if it is good or bad.
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Daevas
(Persia) Zoroastrianism religion referred to demons as daevas, hence the word devil.
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Dagon
(Mesopotamia) God of vegetation. He was half-man and half-fish.
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Damkina
(Sumeria) The earth mother goddess.
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Dazimus
(Sumer) Goddess of healing.
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Derketo
(Chaldea) A moon goddess associated with fertility. She is sometimes depicted as a mermaid.
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Dhat-Badan
The primary goddess of the Arabs of Yemen. She was a goddess of the natural forces of the wilderness, worshiped especially in tree-circled oases.
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Dumuzi (Du'uzu)-shepherd god
(Sumerian) (The biblical Tammuz) Dumuzi was originally a mortal ruler whose marriage to Inanna ensured the fertility of the land and the fecundity of the womb. This marriage, however, according to a myth whose denouement has only recently come to light, ended in stark tragedy when the goddess, offended by her husband's unfeeling behavior toward her, decreed that he be carried off to the netherworld for six months of each year-hence the barren, sterile months of the hot summer. At the autumnal equinox, which marked the beginning of the Sumerian new year, Dumuzi returned to the earth. His reunion with his wife caused all animal and plant life to be revitalized and made fertile once again.
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Duttur
(Sumer) Mother of Dumuzi, and goddess of ewes.
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Ea
(Babylonian) The god of wisdom, spells, incantations, and the seas.
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El
(Phoenicia) Leader of the gods.
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Enki
(Sumerian) A creator god in Mesopotamia, later called Ea. The Sumerian god of water.
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Enlil
(Sumerian) The god of air and weather.
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Eriskegal, Ereshkigal (Allatu)
(Babylonia) She is one of the divinities who ruled the netherworld. The goddess that ruled over the dead. Wife of Nergal.
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Eshara
(Chaldean) Goddess of war, and of productive fields.
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Firanak
(Persia) She was the mother of the hero Feridun, whom she saved from a threatened massacre by hiding him in a garden where a miraculous cow named Prumajeh suckled him.
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Fravashi
(Persia) Her name means "She-who-is-many". She is made up of the souls of all living creatures, including those Not-Yet-Born.
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Gatamdug
(Babylonia) A mother goddess along the Tigris River. She was an interpreter of dreams, who was later assimilated into the goddess Gula.
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Gestinanna
(Sumerian) Sister of Dumuzi. The dying Dumuzi, tortured by nightmares, brought the dreams to his sister for interpretation. Gestinanna realized her brother was under attack by demons. She tells him this and advises him to flee. Dumuzi flees, swearing Gestinanna to secrecy as to where he is going into hiding. The demons attacked Gestinanna to force her to reveal her brother's whereabouts, but she remained silent. The demons, however, soon found Dumuzi, hiding in the form of a gazelle in his sister's sheepfold. He was carried off to the underworld by them; Gestinanna then set out to rescue him. They were eventually reunited after many adventures. The goddess then persuaded the underworld divinities to grant Dumuzi half her own life; thus each was allowed to live on earth six months of each year.
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Gula
(Babylonia) Sometimes called Gula-Bau. A mother goddess, with the power to inflict disease, or to cure disease. She lived in a garden at the center of the world, and watered the tree that forms its axis.
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Hatti
(Hittite) The throne goddess, protector of the king.
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Hea
(Mesopotamia) Goddess of wisdom.
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Houri, The
(Persia) The nymphs who accompany the faithful in paradise.
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Humban
(Mesopotamia) The supreme deity.
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Innana
Sumerian goddess that later became known as Ishtar. She was the queen of heaven. also the goddess of love, procreation, and war.
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Ishtar
(Babylonian) The daughter of Sin, she was the goddess of sexuality, and the ambitious, dynamic goddess of love and war. The Babylonian goddess Ishtar was a later, more complex form of the Sumerian goddess Inanna and their myths were similar. Both loved a vegetation god who died yearly and was reborn yearly. Both were responsible for the death as well as the rebirth of the beloved. Like Inanna (her lover was Dumuzi), Ishtar descended to the underworld in search of Tammuz, the lover whose death she had caused. But even a divine visitor to the hell queen, Eriskegal, must go naked, so Ishtar was forced to give up her jewels and clothes (some article at each of the seven gates) as she descended. So Ishtar was stripped: her crown taken from her at the first gate, then her earrings, her necklace, her diadem, her belt, her bracelets, and finally-at the seventh gate- her very garment. All these were courting presents from Tammuz, and Ishtar was loath to part with them. But to gain her desire-the resurrection of the vegetation god Tammuz for whom earth's women were wailing-Ishtar allowed herself to be stripped and stood naked before Eriskegal. Eriskegal (Ereshkigal) had Ishtar imprisoned and assaulted her with illness after illness, sixty in all. (That's winter-time). Finally Ea, the god of wisdom, intervened and through his magic Ishtar was released. (That's spring-time).
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Jamshid or Jamshyd
[Persia Myth (Iran)] An early legendary king of Persia who reigned for 700 years, and had demons (Devs) as his slaves.
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Ki (Kiki)
(Sumerian) The goddess of earth.
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Kingu
The dragon of chaos.
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Marduk
The fertility god and the lord of all the gods. In Babylonian religion, the supreme god. Originally, he was a god of thunderstorms. According to Enuma elish, an ancient epic poem of creation, Marduk defeated Tiamat and Kingu, the dragons of chaos, and thereby gained supreme power. Acknowledged as the creator of the universe and of humankind, the god of light and life, and the ruler of destinies, he rose to such eminence that he claimed 50 titles. Eventually, he was called simply Bel, meaning "Lord."
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Meni
(Phoenicia) God of luck, both good and bad.
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Merodach
(Babylonia) A sun god.
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Mot
Ancient Phoenician god of the dead and of all the powers that opposed life and fertility; he was the favourite son of the god El, and the most prominent enemy of the god Baal. Mot was the god of sterility and the master of all barren places. Traditionally, Mot and Baal (a god of springs, sky, and fertility) were perpetually engaged in a seasonal struggle in which Baal, like many similar harvest deities, was annually vanquished and slain. Mot, however, was also annually killed by Baal's sister Anath, who thus aided Baal's resurrection.
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Nabu (Nebo)
Son of Marduk, and the scribe and herald of the gods.
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Nanna
(Sumerian) The god of the moon, and the father of Utu and Inanna.
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Nebo
(Assyria) The god of teaching and writing.
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Nergal
One of the divinities who ruled the netherworld in Assyro-Babylonian mythology.
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Ninhursag or Nintu
Sumerian goddess of the earth and creator of humans. She became enraged at her husband's (Enki) incestuous adventures with his daughters and other goddesses forcing him to retreat to the underworld, leaving the earth parched, accounting for the seasonal cycle.
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Ninurta
(Sumerian) The deity in charge of the violent and destructive south wind.
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Resheph (Mikal or Mekal)
Ancient Phoenician god of the plague and of the underworld, the companion of Anath, and the equivalent of the Babylonian god Nergal. He was also a war god and was thus represented as a bearded man, brandishing an ax, holding a shield, and wearing a tall, pointed headdress with a goat's or gazelle's head on his forehead. Resheph was usually believed to be related to Mot, the god of sterility and death, but he also seems to have been a god of well-being, plenty, and fertility, and in that respect he may have been a form of the god Baal.
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Rimmon
(Babylonia) Another sun god.
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Sin
The Babylonian moon god (counterpart of the Sumerian Nanna).
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Shamish
The son of Sin, he was the sun god and the god of justice.
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Tammuz
The harvest god and husband of Ishtar, whose violent love sessions sent him comatose to the underworld, where she would go yearly to revive him, thus accounting for the seasons.
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Taru
(Hittite) The weather god.
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Tiamat
The savage and defiant goddess of chaos in the Mesopotamian creation myth. From her corpse, (she was a dragonlike personification of the oceans, whose destruction was prerequisite to an orderly universe) the world is created.
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Tsehub
(Hittite) The weather god.
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Utnapishtim
(Babylonian) This man and his family are the survivors of the flood in the Gilgamesh epic.
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Utu
(Sumerian) The sun god.
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Wurusemu
(Hittite) The sun goddess, also called Arinna. Her consort was the weather god.
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Yarih
(Canaan) Moon god.
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Yima
(Persia) God of light. He is responsible for the fact that the earth is three times larger than originally intended. Mortal humans and mortal animals have overpopulated the planet three times and each time Yima has enlarged it for them.
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Zaba
The Hurrite god of war.
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Zababa
(Kish) Chief of the gods.
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Zam
A Persian earth-spirit.
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Zanahary (Zanaharibe)
(Madagascar) He was Zanahary the "creator god" and he was also Railanitra the "father of heaven". He was a terrifying god that spoke in thunder and lightning. He was careless, however, and was deceived by his double from down below. In the beginning there were two Zanaharys: one above called Andriamanitra and one below. The one below amused himself by making clay figures representing men, women and animals. But he could not bring them to life. The Zanahary above asked him for some of these figures in exchange for sunlight. The one below offered him fish but the one above wanted women. They then agreed and the Zanahary above gave them life but the one below refused to be separated from the women. The two gods became enemies, and that is how the worlds above and below came to be separated.
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Zarpandit
(Assyro-Babylonian) An early pregnancy goddess who was worshiped each night as the moon rose.
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Zarathustra
(Persia) A priest-magician who spoke with the gods, fought against the demons and performed miracles.
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Zatavu
(Madagascar) A great magician, he asked for the hand of a sky goddess in marriage. His marriage request was denied by the gods because a marriage between a mortal and a goddess was deemed improper. However, Zatavu was able to prove that he created himself, and was not therefore to be considered as other mortals. So logical was his argument that the marriage was approved.
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Zazavavindrano
(Madagascar) Water spirits of whom mortal males make the claim that there is nothing a Zazavavindrano wants more than to marry a mortal male.
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Ziusudra
(Sumerian) The survivor in the Sumerian flood myth, which was probably the source of the later Babylonian flood myth (he becomes Utnapishtim in Gilgamesh), which was undoubtedly the source of the biblical flood myth (where he is now Noah).
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Zu (Imdugud)
(Assyria) The god of thunder and storms.
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Zurvan
(Persia) Father of Ahriman and Ahuramazda. The god of infinite time.
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