The Syrian Goddessby Lucian
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The dawn of history in all parts of Western Asia discloses the established worship of a nature-goddess in whom the productive powers of the earth were personified. She is our Mother Earth, known otherwise as the Mother Goddess or Great Mother. Among the Babylonians and northern Semites she was called Ishtar: she is the Ashtoreth of the Bible, and the Astarte of Phoenicia. In Syria her name was 'Athar, and in Cilicia it had the form of 'Ate ('Atheh). At Hierapolis, with which we are primarily concerned, it appears in later Aramaic as Atargatis, a compound of the Syrian and Cilician forms.
Lucian's description, amplified by the later account of Macrobius, and further illustrated by the local coinage of Hierapolis, reveals the central cult as that of a divine pair. The male god, a form of Hadad, is symbolized by the bull, and is hence both "Lord of Heaven" and "Creator." The female deity is shown by her very name, "Atargatis," to be a form of Ishtar or Astarte. Being mated with the god, whom Lucian calls "Zeus," she is called by him "Hera": but she wears a mural crown, and is symbolized by the lion; and Lucian recognizes in her traces of Kybele, Aphrodite, Artemis, and other aspects of the Mother Goddess.
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This book is fascinating and eye opening too!