An originally Semitic goddess associated with the planet Venus, the Mesopotamian Ishtar owes much of her personality as described in myths and hymns to the Sumerian goddess Inanna, with whom she was identified as early as the mid-third millennium B.C. Like Inanna, she embodies libido and sexual love without being a mother goddess. Only the topic of the kingas lover and even husband of the goddess disappeared from the repertoire of Babylonian royal inscriptions. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the hero goes so far as to express his revulsion at the idea of marriage to the goddess. Ishtar’s masculine traits as a warrior goddess are perhaps more pronounced in the Assyrian royal inscriptions than in the Babylonian texts, where her exalted position in heaven is emphasized more. Her main symbol became the star and the rosette, and her sacred animal was the lion.

Historical Dictionary of Mesopotamia. . 2012.

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