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Similarly Ishtar’s lover Tammuz died and this lead Ishtar to visit the underworld during which she removed her attires at the gate and entered while naked. This is the source of many ancient depictions of Ishtar as a naked woman. Her figure, lips, and beauty assert her as the goddess of fertility, sex and love. As the goddess of fertility, Ishtar the Babylonians believed Ishtar controlled the menstrual cycle and birth. This made all humans subject to Ishtar as their mother god. Ishtar gave kings the authority to rule and her prowess is represented by a lioness and a woman holding bow and arrow. Astarte was the love goddess of the Armenians.
When Tammuz died, Ishtar descended to the underworld and threatened to break down the doors. Her relationship with Ereshkigal, the queen of the underworld was strenuous and Ishtar was imprisoned and made sick (Bray 15). Since Ishtar was the god of sex, all sexual activity in the world halted during her stay in the underworld, asserting her authority among other gods. Additionally, Ishtar nursed Tammuz which is similar to Isis the Egyptian goddess who nursed Horus. This comparative mythology demonstrates the importance of goddess Ishtar in the ancient religions. Ishtar was part of a secondary astral triad together with Shamash and Sin, the gods of the sun and moon respectively. Ishtar was the protector of prostitutes and her temples featured temple prostitutes.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar is portrayed as a bad tempered lady who has been spoiled by her father. Ishtar asked Gilgamesh who was the king of Uruk to marry her but he refused since all the lovers Ishtar took ended up dead. Ishtar threatened her father the god Anu after Gilgamesh refused to marry her. This depicts Ishtar as a bully and her need to assert herself above other gods is clear.
The goddess Ishtar has influenced modern day religions particularly Christianity. The Jews interacted with
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