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date: 09 December 2023



  • Francis Redding Walton
  •  and Antony Spawforth


Atargatis (Aramaic ῾Atar-῾Ata), the goddess of Hierapolis-Bambyce in Syria whose usual name among Greeks and Romans was the ‘Syrian goddess’ (Συρία θεά, dea Syria); a mother-goddess, giver of fertility. Her temple, rebuilt c.300 bce by *Stratonice, wife of *Seleucus I, was plundered by *Antiochus IV and by *Crassus, but was still in Lucian's day one of the greatest and holiest in Syria; its site has yet to be found. Her consort was Hadad; his throne was flanked by bulls, that of Atargatis by lions. At Ascalon, Atargatis was represented as half woman, half fish. Fish and doves were sacred to her; the myth records that, having fallen into a lake, Atargatis was saved by the fish ([Eratosth.] Cat. 38), or, in another version, that Atargatis was changed into a fish, and her daughter *Semiramis into a dove (Diod. Sic. 2. 4. 2–6; 2. 20. 1–2; Ov. Met.


  • Near East

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