Who is Ishtar? The myth and legend of Ishtar Goddess, information on Ishtar.
Ishtar; The foulest Babylonian custom’, Herodotus remarks, is that which compels every womarı of the land once in her life to sit in the temple of Aphrodite and lay with sorne stranger …. When a woman has once taken her place there she cannot leave before a man has cast money into her lap and united with her outside the temple. On easting the coin, he has to say, “I demand you in the name of Mylitta”, which is the Assyrian name for Aphrodite …. After sexual union has made the woman holy in the goddess’. sight, she returns home: thereafter no bribe would be large enough to win her favour again. Handsome women are of course soon free to depart, but it happens that the uncomely sometimes have to wait several years. There is a custom like this in some parts of Cyprus.’
Mylitta was the mother goddess Ishtar, who derived from the Canaanite mythology entirely to the political and economic importance ofthe city, which became dominant af ter Sumerian power declined.
There was a strong henotheistic tendeney at work in the Assyrio-Babylonian pantheon, so that a large number of deities were treated as manifestations of Marduk: he had ‘fifty names’. His eonsort was Sarpanitu, ‘the shining one’, the planet Venus. The great festival of the god at the spring equinox was called zagmuk, ‘the beginning of the-year’, when his resurrection took place in Esagila, ‘the house that lifts up its head’. None the less, this famous shrine was robbed of the sacred image by King Mursilis I, who led his Hittite warriors in a sueeessful raid on Babylon about 1590 BC.