Iconography of Ishtar
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AbstractOf the Mesopotamian goddess Inanna/Btar, the Sumerologist S. N. Kramer wrote, " ... (she) played a greater role in myth, epic and hymn than any other deity, male or female". The gigantic stature of her religion among world religions is attested in the three millennia during which she was worshiped, from ca. 3200 B.C. to the Christian era, under her Sumerian form Inanna and her Semitic forms, Btar and Atart. During the proto-historic and early historic periods of the third millennium B.C., she occupied a pre-eminent position mainly in south-central Mesopotamia, under the Sumero-Akkadians, but also in extended areas such as Asfor in Assyria and Ebia and Mari in Syria. In the second millennium, particularly in central Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt, evidence of her and of her byform Btart emerges. The first millennium records her as a powerful goddess among the rising powers of Assyria and Babylonia, but also as a start in the Levant, ultimately migrating westward to Cyprus and later the Mediterranean. This history is presented in millennial sections, each recording her iconography with textual support for that millennium. From a wide range of cuneiform and related texts (historical, literary, votive and onomastic) and from a varied spectrum of artefacts (reliefs, statuary, seals and terra cottas) which are inscribed with her name, or which come from her temples, a picture of this complex deity is pieced together. Her interwoven natures as astral, martial, sexual and chthonic goddess are identified by dated texts referring to her, and by datable, identified icons depicting her. In conclusion, the essential natures of the goddess which evolve iconographically over these millennia, yet simultaneously remain virtually unchanging in terms of faith, are woven together in summary, and elucidated by a discussion of the goddess as persona and as whole divine entity.
Bibliography: p. 457-469.
CitationAdamson, K. M. (1988). Iconography of Ishtar (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/23875
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