Ishtar last edited by aphillips17 on 03/18/19 09:26PM View full history

History

Ishtar kneeling at Ereshkigals feet
Ishtar kneeling at Ereshkigals feet

Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of love, fertility, procreation/sex, and war, she was known for destroying her lovers. She was the daughter and consort of the air god Anu. She is called the Cow of Sin (a moon god). She was the wife of a human king, Sargon of Agade. Ishtar is sometimes described as the sister of Ereshkigal. She was particularly worshiped in northern Mesopotamia, at the Assyrian cities of Nineveh, Ashur and Arbela.

When the farm god Tammuz who was the love of her life died she followed him to the Underworld, but she was unable to retrieve him. Ishtar descends into the Underworld where she is kept until Namtar brings her out, sprinkled with the water of life. In her place Tammuz goes to the Underworld.

The gatekeeper hurried to tell Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld. Ereshkigal told the gatekeeper to let Ishtar enter, but "according to the ancient decree". The gatekeeper let Ishtar into the underworld, opening one gate at a time. At each gate, Ishtar had to shed one article of clothing. When she finally passed the seventh gate, she was naked. In rage, Ishtar threw herself at Ereshkigal, but Ereshkigal ordered her servant Namtar to imprison Ishtar and unleash sixty diseases against her.

The Star, symbol of Ishtar
The Star, symbol of Ishtar

After Ishtar descended to the underworld, all sexual activity ceased on earth. The god Papsukal reported the situation to Ea, the king of the gods. Ea created an intersex being called Asu-shu-namir and sent it to Ereshkigal, telling it to invoke "the name of the great gods" against her and to ask for the bag containing the waters of life. Ereshkigal was enraged when she heard Asu-shu-namir's demand, but she had to give it the water of life. Asu-shu-namir sprinkled Ishtar with this water, reviving her. Then, Ishtar passed back through the seven gates, getting one article of clothing back at each gate, and was fully clothed as she exited the last gate.

Ishtar loved Gilgamesh, but he wouldn't have her, so Ishtar asked Anu to send the Bull of Heaven to kill Gilgamesh. Ishtar was the heir to the Sumerian goddess Inanna but was more promiscuous.

Ishtar In Comics

Essential Story-lines

Ishtar has been adapted from the religious texts and Babylonian mythology of the Anunnaki by the publisher DC Comics. She has had appearances or mention in the following series.

DC Comics

I'm your private dancer
I'm your private dancer

In the Brief Lives arc of The Sandman, Ishtar is also a love interest for Destruction of The Endless in Neil Gaiman's Sandman comic book series. Together Dream and Delirium search for "the Dancing Woman" as Delirium herself refers to her on her list of possible leads. During the course of their quest to find Destruction, Dream recognizes the Ishtar as having been Destruction's lover. Dream speaks with Ishtar and two other dancers the topic becomes temple prostitution or also called sacred prostitution in ancient middle-east. In the course of their conversation he also calls her Belili and Astarte, shocking Ishtar into the acceptance of her fate.After Dream and Delirium leave, Ishtar dances her ancient dance of bliss and destruction thereby killing everyone in the entire building including herself.

Ishtar also appeared in Madame Xanadu #1 - Step Through the Doorway to Nightmare with Madame Xanadu, which was published in 1981 and written by Steve Englehart, art by Marshall Rogers.

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