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Ishtar is the Assyrian and Babylonian counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and to the cognate north-west Semitic goddess Astarte. Is a goddess of fertility, love, war, and sex. In the Babylonian pantheon, she "was the divine personification of the planet Venus"
Ishtar was above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved sacred prostitution; her holy city Uruk was called the "town of the sacred courtesans"; and she herself was the "courtesan of the gods". Ishtar had many lovers; however, as Guirand notes,
"Woe to him whom Ishtar had honoured! The fickle goddess treated her passing lovers cruelly, and the unhappy wretches usually paid dearly for the favours heaped on them. Animals, enslaved by love, lost their native vigour: they fell into traps laid by men or were domesticated by them. 'Thou has loved the lion, mighty in strength', says the hero Gilgamesh to Ishtar, 'and thou hast dug for him seven and seven pits! Thou hast loved the steed, proud in battle, and destined him for the halter, the goad and the whip.'
Even for the gods Ishtar's love was fatal. In her youth the goddess had loved Tammuz, god of the harvest, and—if one is to believe Gilgamesh—this love caused the death of Tammuz.
Ishtar was the daughter of Sin or Anu. She was particularly worshiped at Nineveh and Arbela (Erbil). Her symbol is an eight pointed star.