added by archaeologs
The goddess of the ancient Near East that was the chief deity of many important sites and the fertility goddess of the Phoenicians and the Canaanites. She is sometimes equated with Egyptian Isis, Babylonian Ishtar, Carthaginian Tanit, and Greek Aphrodite, Cybele, and Hera. She originated in Syria as a war goddess, probably introduced into Egypt in the 18th Dynasty (1550-1295 BC). Astarte was usually portrayed as a naked woman on horseback wearing a headdress or bull horns.
Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology, Barbara Ann Kipfer, 2000
Astarte was a goddess honored in the Eastern Mediterranean area, before being renamed by the Greeks. Variants of the name “Astarte” can be found in the Phoenician, Hebrew, Egyptian and Etruscan languages.
A deity of fertility and sexuality, Astarte eventually evolved into the Greek Aphrodite thanks to her role as a goddess of sexual love. Interestingly, in her earlier forms, she also appears as a warrior goddess, and eventually was celebrated as Artemis.
The Torah condemns the worship of “false” deities, and the Hebrew people were occasionally punished for honoring Astarte and Baal. King Solomon got in trouble when he tried to introduce the cult of Astarte into Jerusalem, much to the displeasure of Yahweh. A few Biblical passages make a reference to the worship of a “Queen of Heaven,” who may have been Astarte.