Post by ninurta2008 on Mar 4, 2010 20:41:03 GMT -5
Not really certain as to where to put this, as it's not really a sumerian language question I don't think. But if anyone's familiar with the babylonian/akkadian language,do you know the etymology of Ishtar?
Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Mar 4, 2010 22:35:52 GMT -5
DARN IT - why do people ask about Ishtar so much Well I've got some articles I think might help out so I can forward them to you. Usually I do the reading and answering, but am up to elbows in Mesopotamian projects at the moment
Post by us4-he2-gal2 on Mar 5, 2010 7:49:04 GMT -5
Alright I'm back. I hate this subject - as I don't like Ishtar and I prefer Sumerian over Semitic - but I'm unable to put it away seeing as I don't have a good answer! So I've come back to it again. Your probably going to put the information to good use, like combating someone who is making the claim that the name derives from or to "easter" I hope!
First of all, Black and Green say in their "Gods, Demons and Symbols from Ancient Mesopotamia" that: "Ishtar (earlier Eshtar), [Inanna's] Akkadian name, is related to that of the South Arabian (male) deity 'Athtar and to that of the Syrian goddess Astarte (Biblical Ashtoreth), with whom she was undoubtedly connected."
This leaves many questions of course. Thorkild Jacobsen writes in his "Treasure of Darkness" that the aspects of Inanna, rain goddess, goddess of war, goddess of morning and evening star are shared in common with the once separate Semitic goddess Ishtar. About Ishtar's name, he says: "her name goes back through the form Eshtar to 'Attar - corresponds to the West Semitic god of the morning star, 'Attar, who was also a rain deity but of semiarid regions where agriculture was possible only with the use of irrigation."
One better is the description from Paul Collins which appears in the following journal article, which is available online:
Collins states: "The name of the goddess Eshtar (later Ishtar) occurs as elements in both Presargonic and Sargonic personal names. It has been suggested that Eshtar derives from a form of 'Attar, a male deity know from Ugaritic and South Arabian inscriptions (Roberts, 1972: 39). The corresponding female forms are 'Attart/'Ashtart. The two names may have designated the planet Venus under its aspect of a male morning star ('Attar) and a female evening star ('Attart). This would apparently account for the dual personality of Ishtar as a goddess of love (female) and of war (male). In Mesopotamia the masculine form took over the functions of the female and a goddess developed contrary to its grammatical gender; perhaps under influence from the Sumerian Inanna who may have possessed similar attributes."
What we have then, is evidence that the Semitic world from a very early point has some level of religious and theological cohesion. The fusion of the Semitic Ishtar and the Sumerian Inanna has already begun to occur as early as the Sargonic period, when Sargon the great - A Semitic King - subdued all of Sumer. This was in approx 2400 BC. And so for the Semitic names 'Attar and Ashtarte to work their way from the Western Semitic environs of ancient Syria and ancient Ugarit, to the eastern Semites of Northern Mesopotamian, and there to be fused into one deity Eshtar (later Ishtar) (who merged with Inanna on Sargon's seizing of South Mesopotamia).. it means the west Semite gods must be quite a bit older than I generally think of them.
As for why Sargon was motivated to blend Sumerian and Semitic theological beliefs, you can refer to the Collins article for a great discussion on this as well. Collins has drawn from a book "The Earliest Semitic Pantheon" By J.J.M Roberts for his insights here - I believe this is also the authoritative source for these questions currently.
I definitely saw the connection earlier, but had doubts because I didn't know how far back Attar/Athtar went. Also, I thought she would've at least had had a feminine gender attached to her if she was borrowed from the others like Athtart, but then again, if she was borrowed from Athtar, like with Ningal (whom was also borrowed), that wouldn't necessarily be the case. Though it definitely makes sense. Very helpful!
also "On the Etymology of Ishtar" * George A. Barton * Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 31, No. 4 (1911), pp. 355-358 * Published by: American Oriental Society (available at JSTOR)
Ludicrously out of date but not a bad read, if you ignore the bias towards Hebrew Semitic over Arabic Semitic (which is illogical when Akkadian is more closely related both grammatically and lexically with Arabic).......A