Anat

April 6th, 2008 by sabrina

Anat is the Semitic Goddess of war, savagery, and fertility. She, along with her sisters Astarte and Asherah, was known by various names throughout the ancient Mesopotamian area, and is sometimes confused with her sisters. She is a daughter of El, consort of Baal. She is often referred to as a virgin, but the meaning here is more “unmarried” than “unsexual”. She is quite ruthless and routinely slays Baal’s enemies. During one victory feast, she slipped out to slaughter the inhabitants of two neighboring towns. After making a belt of their heads and hands, she made a peace offering and then returned to the feast.

In another myth, Anat asks El to allow Baal to build a proper palace, but El refuses. Anat threatens El, and then enlists the aid of her sister Astarte, who persuades El to allow the palace. When Baal is killed by Mot, God of Death, Anat hunts down Mot and cuts his body into pieces. Anat is said to have killed various monsters who were enemies of Baal, including Yamm, a seven-headed serpent, and Arsh, a sea monster.

Even though her warrior aspects are often emphasized, Anat was also a Goddess of fertility and sexuality. In the Epic of Ba’al, she is called upon to “Remove from the earth war, Set in the dust love; Pour peace amidst the earth, Tranquility amidst the fields.”

Her many names come from the fact that she was worshipped throughout the ancient Near East. She is known as ‘nt (pronounced Anat), ‘Anat, ‘Anath, ‘Anatu, or ‘Anata in Ugaritic; Anta or Antu in Akkadian; and Anant, Anit, Anti, or Antit in Egyptian. Her epithets include:
Batalat ‘Anat (the maiden or virgin)
Yabamat Li`imim (the Kindred of the Peoples of Ugarit)
Rachmaya (adolescent)
Lady
Sister of the Mighty One
Strength of Life
Anat the Destroyer
Lady of the Mountain
Anat-her (Agreeable Anat)
Herit-Anta (terror of Anat)
Bin-Ptah (daughter of Ptah, from Egypt)

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