The Syrian Goddess


The Syrian Goddess, by Lucian - click to see full size image

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Lucian of Samosata's De Dea Syria, (the Syrian Goddess) is one of the most 'notorious' classical writings. Not only does it acknowledge that at one time a paramount Goddess was worshipped in regions of the Ancient Near East, it goes into details of the practices of her devotees which later generations considered reprehensible. Nonetheless De Dea played an important role in the development of modern Neopaganism. Lucian recounts his personal observations of the worship of the Goddess Atargatis (a form of Isthar or Astarte) at the temple of Hierapolis, in what is today Turkey. He writes in the style of Herodotus, and, remarkably, in Herodotus' dialect of Greek, which at that time was over five hundred years old. Lucian describes huge phalliform idols, cross-dressing priests who castrated themselves, ritual prostitution of female worshippers, and occasional infant human sacrifice.

This book has 18,291 words, and 30 pages in the PDF version. This translation by Herbert A. Strong and John Garstang was originally published in 1913.

Production notes: This ebook of The Syrian Goddess was published by Global Grey in 2018, and updated on the 5th August 2023. The artwork used for the cover is 'Astarte Syriaca' by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

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