Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Ashtaroth, or Istar (Gr. Astarte), a goddess whose worship prevailed amongst the Phoenicians in Syria and Africa. She is coupled with Baal, the sun-god, as being the moon-goddess. The Jews were more than once led astray into this idolatry, which they borrowed from the Sidonians (1 Kings xi. 5-53); Solomon built, a temple to Ashtaroth on the Mount of Olives, and Jezebel, daughter of the King of Tyre (Judges ii. 13),-celebrated her rites on a large scale. Josiah (2 Kings xxiii.) swept away her shrines, but at Aphac, on Mount Lebanon and elsewhere, this obscene cult was kept up until long after the Christian era. Greece and Rome adopted Ashtaroth under the name Astarte. Amongst the Greeks she was identified with Urania or the celestial Venus, but does not appear to have taken a strong hold upon the national mind in the best days of Greece. The Romans took more kindly to her worship, and Cicero identifies her with Venus, but others confounded her with Juno Coelestis, or with Diana. In Egypt she was regarded as being one and the same with Isis, but was more probably identical with Hathor. St. Jerome and St. Augustin both refer to her filthy and lascivious rites. Sometimes her image takes the shape of the head of an ox with horns; at other times she appears as a woman in man's attire or as a woman standing on a lion. Milton refers to her several times (Paradise Lost, i. 422; Paradise Regained, iii. 417; Ode Nativ. 200), and she is probably the "queen of heaven" mentioned by Jeremiah (vii. 18; xliv. 17).