Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Canaanite Pantheon

    • ADON: (Adonis) The god of youth, beauty and regeneration. His death happens around the love affair between him and the goddess Ashtarte which another god envied. He, in the form of a wild boar, attacks and kills Adonis and where his blood fell there grows red poppies every year. However, as Ashtarte weaps for his loss, she promises to bring him back to life every spring.

    • AKLM: Creatures who attacked Baal in the desert. Some say these creatures are grasshopper-like.

    • ANATH: This was a Love and War Goddess, the Venus star. She is also known for slaying the enimies of her brother Baal much in the same way Hathor slaughtered much of mankind (Anath is heavily related to Hathor). After the Defeat of Mavet and Yam, a feast was thrown for Baal. Anath locked everyone inside, and proceeded to slay everyone (as they had all been fickle toward Baal with both Mavet and Yam, as well as Ashtar). Baal stopped her and conveinced her that a reign of peace is what was needed. She also has confronted Mavet and was responsible for Baal's liberation from the underworld. She is the twin sister of Marah. Daughter of Asherah. She is also known as Rahmay- "The Merciful", and as Astarte. Astarte is the Canaanite Name of Ishtar; just as Ishtar is the Babylonian Name of Inanna. In all cases the Name means, simply, "Goddess" or "She of the Womb".

    • ARSAY: She of the Earth. Daughter of Baal. An underworld Goddess.

    • ASHERAH: The Mother of the Gods, Qodesh (just like El), Lady of the Sea, Wife of El. (see El). When the gods decided to entreat Yam to ease his reign of tyranny, it was Asherah who went to him and even offered herself. The gods agreed to let her do this, except for Baal who was enraged at the idea. (See Baal). Asherah is said to have given birth to seventy gods.

    • ASHTAR: Possibly a male version of Ishtar (Astarte in Canaan), the Venus Star. When Baal was killed by Mavet, Asherah had Ashtar, her son, placed on the throne. However, Ashtar was not big enough to fill the position, and resigned (quite possibly a relation of the Venus star being the last star to shine before the Sun takes over). I believe one of his titles is Malik (the King) and other names for him are Abimilki and Milkilu.

    • ASTARTE: A Name of Anath which means "Goddess", or literally "She of the Womb". Astarte is simply the Canaanite version of the Name Ishtar.

    • ATIK: The Calf of El. Enemy of Baal slain by Anath.

    • BAAL: He is the Canaanite Ruler God (like Marduk). Baal and Yam-Nahar origonally competed for kingship of the gods. The matter was brought before El, who decided in favour of Yam. Yam then proceeded with a reign of tyranny over the gods, and none of them felt they had the power to defeat Yam. So, they sent Asherah to entreat him to lossen his grip. Asherah even offered herself to Yam. Upon hearing this, Baal was enraged, and decided to defeat Yam. Yam got wind of Baal's plan and sent messengers to El with the demand that Baal be delivered to him. El, afraid, agreed. Baal then taunted the gods for their cowardice and went to face Yam. He had two weapons made, Yagrush (chaser) and Aymur (driver). He struck Yam on the chest with Yagrush to no avail. Then he struck him on the forehead with Aymur and fell Yam to the earth. After Yam's defeat, Baal had a palace built for himself; closely resembeling the story of Marduk. It also resembles Marduk's story in that the Primeval Waters threatened the gods, and the High God and others were afraid to face them, with the exception of the soon-to-be Ruler God. The Baal epic then continues to describe his fight against Mavet. Baal is also a Storm God like Marduk, and a fertility god like Tammuz. Dagon is his father. Baal is the Canaanite God-force (the goddess force seems to be split between Anath and Asherah). Baal's proper name is Hadad, relating to his storm-god aspect. Baal is really a title, meaning "Lord". Baal's residence is upon Mt. Zaphon. He is known as Rapiu (Shade) during his summer stay in the underworld.

    • BAALAT: Patron Goddess of Gubla. Fertility Goddess associated with Hathor and Isis.

    • DAGON: A vegitation God (especially corn). Father of Baal.

    • EL: The Father of the Gods, the Creator of Created Things, The Kindly, Kodesh. Asherah is his wife. When he was young, El went out upon the sea, and there met Asherah and Her companion Rohmaya. He then roasted a bird and asked them if They would be His wives or daughters. They chose to be His wives. El mates with these Goddesses and Shachar and Shalim (Dawn and Dusk) are born. This family then builds a sanctuary and lives in the desert for eight years. This episode may be the closest we have to a Creation story involving El. El wears bull horns upon his helmet, and He is a grey haired and bearded patriarch. He resides at "the Source of Two Rivers" upon Mt. Lel.

    • ELSH: Steward of El and Baal's house. His wife is the steward of the Goddesses.

    • ESHMUN: God of healing. A great God of Sidon.

    • GAPEN: A messenger of Baal. His name either means Vine or Field. Probably the former.

    • HADAD: See Baal. Originally the Sumer-Babylonian "Adad"

    • HELEL: Or Lucifer. The Light Bringer, the Morning Star. Son of Shachar. Helel once attempted to take his Father's Throne, but failed (another myth concerning Venus' place as the last star in the sky each morning, as if trying to defy the Sun). This is the very Myth which spawned the Christian Myth of the War in Heaven (see Issaiah 14:12- which, in Hebrew, says "Helel", and not "Lucifer").

    • HIRIBI: God of Summer.

    • HIRGAB: Father of Eagles. Husband(?) of S,umul.

    • HAURON: A God that is related to Ninurta of Mesopotamia and Horus of Egypt.

    • ITHM: God of sheep.

    • ISHAT: "Fire". The Bitch of the Gods. Enemy of Baal slain by Anath.

    • KOSHAROTH, THE: The Wise Goddesses. These may be somewhat along the lines of the Greek Graces, or the Seven Hathors of Egypt. As we see them, they are called to set up a Wedding. They are also sometimes symbolized as sparrows or swallows, which indicated fertility. They were Goddesses of childbirth. They are also known as the Daughters of the Cresent Moon, and thus are the daughers of Yarikh.

    • KOSHAR U KHASIS: "Skillfull and Clever". Craftsman of the Gods. Also known as Chousor and Heyan (Ea) and identified with Ptah. Built the palaces of both Yam-Nahir and Baal. He also fashioned the two clubs that Baal used to defeat Yam.

    • KOSHARTU: Wife of Koshar.

    • LEVIATHAN: Another Name for Lotan or Tannin. See Lotan.

    • LOTAN: This may be another story like Apophis, Zu, Asag, and Leviathan where it is not an actual creation story, but still involves the same energies, with Baal and Lotan fighting for supremecy. It is representative of rough winter sea-storms which calmed in the spring and which were preceded and accompanied by autumn rains (represented by Baal) which ended summer droughts and enabled crops to grow. Lotan is a seven headed serpent defeated by Baal with the help of Mavet. Anath also claims a role in the defeat of the Serpent. Also known as Tannin or Leviathan.

    • MARAH: Merciful Goddess of the Waters. Twin sister of Anath. Daughter of Asherah.

    • MAVET: God of Death and Sterility. His name means Death. In one hand he holds the scepter of bereavement, and in the other the scepter of widowhooed. His jaws and throat are described in cosmic proportions and serve as a euphamism for death. A son of El. After Baal defeated Yam, he then sent a message to Mavet demanding that he keep his domain in the underworld city of Miry where he belonged. Mavet was enraged by this and sent a threatening message to Baal, who was afraid and attempted to flatter his way out of it. This, however, was to no avail and Baal was forced to face Mavet. Mavet defeated him and held him in the underworld until Anath tracked him (Mavet) down and defeated him herself. Mavet did not actually die, as he and Baal had to face off once more seven years later. Neither defeated the other, but Mavet did give in (at the command of Shapash) and proclaimed Baal the King of the Gods.

    • MELQART: King of the City, the Hunter, Fire of Heaven. Patron god of Tyre, he was the god of the Metropolis and the monarchy at Tyre and Carthage. May have been a dying and rising vegetation god, and associated with the sacred marriage like the Sumerian Dumuzi. He was ritually immolated in an annual festival. He was also a god of the sea and was pictured mounted on a hippocampus.

    • NIKKAL: Consort of Yarikh. (S = Ningal). Goddess of the fruits of the Earth. Daughter of Hiribi.

    • PIDRAY: Girl of Light. A daughter or consort of Baal.

    • QADISH-U-AMRAR: The two messengers of Asherah fused into one God. He dredges up provisions to entertain her guests from the sea with a net.

    • RAHMAYA: A goddess impregnated, along with Asherah, by El. The Goddesses then gave birth to the twin gods Shahar and Shalem, though I don't know who gave birth to whom.

    • RADMANU: Or Pradmanu. A minor servitor of Baal.

    • REPHAIM, THE: "Shades". Underworld Deities. They move in chariots, on horseback, and upon wild asses.

    • RESHEPH: Probably a War God. Lord of the Arrow. Has gazel horns on his helmet. He destroys men in mass by war and plague. He is the porter of the sun Goddess Shepesh (this seems to resemble Khamael of the Hebrews). He is also called Mekal (Annialator), and could be related to the Hebrew Michael (Mikal) who is also a War God (ArchAngel). Related to Nergal of Mesopotamia.

    • SHACHAR: "Dawn". God of dawn. Either a son of Asherah, or of Rohmaya. According to Isaiah 14:12, He is the father of Helel (or Lucifer) the Light-Bringer and Morning Star.

    • SHALEM: "Dusk". God of sunset. The Contemplation of Day. Either a son of Asherah, or of Rohmaya.

    • SHAMU: Sky God who was the chief of the pantheon at the Syrian city of Alalakh.

    • SHAPASH: Sun Goddess. The Torch of the Gods.

    • SHATAQAT: "Drives away". Demoness sent by El to drive away Keret's (a Canaanite Mythic hero) disease.

    • SHEGER: "Offspring of Cattle". God of Cattle.

    • SIN: Moon God. Also a Babylonian God.

    • S,UMUL: Mother of the Eagles. She ate the body of Aqhat (a hero in a Canaanite Myth).

    • TALLAY: Girl of Rain. A daughter or consort of Baal.

    • TANNIN: Another Name for Leviathan or Lotan. See Lotan.

    • TANIT: Lady of Carthage. Face of Baal (Hammon, not Hadad).

    • UGAR: A messenger of Baal. His name either means Vine or Field, probably the latter. He may be the Patron God of Ugarit.

    • YAHWEH: Yahweh is added here because there was a short time in which He was simply part of the Canaanite pantheon. He was a Son of El; and he was part of the court of El as cupbearer along with Baal. Later, as the National God of Israel, Yahweh was equated with El, and Asherah became His wife. H.

    • YAM-NAHAR: Yam-Nahar is the Primordial Waters that were defeated by Baal (see Baal and Asherah). His name means Sea-River. He was originally given kingship by El, and ruled as a tyrant over the Gods. Baal finally rose up against him. He may also be Lotan.

    • YARIKH: Moon God. Illuminator of myriads of stars. Lamp of Heaven. Lord of the Sickle (the cresent moon?), and therefore father of the Kosharoth. Patron God of Qart-Abilim.

    • YBRDMY: Daugher of Baal.

    • YELLOW ONES OF MAVET: Mavet's henchmen who are slain by Baal upon his ressurection from defeat at Mavet's hands.

    • ZABIB: "Flies". Enemy of Baal, slain by Anath. There's an obvious relation between this Demon and and Baal Zabib (Beelzebub- Lord of the Flies).


    1. Ferm, Vergilius, Ancient Religions (New York: The Philosophical Library, 1950), pp. 113-143
    2. Mendenhall, George E., "The Hebrew Conquest of Palestine", in The Biblical Archaeologist Reader; ed. Edward F. Campbell Jr. and David Noel Freedman (vol. III; Garden City New York: Anchor Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1970), pp. 100-120
    3. The Catholic Dictionary; (An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Biblical and General Catholic Information; Cleveland and New York: The Catholic Press, The World Publishing Company, 1970)
    4. Article on Baalzebul I. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, ed. G.A. Buttrick (Supplementary Volume; Nashville: Abingdon, 1976) I1
    5. The Jerome Biblical Commentary;ed. Raymond E. Brown (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersy:Prentice-Hall,1968)
    6. The Jerusalem Bible;ed. Alexander Jones (Garden City, New York:Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966), pg 387 JB Baal changed to Bosheth Footnote on II Sm 4:4
    7. A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scriptures;ed. Reginald C. Fuller (Nashville and New York: Thomas Nelson, Inc.,1975)
    8. New American Bible (Sponsered by the Bishops' Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Translated by the Catholic Biblical Association of America; Cleveland and New York; The Catholic Press, The World Publishing Company, 1970)
    9. The Ancient Near East;ed. James B. Pritchard (Vol I; An Anthology of Texts and Pictures;Princeton New Jersy: Princeton University Press, 1973)
    10. Williams, Jay G., Understanding the Old Testament (New York:Barron's Educational Series, Inc.,1972)

    By S. George Khalaf


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