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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Atargatis

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ATARGATIS (RV [Note: Revised Version.] less correctly Atergatis ). In addition to the sanctuary of this goddess (= Gr. Derceto) at Carnion ( 2Ma 12:26 ), other shrines were situated at Hierapolis and Ashkelon. Here sacred fish were kept, and at the latter place the goddess was represented as a mermaid, resembling the supposed form of the Philistine Dagon (wh. see). Some expositors, because of the ancient name of Carnion, i.e. Ashteroth-karnaim, have identified the goddess with Astarte. The name, however, a compound of ‘Athar (= PhÅ“n. ‘Astart, Heb. ‘Ashtoreth [wh. see]) and of ‘Atti or ‘Attah , which latter term appears as a god’s name upon inscriptions, shows her to be Astarte who has assimilated the functions of ‘Atti. This etymology, together with her mermaid-form and the fact that fish were sacred to her, apparently makes her a personification of the fertilizing powers of water.

N. Koenig.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Atargatis'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/a/atargatis.html. 1909.

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