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Tammaz


Tammaz, Mesopotamian (Babylonian-Akkadian), is equated to Adonis. He was the consort and brother of Ishtar, as the Sumerian god Dumuzi and consort of Inanna. When she descended into the neither world she was a hostile and threatening figure which even made Ereskigal's face blanched upon her approach. Isthar, when there, was overcome by death which resulted in the depletion of the springs of fertility on earth. Ea secured her release by means of a brilliant eunuch which captivated the heart of the mistress of infertility and death.

The cult of Tammaz was a major one including the annual event, presumably in the fall, of what was known as 'Ishtar's wailing for Tammaz.' The event commemorated death, marriage, and resurrection which was deeply associated with the agricultural fertility cycle. Some say that one phrase of these annual ceremonies included the marriage of the king to the goddess who was substituted by a priestess. Also women of the cult wailed for Tammaz near the temple when the cult spread to Cannan which the prophet Ezekiel preached defiantly against (Ezek. 8:14). A.G.H.


Sources:

Cotterell, Arthur, 'Isthar.' A Dictionary of World Mythology, New York, G. P. Putman's Sons, 1980, p. 36
Unger, Merrill F., Unger's Bible Dictionary, Chicago, Moody Press, 1966, pp. 1069-1070


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