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Anant, Anit, Anti, Antit and Anthat

A major goddess of fertility, sexual love, hunting and war,

the Goddess Anat.

In 1928, on the northern coast of Syria, a plowman discovered an ancient tomb. Little did he know, he had discovered the temple of Baal and the ruins of a civilization that existed more than thirty-four hundred years ago during the Bronze Age. This civilization was that of ancient Ugart, an independent city-state of Semitic peoples that along with Byblos, Sidon, Tyre, Shechem, and Jerusalem is known as ancient Canaan. Today, this land that was once ancient Canaan is known as Syria, Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan.


According to one scholar; "Only three female deities, Anat, Asherah, and Astarte, have recurring parts in the myths of Ugart and their roles are not recognized in the tablets as primary but rather secondary, as the lovers, wives, and mothers of the male deities. Perhaps one of the most falsely represented of these three goddesses in modern scholarly works is the goddess Anat.Frequently, Anat is identified by modern scholars as the erotic goddess of love and fertility. A great deal was not known about the goddes and her role in the Ugartic mythology. Because she was afemale deity, her biological characteristic of sex was used as a basis for her classification as a fertility goddesses with fertility recognized as the sole attribute of her character. However, according to theUgartic texts, Anat encompasses a variety of gender roles adding to her attributes of both a feminine as well as a masculine character, and thus giving her an ambiguous identity.

In the Ugartic tablets, Anat is referred to by four titles, the violent goddess, the virgin, the maiden, and the Mistress of the Peoples. With the death of her brother Baal, Anat reveals a compassionate side of her character as she pathetically grieves the loss of her brother. According to the gender roles defined by Western culture, Anat's display of sensitivity would confine her to a feminine gender role. Anat predominantly engages in what Western culture recognizes as the masculine gender role of warfare. A deadly portrayal of Anat in the Ugart mythology elaborates on her participation in a massacre of human warriors. The bloodletting is so extensive that she is able to wade to her thighs in the standing blood. Delighted by the carnage, Anat adorns herself with the dismembered parts of her defeated enemies. Thus Anat is a violent warrior, but her actionshave been misinterpreted as archetypes for fertility rituals performed by the religious leaders of Ugart.

These secondary reconstructions of the Ugartic mythology justify that the participation by Anat in massacres were for the fertility of the land, rituals to induce the rain through sympathetic magic. The important attributes of the goddess Anat from ancient Ugartic mythology from the primary sources of the mythology reveal the female deity to be a bloody warrior goddess, independent, and at a marriageable age. Her function as a fertility goddess has been falsely reconstructed in several secondary texts and the clarification must be made that although she is a female deity her gender is ambiguous."



From cuneiform text, Anat appears much the ruthless goddess. In her martial aspect she confines herself to slaying the enemies of Baal. She participates in the confrontation between Baal and Yam-Nahar. In a missing portion of the text she slays Yam and otherenemies of Baal. During a victory celebration she departs to slaughter the warriors of two local towns. She joyfully wades in their blood, pours a peace offering and cleans up. She intercedes with El on Baal's behalf to obtain the necessary permission for a palace to be built for Baal. Later, when Baal is killed by Mot (Death) in an archetypal battle, she buries him, hunts down Mot, and takes revenge by cutting, winnowing, grinding, and burning Mot like grain. In another myth she coveted the splendid bow belonging to a youth called Aqhat. When he refuses to part with this bow, Ana sends an eagle to slay him.


Some believe Anat first appears in Egypt in the 16th dynasty in the Hyksos period, others say before the Hyksos, along with other northwest Semitic deities. She was especially worshipped in her aspect of a war goddess, often paired with the goddess Astarte. In the Contest Between Horus and Set, these two goddesses appear as daughters of Ra and are given in marriage to the god Set, who had been identified with the Semitic god Hadad.

She was known among the Canaanites in prehistoric times, and was doubtless of considerable importance in that region. From the fertile agricultural area along the eastern Mediterranean coast, her cult spread throughout the Levant by the middle of the third millennium BC. Around the beginning of the Phoenician period (circa 1200 BC) Anat enjoyed a significant cult following.

She was represented at Memphis like all but the most local of deities, and sanctuaries were dedicated to her at the Hyksos capital of Tanis in Egypt and Beth-Shan Palistine.

The name Anat occurs in several forms in Ugaritic, Hebrew, Akkadian, and Egyptian, and as in such cases, the forms may vary widely. For example, in the Ugarit V Deity List itis spelled da-na-tu to be pronounced 'Anatu'. Otherwise in Phoenician it is `nt and is pronounced 'Anat', 'Anatu', 'Anath' or 'Anata'. The name is usually translated from Hebrew as 'Anath', but it could also be 'Anat'. The Akkadian form is usually written as 'Anta' or 'Antu'. The Egyptian forms are 'Anant', 'Anit', 'Anti', and 'Antit'. We may also find variations of her name in reference books such as Anthat.


Yet, while the rulers of Egypt's New Kingdom took every step to denounce the Hyksos dynasty, her prestige reached its height in Egypt under Ramesses II who adopted Anat as his personal guardian in battle. Even Ramesses II's dog, shown rushing onto a vanquished Libyan in a carving in Beit el Wali temple, has the name "Anat in vigor". He also named his daughter of whom he later married, Bint-Anat which means Daughter of Anat. He rebuilt Tanis and enlarged the sanctuary of Anat there.The Elephantine papyri dating from the late sixth century BC indicate that Anat was one of the two goddesses worshiped at the Temple of Yahu (Yahweh) by the Jews on the island of Elephantine in the Nile.

In Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine the worship of Anat persisted into Christian times (c. 200 AD), and perhaps much longer in popular religion. In Egypt traditional religion was practiced until the end of the Egyptian period (c. 400 AD).

In Phoenician iconography Anat is usually depicted nude with exaggerated sexual organs and a coiffure similar to Hathor. She is sometimes depicted with bow and arrow, and with the lion, her sacred animal. Otherwise she may be armed with a spear and shield, or a spear and a spindle.

An Egyptian inscription from Beth-Shan shows "Antit" with a plumed crown (very similar to the White Crown of Egypt). In her left hand is the "Scepter of Happiness", and in her right the "Ankh of Life". Iconography at Tanis from the time of Ramesses II shows Anat on athrone with lance, battle ax, and shield above an inscription reading, "To Antit that she may give life, prosperity, and health to the Ka of Hesi-Nekht".


Although terrible as a war deity she was regarded as a just and benevolent goddess of beauty, sexuality, and of the fertility of crops, animals, and men. Her grace and beauty were considered among the acme of perfection. Anat is a complex and somewhat paradoxical goddess as can be seen from the epithets applied to her. Although she is regarded as the mother of gods, the most common epithet at Ugarit is batulat, Virgin or Maiden. She is sometimes called Wanton, in reference to her putative lust for sexual intercourse and the bloodshed of war. Other common epithets include: Adolescent Anat, Fairest daughter-sister of Baal, Lady, Strength of Life, Anat the Destroyer, and Lady of the Mountain.

Anat was considered by the Egyptians to be similar to Neith, an ancient goddess from the Nile delta, with whom they identified Her. Neith is a skilled weaver and guardian of domestic life, as well as a goddess of war, whose symbols include crossed arrows on an animal skin or shield and a weaver's shuttle. `Anat is interpreted asbeing depicted with a spindle as well as Her spear, and as the Canaanites/ Phoenicians were famed for their weaving. She may well have been a patroness of that skill, perhaps also of the famed dye, later known as Tyrian purple, which could also be a blood red color. In some descriptions, `Anat adorns Herself with something translated by some as murex, the snail from which the purple dye comes.



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