(AV: Ashtoreth, Ashtaroth). The Greek form of Ashtart, one of the three great Canaanite goddesses. Astarte was primarily a goddess of fertility and love, the counterpart of Greek Aphrodite. She was also associated with war, and, like her Mesopotamian equivalent Ishtar, had astral features.

In the Bible, worship of the goddess is repeatedly condemned: twice in the book of Judges the Israelites are punished for straying after the Baals and Astartes (Judg. 2.13–14; 10.6–7); Solomon is criticized for worshiping Astarte (1 Kings 11.5, 33); and Jeremiah castigates the people for making offerings to the Queen of Heaven, a syncretism of Astarte and Ishtar (Jer. 7.16–20; 44.15–28).

Susan Ackerman