A Mesopotamian deity of the underworld, sometimes thought to have been the focus of a cult which worshipped him as a dying and rising god—mourned in autumn when vegetation seemed to die, and celebrated in spring as the crops began to grow. The cult sometimes endangered the purity of worship in Israel, as when Ezekiel saw women weeping for Tammuz in the Temple (Ezek. 8: 14). However, this interpretation of Tammuz is speculative; the women may well have been engaged only in a mourning rite.