Concept

Atargatis

Summary
Atargatis (known as Derceto by the Greeks) was the chief goddess of northern Syria in Classical antiquity. Primarily she was a fertility goddess, but, as the baalat ("mistress") of her city and people she was also responsible for their protection and well-being. Her chief sanctuary was at Hierapolis, modern Manbij, northeast of Aleppo, Syria. Michael Rostovtzeff called her "the great mistress of the North Syrian lands". Her consort is usually Hadad. As Ataratheh, doves and fish were considered sacred to her: doves as an emblem of the Love-Goddess, and fish as symbolic of the fertility and life of the waters. According to a third-century Syriac source, "In Syria and in Urhâi [Edessa] the men used to castrate themselves in honor of Taratha. But when King Abgar became a believer, he commanded that anyone who emasculated himself should have a hand cut off. And from that day to the present no one in Urhâi emasculates himself anymore". S
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