When we first enter the Yale gallery, we are greeted by the image below, a Lion from the Processional Way of Babylon, one of 120 Lions that lined the ancient road leading from the Ishtar Gate to the sacred center of the city.But, who is Ishtar? Ishtar was an Akkadian goddess associated with the planet Venus. Along with Shamash, the sun god and his father Sin, the moon god, these three divinites formed a what is called an “astral triad.”
In ancient traditions it is common to find such triads and would appear to be a prefiguration of the idea of the Trinity found in Christianity.
As a goddess of Venus, (Gr: Aphrodite), Ishtar exalts physical intimacy and as such was the protectress of prostitutes and the patroness of the alehouse
After Sumerian times, she was worshipped as the Queen of the Universe.
Ishtar plays a pivotal role in the Gilgamesh epic. More on that in the next post.