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ATARGATIS:

A Syrian divinity referred to in the Apocrypha. A temple of Atargatis existed in Carnion or Carnaim (I Macc. v. 24; II Macc. xii. 26), on the east side of the Jordan. Just what goddess is meant by the name has not as yet been definitely ascertained. The first element of the name is evidently the Aramean equivalent of Astarte; the second element may be the name of another goddess, Athe or Athah, who has been found in Phenician inscriptions. The chief temple of Atargatis in Palestine was the one in Ascalon. At Carnaim she had another, and it was in that sanctuary that Judah Maccabeus, without regard for the sanctity of the place, slew the inhabitants that had fled there for refuge. The temple with all its objects used in the cult was burned by him.

Bibliography:
  • Bäthgen, Beiträge zur Semitischen Religionsgeschichte, pp. 68 et seq., 256 et seq.;
  • Baudissin, Atargatis, in Herzog-Plitt, Real-Encyklopädie für Protestantische Theologie;
  • Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, 2d ed., pp. 172-175.
J. Jr. G. B. L.
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