Ishtar: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover


1st Edition

By Louise M. Pryke


240 pages | 17 B/W Illus.

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Ishtar is the first book dedicated to providing an accessible analysis of the mythology and image of this complex goddess. The polarity of her nature is reflected in her role as goddess of sexual love and war, and has made her difficult to characterise in modern scholarship. By exploring this complexity, Ishtar offers insight into Mesopotamian culture and thought, and elucidates a goddess who transcended the limits of gender, divinity and nature. It gives an accessible introduction to the Near Eastern pantheon, while also opening a pathway for comparison with the later Near Eastern and Mediterranean deities who followed her.


"Ishtar is, without doubt, one of the most complex and baffling of the many gods of antiquity. Yet Louise Pryke has achieved something quite remarkable here in synthesising the multivalence of the goddess’s deeds and personas into a coherent and manageable whole. Full of good sense, yet written with flair, this study of the goddess of all goddesses is an important and infinitely useful contribution to the study of ancient myth and religion. The many sources in translation bring alive the world of Mesopotamian thought and forefront Ishtar as the most supreme of deities."

- Professor Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, Cardiff University, UK

"The style is certainly scholarly, but it is not overly technical, and a reader without much background in the area will be able to follow most of the text […] Pryke does a lot to help the reader […] It will be appropriate for scholars in the field, but also those who have some familiarity with the area and want to know more."

- Christian Perring, Metapsychology Online Reviews

Table of Contents

List of figures


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Love and Intimacy

Chapter 3: Sexuality and Order

Chapter 4: Ishtar and the Pantheon

Chapter 5: Kingship and Battle

Chapter 6: Ishtar and Gilgamesh

Chapter 7: Vengeance and Death

Chapter 8: Ishtar Afterwards


Further reading

About the Author

Louise M. Pryke is a Lecturer for the Languages and Literature of Ancient Israel at Macquarie University, Australia, and holds a PhD in Ancient Near Eastern History from the University of Sydney

About the Series

Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World

Routledge is pleased to present an exciting series, Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World. These figures from antiquity are embedded in our culture, many functioning as the source of creative inspiration for poets, novelists, artists, composers and filmmakers. Concerned with their multifaceted aspects within the world of ancient paganism and how and why these figures continue to fascinate, the books provide a route into understanding Greek and Roman polytheism in the 21st century.

These concise and comprehensive guides provide a thorough understanding of each figure, offering the latest in critical research from the leading scholars in the field in an accessible and approachable form, making them ideal for undergraduates in Classics and related disciplines.

Each volume includes illustrations, time charts, family trees and maps where appropriate.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies