Real Name: Inanna (Her Sumerian name, Ishtar is her Phoenician name),
Occupation: Goddess of love and war, Tutelary goddess of the Babylonians
Legal Status: Citizen of Celestial Dilmun
Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of Ishtar except as a mythological character.
Other Aliases: Innina (Early Sumerian name), Astarte, Ashtart, (Babylonian names),
Place of Birth: Unrevealed, possibly Ur (now part of modern Iraq)
Marital Status: Unrevealed, possibly Married
Known Relatives: Anu (father), Asherah (mother), Enlil, Hadad, Ninurta, Martu (brothers), Ea (uncle, alias Oannes), Damkina, Mami, Eriskegal (aunts),
Group Affiliations: The Anunnaki (Gods of Mesopotamia)
Base of Operations: Celestial Dilmun
First Appearance: (name only) Captain America Annual 11
History: Inanna is the daughter of Anu, the ruler of an extra-dimensional race of beings known as the Anunnaki, who were worshipped as gods by the various ancient city-states that occupied Ancient Mesopotamia from the Fourth Millennium BC to around the Fifth Century BC when the ancient Greeks conquered the region. With the possible exception of the Egyptian gods, the Anunnaki are possibly the oldest of the pantheons of gods known on Earth. The Anunnaki are the descendants of the sea-goddess Tiamat, identified as Thalassa by the Greeks, a daughter of the primeval gods, Erebus and Nyx. Tiamat was the goddess of the oceans of Earth who was loved by Apsu, the god of freshwater, whose presence inhabited the clouds of Earth. From their union were born the Igigi, the ancestors of the Anunnaki, who rose up and overthrew the elder gods of Earth, becoming progenitors of the later Sumerian and Babylonian Empires. After Anu overthrew the elder gods, he claimed the goddess, Asherah, as his wife, who was either the goddess Gaea or an attendant of the earth-goddess. Anu and Asherah sired several children. Among them, Inanna was among the most powerful and favored gods of the Sumerians.
During the Sumerian Empire, Inanna was worshipped as the goddess of love and fertility, but she was also feared as a goddess of war. It is believed many of the Anunnaki once lived on Earth posing as mortal kings, but when their earthly rules were over, they departed Earth for Celestial Dilmun, an other-dimensional realm linked to Earth at a nexus somewhere near Mount Saphon in the Western Hittite Empire, now modern Turkey. Inanna fell in love with Dumuzi, the god of earth, who is often referred to as her husband, but most myths claim they were only lovers. Eriskegal, Queen of the underworld, kidnapped him and retreated with Dumuzi to the underworld in order to incur Inanna's wrath and possibly to contest her popularity within the Sumerian pantheon. Inanna went down to the underworld to retrieve him, passing through each of then ten gates of the underworld, but Eriskegal disgraced her by having her leave an article of clothing at each gate. By time Inanna entered Eriskegalís court, she was completely naked and taken prisoner. Anu sent Enlil to free her, who stormed the ten gates and ripped them asunder from the underworld. Inanna was returned to earth, but Dumuzi had to stay behind. Anu, however, arbitrated that Inanna and Dumuzi could share six months out of the year on earth to be together.
On Earth, Inanna also tried to tempt the
Sumerian god-king, Gilgamesh,
who refused her. Angered and disgraced, she set free the dragon Humbaba to slay
Gilgamesh, but he instead managed to slay it, but not until after it had taken
the life of his friend and ally, Endkidu, the forest-god.
The waning Sumerian Empire, however, was eventually conquered by the Babylonian Empire who worshipped the Anunnaki other different names. They worshipped Inanna as the mother-goddess, Astarte, in which form she had more power than she had under the Sumerians. Her worship eclipsed all the other goddesses of the Babylonian pantheon and even absorbed the worship rites of other goddesses, like Eriskegal and Anat, the war-goddess. Unfortunately, the power of the Babylonians began to eclipse and they were soon conquered by the Assyrian Empire who shifted their attention to other more potent deities. The Assyrians never accomplished the power or magnitude of the previous Sumerian or Babylonian Empires and were constantly trying to hold their power against invading tribes. Astarte was still an important deity under the rival Phoenician Empire who worshipped her under the name Ishtar, her most powerful incarnation as yet. However, by the Third Century BC, the Phoenicians were conquered by the invading Greeks who replaced the Anunnaki with their native Olympian Gods and Ishtar's temples were taken over by the goddess Aphrodite, considered the reincarnation of Ishtar within the Olympian pantheon
On Earth, Ishtar and many of the Anunnaki were denounced and reviled by the Hebrew and Islamic Religions and forced to retreat from Earth for Celestial Dilmun. The ancient Hebrews in denouncing the older Mesopotamian gods incorrectly identified many of them as unholy gods or demons in order the strengthen the foundations of their own beliefs. It is believed their names and legacies may have been usurped by even older forgotten Hyborian gods, such as Dagon, whose worshippers had been taken over by the Sumerian storm-god, Enlil. In modern years, a succubus named Inanna presented herself to demonologist Daimon Hellstrom as a potential rival and was annihilated by his own inherent occult powers.
Ishtar's modern activities are unrevealed. The Ancient Greeks carried her worship from Mesopotamia through the lands of the Mediterranean and eventually to Rome. Her worship was taken over by the goddess, Aphrodite, a daughter of Zeus, the ruler of the Olympian gods, and Dione, a Titaness. As a goddess, Aphrodite is said to have favored the land east of the Mediterranean, falling in love with the Phoenician prince, Adonis, suggesting that she is the modern day reincarnation of Ishtar. In later years, Aphrodite was also worshipped under the names of Astarte and Ishtar. The true connections between the two goddesses and whether Aphrodite is the true reincarnation of Ishtar are unrevealed.
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 385 lbs.
Strength Level: Ishtar possesses superhuman strength enabling her to lift (press) 50 tons under optimal conditions.
Known Superhuman Powers: Ishtar possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Mesopotamian gods. Like all of the Anunnaki, she is exceptionally long-lived, but she is not immortal like the Olympian gods. She has aged at an extremely slow rate since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. She is immune to all Earthly diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. If she were somehow wounded, her godly life force would enable her to recover with superhuman speed. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of her bodily molecules to cause her a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of significant power, such as Anu or Oannes, or for a number of Mesopotamian gods of equal power working together to revive her. Ishtar also possesses superhuman strength and her Anunnaki metabolism provides her with far greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Anunnaki flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the Mesopotamian Gods.)
Ishtar also has extraordinary power to tap into and manipulate mystical energies, possibly on par with Anu, the ruler of the Mesopotamian gods. She can cast spells and enchantments, alter her appearance and stature and traverse interdimensional boundaries, such as between Earth and Celestial Dilmun. She could also conjure and manipulate energy into shields and offensive weapons and project her face and image in an immaterial state over great distances to her worshippers on Earth. The full level of her powers are unrevealed; though she was the most powerful goddess of the ancient realm, it is possible her power has waned with age and lack of practice, affecting the precision and stability in the power of her spells.
Abilities: Ishtar also had skills and abilities in armed combat due to her role as goddess of war. She was adept with swords and spears and the traditional weapons of the Hittite armies.
Pets: Ishtar sometimes appeared riding the back of a lion or tiger.
Comments: As far as is known, Ishtar has yet to appear in either the Marvel or DC Universes. There is a demonic entity named Inanna who first appeared in Hellstorm #15, but this has turned out to be a former Hyborian goddess.
Clarifications: Ishtar is not to be confused with:
Astarte, member of the Eternals, @ X-Force #92
Inanna, Hyborian goddess of the underworld, @ Hellstorm #15
Last updated: 05/08/11