Tanit – The original great goddess. By Sarah Corbett

Tanit – The original great goddess. By Sarah Corbett

Tanit –  Thinit – Tanis – Rat Tanit – Lady of Carthage – Lady of the Sanctuary – Tinit – Tank – The face of Ba’al –

The heavenly Goddess – Tanith – The heavenly virgin.

All are names to represent the original great goddess, an ancient and powerful force and symbol of fertility and fruitfulness.

There are varied opinions as to the date of the emergence of this goddess, most scholars treat Tanit as having come from the Phoenician mainland as a descendant of one or more of the great Canaanite goddesses.

Many think she was a Punic version of Astarte (Hardin 1963:87-88), but in some temples the two were clearly separate deities, though related (Ahlström 1986: 312; Betlyon 1985: 53-54).

Some argue that her name is a version of Anat (Hvidberg-Hansen 1986: 178; Albright 1968: 42ff.).

A few others see her as either originating in North Africa or being a combination of an indigenous North African goddess with one or more of the Phoenician/Canaanite deities (Ben Khader and Soren 1987: 44-45).

An older explanation connects Tanit with the Egyptian goddess Neith (Olyan 1988: 54 note 63).

From the evidence of archaeology, there can be no doubt that Tanit was a very popular goddess in Phoenician settlements in the West. However, today there is evidence that Tanit was known and worshiped in Phoenician

proper.

Tanit was the highest deity and the protector of the city of Carthage, with her consort Ba’al – Hammon the god of the sky, she watched over and

protected Carthage. Tanit’s worship was spread from North Africa to Spain, Malta and Sardinia.

Tanit has her own symbol, peculiarly hers, a triangle with a circle at the top and a horizontal line between.

Sometimes a version with two further vertical lines emerging from the horizontal is also seen. The “Sign of Tanit” is generally accepted asrepresenting the goddess, though some think the circle to be the disk of the full moon (Lipiński 1995: 206-215).

We see her symbol regularly represented in jewellery and adornment. An amulet to bring fertility and fecundity to the wearer.

Other Jewels with just a triangular form are also often believed to be a representation of this popular and

often revered goddess.

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