Who is Tanit? - African Goddess
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Who is Tanit?

Tanit
A tombstone from Carthage
with the symbol of Tanit

The goddess Tanit came to Africa with the Phoenicians, about 800 BC. Tanit was a moon goddess, maybe the same as Ishtar or Astarte. She also seems to have absorbed an older Berber goddess.

Moon
silver coin with woman's head on one side and lion and palm tree on the other
Head of Tanit on Carthaginian silver coin

People thought of Tanit as being married to another Phoenician god, Baal. Tanit's symbol appears on gravestones and temples all over North Africa, and on Carthaginian coins. People worshipped Tanit in North Africa not just during the Carthaginian period but all through the Roman Empire too. But when most people converted to Islam about 700 AD, then people gradually stopped worshipping Tanit.

Learn by doing: eclipse of the moon
More about Astarte

Bibliography and further reading about Tanit:

Phoenicians

The Phoenicians, by Elsa Marston (2001). For teenagers.

The Phoenicians and the West : Politics, Colonies and Trade, by Maria Eugenia Aubet (2nd edition 2001).

The Sanctuary Of Tanit At Carthage In The Roman Period: A Re-interpretation (Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series), by Henry Hurst and others.

The Atlas of Islam: People, Daily Life and Traditions, by Neil Morris, Manuela Cappon, Gian Paulo Faleschini, Studio Stalio (2003)

More about Baal
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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