Chief goddess of Carthage, the equivalent of Astarte.

She first appeared around the 5th century BC. Though she seems to have had some connection with the heavens, she was also a mother goddess and symbol of fertility. She was the consort of Baal Hammon, chief god of Carthage, whose cult she eventually eclipsed. Archaeological evidence suggests that children, probably firstborn, were sacrificed both to her and to Baal Hammon. Outside Carthage, Tanit also enjoyed a following on Malta, on Sardinia, and in Spain.

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▪ ancient deity
also spelled  Tinith  or  Tinnit 

      chief goddess of Carthage, equivalent of Astarte. Although she seems to have had some connection with the heavens, she was also a mother goddess, and fertility symbols often accompany representations of her. She was probably the consort of Baal Hammon (Melqart) (or Amon), the chief god of Carthage, and was often given the attribute “face of Baal.” Although Tanit did not appear at Carthage before the 5th century BC, she soon eclipsed the more established cult of Baal Hammon and, in the Carthaginian area at least, was frequently listed before him on the monuments. In the worship of Tanit and Baal Hammon, children, probably firstborn, were sacrificed (human sacrifice). Ample evidence of the practice has been found west of Carthage in the precinct of Tanit, where a tofet (a sanctuary for the sacrifice of children) was discovered. Tanit was also worshiped on Malta, on Sardinia, and in Spain.

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Universalium. 2010.

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