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Tammuz

by Micha F. Lindemans
The Akkadian vegetation-god, counterpart of the Sumerian Damuzi and the symbol of death and rebirth in nature. He is the son of Ea and husband of Ishtar. Each year he dies in the hot summer (in the month tammus, June/July) and his soul is taken by the Gallu demons to the underworld. Woe and desolation fall upon the earth, and Ishtar leads the world in lamentation. She then descends to the nether world, ruled by Ereshkigal, and after many trials succeeds in bringing him back, as a result of which fertility and joy return to the earth. In Syria he was identified with Adonis.

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