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Tammuz

TAMMUZ (tăm'ŭz, Heb. tammûz). A fertility god widely worshiped in Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine; equivalent to Osiris in Egypt and Adonis of the Greeks. His consort was the goddess Ishtar (Astarte or Ashtoreth). Their cult involved licentious rites. Tammuz was supposed to have been killed by a wild boar while shepherding his flocks. His wife rescued him from the underworld. His death was taken to represent the onset of winter. The long dry season was broken by spring rains when he came to life again. The fourth month of the Babylonian and later Jewish calendar was named for him (June-July). The only mention of him in the Bible occurs in connection with the custom of women mourning for him (Ezek.8.14), which, being observed at the very gate of the temple of the true God, seemed to the prophet one of the most abominable idolatries. His Greek name, Adonis, is derived from the Phoenician and Hebrew word for “Lord.”