Goddess Astghik – Legends of Ancient Armenia

Goddess Astghik – Legends of Ancient Armenia

In Armenian mythology, Astghik (“little star”) was the goddess of love and water and the beloved of god Vahagn. Her main temple in Ashtishat (north of the modern city of Mush in Western Armenia) was called the “bedroom of Vahagn.” Sometimes, the goddess of fertility, love, and water in Armenian pantheon was referred to as Anahit.

The name Astghik is connected with the planet Venus, the symbol of the goddess. From some point, Anahit and Astghik have been independent deities in the pantheon.

According to Armenian myths, Astghik, an extraordinary beauty, bathed every night in the Euphrates in the area where it flew through a narrow rocky gorge called Grgur (“roar”). To admire the naked goddess, the youth lit lights on Mount Dagonats (Taron Mountain within modern Turkey). Protecting herself from the eyes of others, Astghik covered the entire Taron Valley with fog.

According to other myths (probably arising after the spread of Christianity), Astghik was the daughter of Ziusudra (the protagonist of a Sumerian flood myth) born after the Great Flood.

After the death of Ziusudra, a war broke out for power over the universe between his sons Zrvan, Titan, and Iapetos. Astghik persuaded them to stop contention.

Titan and Iapetos recognized the power of Zrvan but on the condition that all his male children are exterminated so that they would not rule over them. After Zrvan’s two sons died, Astghik together with his wives saved the rest, sending them west to Mount Dyuznetsk.

In the Hellenistic era, Astghik was identified with Aphrodite. Temples and places of worship of Astghik were located in Ashtishat, in the region of Andzevatsik (southeast of Lake Van), in Artamet on the shore of Lake Van, and many other areas.

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