The Phoenicians were a seafaring people who lived in the eastern Mediterranean in a narrow strip of land on the coast of southern Syria between the mountains and the Sea. They were famed as traders, and they were especially known for their purple cloth, dyed with the secretion of the sea-snail called the murex; the name Phoenician, from the Greek phoinix, may have its roots in the name for this distinctive color. The earlier name of the Phoenicians was the Canaanites, a very ancient name that probably refers to their skill as merchants; for the most part these words do refer to the same culture, though it is handy to think of the Canaanites as belonging to the Bronze Age and the Phoenicians to the Iron Age. They also had a major outpost at Carthage on the northern coast of Africa; this persisted up to Roman times and was to give the Roman Republic much trouble.
Phoenicia, as a center of trade, had a lot of interaction with other cultures, and their art in particular shows a strong Egyptian influence. They are also credited with the world's earliest alphabet, meaning a system of symbols or letters in which each letter represents a simple sound, rather than an idea, syllable or word like cuneiform or the hieroglyphs of the Egyptians; and with their seafaring ways they were able to spread the alphabet far and wide.
The sources of Phoenician mythology include several (fragmentary) myth cycles preserved on ancient tablets, of which one is the Epic of Ba'al; other sources are Greek writings and the Hebrew scriptures. The Goddesses of the Canaanites/Phoenicians are here listed with some of the names given to them by other cultures, which may in some cases be more familiar—for example, the Great Goddess Ashtart is better known by Her Greek name of Astarte. There are many variations in names, as the Phoenician language (like many Semitic languages) did not make use of vowels, and in a lot of cases it seems it was up to the particular translator's fancy as to where to put them in to make things readable. I have included only the more obviously different variations on this index page, except in the cases of Ashtart and Athirat, who were (probably) two seperate Goddesses, often confused, whose names could have very similar spellings. I have thought it best then in their cases to include all the variations here, supposing that it will be less confusing, not more.
Entries with an asterisk (*) have illustrations by myself; I've also done a Hebrew Asherah painting, which is on a separate page here and not the same page as listed below which links to the Athirat article.
Anat*, Aretsaya, Arsai, Asertu, Asherah*, Ashtart, Ashtoreth, Asratum, Astaroth, Astarte*, Astartu, Astronoë, Atargatis*, Athirat, Athtart, Attart, Ba'alat, Ba'alat Ashtart, Ba'alat Gubul, Balthi, Belit, Caelestis*, Derketo, Dido, Elat, Elishat, Elissa, Ishat, Kades, Koshartu, the Kothirat, Malidthu, Marah, Mylitta, Nikkal*, Pdry, Pidraya, Qadshu*, Rahmaya, Samal, Sapas, Shapash, Sha'taqat, Sherah, Sumul, Talaya, Tanit*, 'Um Pachal, Yabarodmay, Ybrdmy, Zabib