Anaiti

Anaiti is the name of several Oriental female divinities, which are not easily distinguished.

1. In Persian mythology. The Cappadocians, Armenians, Persians, and Medes worshipped a goddess of love under this name, which the Romans and Greeks compared to Venus. She had two temples at Sacasene, in Armenia, which she divided among two Persian daemoris (Omanus and Anandatis), the temples being probably erected for the accommodation of the Persian armies or for trading caravans. In the neighborhood of Bactriana there was a rock supported by walls, erected as a retreat for the armies; and soon there was built a temple with a female priesthood, so that the city of Zela, in Pontus, near-by, was entirely inhabited by these priestesses, which goes to show that every girl living there consecrated herself to the service of the goddess. Strabo relates: "When the maidens had for a time consecrated themselves to the service of the goddess, they were married, and no one considered it a shame to marry them." The true signification of Anaitis is difficult to determine, as there are only Roman and Grecian accounts of her. However, when we remember the character of the Asiatic natural religion, in which a male and female are always classed together (Vishnu and Bhavani, Baal and Astarte, Isis and Osiris, Venus and Adonis, Attes and Cybele), and when we consider that this temple had two male daemons, we can only find in this worship another form of Asiatic natural religion.

2. A Shemitic goddess of a warlike character, some-n what approaching' the Bellona of classic mythology. She was represented as a nude woman standing on a lion, and sometimes on a crocodile, holding a spear or bow, and wearing a peculiar crown formed of tall feathers. Her worship was introduced into Egypt probably about the time of Rameses II, after his Syrian victories. SEE HERA.

3. Anaitis is also a feminine form of the great deity Mithra; as introduced into the Median religion when corrupted from Zoroastrianism. In some respects she was analogous to the Babylonian Mylitta (q.v.).

 
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