Mylitta (perhaps = מילדת, Genitrix, "who causes to bear"), a name which, according to Herodotus (1:131), was given by the Assyrians to the goddess Aphrodite as the generative principle in nature. "She was apparently worshipped among the Babylonians, who gradually spread her worship through Assyria and Persia. She was originally, like almost every other mythological deity, a cosmic symbol, and represented the female portion of the twofold principle through which all creation bursts into existence, and which alone, by its united active and passive powers, upholds it. Mylitta is to a certain degree the representative of Earth. the mother, who conceives from the Sun Bel or Baal. Mylitta and Baal together are considered the type of the Beneficent. Procreation thus being the basis of Mylitta's office in nature, the act itself became a kind of worship to her, and was hallowed through and for her Thus it came to pass that every Babylonian woman had once in her life to give herself up to a stranger, and thereby considered her person consecrated to the great goddess. The sacrifice itself seems, especially in the early stage of its introduction among the divine rites of the primitive Babylonians, to have had much less of the repulsiveness which, in the eyes of highly cultivated nations, must be attached to it; and it was only in later days that it gave rise to the proverbial Babylonian lewdness. Herodotus's account of this subject must, like almost all his other stories, be received with great caution" (Chambers). In Babylonia this goddess was called Beltis or Bilit, i.e., "the Lady." She is commonly represented as the wife of Bel Nimrod (Belus), and the mother of his son Nin, though she is also called the wife of her son Nin. She united the characteristics of the classical divinities Juno, Venus, and Diana. Mylitta had temples at Nineveh, Ur, Erech, Nipur, and Babylon. The Baaltis of the Phoenicians was the same in name and character. The young women of Byblos, like those of Babylon, sacrificed in her service their virginity, and gave the price they received to the temple of the goddess. The Derceto of Ascalon, the Ashera of the Hebrews, and the Ishtar of the Babylonians were kindred divinities. SEE ASHTORETI.

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