The Jezebel

Using What They Have to Get What They Want.

The Epic of Gilgamesh: Ishtar


In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, war, love, and sex fulfills the archetype of the Jezebel. Ishtar attempts to seduce the hero of this epic, Gilgamesh, into being her husband to save his life, but he refuses.

“Listen to me while I tell the tale of your lovers. There was Tammuz, the lover of your youth, for him you decreed wailing, year after year. You loved the many-coloured roller, but still you struck and broke his wing […] You have loved the lion tremendous in strength: seven pits you dug for him, and seven. You have loved the stallion magnificent in battle, and for him you decreed the whip and spur and a thong […] You have loved the shepherd of the flock; he made meal-cake for you day after day, he killed kids for your sake. You struck and turned him into a wolf; now his own herd-boys chase him away, his own hounds worry his flanks.”

After his refusal, Ishtar becomes enraged and begs her father to have Gilgamesh and Enkidu killed.

“If you refuse to give me the Bull of Heaven, I will break in the doors of hell and smash the bolts; there will be confusion  of people, those above with those from the lower depths. I shall bring up the dead to eat food like the living; and the hosts of the dead will outnumber the living.”


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