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In the standard Akkadian version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, Ishtar is portrayed as a spoiled and hot-headed femme fatale who demands Gilgamesh become her consort.
The cult of Inanna-Ishtar, which may have been associated with a variety of sexual rituals including homosexual transvestite priests and sacred prostitution, was continued by the East Semitic speaking people who succeeded the Sumerians in the region.
Those directors included Roger Matthews (in 1994–1996), for the Mc Donald Institute for Archaeological Research of the University of Cambridge; Geoff Emberling (in 1998–2002) and Helen Mc Donald (in 2000–2004), for the British Institute for the Study of Iraq and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
was the ancient Sumerian goddess of love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, combat, justice, and political power.
Inanna-Ishtar's most famous myth is the story of her descent into and return from Kur, the ancient Sumerian underworld, a myth in which she attempts to conquer the domain of her older sister Ereshkigal, the queen of the Underworld, but is instead deemed guilty of hubris by the seven judges of the Underworld and struck dead, before being brought back to life three days later through the intervention of the god Enki due to Ninshubur's fervent pleading, even after all the other gods reject her.
Her husband Dumuzid is dragged down to the Underworld by the galla, the guardians of the Underworld, as her replacement, but is eventually permitted to return to heaven for half the year while his sister Geshtinanna remains in the Underworld for the other half, resulting in the cycle of the seasons.