Atargatis: The Syrian Mermaid Goddess who Made Men Castrate Themselves

This episode originally appeared on our Patreon! We’re releasing it on our main feed because we also include Atargatis in Women of Myth. We hope you enjoy!

The Spartacus of the First Servile War–a man named Eunus–was a worshipper of Atargatis, an ancient goddess of the sea often depicted as a mermaid.

Atargatis was one of the most important goddesses of ancient Syria–with roots that went all the way back to the Bronze Age. Her temple in Hierapolis had a lake hundreds of fathoms deep, filled with fantastical fishes, and a bejewelled statue of the goddess whose eyes followed your every movement.

But in Rome, Atargatis’ religion was one of underdogs, foreigners, and the marginalized–much like the religion of Dionysus. And, like the cult of Dionysus, it threatened the Roman status quo.

Find out what made this Syrian mermaid goddess so phenomenal, powerful, and dangerous to the Roman aristocracy.

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