Tanit – the goddess of Ibiza

Tanit – the goddess of Ibiza

Tanit, the warrior goddess of dance, fertility and creation

Tanit is the most important goddess in Carthaginian mythology. Equivalent to the Phoenician goddess Astarte, she was the deity of the moon, sexuality, fertility and war, as well as the consort of Baal and patron of Carthage.

She was also worshipped in Egypt and Hispania, especially in Ibiza.

The Es Culleram Cave, located 150 meters above the sea in Sant Vicent de sa Cala, houses the largest sanctuary on the island to which thousands of people continue to go to worship the goddess Tanit since ancient times.

You can visit the Museum of Puig des Molins, in Ibiza, to study the oldest bust of this goddess found on the island.

In Ibizan society you will notice how widely popular the name TANIT is. Both as a name for women, and for brands and businesses.

This is why I decided to choose the symbol of TANIT as part of my logo.


A Punic coin featuring Tanit, minted in Punic Carthage between 330 and 300 BCE.
Tanit was worshiped in Punic contexts in the Western Mediterranean, in Sicily, Malta, North Africa, Gades and many other places into Hellenistic times.

Tanit’s worship might have originated in relation to the Phoenician deity Astarte (Ishtar), whose own worship is first dated in the Phoenician sites of Sidon and Tyre. Her shrine excavated at Sarepta in southern Phoenicia revealed an inscription that has been speculated to identify her for the first time in her homeland and related her securely to the Phoenician goddess Astarte (Ishtar).[8] Iconographic portrayals of both deities later become similar. The relation between both deities has been proposed to be hyposthatic in nature, representing two aspects of the same goddess.

From the fifth century BCE onwards, Tanit’s worship is associated with that of Baal Hammon. She is given the epithet pene baal (‘face of Baal’) and the title rabat, the female form of rab (‘chief’). In North Africa, where the inscriptions and material remains are more plentiful, she was, as well as a consort of Baal Hammon, a heavenly goddess of war, a “virginal” (unmarried) mother goddess and nurse, and, less specifically, a symbol of fertility, as are most female forms.  Tanit worship became popular in the Tyrian colony of Carthage, especially after the separation between Carthage and Tyre in the fifth century, when the traditional Phoenician cults of Astarte and Melqart were displaced by the Punic worship of Tanit and Baal Hammon. Tanit with a lion’s head

Several of the major Greek goddesses were identified with Tanit by the syncretic interpretatio graeca, which recognized as Greek deities in foreign guise the gods of most of the surrounding non-Hellene cultures. The ancient Berber people of North Africa also adopted the Punic cult of Tanit. 

Phoenicians spread the cult of Tanit-Astarte to the Iberian Peninsula with the foundation of Gadir (modern day Cádiz) and other colonies, where the goddess might have been also assimilated to native deities. Her worship was still active after the Roman conquest, when she was integrated with the Roman goddess Juno (along with elements from Diana and Minerva) in a goddess named Dea Caelestis, the same way Baal Hammon was assimilated to Saturn. Dea Caelestis retained Punic traits until the end of the Classical period in the fourth century Similarly, long after the fall of Carthage, Tanit was still venerated in North Africa under the Latin name of: Juno Caelestis, for her identification with Juno.  Iconography

Stele with Tanit’s symbol in Carthage’s Tophet, including a crescent moon over the figure
Her symbol (the sign of Tanit), found on many ancient stone carvings, appears as a trapezium closed by a horizontal line at the top and surmounted in the middle by a circle; the horizontal arm is often terminated either by two short upright lines at right angles to it or by hooks. Later, the trapezium was frequently replaced by an isosceles triangle. The symbol is interpreted by Danish professor of Semitic philology F. O. Hvidberg-Hansen as a woman raising her hands.  She’s also represented by the crescent moon and the Venus symbol. 

Like Astarte, Tanit is often depicted naked, as a symbol of sexuality and riding a lion or having a lion’s head herself, showing her warrior quality. She is also depicted winged, possibly under influence of Egyptian artwork of Isis. Her associated animal and plants are the lion, the dove, the palm tree and the rose.  Another motif assimilates her to Europa, portraying Tanit as a woman riding a bull that would represent another deity, possibly El. 

Back to blog