Astarte, also known as Athtart or Ashtart, is a goddess considered to be the western counterpart of Ishtar/Inanna. In various cultures of the ancient Near East, she was identified as a goddess of war, hunting, love, sex, horses and possibly the morning star. She was often referred to with the epithet "name-of-Baal" (or "face-of-Baal"), especially in Phoenician texts, and is assumed to be Baal's consort in many traditions. Her symbols are thought to be the lion, the panther, and perhaps the eight pointed star.
The oldest attestations of Astarte come from the ancient city of Ebla. In Mari, the name was used interchangeably with Ishtar to refer to the same goddess. She is also known from bronze age Emar and Ugarit. In Ugarit, she was envisioned as a warrior and hunter, and was almost always paired with Anat. While in Ugarit, Anat is the more prominent between them, their relevance is reversed in Emar. In the Baal cycle, she is one of Baal's allies, preventing him from attacking Yam's messengers and later seemingly participating in the battle against the sea god. In another myth, she and Anat take pity on the moon god Yarikh, unfavorably compared to a dog by other gods. The god Ashtar appears to be her male counterpart, but they aren't associated with each other in myths or rituals. Some texts raise the possibility that in Ugarit Astarte was seen as capable of cursing the opponents of her divine allies or even of humans invoking her. She was also renowned for her beauty, and in the tale of Aqhat, a mortal woman's appearance is favorably compared to Astarte's and Anat's.
In Egypt, Astarte was among the most prominent foreign deities, and was likewise often paired with Anat in myths and cultic texts. She was often depicted as a warrior on horseback there. She had a temple in Memphis and as a result was often viewed as a daughter of the Memphite tutelary god and divine craftsman, Ptah. Sometimes, Ra was regarded as her father instead. Egyptian texts consider her a consort of Seth, who in his role as a god of foreigners was conflated with Baal. A text known simply as the Astarte papyrus seemingly adapts the Yam portion of the Baal myth, preserving Astarte's role, but replacing Baal with Seth.
In later times, she was worshiped in the cities of Sidon, Tyre and Byblos, as well as in Phoenician colonies outside the Levant. However, in Carthage, the goddess Tanith seemingly played a similar role instead. The kings of Sidon were particularly involved in the cult of Astarte, and she had a prominent temple in that city.
Astarte occasionally appears in Greek and Roman sources. Philo of Byblos states that she ruled the land of the Phoenicians alongside "Adados" (Baal). Eusebius of Cesarea, a 3rd century Christian writer, records a myth according to which she was the daughter of Ouranos and had two sisters, Rhea and Dione (identified with the tutelary goddess of Byblos, Baalat Gebal). All three of them married Cronus (seemingly El). These accounts appear to combine various Greek traditions with Phoenician versions of either Canaanite or Hittite myths. Various Greek and Roman authors often compared Astarte to Aphrodite. As a result, the dove is sometimes assumed to be a symbol of Astarte.
In the Bible, she is known as Ashtoreth, seemingly an intentional misspelling meant to resemble the word bosheth, "abomination." The name is usually used in its plural form, "ashtaroth," often alongside "baalim" (the plural form of Baal's name), and refers to idols and false gods whose worship was condemned by biblical prophets. It's also plausible that the "Queen of Heaven" mentioned in Jeremiah 7:18 and 44:15-30 is either Astarte or a local form of Ishtar and as such at least analogous to her.
In popular culture, in some neopagan sources and in old biblical scholarship Astarte is often treated as interchangeable with Asherah and described as a mother goddess. This is not rooted in any historical sources, and the two goddesses have distinct attributes and roles in mythologies in which both of them appear. Asherah is a mother goddess, while Astarte generally lacks maternal characteristics, much like Ishtar.
The demon Astaroth is derived from the biblical term ashtaroth, but his history dates back only to the 15th century and doesn't incorporate any elements drawn from Astarte's mythology or cultic role. The demon's name is nonetheless treated as interchangeable with Astarte's in fiction sometimes.