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Alʿuzza (العزى) also read Alʿuzzay and Alʿuzzē, is an Arabian goddess associated with beauty and protection. Her name means the mightiest.


Relationship to Allāt

Alʿuzza is in many ways like Allāt. She has the same geographic distribution and She was appropriated by Hellenistic culture in the same way. She even shows up with Allāt in South Arabian amulets. Alʿuzza's name means "the Mighty One." She was a major goddess in the Nabataean pantheon and She was known as the goddess of Bosra. However, She's never invoked with Allāt in Nabataea. In fact, Alʿuzza isn't found in Hegra, the Hejazi center of the Nabataeans, while Allāt isn't found in Petra. Alʿuzza was also popular in the Sinai while Allat was not. This lead some scholars to believe that Al'uzza was originally a title for Allat and later split into a separate deity. Another theory is that Allāt was the goddess of the Safaitic-writing Bedouin while Al'uzza is the goddess of the Nabataeans. Alʿuzza is found in the theophoric names of Safaitic-writing Bedouin but they don't invoke her in prayers. When the Nabataeans took over the northern Hejaz they adopted Allāt, the local goddess, instead of exporting Alʿuzza to the region. Alʿuzza was worshiped in Dedan, however, so Her worship did spread to the Hejaz and even further to South Arabia.

Relationship to Aphrodite

This complexity might be ironed out when looking at Hellenistic syncretism. In bilingual and in Greek sources Allāt is associated with Athena/Minerva while Alʿuzza is associated with Aphrodite/Venus. Earrings found in the Nabataean city of Memphis were matched with the imagery of Alʿuzza baetyls which were matched with jewellery of Aphrodite. In the region north of Nabataea Alʿuzza found her counterpart in Aphrodite and even the Egyptian goddess Isis, but there's no evidence that Hellenization made it to the Arabian peninsula so this association with Aphrodite or Isis may not have reached that far south. However, John of Damascus considered the stone at the Kaʿba to be the head of Aphrodite.

Relationship to Venus

Because of Her association with Aphrodite/Venus some have thought that She was a deified form of the planet Venus. We do have Christian Syriac sources talking about Arabs worshipping Venus in the Sinai where Alʿuzza was popular. Although the cult of Venus might encompass all three goddesses, Allāt, Manāt and Alʿuzza. The problem with this, however, is that we'd have to mostly rely on non-Arabian and even non-Pagan sources. Inscriptions in Ancient North Arabian and Old South Arabian do not link her to Venus. Turning to the South Arabian pantheon, a pantheon which is largely astral and included Alʿuzza, Venus was represented by the male god ʿAthtar, not by the goddess Alʿuzza, and in pre-Islamic poetry Venus is taken to be masculine. Regardless of any connection to Venus or lack thereof, Alʿuzza was a chief goddess worshipped by many in the Hellenized Levant, Nabataea, Hejaz and in South Arabia. She was syncretized with Aphrodite/Venus which is related to the Mesopotamian Inana/Ishtar and Canaanite Astarte.


Alʿuzza was worshipped by the Nabateans, and there is evidence that her worship in places like Elusa in Negev, Palestine survived until the mass adoption of Christianity in the 4th century.

See also