Bānūg 'Lady ; Goddess'
Spǝṇtā Armaiti : Spendārmed
The Lady and the eight-pointed star
On the cylinder seals and tablets of Elam we find the representation of stars, moon and sun from the third millennium B.C. For example, a seal cylinder from Susa, from around 2500 B.C., shows the figure of a goddess seated on lion(s), and next to her the representation of crescent moon, sun-disc and eight-pointed star.
A yet older artefact, a vase from Jīruft, shows the representation of the crescent moon and the star with eight points surrounding a central dot. We find the representation of the eight-pointed star with crescent moon on the coins of the Parthian and Elymaean kings.
In these examples the star symbol may represent the third-brightest object in the night sky, after the moon, i.e. the planet Venus; and it is possible that it bore the name of the Lady of Elam, Pinigir, and that of the Lady of Jīruft, and in the Parthian period that of the Lady Anāhīd.
Aratxerxes and three Ladies
Plutarch in the Life of Artaxerexes refers to three Perso-Aryan goddesses: 1) A warlike goddess that Plutarch conjectures to be Athena. Special rites for the consecration of Artaxerxes (Artaxšaçā) are fulfilled in the sanctuary of this goddess in Pasargadae. He only gives a few information of an elaborate ritual that took place more probably in the New Year. 2) A healing goddess that Plutarch conjectures to be Hera. When Atossa (Hutaoθā), the beloved daughter (wife) of Artaxerxes was taken ill and her body was covered with leprosy, Artaxerxes offered prayers to this goddess the sanctuary of whom was sixteen stadia far from his royal palace. 3) And, finally, a “virgin” goddess. Artaxerxes “appointed her (Aspasia) a priestess of the Artemis of Ecbatana (Hagmatāna), who bears the name of Anaïtis, in order that she might remain chaste for the rest of her life.”
The author interprets the three Greek divinities as referring to three distinct Perso-Aryan goddesses: Athena: Arštāt/ Aršti; Hera: Spǝṇtā Armaiti/ Nanā; Artemis: (Arǝdvī Surā) Anāhitā.
An Artemis Anāhitā votive inscription from Maeonia (Meyne)
A white marble relief, found with other stelae, comes from a sanctuary of Anaitis in ancient Maeonia (2nd century). A certain Charite daughter of Apollonius, after having been stuck by some « accident » made the « vow » of presenting to Artemis Anaitis the relief ; she was « freed from enchantment » by the incantation of the priestess of the sanctuary, and did so accordingly.
The month of Spendārmed, the day of Spendārmed_
On the day of the festival of the women, called Mizdgīrān
The Lady with the mirror
The witch Xnąθaitī and the hero Kǝrǝsāspa