BELIT (signifying the "lady," par excellence), in the Babylonian religion the designation of the consort of Bel. Her real name was Nin-lil, i.e. the "lady of power," if the explanation suggested in BEL for the second element is correct. She is also designated as Nin-Khar-sag, "Lady of the mountain," which name stands in some relationship to Im-Khar-sag, "storm mountain" - the name of the staged tower or sacred edifice to Bel at Nippur. As the consort of En -lil, the goddess Nin-lil or Belit belongs to Nippur and her titles as "ruler of heaven and earth," and "mother of the gods" are all due to her position as the wife of Bel. While recognized by a temple of her own in Nippur and honoured by rulers at various times by having votive offerings made in her honour and fortresses dedicated in her name, she, as all other goddesses in Babylonia and Assyria with the single exception of Ishtar, is overshadowed by her male consort. The title Belit was naturally transferred to the great mother-goddess Ishtar after the decline of the cult at Nippur, and we also find the consort of Marduk, known as Sarpanit, designated as Belit, for the sufficient reason that Marduk, after the rise of the city of Babylon as the seat of his cult, becomes the Bel or "lord" of later days. (M. JA.)
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