About The Fish God

Dagon (or “Dagan” as spelled in some historical writings) was originally a Babylonian fertility god who evolved into a major Northwest Semitic god, reportedly of fish and/or fishing (as a symbol of multiplying). He was worshiped by the early Amorites, founders of the city of Babylon. He was also a major member, or perhaps head, of the pantheon of the Philistines, descendants of the Babylonians, and he was an important god of the maritime Canaanites, the Phoenicians.

Dagon first appears in extant records about 2500 BC in the Mari texts and in personal Amorite names in which the Mesopotamian gods Ilu (Ēl), Dagan, and Adad are especially common.  Dagon was referred to as lord of the gods and lord of the land in some of the earliest records.  Records of Dagon and whence he came and his role vary in later cultures.  In the Bible, Dagon is referred to as the god of the Philistines.  Another interpretation of Dagon from the Bible was “that Dagon had the form of a fish and, from his navel up, the form of a man.

In all past records that we researched, Dagon is depicted as an important god of past civilizations with many ties to the symbolism of fishing or being of a fish.  Figures of Dagon found on Babylonian gems, on Assyrian and Babylonian cylinders, and on pieces of sculptures in the region combine in different ways the body of a man and of a fish.  Taking the depiction of Dagon from the historical records and art in more general terms, Dagon personifies the idea that the ocean with its wealth of fish was worshiped as the chief source of human nourishment and culture.


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