The Middle East is the birth place of the Abrahamic religions; the two dominant religions of the modern world, Christianity and Islam, were born there. Prior to them, Judaism was already present there, and it was the monotheistic Jews that the Romans met and had conflicts with.

Few people in the western world realize that Judaism, and by extension Christianity, Islam and the Baha'i faith, are essentially WrittenByTheWinners versions of older Semitic religions present in the Levant. The gods of the pre-monotheistic Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Arabs and other Semitic groups were dominant in what is now is exclusively Muslim, Jewish and Christian territory, and the Phoenicians got them spread around the Mediterranean and North Africa. The Assyrians, Akkadians, and Babylonians, on the other hand, adopted [[MesopotamianMythology Sumerian mythology]] in a similar fashion to the Roman appropriation of Greek mythology that occurred centuries later. Despite their geographical superiority to Greek and Egyptian deities, these old gods of the Levant are barely remembered by modern people, largely due to the historical efforts of the Christians and Muslims to eliminate competition to their religions. Nowadays, only the gods that were literally demonized (in that they became demons in Judeo-Christian theology), such as Moloch, have any presence in the popular imaginarium.

Knowledge on Canaanite mythology is scarce, but we do have an idea about its cosmology. The world was created by '''Elion''' (El for god, ion for upper, uppermost together) and his wife '''Beruth''' (which means the city); from them were born all the gods of the Levant ('''Elohim'''; in modern Hebrew it means [[ThereCanOnlyBeOne God]] but used to mean 'Godly beings' and can be seen as the prototype for the Abrahamic angels). The mountains Targhizizi and Tharumagi held the firmament up above the earth-circling ocean, Heaven being the god Shamayim, and the dead went to Sheol (the Underworld; the concept survives in modern Judeo-Christian beliefs, although many equate it to Hell, despite the fact the Bible/Torah confirming it to be far away from the modern fiery Jahanam torture cellar). Many influences from [[ClassicalMythology classical religion]] ensued. Several concepts in Semitic mythology are shared with both ancient Greek religion and [[EgyptianMythology Egyptian tradition]]; indeed, many deities are analogous to classical ones, while others were literally exported from Egypt. Eventually, the worshipers of one of the Elohim, Yahweh, rose to power and destroyed the rest of the religion and [[WrittenByTheWinners wrote everything from their point of view]], and the rest is history.

Modern Hebrew paganism is still practiced in the form of "Jewitchery", although needless to say Jew pagans are rare and heavily frowned upon by the other Jews. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canaanite_religion Here's a list of the most well known deities]], although more information can be obtained in TheOtherWiki.

!!According to the myths:

* AKindOfOne: El is both a generic word for god and the name of a singular father god. Scholars have not really reached a definite conclusion on whether the singular El and Elion were two different figures or if singular El was an aspect of Elion (El tends to be more humanized than Elion and the two seem to be separated in some listings).
* AbhorrentAdmirer: One myth of Eshmun has him originally as a mortal who was fleeing from [[AllWomenAreLustful an infatuated Astarte.]] To make it clear how much he wanted to be away from her he castrated and killed himself. That was not good enough however because Astarte was able to bring him back to life.
* AnimalMotifs: Lionesses for Tanit.
* BloodKnight: Anat, who prattles off a long list of famous individuals she killed, maimed or otherwise humbled. She even picks a fight with El when he tells her she is about to act in folly and as a result he lets do as she wishes and suffer from her own mistakes.
* CanonImmigrant: Astarte is considered homogenous with the Mesopotamian goddess Inanna[=/=]Ishtar, and is identified with the Egyptian goddess Isis and the Greek goddess Aphrodite.
* DemotedToExtra: Many of the Semitic gods were adopted by Egypt but their former importance rarely carried over. Anat, Ashera and Ashirat for example were combined together and [[InNameOnly called Qadeshtu]], essentially deleting four very different figures. They also turned king of the Elohim Baal-Hadad into Set, god of foreigners (hence his storm powers), and Astarte into Isis. This happened to Melqart so often we hardly know anything about it in comparison to the figures it was equated with.
* DifferentAsNightAndDay: Shachar was day, Shalim was night and they were twins.
* DivineRanks / OurGodsAreDifferent: Elion was essentially what modern people see God as, whereas the Elohim were essentially the morally flawed pagan gods. Elyon is a name in the Bible, most famously in ''Numbers'' and ''Psalms''(usually rendered as "Most High") but it is almost always used interchangeably with Elohim (rejecting the divine ranks). Sometimes Elohim refers to men or angels instead though it refers to God enough times, perhaps as a holdover from the Hebrew's polytheistic past. When Ezekiel relays "...and I The Lord will be your God." it was originally "...and I YHWH will be your Elohim."
* DualWielding: Kothar-was-Khasis once saved Baal-Hadad from Yam by beating him away with two clubs. Anat may be depicted doing this with knives.
* GeniusLoci: Shamayim, the god of Heaven. Also in the Bible but not treated much like a living entity there. Beruth too if you take Elion's marriage to her/it literally(it means city, {{and now you know}} why the Bible keeps referring to cities as virgin daughters and wives). Maybe Baal-Berith/El-Berith too.
* GodOfEvil: The pantheon has technically three: Mot (death), Yam (the sea) and Yahweh (war), although only the first was seen as the absolute evil, since he wasn't worshiped. It was the followers last one who successfully ended the lives of all the original servants of the other gods, though, and whose worship is justified by modern Christians and Muslims for their atrocities. In fact, the only surviving mentions of Yahweh by Canaanites are in reference to the God of Israel, whose name is purposefully garbled, so is sometimes questionable if other similar words were in reference to Yaw or Yam instead. Yahu may be YHWH, Amorite Yahwi and Egyptian Yhw definitely are but are still only in theophoric names or in reference to Israel. YHWH's war god status was probably a reflection of the usual relations.
* GodOfGood: Sydyk is close enough as being either god of justice or righteousness. Shalim, despite being associated with the Netherworld, was also associated with night and peace ([[SadlyMythtaken which is strange to modern audiences used to Sheol being called hell]]).
* GreenThumb: Nikkal, the goddess of fruits and orchards to whom the oldest notated song on record is dedicated to. There is also Dagon, the god of crops and grain as well as Asherath, goddess of trees. Baal-Hammon could be turned to for vegetation needs too as he was a fertility god.
* HealingMagic: Eshmun, who had a staff just like Hermes/Mercury. Resheph brought plagues but could also heal their symptoms.
* HijackedByJesus: Moloch and the Ba'als (several separate deities sharing the same epithet) were literally demonized by the Christians, the later turned into a composite thing called Beelzebub. Israelites created two figures out of one by both demonizing Baal-Zephon as Beelzeboul ''and'' accepting Zephon as an angel minus the Baal. (Baal means lord and Zephon means out looking, they believed Zephon was a good guy looking out for them but not something to worship). Anat becomes Ishtar's mother Antu [[MesopotamianMythology in later Akkadian texts]] ([[ContinuitySnarl Ishtar's earlier equation with her mother Athirat is the least of the problems with this]]) and the angel Anathiel in the Zohar.
* HumanSacrifice: The Israelites claimed this was done for Moloch (well Milcom, scholars are convinced it's another word for Moloch since the monotheistic Hebrews [[SpeakOfTheDevil preferred not to call gods by their true names]]) while the Greeks and Romans claimed this was done for Baal-Hammon. Even if this is true all three of those societies did this themselves [[OldShame at some point or another]]. Emperor Tiberius had to put down some child sacrifices being done by the cult of Tank (a nickname for war goddess Tanit).
* ItsPronouncedTropay: Ancient Hebrew does not have a "W" sound as modern English speakers know it. (This is how one gets get Jehovah out of Yahweh).
* InsultBackfire: A common insult in those days was to tear down a revered landmark and replace it with a toilet. When the Israelites did this to the temple of Baal-Peor though it was considered an outstanding show of reverence for "the lord of openings".
* KnifeNut: Anat again
* KrakenAndLeviathan: Lotan, who would later become the biblical Leviathan. Lotan is harder to define than the Bible analog(which is saying something) and can be interpreted as a pet of Yam or a part of Yam himself, as a seven headed serpent or literally being seven living seas.
* LightEmUp: Subverted with Attar the morning star, who was strangely associated with water (morning dew?)[[note]]Venus was associated with water in Greek shamanism due to Aphorite's history, though it's unlikely the symbolism was identical[[/note]]. Oh yes, he did usurp Baal-Hadad's throne while the sky god was dead and was spectacularly thrown out of heaven by the Elohim in response, [[YourNameSoundsSuspiciouslyLikeLucifer why do you ask]]? Shachar played this trope straighter.
* LoveGoddess: Qadeshtu, it is debated among scholars whether or not her worship amounted to "sacred prostitution".
* {{Lunacy}}: Yarikh the moon god. He was the husband of Nikkal and provided the water for her orchards (the Hebrews explanation for nighttime condensation). One of his epithets was "[[SinisterScythe lord of the sickle]]". The crescent moon&star combo seen throughout antiquity and associated with Mohammadan Islam nowadays started with him.
* MakingASplash: Yam, the sea god and his rival Baal-Hadad the storm god, as well as some other deities associated with water obviously like Yaw, judge of the rivers.
* MonsterProgenitor: Athirat/Astarte is sometimes referred to as the first god and mother of the Elohim through El. Sometimes El is described as the first god and the father of them through Astarte. Sometimes Elion is the first god and created the rest for the sake of the "city" or the "covenant". As of now there does not seem to be enough data to straighten the whole thing out.
* NotSoDifferent: In the Bible has a few different occasions where the Israelites or Jews provoke God's wrath by shaping golden calves for worship. There is some evidence the other Hebrew tribes had just as much disdain for those idols by records of a negative figure known as Atik, "the quarrelsome calf of El", who was slain by Anat.
* OddJobGods: Several cases, as to be expected from any pantheon. Baal-Marqod, Lord of the Dance, for instance, the Kotharat, divine midwives and maybe Kothar anything(see below). Resheph was known to be a deer god in addition to his other listed jobs. Tanit became goddess of weaving in Egypt as Neith but strangely did not lose her war goddess status.
* OrderVersusChaos: This is the rivalry between Baal-Hadad and Yam. Both are known for causing storms but Baal-Hadad's are beneficiary while Yam's are destructive and associated with the unpredictability of sea waves.
* OurAngelsAreDifferent: Actual angels are only truly present in the Abrahamic branches of the Semitic religions, but the gods had servants. The phrase Elohim in the Bible has been interpreted to mean angels when it is not directly referring to God, but the Elohim here all acted and were worshiped independently from Elion, instead of being his servants and messengers.
* PlayingWithFire: Moloch, the god of fire. Also Ishat, "the bitch of the gods".
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: Paghat aims to take revenge on Yatpan and Anat for their {{accidental murder}} of her brother Aqhat and for their accidental bringing of a drought. Since Yatpan is a shape shifter though she does not realize he is with her when she sets out for revenge ([[CliffHanger the end of the story has not yet been found]]).
* ResurrectiveImmortality: The gods could die through enough violence against them but could be restored back to life. The amount of effort needed to resurrect them seemed to be proportional to the nature of the death, Anat had to cut Baal-Hadad free from Mot, who had eaten him. Mot comes back to life seven years after Anat goes through a prolonged effort to make sure there is nothing left of him too. Baal-Hadad and Yam also killed one another at various points only for each of them to be brought back to life by Elion. They could apparently grant this kind of immortality to mortals too, as many offered it to Aqhat in exchange for his bow but he refused.
* ShockAndAwe[=/=]BoltOfDivineRetribution: Baal-Hadad, the sky god. These traits were later given to Yahweh in the Bible.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Because of the shared language, many names of Biblical figures show up among the records though not always without a little variation. Some like Elion to Elyon are probably different interpretations of the same thing, others like Danel the judge and Daniel the adviser are probably coincidental and unrelated beyond etymology.
* SpotlightStealingSquad: Of all the old Semitic deities, only [[{{God}} YHWH]] has survived to the modern day as the sole deity of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
* SwallowedWhole
** Mot to people, animals and other Elohim. He considers cooked food an insult which is revealed when Baal-Hadad tries to be nice and invites him to a feast, which ends with him eating Baal-Hadad instead of anything served. It backfires on him when Baal-Hadad makes him eat his own family...though why he complains about this is lost to time as from what we know the Elohim ''are'' his family and he had no problem eating Baal-Hadad.
** In some versions rather than eating Baal-Hadad Mot swallows a cow that he and the other Elohim mistake for Baal-Hadad, which says a lot both about Mot's ability to swallow and the gods' vision. (Naturally Baal-Hadad does not need to be resurrected by Anat in this version after she kills Mot in "revenge").
* TheArcher: Resheph, who shot diseased arrows to cause plagues like Apollo. In Egypt he was for some reason associated with chariots instead. For the mortals we also have Aqhat, whose bow was made by Kothar-was-Khasis and was the envy of the Elohim, so much that Aqhat was killed for it, only for Yatpan to drop the bow in the sea. In Egypt Tanit became Neith, who used archery to fend off evil spirits trying to steal the preserved remains of the dead.
* ThePowerOfCreation:Kothar-wa-Khasis(meaning skillful and wise), he also opened Baal-Hadad's window to let the rain out.
* ThePowerOfTheSun: Shapash, the sun goddess. She typically tried to mediate conflicts between the Elohim to prevent Elion from getting involved and protected humanity from Mot after he killed Baal-Hadad. On the other hand she also ruled in favor of Yam, who was not very popular among the Canaanites.
* TyrantTakesTheHelm: After being badmouthed by Baal-Hadad, Elion allows Yam to overthrow the sky god and become the new king of the Elohim. Yam proves to be very oppressive to the other gods though and tries to use their agony to blackmail Ashera into sleeping with him, so the gods beg Elion to forgive Baal-Hadad and let him be king again, which Elion does. They then cast Yam out of heaven. In the ''epic of Baal'' it is El and Baal-Hadad who have the feud and Yam does not successfully become king, though they might just be two separate events rather than contradictory stories.
* WalkOnWater: An Astarte/Athirat epithet was "She who treads on the sea". It may have double meaning, as the sea god Yam is a perennial enemy of hers in the mythology.
* WarGod: Anat, Tanit and by popular theory so is Yahweh, who became identified with El (hence the Tanakh's particularly harsh demonization of Astarte, El's consort), from there El is pretty easy to confuse with Elion and suddenly [[SpotlightStealingSquad Yahweh has taken over the entire religion]]. Interestingly, all three of them were {{virgin| power}}s.
* WeHardlyKnewYe: Rahmay, Elion's wife who disappears from the texts after being married to him.
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