Photo by Erich Lessing

The triangular sign of Tanit—the Punic goddess of love and war, identified with the Phoenician Astarte—appears on hundreds of funeral stelae from Tophets (infant burial grounds) in North Africa, Sicily, Sardinia and other Punic sites in the western Mediterranean. The sign is carved, for example, on the two third-century B.C. stelae shown at far left and far right; the circle incised above the triangle, some scholars believe, represents the god Ba’al Hammon, the consort of Tanit. The stone shown in the center, dating to the fourth century B.C., may depict the goddess Tanit. Similar but much smaller images, sometimes showing a woman carrying a tambourine (see photo of woman carrying a tambourine), have been found in urns buried in Carthage’s Tophet. This limestone stela and the smaller figurines found among the burial goods were probably intended to solicit Tanit’s favor.