Atargatis (Ataratheh, Derceto, Dea Syriae) was the chief goddess of northern Syria in Classical Antiquity.
Primarily she was a goddess of fertility, but, as the mistress of her city and people, she was also responsible for their protection and well-being. Her chief sanctuary was at Hierapolis, northeast of Aleppo, Syria. She is sometimes described as a mermaid-goddess, due to identification of her with a fish-bodied goddess at Ascalon. However, there is no evidence that Atargatis was worshipped at Ascalon, and all iconographic evidence shows her as anthropomorphic.
As Ataratheh, doves and fish were considered sacred to her: doves as an emblem of the Love-Goddess, and fish as symbolic of the fertility and life of the waters.
Derceto fell in love with a youth and became by him the mother of a child and how in shame Derceto flung herself into a lake near Ascalon and her body was changed into the form of a fish though her head remained human. Derceto's child grew up to become Semiramis, the Assyrian queen.