Dushara is known first from epigraphic Nabataean sources who invariably spell the name dwsrʾ, the Nabataean script denoting only consonants. He appears in Classical Greek sources Δουσάρης (Dousáris) and in Latin as Dusares. The original meaning is disputed, but early Muslim historian Ibn al-Kalbi in his "Book of Idols" explains the name as Dhū l-Šarā (Arabic: ذو الشرى), meaning likely "The One from Shara", Shara being a mountain range south-east of the Dead Sea. If this interpretation is correct, Dushara would be more of a title than a proper name, but both the exact form of the name and its interpretation are disputed.
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ancient Near East
|Pre-Islamic Arabian deities|
|Arabian deities of foreign origin|
A shrine to Dushara has been discovered in the harbour of ancient Puteoli in Italy. The city was an important nexus for trade to the Near East, and it is known to have had a Nabataean presence during the mid 1st century BCE. The cult continued in some capacity well into the Roman period and possibly as late as the Islamic period.
This deity was mentioned by the 9th century CE Muslim historian Hisham Ibn Al-Kalbi, who wrote in The Book of Idols (Kitab al-Asnām) that: "The Banū al-Hārith ibn-Yashkur ibn-Mubashshir of the ʻAzd had an idol called Dū Sharā."
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