Amar Astarte was a scientist of ancient Terra and the first director of the Imperial Biotechnical Division who was instrumental during the final days of the Unification Wars in the 30th Millennium in creating the first Space Marines of the Legiones Astartes.
Not much is known about Astarte's origins or how she came to work on the Legiones Astartes project. By the later years of the Unification Wars she served as the first director of the Imperial Biotechnical Division in the subterranean laboratories of the Imperial Palace.
Her project was the development of the separate gene-lines of the Space Marine Legions. She was known to be perhaps the greatest geneticist of the era save for the Emperor Himself. Her skills were said to even surpass that of the Selenar gene-cult of Luna.
It was Amar Astarte who first attempted to develop the prototype for the Space Marine gene-seed organ that would become the Black Carapace. But the initial design was flawed and had to be perfected by another legendary scientist named Ezekiel Sedayne who had been alive during the Age of Strife. Sedayne ultimately replaced Astarte as the director of the Biotechnical Division.
At the time of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium, Astarte was no longer viewed with much esteem by the Imperial government. After she was replaced by Sedayne as the head of the Imperium's genetic engineering efforts, the second director of the BioTechnical Division tended to view her with a certain degree of disdain or even outright hostility.
Astarte was the Hellenised form of the Middle Eastern goddess Astoreth (Northwest Semitic), a form of Ishtar (East Semitic), a goddess of fertility, love, sex and war. Astarte was worshipped from the Bronze Age through Classical antiquity. The name is particularly associated with her worship in the ancient Levant among the Canaanites and Phoenicians. She was also celebrated in Egypt following the importation of Levantine cults there.
The name Astarte is sometimes also applied to her cults in Mesopotamian cultures like Assyria and Babylonia.
Her portfolios of fertility and battle make her an excellent namesake for the woman who helped to give birth to the Space Marines of the Imperium of Man.
- Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work (Novel) by Guy Haley, Ch. 19