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I wanted to do a painting where ancient pagan gods destroyed military hardware and brought peace through fiery cleansing. At first I wanted the enemies to be specifically jihadist terrorists, but I came to the conclusion this would be more interesting if they were nondescript remnants of a human army, you can still see the black flags of those who insist in killing and working against civilization, progress, humanism and secularism. So my choice of pagan gods was obvious, it had to be ones that were considered evil by believers of major religions.
Ishtar was the Babylonian goddess of love (or mostly sex) and war, the two poles of human behavior. Ishtar was an important mythological figure of the Neo-Babylonian empire that was ruling most of middle east in the 6th century BCE and was consistently deemed evil by jews and christians and left a mark in the bible up to its last book and I dare say it directly inspired the christian Satan.
Melek Taus is one of the angels that care for the world in the Yazidi faith. His symbol is the Peacock and he's also a controversial figure and deemed evil by both muslims and christians. As the Yazidi have been consistently persecuted over the last few centuries I thought it would be nice to inspire Yazidi fighters too in their present war against the Daesh (Islamic State).