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Abercius, Inscription of

(390 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] In 1883, two fragments of an altar slab with portions of a lengthy Greek epitaph of a certain Abercius were discovered at Hieropolis on the Glaucus, near Synnada in Phrygia (western Turkey). The fragments were given to Pope Leo X by Sultan Abdülhamid II in 1888 and are now in the Museo Pio Cristiano in the Vatican, with a reconstruction of the altar. The inscription comprises 18 incomplete lines, with nine verses (7–15). The entire inscription (a distich and 20 hexameters) is preserved in the legendary Life of a Bishop Abercius, which may go back to …

Excavations

(6,073 words)

Author(s): Bernbeck, Reinhard | Hartmut, Mattäus | Hübner, Ulrich | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. General – II. Eastern Mediterranean – III. Palestine – IV. Realm of the Early Church I. General The development of the discipline of archaeology relates closely to the development of archaeological techniques. Archaeology serves the controlled investigation of the material evidence of past societies. The fundamental idea of the science of archaeology consists in the fact that ancient objects attain full significance chiefly in their original context. Function, da…

Via Appia

(110 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] Via Appia, a via publica laid out in 312 bce by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus, in part on top of earlier roads. It ran from Rome to Brundisium (Brindisi), then continued along the Via Egnatia to the Balkans; for centuries, therefore, it was the most important link joining Rome to Asia Minor and the Levant (Trade and traffic in the Mediterranean world). Impressive sections lined with tombs and other structures are preserved near Rome. Guntram Koch Bibliography M. Rathmann, DNP XII/2, 2002, 159f. I. de Portella et al., eds., Via Appia antica, 2003; ET: The Appian Way: Fro…

Sacred Sites

(2,374 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Reichert, Andreas | Dan, Joseph | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Characterization of a place as “sacred” or “holy” lends it a special status vis-à-vis its environment. Usually specific regulations govern how it is entered and used. Traditionally this status has been grounded in the belief that the site is proper to a deity or another spiritual being, or that a special power emanates from it. Sacred sites are particularly common at the center and on the fringes of group territories: the “men’s house” or festival ground defines the center of a village, just as the temple complex on …

Carthage

(2,038 words)

Author(s): Huß, Werner | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Names – II. Geography – III. History and Society – IV. Religion and Literature I. Names Even though in ancient literary contexts Carthage was occasionally called Tyre, Tarshish, Kaine Polis, Kadmeia, Oinus, Kaccabe, Afrike, and Byrsa, the official name of the city was, nonetheless, always Qrtḍdšt, “New City.” The city was called “New City” to characterize it as an establishment of the “Old City,” Tyre (in Phoenicia). It shared this name with Phoenician settlem…

Stobi

(179 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] The town of Stobi (modern Gradsko) in what is today Macedonia came into existence no later than the 3rd century bce. It flourished during the Roman Empire, as the remains of various structures attest, serving as a junction on the important north-south road to Thessalonica and linking with the Via Egnatia toward the northeast. Stobi took on special importance in Late Antiquity, when it became the capital of the province of Macedonia Secunda. Its conquest by the Goths under Theodoric the Great in 479 b…

Ampulla

(281 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Gk εὐλογία/ eulogía, blessing). In the early Christian era ampullas were well known as pilgrimage-related mementos. They are small receptacles made of metal (alloyed lead-pewter), earthenware or glass, generally in the shape of a round, low canteen with two handles. At times they were used to carry water but mostly oil from sacred places in the…

Hierapolis (Asia Minor)

(186 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] Phrygian Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale, “Cotton Castle”) is situated near the Maeander on silica terraces alongside a vigorous spring, high above a fertile plain. It was founded in the 2nd century bce by colonists from Pergamum and flourished from the 1st through the 3rd centuries (theater; nymphaeum; temple of Apollo by a cleft in the earth thought to be an entrance to the netherworld; thermae; impressive necropoleis with mausolea and sarcophagi) and again in the 5th/6th centuries ce (city walls; several churches within the city; a church in the northern …

Palmyra

(587 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Sem. Tadmor), oasis watered by a major spring (Efqa), on an important caravan route in the Syrian desert between the Euphrates (Dura-Europos) and the cities and towns in the west (Hama, Homs, Damascus) and along the coast. The earliest traces of human settlement (some 75,000 years old) were found in the cave of Douara. Settlement on the hill beside the spring began c. 7000 bce. Tadmor is mentioned in 2nd-millennium texts from Kültepe, Mari, and Emar. Since c. 300 bce, Palmyra must have been a very significant site, as evidenced by ongoing excavations. In 41 bce Palmyra cam…

Poreč

(163 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Ital. Parenzo) is a Croatian seaport on the western coast of Istria. The site has been settled since the Bronze Age. In the 2nd century bce it came under Roman rule; it was made a colonia under Tiberius (14–37 ce). Today the layout of the city still reflects the ancient system of orthogonal streets, dominated by a forum. The beginnings of Christianity in Poreč are obscure. Around 550 Bishop Euphrasius had a church built on the site of a large 3rd-century Roman villa and churches from the late 4th and early 5th centuri…

Tur ʿAbdin

(326 words)

Author(s): Tamcke, Martin | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Church History The “Mountains of the Servants (of God)” in southeastern Turkey gained their fame from monasticism, which began in the 4th century with Jacob of Nisibis and Augin of Clysma. Mount Izla, in the east, was home to the monasteries of the Nestorians (Nestorianism); the so-called Great Monastery on Izla was the fountainhead of the East Syrian monastic revival in the 6th century under Abraham of Kashkar. The mountains are the heart of Syrian Orthodox monasticism (Syrian mo…

Megaliths/Menhirs

(275 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] A menhir (Fr.-Breton “long stone”) is an elongated stone set vertically in the open air. In some areas, especially in France, the upper part resembles a human form, either just the face or the whole upper body, usually simply incised, more rarely three-dimensional (“statue menhirs”). Women are identified by their breasts; men usually carry a weapon as an attribute. Menhirs vary in size, from 1–2 m to exceptional examples 20 m high or more. They are found throughout extensive areas…

Wilpert, Joseph

(115 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Giuseppe; Aug 22, 1857, Eiglau, Silesia – Mar 10, 1944, Rome), Catholic priest and professor in Rome from 1926. Wilpert published three monumental works discussing the historical monument in Rome, which are still fundamental to any study of early Christian art. Guntram Koch Bibliography Works include: Die Malereien der Katakomben Roms, 1903 (Ger. & Ital.) Die römischen Mosaiken und Malereien der kirchlichen Bauten vom 4. bis 13. Jahrhundert, 4 vols., 1916; partial repr. with suppls.: Die römischen Mosaiken der kirchlichen Bauten vom 4. bis 13. Jahrhundert., ed. W…

God, Representations and Symbols of

(7,207 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Koch, Guntram | Stietencron, Heinrich v. | Kleine, Christoph | Wädow, Gerd
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Ancient Near East and Old Testament – III. Greco-Roman World – IV. Religions of India – V. Buddhism – VI. Chinese Religions – VII. Japan I. Terminology Gods manifest themselves in the human world; after the analogy of human beings, they are usually envisioned biomorphically, with ascribed sex and genealogy, as well as varying levels of differentiation and autonomy (Demons, Angels, Spirits). Natural entities felt to be supremely powerful (e.g. mountains, rivers, springs, constellation…

Symbols/Symbol Theory

(9,049 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Cancik-Lindemaier, Hildegard | Recki, Birgit | Schlenke, Dorothee | Biehl, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Use of the Greek word σύμβολον/ sýmbolon in a sense relevant to religious studies is attested quite early in the history of European religions; Dio of Prusa (1st/2nd cent. ce), for example, used it in his speech on Phidias’s statue of Zeus in Olympia ( Oratio 12.59). In this context, the Greek term reflects the problem posed by images of the gods: what is intrinsically inaccessible to human vision (Vision/Intuition) is somehow to be represented visually. In religious studies, especially in the phenomenology of religion, the concept of sy…

Ephesus

(1,220 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Günther, Matthias
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. Church History I. Archaeology Early evidence of settlement in the area of Ephesus dates back to the 5th millennium bce. The city itself was founded sometime after 1200 bce by Ionian Greeks. Lying at the mouth of the River Cayster (though now approx. 10 km from the sea), Ephesus grew wealthy as a seafaring and trading town. Impressive architectural remains still testify to its great prosperity …

Atrium

(175 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] An atrium is an open courtyard associated with big churches from the time of Constantine until the 6th century. Temples of the Imperial Period furnish prototypes. As a rule, the atrium is located at the narrow end before the main entrance – usually at the western, rarely at the eastern end (e.g. St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Church of the Holy…

Constantinople/Byzantium

(7,786 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Ritter, Adolf Martin | Ludwig, Claudia | Thümmel, Hans Georg | Ohme, Heinz | Et al.
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. Early Church – III. After 600 – IV. Councils – V. Patriarchate – VI. Literature – VII. Art – VIII. Church Music – IX. Judaism I. Archaeology Settlers from Megara settled Byzantium in the early 7th century on a previously inhabited hill on the Bosphorus, the most important water route from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea; a deep bay, the “Golden Horn” offered additional protection. In 324 ce, after the victory over Licinius, Constantine chose Byzantium as a new capital and dedicated it on May 11, 330 as Nea Roma, “New Rome”; soon the name …

Lascaux Grotto

(263 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] is a long, multi-branched cave located in the vicinity of Montignac (Dordogne, near Périgueux) that was discovered in 1940. Its walls and ceilings are decorated with the most extensive cylce of paintings ever discovered in a prehistoric cave. At first, they were very well preserved, but have suffered greatly from algae. The cave was closed in 1963 and a viewing copy was installed nearby. Almost 1,500 individual depictions have been counted. Animals, especially wild horses, but als…

Baalbek

(174 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Heliopolis) in the northern Biqaʾ (Bekaa valley, Lebanon) was an ancient Phoencian cult site for Baal. Construction of the monumental temple of Zeus, the largest in antiquity, began in the 3rd century bce and was completed between the 1st and 3rd cent. ce; in the 2nd cent. ce further temples were erected, while the city acquired colonnaded streets and public buildings. According to Eusebius of Caesarea ( Vita Constantini III 58), Constantine the Great had a temple to Aphrodite torn down to make room for a church (locat…
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