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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…

Sator-Rotas Square

(210 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] ( Sator arepo tenet opera rotas). The sator-rotas square began to appear in the mid-1st century throughout the Roman Empire, initially beginning with ROTAS, later with SATOR. In the Middle Ages and the modern period, popular belief put the square on amulets and used it widely as a charm or magic formula. The five lines of five letters can each be read from all four sides and in all directions: ¶ ROTAS SATOR OPERA AREPO TENET TENET AREPO OPERA SATOR ROTAS The interpretation is not clear. The formula is not Christian, but it has been used by Christians since the…

Iconography

(6,550 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Koch, Güntram | Arnulf, Arwed | Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle | Finster, Barbara | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Archaeology – III. Iconography and the Bible – IV. Christian Iconography – V. Jewish Iconography – VI. Islamic Iconography – VII. Buddhist Iconography – VIII. Hindu Iconography I. Religious Studies Iconography (Gk εἰκονογραϕία/ eikonographía) originally meant the description of images (Arist. Poet. XV; Strabo XV 1.19), but nowadays is used to refer to the methodical study of images. Where scholars distinguish between iconography, iconology , and iconics (Ger. Ikonik), iconography denotes the description of the object, …

Human Form in Art

(3,499 words)

Author(s): Schroer, Silvia | Andreae, Bernard | Koch, Guntram | Apostolos-Cappadona, Diane
[German Version] I. Ancient Near Eastern Art – II. Greco-Roman Art – III. Christian Art I. Ancient Near Eastern Art The earliest datable representations of animals in ancient Near Eastern art stem from the Mesolithic Period, and the oldest representations of the human form from the Neolithic Period (reworked male skulls or imitations of the same, cf. Kenyon; stylized or three-dimensional figurines of sitting, corpulent women). Anthropomorphic ¶ (Anthropomorphism) deities are usually distinguished from humans through attributes (for the exception of the “naked…

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…

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…

Martyrium

(848 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] In the early Christian period, a martyrion (Gk) or memoria (Lat.) was a place of “witness” and “commemoration” providing an opportunity for cultic veneration (cf. also Sacred sites: IV). The site might be associated with a biblical event or the life of Christ in the vicinity of the Holy Land. Examples include the site of the burning bush in the eastern portion of the chapel of St. Catherine's monastery at Mount Sinai (Sinai, St. Catherine's monastery); the tree in Mamre where God as a Trin…

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…

Solin

(155 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] in Croatia near Split, was an Illyrian city that became a Roman colony under Julius Caesar. It flourished under the Empire, since it had an excellent harbor and good communications with the interior, and became the capital of the province of Dalmatia. Christianity spread very early and intensively in Salona. The city and its surroundings and the nearby island of Brattia (Brac) contain the ruins of a large number of churches and buildings over the tombs of martyrs, dating from the…

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…

Hand of God and Hand of Humans in Art

(952 words)

Author(s): Schroer, Silvia | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Ancient to Pre-Roman Times – II. From Roman Times I. Ancient to Pre-Roman Times From its earliest beginnings, ancient art reflected the central role of the hand in sign language. Hands were raised in prayer, incantation, greeting, blessing, and in delivering a blow. Hands were raised in entreaty and in mourning, or were thrown in the air in triumph. Hostility was averted with an extended hand and fingers or the fist. Parties to a contract shook the right hand as a sign of binding commitment…

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…

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…

Mistra

(327 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] was founded as a castle in 1249 by William II of Villehardouin, the Frankish prince of Achaea; it was built on a prominent rock elevation (621 m) for the protection of the city of “Lakedaimonia” (ancient and modern Sparta [see Greece, map]), which lies roughly 7 km to the southeast of Mistra. In 1204, the Latin knights of the Fourth Crusade had conquered the Peloponnese, as well as other places. The Byzantines regained control of its southeastern part in 1262, and Mistra became th…

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 …

Sarcophagus/Urn/Ossuary

(793 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Freigang, Christian
[German Version] I. Bronze Age to Late Antiquity It is important to distinguish between a sarcophagus to hold a dead body, an urn for the ashes of a person who has been cremated, and an ossuary to hold the bones of the dead after the flesh has decayed (see also Burial). These receptacles were generally buried; they were not visible and were therefore simple. In some areas and in some periods, it became customary to make them out of marble or other kinds of stone and decorate them with representational or ornamental reliefs. In Greek areas sarcophagi were the exception (6th–4th cents. bce). The E…

Bozrah (Hauran, Syria)

(361 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Pre-Christian Period – II. Christian Archaeology I. Pre-Christian Period Bozrah (or Bostra; Arab. Bushra ash-Sham), in the southeast of the Hauran, is a crossroads of many long-distance routes. It is mentioned in Egyptian texts from the 2nd millennium. First settled in the Early Bronze Age, it was captured by Judas Maccabeus (Maccabees) (1 Macc 5:28). In the 1st century bce and the 1st century ce, it was on the edge of the Nabatean territory in southern Auranitis and was the site of an important …

Demons and Spirits

(6,288 words)

Author(s): Hutter, Manfred | Görg, Manfred | Kollmann, Bernd | Haustein, Jörg | Koch, Guntram | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion (Ancient Near East and Antiquity) – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Iconography – VI. Practical Theology – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. History of Religion (Ancient Near East and Antiquity) The term “demon” as used in European language groups derives from the Greek (δαίμων/ daímōn), where it initially also referred simply to gods (ϑεοί/ theoí; cf. Homer Iliad 1.122) without either positive or negative connotations. The exclusively “negative” charge associate…

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…

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…
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