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Cattle

(2,971 words)

Author(s): Raepsaet, Georges (Brüssel) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Jameson, Michael (Stanford)
[German version] I. General information Cattle ( Bos taurus) belong to the bovine family and are descended from the Eurasian big-horned aurochs ( Bos primigenius). Longhorn wild cattle were most likely domesticated in Central Asia between 10,000 to 8,000 BC and in the Near East around 7,000 to 6,000 BC. In the 3rd millennium BC various breeds of domesticated cattle spread throughout Europe. Herds of wild cattle still existed in the forested regions of the eastern Mediterranean, such as Dardania and Thrace (Varro, Rust. 2,1,5), as well as in Central Europe (Caes. B Gall. 6,28). In antiquit…

Uruk

(534 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Mesopotamia (modern al-Warkā; Sumerian unu(g)ki; in the OT Erek/ rk, cf. Gn 10:10; Greek Ὀρχόη/ Orchóē). City in southern Babylonia, discovered in 1849 by W. K. Loftus, excavated by German archaeologists since 1912 (with wartime interruptions). Based on settlements of the 5th millennium BC, Uruk developed in the 2nd half of the 4th millennium ('Uruk period') into one of the first large cities, with an area of 250 ha. Uruk was the cult city of Inanna/Ishtar…

Ptolemais

(1,304 words)

Author(s): Ameling, Walter (Jena) | Harmon, Roger (Basle) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Huß, Werner (Bamberg) | Et al.
(Πτολεμαίς; Ptolemaís). [German version] [1] Daughter of Ptolemaeus [1] I and Eurydice [4] Daughter of Ptolemaeus [1] I and Eurydice [4]; presumably married to a descendant of the pharaoh Nectanebus [2]; from 298 BC betrothed, and from 287 married to Demetrius [2] Poliorcetes. PP VI 14565. Ameling, Walter (Jena) Bibliography W. Huß, Das Haus des Nektanebis und das Haus des Ptolemaios, in: AncSoc 25, 1994, 111-117  J. Seibert, Historische Beiträge zu den dynastischen Verbindungen in hellenistischer Zeit, 1967, 30 ff. 74 f. [German version] [2] P. from Cyrene Ancient scholar of m…

Shipbuilding

(1,703 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Briese, Christoph (Randers) | Konen, Heinrich (Regensburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Due to the lack of original finds from most regions of the ancient Orient, little can be said about shipbuilding, except for Egypt. The fact that many Syrians were employed in Egyptian shipyards and that a ship (from around 1300 BC) found at Ulu Burun, Turkey was built in the same technique as Egyptian ships indicates that a uniform shipbuilding technique was used throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Here, wooden planks were placed in the desired position w…

Mesopotamia

(7,071 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Oelsner, Joachim (Leipzig)
I. General [German version] A. Name The name M., i.e. ‘[land] between the rivers [ Euphrates [2] and Tigris]’, first appears in Arrian (Arr. Anab. 3,7,3; 7,7,3) as a designation for the area of what is now eastern Syria and northern Iraq, probably corresponding to the Aramaic beyn nahrīn and the Akkadian māt birīt nārim (both ‘between the rivers’). However, this expression designated only the region between the bend of the Euphrates and Baliḫ/Ḫabur [1; 2]. Later, M. could also refer to the entire region of the two rivers (Plin. HN 5,86). In modern,…

Navigation

(2,434 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Alonso-Núñez, José Miguel (Madrid)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt In Egypt and southern Mesopotamia navigation played a major role, especially in inland traffic but also in communication across the sea. In both countries, rivers and canals were the major traffic arteries that were even used by the gods on their mutual visits and by rulers on their tours. Beyond their ordinary significance as a means of transportation for people and goods, ships also had a religious connotation. In Egypt the vocabulary of navigation entered daily life. In both countries, boats sailed or were towed, but in southern M…

Column

(3,015 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[German version] I. Egypt and the Ancient Orient As a statically significant building element, whether in wood or modelled from stone or brick, the column played different roles in Egypt and the Ancient Orient. In Egypt columns were a component of almost every form of architecture, from roof-bearing wooden posts in family residences to extravagantly shaped stone columns in temples and palaces. Having bases and capitals, the latter, too, betrayed the evolution from wooden columns. Columns frequently took on the shape of plants; they were probably always painted. Columns were used sp…

Marathus

(164 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Diadochi and Epigoni | Phoenicians, Poeni Modern Amrīt, important town in northern Phoenicia south of Aradus [1], which controlled it in 333/2 BC (Arr. Anab. 2,13,8; 14,1; 15,6; Curt. 4,1,6) and in 218 (Pol. 5,68,7). Around the middle of the 2nd cent. M. was independent and was able to defend itself against the Aradians (Diod. Sic. 33,5f.). According to Str. 16,2,12, M. was destroyed and its land divided among settlers from Aradus, but the city must…

Military technology and engineering

(1,756 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Gniers, Andrea Maria (Los Angeles) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient For Mesopotamia, as for the Near East in general, we are poorly informed by both written and archaeological sources about military organization, techniques, and engineering. The isolated case of the ‘Vulture Stele’ (about 2500 BC, from Tello, southern Babylonia; [1. pl. 91]) points to differences between heavily and lightly armed soldiers. The war chariots depicted there and on the ‘Ur Standard’ (somewhat older, from Ur; [1. pl. VIII]) were probably static symbols, …

Susiana

(76 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (ἡ Σουσιανή/ hē Sousianḗ), cf. OGIS 54,17; Pol. 5,46,7); today the plain forming part of Ḫūzestān in Iran. From the 3rd millennium onwards the main region of the kingdom of Elam, satrapy of the Achaemenid kingdom, in the Seleucid-Sassanid period referred to as Elymais. Its most significant town (from 4000 BC onwards) was Susa. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography E. Carter, M. W. Stolper, Elam: Surveys of Political History and Archaeology, 1984  J. Wiesehöfer, Das antike Persien, 1993.

Grain

(4,159 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Sallares, Robert (Manchester)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The various species of hulled and naked wheat ( triticum = t.) and barley ( hordeum) are among the earliest domesticated plants of the Middle East (Q. Ǧarmu; Çatal H.;  Faiyum). Besides  emmer ( t. dicoccum) and einkorn ( t. monococcum), both hulled, the common or bread wheat (naked; t. aestivum) are also species of wheat. The fact that the hulled sorts, which require more work (removal of the hull through roasting), also predominated in later millennia is ascribed to their better storability [1. 35]. The species o…

Pyrgos Lithinos

(119 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Πύργος Λίθινος: Ptol. 1,12,8 M.; 6,13,2 N.; literally 'stone tower'). Important station on the Pamir on the Silk Road leading to China from the west via Antioch [7] and Bactra. Despite the favourable situation with regard to sources - Ptolemy uses the itinerary of Marinus [1] of Tyre as his basis, the latter the notes of the silk trader Maēs Titianus - no one has yet succeeded in a full identification; the town is however marked on the map [2. 6 D2]. Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography 1 J. I. Miller, The Spice Trade of the Roman Empir…

Sippar

(193 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Mesopotamia full name S.-Yaẖrurum [1; 2], modern Abū Ḥabba. One of the most significant cities of northern Babylonia, counted among the cities 'before the flood' in the Sumerian kings' lists. Main cultic site of the sun god Šamaš. With origins going back to the 4th millennium BC; it reached its zenith in the 2nd and 1st millennia. The nearby twin city of S.-Amnānum (modern Tall al-Dair) can also be designated S. Supplementing the results of 19th…

Yazılıkaya

(171 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Hittite rock sanctuary (dated to c. 1260 BC), about 2 km to the northeast of the capital Ḫattusa. In a limestone layer – accessible from the outside by means of a cleft – there are two naturally formed main chambers and two side chambers, whose vertical rock walls are covered in reliefs. In front of the opening there were several buildings, serving as an entrance area for the sanctuary proper in the upwardly open rock chambers. In the centre of the depiction on the northern wall of Cha…

Town planning

(3,963 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Prayon, Friedhelm (Tübingen)
[German version] I. General Town planning is the designing of urban settlements (Town, city) on an organizational basis, with the central and particular functions of the town, e.g. as a port or a political centre, having an effect on its external and internal form. Most towns and cities in the Middle East and Egypt arose in the earliest times (in the Middle East from the 5th millennium onwards) at economically or strategically important points (trade routes, river crossings, anchorages). Towns and c…

Salt

(1,504 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Germer, Renate (Hamburg) | Giovannini, Adalberto (Geneva) | Pingel, Volker (Bochum)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East and Egypt Salt (Sumerian mun; Akkadian ṭabtu; Hittite puti; Hebrew mælaḥ; Egyptian sm.t) played an important role in all ancient Near Eastern cultures and in Egypt. In often high temperatures, the supply of salt was essential to life: salt was therefore part of workers' ordinary rations in Mesopotamia and Egypt (Rations). It was esp. used to season foods and to preserve meat and fish. In medicine, too, salt was used internally and externally. Salt was an important ingredient…

Sogdiana

(304 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Σογδιανή; Sogdianḗ). Region of the Achaemenid Empire between Oxus (Araxes [2]) and Iaxartes, part of the Sixteenth Satrapy; The inhabitants were called Sogdianoí or Sógdoi, Old Persian Sug(u)da, Avestan Su γδ a, Sogdian Sughdh. The capital was Maracanda (modern Samarkand), the Achaemenid base for ruling eastern Iran. In Darius [2] II's building report on his palace in Susa S. is mentioned as the supplier of lapis lazuli and cornelian. S. played an important part in trade with the peoples of the Steppes and the …

Steppe

(316 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Steppe is a term for semi-arid regions of vegetation and climate that, in relation to temperature, experience inadequate precipitation for trees to grow. This form of vegetation and climate can be found in southeastern Europe, northern Africa, in various areas of the Near East, of southern Russia and of central Asia. The boundaries both with agrarian land and with desert can fluctuate in accordance with the annual climatic conditions; in the latter case, one can also speak of dese…

Sambus

(143 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Karttunen, Klaus (Helsinki)
[German version] [1] Tributary of the Ganges (Σάμβος/ Sámbos). Tributary of the Ganges (Arr. Ind. 4,4: Megasthenes), possibly identical to the Sarabus (Ptol. 7,1,29; 2,13) corresponding to the Sarayū (Agoranis). Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) [German version] [2] Indian king, 4th cent. BC (Σάμβος/ Sámbos in Arr. Anab. 6,16,3 f., Σάβος/ Sábos in Diod. Sic. 17,102,6 f. and Str. 15,1,33, Σάββας/ Sábbas in Plut. Alexander 64, Sambus in Curt. 9,8,13 and 9,8,17, Ambus in Just. Epit. 12,10, etc.). Indian king; his kingdom, with its capital at Sindimana, lay in the mountain …

Zoo

(933 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Müller, Stefan (Hagen)
(παράδεισος/ parádeisos, ζωγρεῖον/ zōgreîon; Latin vivarium). [German version] I. Ancient Orient Zoos are known primarily from neo-Assyrian palace sites (11th-7th cents. BC), in the sense both of parks populated with animals of every kind and of enclosures in which game was kept (Paradeisos). Reliefs of hunting lions, wild asses etc. are known from the palace of Assurbanipal in Nineveh with representations of cages/enclosures; there are written records of lion enclosures as early as the beginning of the 2n…
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