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Sun god

(930 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Taracha, Piotr
[German version] I. Mesopotamia In Mesopotamia, the Sumerian sun god Utu (written with the Sumerian sign for day, ud, which may be an etymological connection) was regarded as the city god of South Babylonian Larsa [2. 287-291] and the Akkadian god Šamaš (also common Semitic for 'sun') as the city god of North Babylonian Sippar. The sun god was never at the top of the Mesopotamian pantheon [1] which was dominated by Enlil (3rd/early 2nd millennium), Marduk (1st millennium) and Assur [2]. As the god of daylight, Ša…

Progenitors

(1,342 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Knowledge of one's own progenitors in the ancient Near East legitimized one's status and material and immaterial rights in the individual and societal spheres. Such knowledge was based on patriarchal relationships of kinship. Evidence for this comes, for example, from lineage lists (Genealogies; OT: Gn 5; 11:10-32; 22:20-24; 25:1-9; Judges 4:18-22: progenitors of David [1]; 1 Sam 9:1-2: progenitors of Saul; Mt 1:1-17: progenitors of Jesus), the Assyrian Kings' Lis…

Price

(3,822 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Reden, Sitta (Bristol) | Kuchenbuch, Ludolf (Hagen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Prices or equivalents for numerous fungible items had a generally recognized value in both Egypt and Mesopotamia, though nothing is known of how this came about. Prices in Egypt were at first expressed in a value unit šn( tj) (perhaps 'silver ring'?), in the New Kingdom also in copper and sacks of grain (though neither served as media of exchange) [7. 13]. In Mesopotamia, they were generally expressed in weights of silver (in Assyria, occasionally also tin). Indications as to equivalents are preserved to varying degrees of abundance and …

Husbandry

(3,460 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Jameson, Michael (Stanford) | Jongman, Willem (Groningen)
(Animal) [German version] I. Ancient Orient In the Ancient Orient and Egypt animal husbandry was always systemically linked with agricultural production (farming), insofar as both were mutually dependent and together formed the basis for society's subsistence. That view was given expression (i.a.) in the Sumerian polemical poem ‘Mother ewe and grain’ [1]. In Mesopotamia the basis of animal husbandry was mainly the keeping of herds of  sheep and to a lesser extent of  goats, which were collectively termed ‘domestic livestock’ (Sumerian u8.udu-ḫia; Akkadian ṣēnu). Sheep were pri…

Genealogy

(962 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Meister, Klaus (Berlin) | Rüpke, Jörg (Erfurt)
In early societies, largely based on family organizations, genealogy as a derivation of a person's descent in the form of a pedigree is often used as a means of legitimation and (pseudo-historical) memory, which was always also directed at publicity (genealogy from Greek γενεαλογεῖν; genealogeîn, ‘to talk about [one's] origin’). [German version] I. Near East and Egypt The purpose of lineage, transmitted in the form of a genealogy (generally patrilineal; exceptions in the case of Egyptian rulers), was to legitimate a claim to rulership, to tenure of a …

Ergasterion

(1,000 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Burford-Cooper, Alison (Ann Arbor)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the palace economies (  oîkos economy) of the Ancient Orient, certain mass products were made for the requirements of (large) patrimonial households themselves, but also for exchange in long distance trade with large ergasteria (factories) in which often several hundred, sometimes far more than a thousand male or female workers were employed. Their wages were normally paid in kind as daily rations; their social status was equivalent to patrimonial subjects, required to perform compulsory service. The best evidence for ergasteria comes from s…

Linen, flax

(966 words)

Author(s): Pekridou-Gorecki, Anastasia (Frankfurt/Main) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] I. General Linen (λίνον/ línon, Lat. linum) or flax belongs to the family of Geraniaceae. Linum angustifolium is considered the original form of cultivated flax. The use of this wild, perennial plant is archaeologically proven for the Neolithic period in Europe. Common flax ( Linum usitatissimum), an annual plant, has a delicate stalk with oblong, sessile leaves, and reaches a height of 60-90 cm. The stalks form the raw material from which the most important spinning material, after wool, can be extracted. The valuable fibre…

Cult

(3,745 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Backhaus, Knut (Paderborn)
[German version] I. General Cult encompasses the entirety of ritual tradition in the context of religious practise. Via Christian usage, the term derives from the cultus deorum (‘divine worship’) named already in Cicero, and corresponds to the Greek thrēskeía; like the latter (and the Latin caerimonia, ‘rites’), it can in pagan language stand simply for ‘religion’ in general and thus refer to the absolute predominance in pagan Greek and Roman religion of ritual actions over faith. There, as in the religious cultures of the ancient Mediterr…

Wine

(4,434 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Ruffing, Kai (Münster) | Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
(οἶνος/ oînos; Lat. vinum). [German version] I.Egypt and Ancient Near East Archeological finds (excavations, pictorial representations in tombs) as well as Egyptian and Roman texts contain a plethora of information about the growing, production and use of wine in Egypt from the Early Period to the Ptolemaic-Roman Period. Wine (Egyptian jrp; Coptic ērp; Old-Nubian orpj/ē; cf. in Sappho 51 ἔρπις/ érpis [9. 46], probably an old foreign cult word [7. 1169]) was grown primarily in Lower Egypt or the Nile Delta and in the oases, clearly because of the favourab…

Market

(2,086 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Reden, Sitta (Bristol) | Kuchenbuch, Ludolf (Hagen)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt The concept of the market is the subject of controversial discussions in classical Middle Eastern studies and Egyptology, since there was no term, neither in the Mesopotamian area nor in Egypt, that clearly designated the market as a place and a modus operandi. Background of the discussion are, on the one hand, the studies regarding pre-modern societies inspired by K. Polanyi (among others by M. Finley for the classical world), according to which a market did not exist as a system of supply and dema…

Deification

(1,408 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the Ancient Orient the deification of  rulers always occurred in the context of the legitimization and exercise of  rulership. Deified rulers and proper gods were always differentiated on principle. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) [German version] A. Mesopotamia References to the deification of living rulers are geographically restricted to Babylonia and temporally to the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC: a) individual rulers claimed divine descent for themselves as a means of legitimizing their rule…

New Year's celebration

(1,992 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Ahn, Gregor (Heidelberg) | Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH)
(NYC). The beginning of the year was variously fixed in different local or supra-regional calendars. It was oriented, as far as we know, towards agricultural patterns connected to the time of the year (especially sowing in the spring and harvest in the autumn). The beginning of the year was connected with administrative measures (e.g. raising taxes). Spring and autumn received particular consideration in the festival calendar because of their significance within the agrarian cycle. Because in re…

Am(m)athous

(672 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Colpe, Carsten (Berlin) | Senff, Reinhard (Bochum)
(Ἀμ(μ)αθοῦς; Am(m)athoûs). [German version] [1] Fortress to the east of the Jordan A fortress to the east of the Jordan, tell 'ammatā, which towers over the north bank of the wādi raǧib and has control over three roads, one of which runs close beside it on the west towards Pella ( ṭabaqāt faḥil) (Eus. Onom. 22,24) [1; 2]. Ceramics found here have so far shown no evidence of either pre-Hellenistic settlement or Cypriot imports [3. 44; 4. 301]. After 98 BC it was taken by  Alexander Iannaeus from the tyrant Theodorus of Philadelphia and razed to th…

Manasse

(506 words)

Author(s): Liwak, Rüdiger (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Kutsch, Ernst (Vienna)
(Hebrew Menašše; Greek Μανασσῆ(ς)/ Manassê(s)). [German version] [1] Israelite tribe Israelite tribe in Middle Palestine, east of the Jordan ( Judah and Israel). Liwak, Rüdiger (Berlin) [German version] [2] King of Judah King of Judah. During his unusually long reign ( c. 696-642 BC), Judah was restricted to Jerusalem and its environs after the Assyrian conquests of 701 BC ( Judah and Israel), but progressively regenerated politically and economically [2. 169-181]. M. (in cuneiform script Me-na-se-e/si-i or Mi-in-se-e) as a loyal vassal of the Assyrians was obliged to pr…

Moon

(1,588 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hübner, Wolfgang (Münster)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The rotation of the moon and the phases of the moon served as significant structural elements of the calendar from early times in all ancient Oriental cultures. People discussed not only the phases of the moon but also, from earliest times, the eclipses of the moon, regarding them as ominous signs (Astrology; Divination). Like the sun, the moon, which was represented as a deity, was the protagonist of numerous myths in Egypt, Asia Minor [1. 373-375] and Mesopotamia (Moon deities). In Babylonia, as early as toward the end of the 3rd millennium,…

Purity

(1,297 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia In Sumerian the adjective kug and in Akkadian the corresponding adjective ellu express the principle of (cultic) purity. Both words also contain the nuance of 'bright', 'shining'. Sumerian kug and Akkadian ellu (when in textual dependence upon kug) mark characteristics of deities, localities (e.g., temples), (cult) objects, rites and periods of time as belonging to the sphere of the divine. This, however, does not necessarily mean that they must be in an uncontaminated state. In this respect kug is most often rendered as 'holy/sacred'. Akkadian ellu, …

Markt

(1,815 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Reden, Sitta (Bristol) | Kuchenbuch, Ludolf (Hagen)
[English version] I. Alter Orient und Ägypten Das Konzept des M.s wird in der Altorientalistik und der Ägyptologie kontrovers diskutiert, da es weder im mesopot. Raum noch in Äg. ein Wort dafür gab, das eindeutig den M. als Ort und als Operationsmodus bezeichnet. Hintergrund der Diskussion sind auf der einen Seite die von K. Polanyi inspirierten Forsch. zu vormod. Gesellschaften (u.a. für die klass. Welt von M. Finley), wonach ein M. als ein System von Angebot und Nachfrage mit dem Resultat von Preisbi…

Monatsnamen

(1,887 words)

Author(s): Freydank, Helmut (Potsdam) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Trümpy, Catherine (Basel)
I. Alter Orient [English version] A. Mesopotamien Seit Mitte des 3. Jt.v.Chr. lassen sich zahlreiche nach Region und Epoche unterschiedliche M.-Systeme feststellen. In der altbabylon. Zeit (20.-17. Jh.v.Chr.) setzte sich ein in ganz Babylonien verwendetes M.-System durch. Eigenständige lokale Systeme gab es im 19./18. Jh. zunächst noch u.a. im Diyālā-Gebiet und in Mari, bis zum Ende des 2. Jt.v.Chr. auch in Assyrien sowie zu verschiedenen Zeiten in den Randgebieten Mesopotamiens, wie in Ebla, Elam [2. …

Genealogie

(881 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Meister, Klaus (Berlin) | Rüpke, Jörg (Erfurt)
Die G. als Ableitung der Herkunft in Form von Ahnenreihen ist in frühen, stark von Familienverbänden geprägten Gesellschaften ein häufig verwendetes Mittel der Legitimation und (pseudohistor.) Erinnerung und zielt immer auch auf eine Öffentlichkeit (G. von griech. γενεαλογεῖν “die [eigene] Herkunft erzählen”). [English version] I. Vorderer Orient und Ägypten Die in Form von G. überlieferte Abstammung (in der Regel patrilinear; Ausnahmen bei äg. Herrschern) sollte Ansprüche auf Herrschaft, Besitzstand im Amt (Priester, hohe Beamte), Status im B…

Mond

(1,283 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hübner, Wolfgang (Münster)
[English version] I. Alter Orient M.-Lauf und M.-Phasen dienten bereits frühzeitig als wesentliche Strukturelemente des Kalenders in allen altorientalischen Kulturen. Außer mit den M.-Phasen hat man sich seit frühester Zeit ebenfalls mit den Eklipsen des M. als ominösen Zeichen auseinandergesetzt (Astrologie; Divination). Wie die Sonne war auch der als Gottheit vorgestellte M. Protagonist zahlreicher Mythen in Ägypten, Kleinasien [1. 373-375] und Mesopotamien (Mondgottheiten). In Babylonien war bereits gegen Ende des 3. Jt. die systematische Beobachtung de…
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