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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, …

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…

Palace

(3,814 words)

Author(s): Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin)
[German version] I. Terminology and Definition The modern term ‘palace’ is derived from the Palatine (Mons Palatinus), one of Rome’s seven hills, on which the residences of the Roman emperors were located. Palaces are buildings that a ruler uses as a residence and for representation. Depending on additional functions, they could have other names in Antiquity, relating to their respective use. Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) II. Ancient Near East [German version] A. Structural History In the Ancient Near East and Egypt, the palace was originally a house with considerably expa…

Seleucia

(1,530 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Wagner, Jörg (Tübingen) | Martini, Wolfram (Gießen) | Hild, Friedrich (Vienna) | Brandt, Hartwin (Chemnitz)
(Σελεύκεια/ Seleúkeia, Latin Seleucia). [German version] [1] S. on the Tigris This item can be found on the following maps: Diadochi and Epigoni | Hellenistic states | India, trade with (Σελεύκεια ἡ ἐπὶ τῷ Τίγρει/ Seleúkeia hē epì tôi Tígrei: Str. 16,738; 743; 750 et passim; Latin Seleucia Magna: Plin. HN 6,43, cuneiform Selukuja [1], modern Tall Umar). On the right bank of the Tigris, c. 60 km north-east of Babylon and 35 km south of Baghdad, at the mouth of the Nahr Malkā (connecting canal between the Tigris and Euphrates) and thus very favourably located …

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…

Stucco, Pargetting

(533 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Mouldable, quickly hardening material of gypsum, lime, sand and water, occasionally with stone powder, which was used in many places (in Egypt from the Old Kingdom onwards, c. 2700-2190 BC) to smooth walls and as a base for painting. Figurines, vases and moulds for casting metal were also made from stucco. From the Parthian period onwards (1st cent. BC), figured or geometric stucco reliefs covering long walls are attested. They were modelled by hand or using templates; in the Sassanid and early Islamic periods they were also carved. Nissen, Hans Jörg…

Throne

(613 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Ceremonially decorated piece of furniture for gods and rulers to sit on, with a high back and often with arm-rests. The sides were often shaped as animals or animal protomae; the legs were often worked in the shape of animal legs. Apart from a few fragments in stone, most thrones were probably made of wood and hence in the area of the Near East have not been preserved, but are known from numerous depictions. Thrones were presumably usually provided with metal (gold) or ivory embellishments (cf. the numerous surviving examples from Egypt). Nissen, H…

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…

Marsyas

(971 words)

Author(s): Visser, Edzard (Basle) | Badian, Ernst (Cambridge, MA) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Ziegler, Konrat (Göttingen) | Sonnabend, Holger (Stuttgart)
(Μαρσύας; Marsýas). [German version] [1] Phrygian rivergod and Celaenae's god of protection Phrygian river god and Celaenae's god of protection, represented as satyr or silenus. The name is derived from a toponym that can be found repeatedly throughout Asia Minor and Syria; the river, at the source of which Celaenae lies, also carries this name (M. [5]). M. was considered the discoverer of flute playing ( aulós), the inventor of the bandage used for flute playing ( phorbeiá) and of songs for the worship of the goddess Cybele. According to the myth, the possibility to pla…

Town, city

(4,219 words)

Author(s): Eder, Walter (Berlin) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Prayon, Friedhelm (Tübingen) | Kolb, Frank (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Definition 'Town' and 'city' in modern parlance have become general terms to describe settlements of a particular size, with a particular complement of buildings and administrative and legal structure. Owing, however, to the manifold forms assumed by towns and cities, we lack a specific, all-embracing definition: criteria such as a closed built environment, a highly evolved division of labour, and central administrative and economic functions for the surrounding territory, have p…

Necropoleis

(7,045 words)

Author(s): Tsochos, Charalampos (Erfurt) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Genz, Hermann (Istanbul) | Hiesel, Gerhard (Freiburg) | Et al.
[German version] I. Introduction The Greek word νεκρόπολις/ nekrópolis, ‘city of the dead’, is attested in Antiquity only in Strabo (17,1,10,14) as the name of a suburb of Alexandria [1] (Necropolis). Modern scholarship transfers the term necropolis to cemeteries of various cultures and time periods. General definitions as to shape and size do not exist. In this article, necropolis refers only to sites of a certain size and usually lying outside the settlements themselves. The size of a necropolis, the …

Temple

(5,554 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Hollender, Elisabeth (Cologne) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia The Sumerian term é and the Akkadian term bītu, meaning 'temple' or 'house (of the deity)', were not restricted to 'dwellings' of deities of a particular size or importance. They applied to sanctuaries from small neighbourhood shrines in residential areas to large, freestanding, tall buildings, from one-room cult sites to temple complexes with extensive auxiliary buildings, and they could be used for temples where one or many deities were worshipped. Prehistoric structures are often classified as temples only because apparently they nei…

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…
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