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Libation

(773 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Haase, Mareile (Toronto)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Since sacrifices were primarily intended to ensure that the daily needs of the gods were met, not only victuals but also beverages (generally water, beer, wine) were an essential component of regular sacrifices to the gods, as well as of sacrifices offered to the dead. Both in Egypt and in Mesopotamia, libation and terms used for libation stand as pars pro toto for sacrifice. This may have stemmed originally from the fact that for people living at a subsistence level the libation of water constituted their only opport…

Tiamat

(103 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Akkadian 'sea'). Primaeval/primordial female divine monster, known from the Babylonian creation myth Enūma Eliš . She is killed by her son Marduk in a theomachy (matricide) and split lengthwise into two halves: from the lower half he creates the earth, from the upper half the firmament of the heavens. In Berosus [1. 15] T. appears in a corrupt form as thalath (Gr. thálassa, 'sea'). T. is reflected in the Biblical creation myth (Gn 1:2) as tehōm (LXX: ábyssos, literally 'bottomless', 'primaeval depth'). Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography 1 S. M. Burstein, The …

Family

(7,857 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Feucht, Erika (Heidelberg) | Macuch, Maria (Berlin) | Gehrke, Hans-Joachim (Freiburg) | Deißmann-Merten, Marie-Luise (Freiburg) | Et al.
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The family in Mesopotamia was organized in a patrilineal manner; remnants of matrilineal family structures are to be found in Hittite myths, among the Amorite nomads of the early 2nd millennium BC and the Arab tribes of the 7th cent. BC. As a rule monogamy was predominant; marriage to concubines with lesser rights was possible, while there is evidence of polygamy particularly in the ruling families. The family consisted of a married couple and their children althoug…

Pornography

(3,053 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Henderson, Jeffrey (Boston) | Obermayer, Hans-Peter (Munich)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East With the possible exception of the numerous depictions of the sexual act on terra cotta reliefs and lead tablets - many of which may have served as magical amulets or represented ex voto gifts [1. 265] - there is no evidence of pornography from the ancient Near East. In literary texts, explicit verbal depictions that refer to sexuality are found in literary texts (e.g. hymns to Ishtar, who was, among other things, the goddess of sexual love) and therefore are to b…

Caraway

(271 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Caraway was widespread as an aromatic plant in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ethiopia and Asia Minor and is mentioned in Mycenaean Linear B texts as ku-mi-no [6. 131, 136, 227]. The word is a cultural term that can be traced back to the 3rd millennium (Sumerian * kamun; Akkad. kamūnum, Hittite kappani- [with m > p change], Ugarite kmn, Hebrew kammōn, Turkish çemen, English/French cumin). Egyptian caraway (Cuminum cyminum; Egyptian tpnn, Coptic tapen) seems to have possibly been another species of caraway [5]. Caraway was also used medically in…

Horticulture

(2,122 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Christmann, Eckhard (Heidelberg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt In the kitchen gardens of the Middle East and Egypt fruit trees (principally apples, figs, pomegranates, but in Egypt also carob trees and jujube;  Pomiculture) were grown in so-called tiered cultivation in the shade provided by date palms, and below them  vegetables (especially onions and cucumber plants, pulses, leaf vegetables, such as cress, and also aromatic herbs, coriander, thyme, caraway and mint, for example). The date palms provided not only dates …

Woman

(7,947 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Feucht, Erika (Heidelberg) | Brosius, Maria (Oxford) | Macuch, Maria (Berlin) | RU.PA. | Et al.
I. Ancient Orient, Egypt and Iran [German version] A. Introduction Knowledge of the status of women is largely based on texts of a legal nature (legal documents, law books, royal decrees). Accordingly, research to date emphasizes primarily the legal aspects of the position of women in family and society. Non-legal texts from a variety of genres contain information on the activities of women from the families of the elite, particularly those of the royal clan. Thus, the Hittite royal wife Puduḫepa (13th ce…

Latage

(38 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] According to Ael. NA 16,10, an Indian town in the land of the Prasii, where the Greek Megasthenes was ambassador to the king. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography O. Wecker, s.v. L. (2), RE 12, 892.

Priests

(4,255 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia From the 3rd millennium to the end of Mesopotamian civilization, the staff of Mesopotamian temples consisted of the cult personnel in the narrower sense - i.e. the priests and priestesses who looked after the official cult in the temples, the cult musicians and singers - and the service staff (male and female courtyard cleaners, cooks, etc.). In addition, there was the hierarchically structured administrative and financial staff of the temple households, which constit…

Andriaca

(63 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] Κώμη ( kṓmē) in Media (Ptol. 6,2,18), not far from a place called Ῥάψα ( Rhápsa), on the road from Ecbatana to Persepolis [1]. A. appears to have been on the same stretch of the road, probably the same place as Gulpaigan or Kaidu, and only had significance as a resting place. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography 1 Miller, 783 with sketch no. 253.

Tammuz

(303 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Thammuz; Sumerian Dumu-zi, 'legitimate son', Aramaic  Tham(m)uza, Hebrew Thammûz, Greek  Θαμμουζ/ Thammouz). Prehistoric king of Uruk and husband of the city goddess Inanna (Ishtar; Hieros Gamos). She hands T. over to the forces of the Underworld when she - having failed in her attempt to seize the rule over the Underworld for herself - is released from the Underworld on condition of the promise of a (human) substitute. Dumu-zi is captured by the demons of the Underworld; however, his siste…

Hieros Gamos

(862 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
(ἱερὸς γάμος; hieròs gámos: sacred marriage). [German version] I. Term A term which has attained great significance in modern research as the name for a ritual sexual union, since the emergence of the fertility paradigm in the 19th cent. (Mannhardt, Frazer). Based on the sexual intercourse between  Demeter and her mortal lover  Iasion ‘in a thrice-ploughed field’ recounted in the Homeric epic (Hom. Od. 5, 125-128; Hes. Theog. 969-971), which has been understood by analogy with north-European customs as th…

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, …

Bisutun

(388 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel)
[German version] (Old Persian bagastāna ‘place of gods’, Βαγίστανα; Bagístana), Βαγίστανον ὄρος; Bagístanon óros, Behistun). Rock face 30 km east of Kermanshah, on the road from Babylon to Ecbatana on the  Choaspes ( Silk Road [3. 11]), on which  Darius I had his achievements from c. 520 BC recorded pictorially and in inscription -- c. 70 m above the road level -- in several phases. Because of their trilingual form (Elamite, Babylonian, Old Persian) the inscription [1] was the key to decipherment of the  cuneiform script ( Trilinguals). The reli…

Songs

(1,465 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Fuhrer, Therese (Zürich)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Many song genres are attested in Mesopotamia (beginning in approx. 2600 BC), in Egypt (from the 24th/23th cents. BC onwards), among the Hittites (14th/13th cent.), in Ugarit (14th/13th cents.) and in the OT (see below). There is no uniform genre classification, since hybrid forms are common. The ancient terminology is only of limited help. The umbrella term ‘cultic poetry’ refers to the literary, lyric form of song. The term ‘song’ is related to the type of performance, i.e. singing with or without instrumental accompaniment. Texts from M…

Trilingual inscriptions

(757 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Günter (Würzburg) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] I. General Inscriptions in three languages on a single object that refer to the same facts exist in Antiquity, albeit rather rarely on the whole, ordered by official as well as private sponsors. The different versions were usually tailored to the cultural requirements and interests of the respective audiences so that their messages (and length) are not always completely congruous (cf. [4]). Most of the trilingual inscriptions (TI) originated in the east. They reflect the multi-lingu…

Temple economy

(1,836 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Rosenberger, Veit (Augsburg)
[German version] I. The Ancient Orient and Egypt With palaces, temples constituted the central institutions of society in the Ancient Orient (in Mesopotamia from the 3rd millennium BC) and Egypt. Besides their function as locations for divine worship, they also normally exercised significant economic power. This was founded on the fact that they had at their disposal extensive tracts of agricultural land (the essential means of production of an agrarian society) and stocks of precious metals, i.a. in the form of craft-produced votive gifts (Votive offerings). The temple estates o…

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…

Ophir

(141 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Hebrew Ōfīr, Ōfir; LXX: Οὐφειρ/ Oupheir, Σωφαρα/ Sōphara, Σωφειρ(α)/ Sōpheir(a), Σωφηρα/ Sōphēra, Σωφιρα/ Sōphira, Σουφειρ/ Soupheir, Σουφιρ/ Souphir, Σοφειρ/ Sopheir). According to the OT, O. was the land of origin of gold (1 Kg 9:28, 22:49) and semi-precious stones (1 Kg 10:11, Job 28:16), which Solomon had shipped over the Red Sea to Israel. Gold from O. is also mentioned in a Hebrew ostracon (epigraphically dated between the 8th and 6th cents. BC) [2]. The location of O. is disputed: both southern Arabia (or the eastern African coast) and India (because of a Supara…

Religion

(12,041 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Assmann, Jan (Heidelberg) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Colpe, Carsten (Berlin) | Et al.
I. Einleitung [English version] A. Bestimmung des Begriffs Als substantivistischer Terminus der rel. Selbstbeschreibung bezeichnet “R.” ein System von gemeinsamen Praktiken, individuellen Glaubensvorstellungen, kodifizierten Normen und theologischen Erklärungsmustern, dessen Gültigkeit zumeist auf ein autoritatives Prinzip oder Wesen zurückgeführt wird. Für die R.-Wissenschaft ist der R.-Begriff dagegen eine rein heuristische Kategorie, mit der jene Praktiken, Vorstellungen, Normen und theologischen Kon…
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