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Ancient Near Eastern philology and history (Assyriology)

(5,513 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
Renger, Johannes (Berlin) [German version] A. Name and definition (CT) Ancient Near Eastern Philology and History (ANEPH) is part of Ancient Near Eastern Studies, which includes the archaeology of the ancient Near East as well as philology and history. The term ‘ancient Near Eastern’, in the context of Western European and American scholarship, refers to the geographical area of the Near East and its pre-Christian or pre-Islamic civilizations in the territory of present-day Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel,…

Taxes

(6,422 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Römer, Malte (Berlin) | Schmitz, Winfried (Bielefeld) | Galsterer, Hartmut (Bonn) | Pack, Edgar (Cologne) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia Income needed to finance tasks of state and general social functions (administration, the military, irrigation, prestige buildings, the court, cults, etc.) did not come from an all-embracing system of taxation levied on individuals, transactions or property, but on a general duty of service and labour on the part of subjects. Under the oikos economy (3rd millennium BC), the palace’s income came predominantly from the domestic operation of the institutional economies of temple and palace. In the tribute-based economy da…

Labaca

(37 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Fischer, Klaus (Bonn)
[German version] (Λάβακα; Lábaka). According to Ptol. 7,1,46, city in north-west India, in the land of the Pandoi (probably Old Indian Pāṇḍava). Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Fischer, Klaus (Bonn) Bibliography O. Wecker, s.v. L., RE 12, 239.

Sumerians

(167 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] Akkadian term (of unclear etymology) [2. 33 f.] for the predominant ethnicity of southern Mesopotamia (Babylonia) towards the end of the 4th and in the 3rd millennium BC, defined by their Sumerian writing culture (Sumerian). By the early 3rd millennium, Semitic-speaking ethnicities (called Akkadians in scholarly literature; Akkadian) also played a role in Mesopotamia. In addition, there were population groups in southern Mesopotamia that can be defined through the substrate langua…

Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh Epic

(592 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Gilgameš, Gilgameš Epic). G., legendary ruler of  Uruk in southern Mesopotamia; linked in the sources passed down to us with the construction of the 9-km long city wall of Uruk around 2900 BC. Non-literary sources already mention G. about 2700 BC. The rulers of the 3rd dynasty of Ur (21st cent. BC) originating in Uruk maintained that they were genealogically connected with G. and therefore fostered the stories passed down about G. and his equally legendary predecessors ( Epic) in…

Antioch

(1,581 words)

Author(s): Wittke, Anne-Maria (Tübingen) | Leisten, Thomas (Princeton) | Wagner, Jörg (Tübingen) | Tomaschitz, Kurt (Vienna) | Weiß, Peter (Kiel) | Et al.
(Ἀντιόχεια; Antiócheia). [German version] [1] on the Orontes Founded as Antigonea on the Orontes 307 BC, but after the defeat of Antigonus I by Seleucus I Nicator at  Ipsus (301 BC), the town was moved to the site of present-day Antakya (Turkey) in 300 BC, and renamed as A. in honour of the latter's father Antiochus. Capital city of the Seleucid kingdom; it developed under the Seleucids through incorporating numerous settlements into a tetrapolis, each with their own boundary walls. Thanks to its positi…

Callipolis

(459 words)

Author(s): Kaletsch, Hans (Regensburg) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Treidler, Hans (Berlin) | von Bredow, Iris (Bietigheim-Bissingen) | Lombardo, Mario (Lecce) | Et al.
(Καλλίπολις; Kallípolis). [German version] [1] Place in Caria Place in Caria (Arr. Anab. 2,5,7; Steph. Byz. s.v. Callipolis), its location disputed: either near the modern Gelibolu, south of the eastern end of the Ceramic Gulf (ancient and medieval remains, no finds indicating a settlement),or east of it, 10 km inland, near Duran Çiftlik (remains of an ancient sanctuary and a church; the associated settlement about 1.5 km east of Kızılkaya, stone-cist tombs on the eastern side of the mound). C. was unde…

Months, names of the

(2,315 words)

Author(s): Freydank, Helmut (Potsdam) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Trümpy, Catherine (Basle)
I. Ancient Orient [German version] A. Mesopotamia From the middle of the 3rd millennium BC onwards, numerous systems for the names of the months that varied according to region and era are attested. In the Old Babylonian Period (20th-17th cents. BC), a system used throughout Babylonia gained acceptance. In the 19th/18th cents., there were initially autonomous local systems, among other places in the Diyālā area and in Mari, and up to the end of the 2nd millennium BC also in Assyria as well as during va…

Caspii

(49 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] Indian mountain tribe in the Hindu Kush; the ancestors of the Kāfir (i.e. ‘the disbelieving’) in the valleys of the Kūnar, the river of Tschitral. In the records of the Persian taxation districts in Hdt. 3,93, they are summarized with the Saces. Renger, Johannes (Berlin)

Money, money economy

(6,610 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Reden, Sitta (Bristol) | Crawford, Michael Hewson (London) | Morrisson, Cécile (Paris) | Kuchenbuch, Ludolf (Hagen)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt As early as the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC metals (copper and silver, later also tin and gold) fulfilled monetary functions as a medium of exchange, a means of payment for religious, legal or other liabilities, a measure of value and a means of storing wealth. Until the 1st millennium fungible goods, primarily corn, also served as a medium of exchange and measure of value. Economies in the Near East and Egypt were characterised by subsistence production, self-sufficient palace and oîkos economies. The need for goods or services w…

Xisuthrus

(66 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Ξίσουθρος/ Xísouthros: [1. 19 f.] or Σίσουθρος/ Sísouthros: Abydenus FGrH 685 F 2). Graecised form, in the context of renditions of the story of the Flood, of the Sumerian name  Zi.u4.sud.ra ('Life of distant days'), Akkadian Utanapištī ('I have found my life'), the mythical Sumerian/Akkadian survivor of the 'Great Flood' (Deluge, legend of the). Atraḫasīs; Gilgamesh Epic Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography 1 S. M. Burstein, The Babyloniaca of Berossus, 1978.

Oikos economy

(680 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] Oikos economy (OE) was first described as an idealised concept of a form of economy in antiquity by Rodbertus, later by M. Weber. Oikos describes an independent household (of a ruler), which produces everything used and consumed in it, apart from a few exceptions (metals, luxury products, in Mesopotamia also wood). In the Mesopotamian OE of the 4th and 3rd millennia, which had developed under the conditions of a comprehensive and mostly centrally-organized regime of artificial irrigation of the cultivab…

Commerce

(8,308 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Briese, Christoph (Randers) | Bieg, Gebhard (Tübingen) | de Souza, Philip (Twickenham) | Drexhage, Hans-Joachim (Marburg) | Et al.
[German version] I. Ancient Orient (Egypt, South-West Asia, India) Archaeologically attested since the Neolithic and documented since the 3rd millennium BC, long-distance or overland commerce -- as opposed to exchange and allocation of goods on a local level according to daily needs -- was founded on the necessity for ensuring the supply of so-called strategic goods (metal, building timber) not available domestically, as well as on the demand for luxury and prestige goods, or the materials required for producing them. In historical times, the organization of commerce was a…

Religion

(13,714 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Assmann, Jan (Heidelberg) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Colpe, Carsten (Berlin) | Et al.
I. Introduction [German version] A. Definition of the concept 'Religion', the substantive for describing the religious, denotes a system of common practices, individual ideas about faith, codified norms and examples of theological exegesis whose validity is derived chiefly from an authoritative principle or being. For the academic study of religion, conversely, the word is a purely heuristic category in which those practices, ideas, norms and theological constructs are examined historically; however, the…

Papyrus

(2,017 words)

Author(s): Dorandi, Tiziano (Paris) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
I. Material [German version] A. Term and manufacture The term papyrus was adopted into the European languages via the Greek πάπυρος/ pápyros, lat. papyrus, and ultimately is the source of the modern terms for paper, Papier, papier, etc.  Papyrus is hypothetically derived from an (unattested) Egyptian * pa-prro ('that of the king'). Papyrus, an aquatic plant with a long stem and a triangular cross-section ( Cyperus papyrus L.), was in its processed form a widespread writing material ('paper') in the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean. Papyrus is produced by p…

Issedones

(90 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Treidler, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] (Ἰσσηδόνες; Issēdónes, Ἰσσηδοί; Issēdoí, Ἐσσηδόνες; Essēdónes). A Scythian people of Asian origin. According to Herodotus (1,201; 4,13-26), they lived southeast of the Aral Sea; however, the heaviest population centres within the regions of their habitation lay in Central Asia. Ptolemy (6,16,5; 16,7; 8,24,3; 24,5 N) ascribes to them the cities of Ἰσσηδὼν Σκυθική (modern Kucha) and Ἰσσηδὼν Σηρική (modern Charqliq), which were located on the Silk Road in Chinese East Turkistan (Tarim Basin, Xinjiang), to the southwest of Lobnor.  Scythians Renger, Johannes (Ber…

Economy

(7,079 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Alonso-Núñez, José Miguel (Madrid) | W.BR.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia Mesopotamia's economy was based on  agriculture, with animal  husbandry integrated into it. Craft production ( Crafts) was only supplementary in character and catered for internal demand as well as external trade (production of high-quality textiles for  Commerce). Agriculture in southern Mesopotamia (Babylonia) was entirely dependent on artificial  irrigation; in northern Mesopotamia (Assyria) it was generally rainfed. Varying agricultural regimes led to different patterns of land tenure. Large production units are attes…

Votive offerings

(1,524 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Frateantonio, Christa (Gießen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East and Egypt Votive offerings (VO) to a variety of deities played an important role in the religious practices of the Ancient Middle East and Egypt, as documented by inscriptions found on consecrated objects. In Mesopotamia, the oldest clearly identifiable VO date from the 24th cent. BC [14], and in Egypt from the prehistoric and Early Dynastic eras (end of the 4th/early 3rd millennia; e.g. the Narmer Palette). Most of the attested Mesopotamian offerings came from rule…

Rations

(515 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East In the Ancient Near Eastern oikos or palace economy, the majority or (large) parts of the population were integrated into the institutional households of temples and/or palaces as direct dependents (the extent varied according to region and period). They were provided with the rations of natural produce (grain, oil, wool) guaranteeing them the level of subsistence necessary for their reproduction. In Mesopotamia, these rations of produce were in part supplemented, and in certain periods replaced, by the allocation of areas of land ( c. 6 ha.) as…

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 …
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