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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 …

Leek

(608 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
and other Alliaceae [German version] I. Mesopotamia, Egypt, Asia Minor The numerous Sumerian and Akkadian expressions for Alliaceae, not all of which can be definitely botanically identified, partly refer only to the subspecies leek, shallot, onion or garlic [1. 301]. Leek in its various forms - Sumerian *karaš, Akkadian kar( a) šu, Hebrew kārēš, Aramaic karrāttā, Arabic kurrāṯu - is a word of Oriental culture. Garlic is in Sumerian, sum, Akkadian šūmū, otherwise in Semitic languages ṯūm; the onion is in Akkadian šamaškillū, in Aramaic šmšgl (also as an ideogram in Pahlavi); the…

Deluge, legend of the

(716 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In Mesopotamia, the legend of the deluge is preserved in a Sumerian as well as an Akkadian version; the Akkadian one is transmitted in 17th-cent. BC copies of the  Atraḫasīs myth[3. 612-645]. Extensive passages reappear verbatim on the 11th tablet of the recension of the Epic of  Gilgamesh from Niniveh [3. 728-738], and the myth is later also transmitted by  Berosus [1. 20 f.]. The gods perceive the noisy behaviour of the humans as hubris, causing them to eliminate …

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…

Interest

(2,129 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Andreau, Jean (Paris)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt The early Mesopotamian documents (24th-21st cents. BC) that refer to  loans and advances from institutional bodies to private individuals allow us to surmise that interest was calculated, though without our being able to make any observations about the rates of interest. Instead of being made to pay interest, the debtor was often obliged to undertake agricultural work for the creditor [10. 117]. In the Early Babylonian period (19th-17th cents. BC) a sharp distinction was drawn between loans of grain (331/3 %) and loans of silver (20%…

Urnamma

(97 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (2112-2095 BC), king of Uruk; the Sumerian King List (Kings' lists) describes U. as the successor to his brother Utu-Ḫeĝal (2119-2113) and the founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur. U. gradually extended the power of the city of Ur at first to the south and then to the north of Babylonia. His early death in battle with enemies in the east of Mesopotamia and his journey to the Underworld are the subject of the poem The Death of Urnamma. Mesopotamia II G Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography E. Flückiger-Hawker, U. of Ur in Sumerian Literary Trad., 1999.

Secret police

(629 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Eder, Walter (Berlin)
[German version] A. Ancient Near East Xenophon (Cyr. 8,2,10ff.) tells of undercover informants, the “eyes and ears of the king”, who reported to the Persian king. Antecedents of this Achaemenid institution can be found in Mesopotamia: soothsayers (Mari 18th cent. BC) and state officials (Assyria 8th/7th cents.) undertook in their oath of office to report to the king any moves or actions against him. The extent to which fear of the “eyes and ears of the king” was an encumbrance to contemporaries can be…

Enlil

(59 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Sumerian ‘Lord Wind’). City-god of  Nippur and highest god of the Sumerian-Akkadian Pantheon in the 3rd and the 1st half of the 2nd millennium BC. His place was taken in the 1st millennium by  Marduk, the god of Babylon. His spouse was Ninlil ( Mylissa).  Marduk;  Mesopotamia;  Nippur Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography T. Jacobsen, Treasures of Darkness, 1976.

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…

Municipal law

(1,388 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Galsterer, Hartmut (Bonn)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the field of  legal texts in cuneiform, the political structure of the Mesopotamian confederation, that at times comprised small territorial states and at times large states stretching over the whole of southern Mesopotamia, created regional peculiarities that are demonstrated above all in the form of documents as well as in substantive law. The essential parameters of the legal system were defined by the structure of the society (Social structure), economy and f…

Put

(108 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] In the table of peoples in the OT (Gn 10:6), Pūt is considered one of the four sons of Ham. The ethnic Pūt is characterized as pertaining to Egypt's sphere of influence in the 10th cent. BC. Pūt is likewise mentioned in Jer 46:9, Ez 27:10; 30:5; 38:5 and Nah 3:9. In contrast to earlier suggestions identification with P. is no longer advocated; identification with Libya/Libyans is more likely. The Putāayā (Old Persian; Elamite Putiyap; Akkadian Puṭa) of the Darius [1] I inscriptions at Naqš-e Rostam also denotes Libyans, not - as occasionally assumed - P. [1. 197]. Renger, Jo…

Mitra

(396 words)

Author(s): Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] [1] Piece of armour (μίτρα/ mítra; μίτρη/ mítrē). (1) According to Homer (Hom. Il. 4,137; 187; 216; 5,857) a piece of armour worn to protect the lower body, identified by archaeological research with semicircular plates of bronze, dating from the early Archaic period and found particularly on Crete. Similarly, mitra is the name of a piece of armour worn by the Salii (Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 2,70; Plut. Numa 13,4). (2) Belt for young women (Theocr. 27,55, cf. μιτροχίτων/ mitrochítōn, Athen. 12,523d) and goddesses (Callim. H. 1,120; 4,222, Epigr. 39) and also for…

Qadesh

(298 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Ḫattusa | Aegean Koine ( Qadeš, Kadeš). Town in central Syria, south of Ḥimṣ, modern Tall Nabī Mand, situated in a strategically important location at the junction between the Egyptian sphere of influence on the one hand and Mittanian and Hittite on the other. In the 15th cent., Thutmosis III attempted to conquer the town [2. 94-98]. In 1275 BC, it was the site of the famous battle between the Hittite ruler Muwattalli II (1290-1272 BC) and Ramesses I…

Bilingual inscriptions

(1,899 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Neumann, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] A. Definition Bilingual inscriptions (or ‘bilingues’) are inscriptions that present the same text in two languages so as to be comprehensible to different readerships. Thus, bilingual inscriptions (BI), with closely corresponding texts, are distinguished from others in which one of the texts only summarizes the other. -- ‘Quasi-BI’ do indeed differ in their text format but treat the same subject matter or the same personalities. BI are only such texts as are composed contemporaneou…

Tennes

(247 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Sylvia | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] [1] Eponym of the island of Tenedos (Τέννης/ Ténnēs, also Τένης/ Ténēs). According to Plutarch (Quaest. Graec. 28) the eponym of the island of Tenedos, son of king Cycnus [2]; Apollo is often given as his father. Stepson of Philomene, who after an alleged rape has T. and his sister Hemithea put out at sea in a chest. Under the protection of Poseidon they land on the island of Leucophrys near Troy, where T. becomes king. The island is named after him. Later Cycnus recognises the truth and sai…
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