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Coptus

(218 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Commerce | India, trade with | Egypt Main city of the 5th upper Egyptian district (besides Ombos and Qūṣ), Egyptian gbtw, which became Greek κοπτός ( koptós), Copt. kebt and Arab. qifṭ. Important starting-point for expeditions into the Wadi Hamāmat and the Red Sea. Located in C. were temples for  Min (main god),  Isis (also referred to as ‘Widow of Coptus’) and  Horus; records also indicate a cult of Geb. Colossal stone statues of Min stem from the early 1st dynasty. Protect…

Literature

(23,376 words)

Author(s): Rüpke, Jörg (Erfurt) | Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hazenbos, Joost (Leipzig) | Hose, Martin (Munich) | Et al.
[German version] I. General Literary communication is communication by means of texts - stabilized, coherent and substantial statements. These may be written or eventually put down in writing, but they may also remain oral ( Literacy). Since for earlier societies as a rule only written texts can be studied, the term ‘literature’ focusses on such sedimented media of literary communication. Nevertheless, particularly for ancient societies the mainly oral character of literary communication must be emp…

Myth

(8,403 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Zgoll, Annette (Leipzig) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hazenbos, Joost (Leipzig) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen)
I. Theory of myth [German version] A. Definition Despite many attempts, it has proven impossible to arrive at a definition of myth (Gr. μῦθος/ mýthos; Lat. mythos) that would satisfy all disciplines. The most satisfactory one refers to G.S. Kirk and W. Burkert who described myth as a ‘traditional narrative of collective significance’ [1; 2]. Still, this definition fails to fully represent the function of myth in the time after Classical Antiquity, when we find myths in entertaining narratives such as Ovidius's ‘Metamorphoses or Nonnus's Dionysiaká. The term ‘traditional’ implies…

Peteesis

(173 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Greek Πετεησις/ Peteēsis; Egyptian p′č̣i̯-s.t, 'the one given by Isis'). According to PRylands 63 [4], Egyptian priest in Heliopolis [1] who teaches Plato about melothesia (allocation of parts of the body to astral magnitudes) [2. 81]. Presumably the same traditional figure of a sage as the P. who is mentioned in several variants in Dioscorides, De materia medica 5,98 as an author, possibly also the Petasius of the alchemistic corpus (CAAG vol. 3, 15,3; 26,1; 95,15; 97,17; 261,9; 2…

Ceremony

(3,932 words)

Author(s): Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel) | Winterling, Aloys (Bielefeld) | Tinnefeld, Franz (Munich)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia In contrast with cultic  rituals, the secular ceremonies of Mesopotamia have up to now rarely been the subject of academic research. On the whole, it has to be assumed that individual and communal life in the societies of the Ancient Orient in general and that of the  ruler in particular were dominated by numerous rules, resulting in more or less standardized patterns of behaviour. The reconstruction of such non-cultic ceremonies is largely dependent on secondary refe…

Sacrifice

(10,943 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
I. Religious studies [German version] A. General Sacrifice is one of the central concepts in describing ritual religion in ancient and modern cultures. In European Modernity, the term sacrifice (directly or indirectly influenced by Christian theology of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to redeem mankind) also has an intimation towards individual self-giving ('sacrifice of self'). The range of nuances in the modern meaning stretches to include discourses that have lost their religious motif and hav…

Lisht

(134 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] ( al-Lišt). Modern Arabic name for the town that under the name iṯi-t.wi (‘who seizes the two lands’) was the capital city of Egypt (C.) in the Middle Kingdom [3. 53-59]. The pyramids of Amenemhet I and Sesostris I were situated there, the latter surrounded by smaller pyramids of the royal family [1]. An officials' cemetery continued to be used until the 17th dynasty. As an archetypal residence the place name was later used as a cryptographic symbol for the word ‘internal’, ‘residence’. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) Bibliography 1 D. Arnold, The Pyramid Complex of Senwosre…

Serapis

(1,264 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Takacs, Sarolta A. (Cambridge, MA)
(Σάραπις/ Sárapis, also Σέραπις/ Sérapis, Latin Serapis), original Egyptian bull god whose main cult was in Memphis; from the Hellenistic period, it was widespread throughout the Mediterranean region. [German version] I. Egypt The Greek form Sarapis (Σάραπις; Sárapis), and in later sources Serapis (Σέραπις; Sérapis), derives from the combination Wsjr-Ḥp (Osiris - Apis [1]), which is rendered as οσεραπις ( oserapis) in the oldest sources from Memphis, e.g. in the Curse of Artemisia (UPZ 1; 4th cent. BC). Because the initial sound was understood as the article (ὁ; ho) it became detac…

Mut

(229 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Μούθ/ Moúth; Egyptian mw.t). Egyptian goddess. Her name is written like the Egyptian word for ‘mother’, but is vocalized differently. Beginning in the 18th dynasty in Thebes (Thebes), M., Amun and Chons formed the Theban triad. Other cultic sites of M. can be found in Megeb (near Antaeopolis) as well as at various locations at the tip of the Nile Delta. The Heliopolitan ‘M. who is carrying her brother’ is associated with a fire altar used for punishing criminals. M. is one of the go…

Userkare

(65 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Egyptian Wsr-k-R.w). Egyptian king, according to the evidence of the Kings' lists in the Sixth Dynasty (c. 2300-2250 BC), after Teti I and before Pepi I (Phiops [1]); scarcely any contemporary record. He is sometimes regarded as a usurper or anti-king before or during the reign of Pepi I. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) Bibliography J. Vercoutter, L'Égypte et la vallée du Nil, vol. 1, 1992, 322.

Chronography

(3,691 words)

Author(s): Rüpke | Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hollender, Elisabeth (Cologne) | Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (Freiburg)
I. General [German version] A. Notions of measuring time Most cultures have some method of measuring time, frequently based on periodical changes within nature or the stars. The oldest of these is the pars-pro-toto method, in which it is not a certain period of time as a whole that is connected, but a regularly recurring phenomenon within that time [1. 9 f.] (e.g. lunar phases). Metaphors of time or the measuring thereof play no great role in antiquity, with the exception of the field of  metrics. Usually, the focus was not on …

Re

(650 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] ( R), the most important god in the Egyptian pantheon. Essentially merely the word for 'sun' and as appellative still used as such in Coptic, translated into Greek as Helios. Re is the god who originated in himself, yet the primeval ocean Nun is considered to be his father. In Heliopolis he is linked with the god Atum, and his children are Shu and Tefnut (Tefnut, legend of). Often the epithet 'Horus of the horizon' (Harachte), is bestowed on him. The phases of the sun during the day are classified by the Egyptians as Chepre (morning), Re (midday) and Atum (e…

Min

(389 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Μίν/ Mín; Egyptian Mnw). Egyptian god, chief deity of Coptus and Achmīm, was responsible for the desert regions accessible from Coptus. Colossi of M. are preserved from Coptus from early times (3rd cent) [6], demonstrating the classical iconography - they are anthropomorphic, with relatively unstructured bodies, ithyphallic, with a tall plume on the head. One arm is raised and bears a scourge. This figure became the model for the ithyphallic form of Amun. The written character for M…

Multilingualism

(2,975 words)

Author(s): Binder, Vera (Gießen) | Schwemer, Daniel (Würzburg) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Rieken, Elisabeth (Berlin)
[German version] I. General ‘Multilingualism’ refers to two different things: on the one hand the ability of an individual to use several languages, on the other hand a situation where, within a social group, several languages are used (linguistic contact). As a result, research into multilingualism can look at multilingual individuals or a multilingual society; accordingly, points of contact arise to psycho- and neurolinguistics on the one hand or to sociolinguistics and historical linguistics (des…

Leukos Limen

(78 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Egypt | Commerce (Λευκὸς λιμήν; Leukòs limḗn; only in Ptol. 4,5,8). Harbour on the Red Sea at the eastern mouth of Wadi Hammamat opposite Coptus, modern Marsa Koseir el-qadim. Leukos Limen (LL) was the starting-point for trips to Punt (coast of Eritrea). From the Ptolemaic period the harbours Myos Hormos and Berenice [9] supplanted LL. Hardly any ancient remains are extant. Quack, Joachim (Berlin)

Selkis

(128 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] Egyptian goddess ( srq.t); her emblem is an animal interpreted as a scorpion or a water scorpion. Her putative origin is in the western Delta. Together with Isis, Nephthys and Neith she protects the viscera of a dead person in a canopic chest (Canope). Her symbol is found among those in the relief depiction of a ruler's jubilee. In medicine and magic her priest, the 'Exorciser of S'., primarily provides help for snake bites and scorpion stings, against miscellaneous dangerous animals…

Science

(3,548 words)

Author(s): Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | R.NE.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia The framework for the emergence of science, i.e. of a socially organized, systematic search for discoveries and their transmission, existed in Mesopotamia from the early 3rd millennium BC. It included social differentiation and the development of a script (Cuneiform script) which was soon applied outside administrative and economic contexts. The potential of numeracy and literacy, sustained by the professional group of scribes, was developed beyond concrete, practical…

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,…

Metre

(8,752 words)

Author(s): Zaminer, Frieder (Berlin) | Leonhardt, Jürgen (Marburg/Lahn) | Hecker, Karl (Münster) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
[German version] I. Preliminary remark Originally sung poetry, often accompanied by dance, metric literature was obviously subject to other formative conditions than poetry intended from the outset for spoken presentation or for reading. Texts of such kinds still show traces of their earlier sound form ( Music). Accordingly the form ranged from simple ‘melodic lines of sound’, as can be presumed for the ancient Orient and Israel ( parallelismus membrorum, strophic poetry, sometimes with rhythmic accent order, congruence of form and language s…

Oxyrhynchus

(551 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Eleuteri, Paolo (Venice)
This item can be found on the following maps: Egypt | Pilgrimage | Egypt [German version] A. The city City in Middle Egypt, modern Al-Bahnasā; in Pharaonic times the capital of the 19th nome of Upper Egypt, Egyptian pr-mḏd, 'meeting house (?)'. Originally O. was one of the main cult centres of Seth as well as of Thoeris. Because Seth had killed Osiris, it was mentioned in traditional lists of nomes as a banned place. There are hardly any archaeological finds from the pre-Ptolemaic period; the ancient centre of the nome was presumably located in spr-mrw. During the Graeco-Roman period, the…
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