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Mills

(1,880 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Baatz, Dietwulf (Bad Homburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt In the Near Eastern and Egyptian cultures, only grinding mills were used. These consisted of an oblong grindstone and a running stone that was moved back and forth on top of it. Rotary mills, the upper stone of which turned on an axis, did not appear until Roman influence made itself felt. The grinding stones were mostly of basalt, imported from afar when necessary. The terms for the grinding and rubbing stones are NA4.ARÀ in Sumerian, erûm and narkabum in Akkadian, bnwt in Egyptian. Mills could be found in every household; large-scale mill…

Ziggurat

(350 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Akkadian ziqqurratu, 'temple tower', from zaqāru, 'build high'). Tower of block-shaped stages, each smaller than the one below, used as the base for a temple. Although no remains of the uppermost part of a ziggurat are extant, it is definite from descriptions that this upper part existed. The term ziggurat is sometimes also used loosely in modern scholarly terminology for the architectural construction of a 'temple on terraces'. Apart from their stepped terraces, the characteristic feature of a ziggurat is its access via a free-standing flight of…

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…

Grain

(4,159 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Sallares, Robert (Manchester)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The various species of hulled and naked wheat ( triticum = t.) and barley ( hordeum) are among the earliest domesticated plants of the Middle East (Q. Ǧarmu; Çatal H.;  Faiyum). Besides  emmer ( t. dicoccum) and einkorn ( t. monococcum), both hulled, the common or bread wheat (naked; t. aestivum) are also species of wheat. The fact that the hulled sorts, which require more work (removal of the hull through roasting), also predominated in later millennia is ascribed to their better storability [1. 35]. The species o…

Pyrgos Lithinos

(119 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Πύργος Λίθινος: Ptol. 1,12,8 M.; 6,13,2 N.; literally 'stone tower'). Important station on the Pamir on the Silk Road leading to China from the west via Antioch [7] and Bactra. Despite the favourable situation with regard to sources - Ptolemy uses the itinerary of Marinus [1] of Tyre as his basis, the latter the notes of the silk trader Maēs Titianus - no one has yet succeeded in a full identification; the town is however marked on the map [2. 6 D2]. Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography 1 J. I. Miller, The Spice Trade of the Roman Empir…

Sippar

(193 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Mesopotamia full name S.-Yaẖrurum [1; 2], modern Abū Ḥabba. One of the most significant cities of northern Babylonia, counted among the cities 'before the flood' in the Sumerian kings' lists. Main cultic site of the sun god Šamaš. With origins going back to the 4th millennium BC; it reached its zenith in the 2nd and 1st millennia. The nearby twin city of S.-Amnānum (modern Tall al-Dair) can also be designated S. Supplementing the results of 19th…

Yazılıkaya

(171 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Hittite rock sanctuary (dated to c. 1260 BC), about 2 km to the northeast of the capital Ḫattusa. In a limestone layer – accessible from the outside by means of a cleft – there are two naturally formed main chambers and two side chambers, whose vertical rock walls are covered in reliefs. In front of the opening there were several buildings, serving as an entrance area for the sanctuary proper in the upwardly open rock chambers. In the centre of the depiction on the northern wall of Cha…

Town planning

(3,963 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Prayon, Friedhelm (Tübingen)
[German version] I. General Town planning is the designing of urban settlements (Town, city) on an organizational basis, with the central and particular functions of the town, e.g. as a port or a political centre, having an effect on its external and internal form. Most towns and cities in the Middle East and Egypt arose in the earliest times (in the Middle East from the 5th millennium onwards) at economically or strategically important points (trade routes, river crossings, anchorages). Towns and c…

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…

Sogdiana

(304 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Σογδιανή; Sogdianḗ). Region of the Achaemenid Empire between Oxus (Araxes [2]) and Iaxartes, part of the Sixteenth Satrapy; The inhabitants were called Sogdianoí or Sógdoi, Old Persian Sug(u)da, Avestan Su γδ a, Sogdian Sughdh. The capital was Maracanda (modern Samarkand), the Achaemenid base for ruling eastern Iran. In Darius [2] II's building report on his palace in Susa S. is mentioned as the supplier of lapis lazuli and cornelian. S. played an important part in trade with the peoples of the Steppes and the …

Steppe

(316 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Steppe is a term for semi-arid regions of vegetation and climate that, in relation to temperature, experience inadequate precipitation for trees to grow. This form of vegetation and climate can be found in southeastern Europe, northern Africa, in various areas of the Near East, of southern Russia and of central Asia. The boundaries both with agrarian land and with desert can fluctuate in accordance with the annual climatic conditions; in the latter case, one can also speak of dese…

Sambus

(143 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Karttunen, Klaus (Helsinki)
[German version] [1] Tributary of the Ganges (Σάμβος/ Sámbos). Tributary of the Ganges (Arr. Ind. 4,4: Megasthenes), possibly identical to the Sarabus (Ptol. 7,1,29; 2,13) corresponding to the Sarayū (Agoranis). Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) [German version] [2] Indian king, 4th cent. BC (Σάμβος/ Sámbos in Arr. Anab. 6,16,3 f., Σάβος/ Sábos in Diod. Sic. 17,102,6 f. and Str. 15,1,33, Σάββας/ Sábbas in Plut. Alexander 64, Sambus in Curt. 9,8,13 and 9,8,17, Ambus in Just. Epit. 12,10, etc.). Indian king; his kingdom, with its capital at Sindimana, lay in the mountain …

Ur

(542 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Mesopotamia (modern Tall al-Muqayyar; Sumerian uriki ; in the OT Ūr kaśdīm, cf. Gn 11,28 and 31; 15,7 i.a.; no Greek name, since it was abandoned in the 4th cent. BC). City in the southernmost part of Babylonia, discovered and identified in 1854 by J. E. Taylor. Excavations on a larger scale took place under C. L. Woolley in 1922-1934, which became well-known because of the discovery of royal tombs with burial gifts of gold, silver and coloured stones. The orig…

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…

Tell

(122 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (or tall; Arabic tall, plural tulūl; 'hill', then also 'settlement mound'). A common component of present-day names of ruin sites in the Near East. It indicates a widespread shape for earlier places of settlement in the Near East and Central Asia, which grew, some to a considerable height, by the accumulation of layers of settlement on top of each other. This was caused by the most widespread building material, unbaked mud bricks, which often disintegrated after a few decades. The resu…

Ichara

(122 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Ἰχάρα; Ichára, modern Failaka). Island in the Persian Gulf, on the east coast of Arabia. The island, mentioned in Ptolemy (6,7,47 N), is today generally regarded as a variant of  Icarus. While the identification fluctuated between Failaka, Kharg and Qaru for a long time, the equation of Icarus (and thus Ichara?) with Failaka has meanwhile been confirmed by inscriptions. According to Arrian (Anab. 7,20,2-3), the island received its name from Alexander, after an island in the Aegean…

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…

Uruk

(534 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Mesopotamia (modern al-Warkā; Sumerian unu(g)ki; in the OT Erek/ rk, cf. Gn 10:10; Greek Ὀρχόη/ Orchóē). City in southern Babylonia, discovered in 1849 by W. K. Loftus, excavated by German archaeologists since 1912 (with wartime interruptions). Based on settlements of the 5th millennium BC, Uruk developed in the 2nd half of the 4th millennium ('Uruk period') into one of the first large cities, with an area of 250 ha. Uruk was the cult city of Inanna/Ishtar…

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…

Obsidian

(280 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] ( obsianus lapis, 'stone of Obsius'; obsidianus is the incorrect reading) is a dark, vitreous (Plin. HN 36,196: in genere vitri = Isid. Orig. 16,16,5) volcanic rock that a certain Obsius of Ethiopia is said to have imported to Rome. In the Near East, obsidian was highly regarded from the 8th millennium and in Egypt from the 4th millennium, principally because of the sharp cutting edges of tools that were made of obsidian blades but also because its semi-transparent property made it attractive as a gemstone (Akkadian ṣurru; Egyptian mnw). From the 2nd millennium, obsid…
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