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Textiles, production of

(2,346 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Pekridou-Gorecki, Anastasia (Frankfurt/Main)
[German version] I. The Ancient Orient and Egypt Weaving, which presumably developed from the plaiting of mats and baskets, is probably one of the oldest craft technologies. Owing to the climate, textiles do not survive in most of the countries of the Middle East; thus we have only a few, mostly carbonized, remains to show that different styles of weaving were already known, and various materials (Wool, Linen, flax) used, in the Neolithic Period. Great numbers of spindle whorls, mostly of fired clay, an…

Orthostats

(230 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Ancient Near East and Egypt In Near Eastern archaeology, orthostats are standing stone slabs, which in the Anatolian region originally protected the base of walls from backsplash. From the 9th cent. onwards, especially in the Neo-Assyrian palaces, they were used as mounts for static and narrative reliefs. The narrative cycles in the palaces of the rulers Assurnaṣirpal II. in Kalḫu, Sennacherib and Assurbanipal in Nineveh (Ninos [2]) are famous. In the contemporar…

Temple

(5,554 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Hollender, Elisabeth (Cologne) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia The Sumerian term é and the Akkadian term bītu, meaning 'temple' or 'house (of the deity)', were not restricted to 'dwellings' of deities of a particular size or importance. They applied to sanctuaries from small neighbourhood shrines in residential areas to large, freestanding, tall buildings, from one-room cult sites to temple complexes with extensive auxiliary buildings, and they could be used for temples where one or many deities were worshipped. Prehistoric structures are often classified as temples only because apparently they nei…

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…

Tashkent

(152 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] The capital of modern Uzbekistan, on the western slopes of Mount Tianshan, in an oasis irrigated by the Čirčik (a tributary of the Iaxartes). The country of Juni mentioned in 2nd cent. BC Chinese sources was later identified with the area of T. The local name was presumably Čač, as also used in the Islamic period; Arabic authors used Šaš. The earliest traces of settlement date from the 6th-4th cents. BC (Šaš-Tepe). From the 5th cent. AD several towns developed, which ultimately me…

Town, city

(4,219 words)

Author(s): Eder, Walter (Berlin) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Prayon, Friedhelm (Tübingen) | Kolb, Frank (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Definition 'Town' and 'city' in modern parlance have become general terms to describe settlements of a particular size, with a particular complement of buildings and administrative and legal structure. Owing, however, to the manifold forms assumed by towns and cities, we lack a specific, all-embracing definition: criteria such as a closed built environment, a highly evolved division of labour, and central administrative and economic functions for the surrounding territory, have p…

Stucco, Pargetting

(533 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Mouldable, quickly hardening material of gypsum, lime, sand and water, occasionally with stone powder, which was used in many places (in Egypt from the Old Kingdom onwards, c. 2700-2190 BC) to smooth walls and as a base for painting. Figurines, vases and moulds for casting metal were also made from stucco. From the Parthian period onwards (1st cent. BC), figured or geometric stucco reliefs covering long walls are attested. They were modelled by hand or using templates; in the Sassanid and early Islamic periods they were also carved. Nissen, Hans Jörg…

Tayma

(165 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Taimā). Oasis in northwestern Arabia on the Incense Road, which led along the western side of the Arabian peninsula. The earliest traces of settlement point to the late 2nd millennium BC. T. is mentioned among the Arabian tribes defeated by the Assyrian ruler Tiglath-Pileser III in 733 BC (cf. OT Jes 21,14). The last ruler of the neo-Babylonian Empire, Nabonid, stayed in T. from 552 until 542 BC (cult city of the moon goddess (Moon deities)). After the Achaemenid period T. - its…

Sanbulus

(110 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] According to Tac. Ann. 12,13,3 the place where Gotarzes II defeated Mithridates [15], his anti-king sent by Rome; it is also mentioned that the last battle between Alexander [4] the Great and Darius [3] III was fought in the same place. Reference is made to a fortress near Nineveh (Ninus [2]). S. is a mountain on which Gotarzes sacrificed to Hercules and is presumably close to the field of battle. S. has to date not been identified. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography P. Bernard, Heracles, les grottes de Karafto et le sanctuaire du Mont Sambulos en Ira…

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…
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