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Seleucia

(1,530 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Wagner, Jörg (Tübingen) | Martini, Wolfram (Gießen) | Hild, Friedrich (Vienna) | Brandt, Hartwin (Chemnitz)
(Σελεύκεια/ Seleúkeia, Latin Seleucia). [German version] [1] S. on the Tigris This item can be found on the following maps: Diadochi and Epigoni | Hellenistic states | India, trade with (Σελεύκεια ἡ ἐπὶ τῷ Τίγρει/ Seleúkeia hē epì tôi Tígrei: Str. 16,738; 743; 750 et passim; Latin Seleucia Magna: Plin. HN 6,43, cuneiform Selukuja [1], modern Tall Umar). On the right bank of the Tigris, c. 60 km north-east of Babylon and 35 km south of Baghdad, at the mouth of the Nahr Malkā (connecting canal between the Tigris and Euphrates) and thus very favourably located …

Sheep

(2,576 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Jameson, Michael (Stanford) | Ruffing, Kai (Münster)
[German version] I. The Near East and Egypt (Sumerian udu, sheep, u8, ewe, udu.nita, fat-tailed sheep; Akkadian immeru (culture word) [4]; Egyptian zr ( wp.t). The Near East lies in the natural range of the Asiatic mouflon ( Ovis orientalis), which was apparently used in various locations for the breeding of wool sheep; the earliest examples for this important step [8] come from the area of south-eastern Asia Minor/northern Levant/northern Mesopotamia in the 7th millennium BC [7. 73]. From the 7th/6th millennia BC on, the sheep play…

Thumna

(102 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Θούμνα/ Thoúmna Ptol. 6,7,31; Τάμνα/ Támna Str. 16,4,2-4 and Steph. Byz.; Thomna Plin. HN 6,153 and 12,64; inscriptions Tumna, cf. Biblical Timna Gn 36:12, 1 Chr 1:51; modern Ḥaǧar Kuḥlān). On the Incense Road between Sabbatha and Mariaba in modern Yemen, once the capital of the kingdom of the Qatabān ( Kattabaneís). Besides houses, excavations have revealed a gate building, a temple and graves. The dating is still uncertain: between 685/430 BC and 100/200 AD. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography G. W. van Beek, s. v. Timna, The Oxford Encyclopedia of…

Timna

(113 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Right-hand side valley of the Wādī al-Araba, about 30 km to the north of the Gulf of Aqaba. There were rich copper deposits there, which were mined from the 4th millennium BC until the Islamic period by means of galleries, up to 35 m long, cut into the rock. Smelting sites are evidence of smelting in situ. An Egyptian temple from the time of Sethos [1] I (1290-1279) and Ramses [2] II (1279-1213) particularly deserves mention. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography W. G. Dever, s. v. Timna, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East, vol. …

Tochari

(161 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Τόχαροι/ Tócharoi  Str. 11,8,2; Latin Tochari:  Just. Epit. 42,2,2; Thocari: Plin.  HN 6,55; Τάχοροι/ Táchoroi: Ptol. 6,16,4; Athagurae: Amm.  Marc. 23,6,66; Θαγούροι/ Thagoúroi: Ptol. 6,16,2). Group of Inner Asian tribes, after which an Indo-European language is named Tocharian. It is mentioned in the context of the westward migration of the Yuezhi after their defeat in 176 or 174 BC by the Xiongnu (presumed Central-Asiatic antecedents of the Hunni). According to the Geography of Ptolemaeus [65], and in Strabo and Justin (see above) located in Gans…

Luristan

(75 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Mountain province of central Iranian Zagrus settled from the 6th millennium. L. is especially well known because of the large number of bronze weapons and artefacts from extensive (plundered) cemeteries, particularly from the 1st millennium BC, now in numerous museums. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography F. Hole (ed.), The Archaeology of Western Iran, 1987 L. Vanden Berghe, La nécropole de Mir Khair au Pusht-i Kuh, L., in: Iranica Antiqua 14, 1979, 1-37.

Shipbuilding

(1,703 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Briese, Christoph (Randers) | Konen, Heinrich (Regensburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Due to the lack of original finds from most regions of the ancient Orient, little can be said about shipbuilding, except for Egypt. The fact that many Syrians were employed in Egyptian shipyards and that a ship (from around 1300 BC) found at Ulu Burun, Turkey was built in the same technique as Egyptian ships indicates that a uniform shipbuilding technique was used throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Here, wooden planks were placed in the desired position w…

Mesopotamia

(7,071 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Oelsner, Joachim (Leipzig)
I. General [German version] A. Name The name M., i.e. ‘[land] between the rivers [ Euphrates [2] and Tigris]’, first appears in Arrian (Arr. Anab. 3,7,3; 7,7,3) as a designation for the area of what is now eastern Syria and northern Iraq, probably corresponding to the Aramaic beyn nahrīn and the Akkadian māt birīt nārim (both ‘between the rivers’). However, this expression designated only the region between the bend of the Euphrates and Baliḫ/Ḫabur [1; 2]. Later, M. could also refer to the entire region of the two rivers (Plin. HN 5,86). In modern,…

Navigation

(2,434 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Alonso-Núñez, José Miguel (Madrid)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt In Egypt and southern Mesopotamia navigation played a major role, especially in inland traffic but also in communication across the sea. In both countries, rivers and canals were the major traffic arteries that were even used by the gods on their mutual visits and by rulers on their tours. Beyond their ordinary significance as a means of transportation for people and goods, ships also had a religious connotation. In Egypt the vocabulary of navigation entered daily life. In both countries, boats sailed or were towed, but in southern M…

Column

(3,015 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[German version] I. Egypt and the Ancient Orient As a statically significant building element, whether in wood or modelled from stone or brick, the column played different roles in Egypt and the Ancient Orient. In Egypt columns were a component of almost every form of architecture, from roof-bearing wooden posts in family residences to extravagantly shaped stone columns in temples and palaces. Having bases and capitals, the latter, too, betrayed the evolution from wooden columns. Columns frequently took on the shape of plants; they were probably always painted. Columns were used sp…

Marathus

(164 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Diadochi and Epigoni | Phoenicians, Poeni Modern Amrīt, important town in northern Phoenicia south of Aradus [1], which controlled it in 333/2 BC (Arr. Anab. 2,13,8; 14,1; 15,6; Curt. 4,1,6) and in 218 (Pol. 5,68,7). Around the middle of the 2nd cent. M. was independent and was able to defend itself against the Aradians (Diod. Sic. 33,5f.). According to Str. 16,2,12, M. was destroyed and its land divided among settlers from Aradus, but the city must…

Ziwiye

(104 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Town in northwestern Iran with Iron Age III remains (7th cent. BC). The objects made of gold, silver, bronze, ivory and ceramics, some magnificent, published as originating in Z. in numerous museums and collections are, however, all from illicit excavations of unknown location: Z. is a label created by dealers in antiquities and unchallenged by the majority of archaeologists. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography O. W. Muscarella, 'Ziwiye' and Ziwiye: The Forgery of a Provenience, in: Journ. of Field Archaeology 4, 1977, 197-219 Id., Art and Archaeology in …

Rabbath-Ammon

(318 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Leisten, Thomas (Princeton)
This item can be found on the following maps: Syria | Theatre | Dead Sea (textual finds) | Hasmonaeans | Pompeius ( Rabbath bnē Ammōn, LXX Ῥαββά/ Rhabbá; Pol. Ῥαβατάμανα/ Rhabatámana, Assyrian bīt ammāna; Philadelphia since the mid 3rd cent. BC; modern Ammān). [German version] I. Through the Persian Period Capital city of the Ammonites (Ammon [2]); the oldest traces of settlement come from the Neolithic Age (7th-6th millennium BC). The earliest important remains with rich tombs on the citadel date from the Middle Bronze Age (1st half of the 2…

Tepe

(33 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (or Tape, Tappe; Turkish 'hill'). Frequent component of the modern name of ruin sites in the region from Near to Central Asia. Synonymous with tell. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)

Persepolis

(605 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Achaemenids | Alexander | Hellenistic states | India, trade with (modern Taḫt-e Ǧamšīd; Greek Πέρσαι Πόλις/ Pérsai Pólis, Περσέπολις/ Persépolis (Diod. Sic. 17,70,1 et passim.; Str. 15,3,6); Latin Persepolis (Curt. 5,4,33 et passim; Amm. Marc. 23,6,42); Ancient Persian Pārsa, homophone of the name of the territory of Persis). Situated on the north eastern edge of the Marv Dašt Plain, approx. 60 km north of Šīrāz near the opening of the valley through which the road to Pasargadae an…

Höyük

(42 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] also Hüyük. Turkish for hill, mostly used for old settlement sites that have been built up in a mound-like manner and, similar to Arabic  tell, a component in the name of many ruin sites. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)

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…

Military technology and engineering

(1,756 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Gniers, Andrea Maria (Los Angeles) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient For Mesopotamia, as for the Near East in general, we are poorly informed by both written and archaeological sources about military organization, techniques, and engineering. The isolated case of the ‘Vulture Stele’ (about 2500 BC, from Tello, southern Babylonia; [1. pl. 91]) points to differences between heavily and lightly armed soldiers. The war chariots depicted there and on the ‘Ur Standard’ (somewhat older, from Ur; [1. pl. VIII]) were probably static symbols, …

Susiana

(76 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (ἡ Σουσιανή/ hē Sousianḗ), cf. OGIS 54,17; Pol. 5,46,7); today the plain forming part of Ḫūzestān in Iran. From the 3rd millennium onwards the main region of the kingdom of Elam, satrapy of the Achaemenid kingdom, in the Seleucid-Sassanid period referred to as Elymais. Its most significant town (from 4000 BC onwards) was Susa. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography E. Carter, M. W. Stolper, Elam: Surveys of Political History and Archaeology, 1984  J. Wiesehöfer, Das antike Persien, 1993.
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