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Topazos

(80 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] (Τόπαζος; Tópazos). Island, of which Pliny gives a detailed account, allegedly the place of origin of the name of the precious stone topaz. According to Plin.  HN 37,24;108 it was 300 stadia from the Arabian coast in the Red Sea, and  in the language of the Trogodytae T. means 'seek', since the fog-enshrouded island often had to be looked for by seafarers. It appears as an Indian island in Steph. Byz. s.v. Τοπάζιος. Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)

Marde

(113 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] (Μάρδη/ Márdē, Μάρδις/ Márdis, Lat. Maride). Fortress on the southern edge of the Izala mountain range (Ṭūr Abdīn), modern Mardin. Apart from a dubious identification with the ancient Oriental settlement of Mardaman, there are no indications that M. was of major significance prior to late antiquity. In Amm. Marc. 19,9,4, M. is one of the castella praesidiaria against the Persians. Under Iustinianus (AD 527-565) M. was refortified (Procop. Aed. 2,4,14) and…

Ḥarran

(281 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Christianity | Coloniae | Mesopotamia Settlement 40 km south-east of Edessa, old Oriental Ḫarrān(u), Greek Κάρραι; Kárrai, Latin Carrhae, Aramaic Ḥrn, modern Harran, important commercial centre and important cult centre of the moon god  Sin; documented since the 3rd millennium BC, Assyrian provincial capital and, from 611-610 BC, residence of the last Neo-Assyrian king; new temple construction under  Nabonid (finds of steles). In the biblical tradition, H. wa…

Nisibis

(786 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Sassanids | Syria | Xenophon | Zenobia | Commerce | India, trade with | Asia Minor | Limes | Pompeius | Rome (Νίσιβις/ Nísibis, Byz. Νισίβιν/ Nisíbin). Town in Mesopotamia, also Nesibis, Assyrian Naṣībīna, Arabian Naṣībīn, present-day Nusaibīn, probably ‘the pillars’ in Aramaic folk etymology. N. was situated in a strategically important position on the Ǧaġǧaġa river (M…

Nymphaeus

(63 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] (Νυμφαῖος/ Nymphaîos). Nowadays called Kahta Cayi, it is a tributary of the Euphrates in Commagene. The ancient name is known only through the citing of the name of the town, Arsameia on the N., on an inscription of Antiochus [2] I of Commagene found at Arsameia (now Eski Kâhta) [2]. Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen) Bib…

Naarda

(113 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] (Νάαρδα/ Náarda, also Νέερδα/ Néerda). Mesopotamian town on the Euphrates close to Sippar, exact location as yet unknown (Arr. FGrH 2,861 fr. 42; Ptol. Geog. 5,17,10); mainly inhabited by Jews, the Nehardea of the Talmud. The brothers Anilaeus and Asinaeus established their own Jewish rule in Mesopotamia from N. c. AD 20-35 (Jos. Ant. Iud. 18,9,1ff.). In the 2nd/3rd cents., N. was the seat of an important Jewish academy, whose most important representative was Samuel. N. was destroyed (by Odaenathus?) in AD 260, and gradually dwindled in importance. …

Sophene

(84 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] (Σωφηνή/ Sōphēnḗ; Byzantine also Τζοφηνή/ Tzophēnḗ). Region to the east of the Euphrates, opposite the Melitene and to the north of Commagene, Urartian Ṣūpā, Assyrian Ṣuppu; Syrian and Armenian documentation. S. was often administratively linked with Sophanene to the east. Geographically S. was usually considered part of Armenia. Kings of S. are documented from the 2nd cent. BC until 54 AD (Tac. Ann. 13,7). Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen) Bibliography L. Dillemann, Haute Mésopotamie Orientale et pays adjacents, 1962, 116-124  F. H. Weissbach, s. v. S., RE …

Assyria

(388 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] The name Assyria goes back to Assyrian māt-Aššur ‘land (of the city of)  Assur’. In the narrower sense, understood as the heartland of the Assyrian empire to the west and, above all, to the east of the Tigris (today approximately northern Iraq); in post-Assyrian times the term is often used in a wider sense. The Medes may have already taken over A. as the name of the conquered non-Babylonian regions of the former Assyrian empire. The Achaemenid inscriptions use Old Persian Aθurā (Accad. Aššur, Aramaic twr), partly more comprehensive…

Sura

(441 words)

Author(s): Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) | Eigler, Ulrich (Zürich) | Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen) | Ego, Beate (Osnabrück) | Wiegels, Rainer (Osnabrück)
[German version] [1] Roman cognomen Roman cognomen ('calf bone'), recorded for L. Cornelius [I 56] Lentulus S. etc. Elvers, Karl-Ludwig (Bochum) Bibliography Degrassi, FCIR, 269  Kajanto, Cognomina, 63; 226. [German version] [2] Aemilius S. Author of a work of history In a gloss on Vell. Pat. 1,6,6, an excerpt from a work by a certain Aemilius S. with the title De ann…

Gyndes

(105 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] (Γύνδης; Gýndēs). According to Herodotus (1,189; 202; 5,52) a Mesopotamian river name. The Persian king Cyrus is said, before the capture of Babylon in 539 BC, to have diverted the water of the G. into 360 canals. Herodotus describes the  Araxes that was geographically untenable as the source area of the G. as well as describing the Persian region  Matiane. Because of the direction in which Cyrus marched, a link with the Diyālā (Babylonian Turan/ Turnat; Latin Tornadotus, Plin. HN 6,132) and the canal system between Diyālā and  Tigris is the most probable. Kessler, Karlhe…

Itinerare

(1,501 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen) | Burian, Jan (Prague)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Some Mesopotamian texts come very close to later travel accounts. An Old Babylonian text describes in detail a 38-day journey from Babyloni…

Simia

(122 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] (Greek forms i.a. Σημεία /Sēmeía, Σημέα /Sēméa, Σίμα /Síma, Aramaic smy), in the past often interpreted as a Syrian goddess, is the deified divine standard of ancient Oriental origin, usually with a crescent moon at the top, often assimilated to Roman signa. The etymology could be Aramaic [1] but the word was linked to Greek σημεῖον/ sēmeîon (sign, standard) early on. Lucianus (De Syria Dea 33) describes the Sēmḗion of Hierapolis [2]/Bambyce, where it is placed, as in Dura-Europus, between Atargatis (Syria Dea) and Hadad (relief, coins). S. is identified ( i.a.) with …

Lycus

(2,142 words)

Author(s): Scherf, Johannes (Tübingen) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Touwaide, Alain (Madrid) | Günther, Linda-Marie (Munich) | Meister, Klaus (Berlin) | Et al.
(Λύκος; Lýkos). Mythology and religion: L. [1-9], historical persons: L. [10-13], rivers: L. [14-19]. [German version] [1] Son of Poseidon and the Pleiad Celaeno Son of Poseidon and the Pleiad Celaeno [1] (Ps.-Eratosth. Katasterismoi 23), only Apollod. 3,111 mentions his translation to the Islands of the Blessed, possibly to differentiate him from L. [6], with whom he is connected by Hyg. Fab. 31, 76 and 157 in spite of the descent from Poseidon. Scherf, Johannes (Tübingen) [German version] [2] Son of Prometheus and Celaeno Son of Prometheus and Celaeno [1], on whose tomb in th…

Naarmalcha

(171 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] Name of an Aramaic river or canal in central Babylonia, corresponding to Akkadian nār šarri, Greek Naarsárēs (Νααρσάρης, Ptol. 5,19,2; 6) and Latin Marses (Amm. Marc. 23,6,25) and glossed in Greek ( basíleios potamós etc., see Str. 16,1,27; Ptol. 5,17,5; Zos. 3,19,3) and Latin translation ( regium flumen etc., see Plin HN 5,21,90; Amm. Marc. 24,2,7) as ‘Royal River’. Several canals of this name are known from Assyriological sources. The various names are often confused by ancient authors. It is doubtful whether the N. mentione…

Mennis

(79 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] Only Curtius Rufus (5,1,16) reports that Alexander [4] the Great reached the city M. after four days on the road from Arbela [1] to Babylon. A strong spring of naphtha was said to gush forth from a cave nearby. The city wall of Babylon was said to have been built of asphalt from M., which was probably located in the petroleum region of Kirkūk. Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen) Bibliography F. H. Weissbach, s.v. Mennis, RE 15, 896.

Ichnae

(112 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] (Ἴχναι; Ichnai). Fortified settlement on the Balissus (Balīḫ̣); according to  Isidorus of Charax, situated between Alagma and  Nicephorium (Isidorus of Charax 1 Schoff; Plut. Crassus 25,17; Cass. Dio 40,12,2). Supposedly a Macedonian foundation; despite a similarity to Greek place names, the name may be identical with the old Babylonian Aḫūnā [1. 6].  Licinius Crassus won a skirmish near I. in 54 BC against the Parthian satrap Silaces. Publius, the son of Crassus, was advised to fl…

Calachene

(47 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] (Καλαχηνή; Kalachēnḗ). Region bordered by the  Tigris and the Great Zab around the earlier Neo-Assyrian capital  Kalḫu (now Nimrūd), east of the Tigris, north of the  Adiabene (Str. 11,4,8; 11,14,12; 16,1,1; Ptol. 6,1,2) Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen) Bibliography F. H. Weissbach, s.v. K., RE 10, 1530.

Neocaesarea

(605 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) | Strobel, Karl (Klagenfurt) | Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
(Νεοκαισάρεια/ Neokaisáreia, Lat. Neocaesarea). [German version] [1] Town in Pontos This item can be found on the following maps: Sassanids | Syria | Byzantium | Christianity | Asia Minor | Asia Minor | Limes | Rome | Rome A town in Pontus at the southern foot of the Paryadres near present-day Niksar, at the junction of the east-west route from the Amnias valley and up the Lycus valley via the Comana Pontica [2]-Polemonium road [4; 5; 6.Vol. 1, 17-57]; it is mentioned for the first time in Plin. HN. 6,8. N.'s history is traceable vi…

Centrites

(107 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] (Κεντρίτης, Kentrítēs, Xen. An. 4,3,1; Diod. Sic. 14,27,7); according to the route description in Xenophon, the same as the eastern confluent of the Tigris Bohtan Su (province of Siirt), Byzantine Zirmas, Arabic Zarm. Accordingly, the C. formed the boundary between the region of the  Carduchi and Armenia, or rather the Armenian satrapy of  Tiribazus. In the winter of 401/400 BC the Greeks crossed the C. at a widening of the valley with settlements on river terraces, possibly c. 15 km north of the confluence with the Tigris, near the mouth of the Zorova Su. Kessler, Karlhe…

Royal roads

(353 words)

Author(s): Kessler, Karlheinz (Emskirchen)
[German version] From the 9th century BC, RR are recorded in the Neo-Assyrian Empire. They constituted clearly defined links between the royal residence and provincial governors, which were paved only in cities to some extent. They were secured by road stations, which accommodated travellers by order of the king, supplied teams of mules and were responsible for the conveyance of mail (for Palestine cf. also Nm. 20:17; 21:22; Dt. 2:27). In the Babylonian Chaldean Empire new RR were built. The similarly structured Achaemenid RR, admired by the Greeks as a purportedly perfect…
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