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Irrigation

(1,183 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Rathbone, Dominic (London)
[German version] I. Near East and Egypt Irrigation means the artificial provision of water to fields in order to enable or intensify plant growth. It supported cultivation in rain-fed regions (attested as early as the 5th millennium BC in western Iran), but its primary significance was in areas whose productivity depended entirely on it, their own rainfall never being sufficient, such as the Nile Valley and the middle and lower reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris. In irrigation, the entire surface to b…

Relief

(3,221 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Neudecker, Richard (Rome)
I. Egypt and Ancient Near East [German version] A. Egypt Egypt had a long tradition of the two-dimensional portrayal of individual scenes and substantial compositions, initially as paintings on pottery, later as wall paintings and reliefs ( e.g. Narmer Palette, Proto-dynastic Period, c. 3100 BC). At the latest from the time of the Old Kingdom onwards, stone steles could be added to these, erected in association with the cult of the dead (dead, cult of), while the deeds of rulers were depicted in longer scenes on the walls of major build…

Rhyton

(619 words)

Author(s): Scheibler, Ingeborg (Krefeld) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
(τὸ ῥυτόν/ tò rhytón). [German version] I. Object Funnel-shaped vessel for dispensing and drinking, usually ending in the head, or protome, of an animal; the name is derived from ῥύσις/ rhýsis (‘stream’) because the liquid could run out through a small hole at the bottom as long as it was not held closed [1; 2]. Scheibler, Ingeborg (Krefeld) Bibliography 1 F. von Lorentz, s.v. Rhyton, RE Suppl. 6, 643 2 W.H. Gross, s. v. Rhyton, KlP 4, 1426 f. [German version] II. Ancient Near East The only evidence of rhyta in the Ancient Near East and Egypt before the Achaemenids is in Anatolia,…

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,…

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…

Säule

(2,743 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[English version] I. Ägypten und Alter Orient Die S. als statisch bedeutsames Bauglied in Form einer runden Stütze, ob aus Holz oder nachgebildet in Stein oder Backstein, spielte in Äg. und im Alten Orient eine unterschiedliche Rolle. In Äg. waren S. Bestandteil fast jeder Art von Architektur, von dachtragenden Holzpfosten in Wohnhäusern bis zu aufwendig gestalteten Stein-S. in Tempeln und Palästen. Mit Basen und Kapitellen versehen, verraten auch die letztgenannten ihre Herkunft von der Holz-S. Häufig nahmen S. pflanzliche Formen an; sie waren verm. immer bemalt. Im hethitisch-s…

Bewässerung

(1,124 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Rathbone, Dominic (London)
[English version] I. Vorderer Orient und Ägypten Bewässerung meint die künstliche Zufuhr von Wasser auf Feldflächen zur Ermöglichung bzw. Intensivierung des Pflanzenwuchses. Sie unterstützt den Anbau in Gebieten des Regenfeldbaus (nachweislich bereits im 5. Jt.v.Chr. in Westiran), hat ihre bes. Bed. jedoch dort, wo sie Gebiete erst nutzbar macht, die nie von genügend Regen erreicht werden, wie das Niltal sowie die mittleren bis unteren Bereiche von Euphrat und Tigris. Bei der B. wird meist die ganze zu…

Rhyton

(530 words)

Author(s): Scheibler, Ingeborg (Krefeld) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
(τὸ ῥυτόν). [English version] I. Gegenstand Trichterförmiges Spende- und Trinkgefäß, meist in Kopf oder Protome eines Tieres endend; die Bezeichnung ist abzuleiten von ῥυσις/ rhýsis (“Strom”), denn die Flüssigkeit konnte durch ein kleines Loch am Boden auslaufen, sofern man es nicht zuhielt [1; 2]. Scheibler, Ingeborg (Krefeld) Bibliography 1 F. von Lorentz, s. v. Rh., RE Suppl. 6, 643 2 W. H. Gross, s. v. Rh., KlP 4, 1426 f. [English version] II. Alter Orient Im Alten Orient und Äg. vor den Achaimeniden sind Rh. lediglich in Anatolien bezeugt. Dort finden sich schon…

Orthostat

(201 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[English version] I. Alter Orient und Ägypten In der Vorderasiatischen Archäologie werden als O. die aufrecht stehenden Steinplatten bezeichnet, mit denen urspr. im anatolischen Bereich die Füße der Mauern vor Spritzwasser geschützt wurden. Vom 9. Jh. an dienten sie bes. in den neuassyrischen Palästen der Anbringung statischer und erzählender Reliefs. Berühmt sind die Reliefzyklen in den Palästen der Herrscher Assurnaṣirpal II. in Kalḫu, Sanherib und Assurbanipal in Ninive (Ninos [2]). Aus dem gleichze…

Mühle

(1,521 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Baatz, Dietwulf (Bad Homburg)
[English version] I. Alter Orient und Ägypten In den vorderasiat.-äg. Kulturen waren lediglich Reibe-M. in Gebrauch, die aus einem länglichen Reibstein und einem darauf hin- und her bewegten steinernen Läufer bestanden. Rund-M., deren oberer Stein sich um eine Achse drehte, erschienen erst unter röm. Einfluß. Die Reibsteine waren meist aus Basalt, der wenn nötig über weite Strecken importiert wurde. Die Termini für Reibstein bzw. Läufer sind sumerisch NA4.ARÀ, akkadisch erûm und narkabum, äg. bnwt. M. waren in jedem Haushalt zu finden, waren aber auch als Großbetriebe…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Palast

(3,499 words)

Author(s): Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin)
[English version] I. Terminologie und Definition Der mod. Begriff “Palast” leitet sich ab vom Palatin (Mons Palatinus), dem Hügel Roms, auf dem die Residenzen der röm. Kaiser standen. Als P. werden Bauanlagen bezeichnet, die einem Herrscher als Wohn- und Repräsentationssitz dienten. Je nach weiteren, dazukommenden Funktionen konnte er im Alt. verschiedene, von der jeweiligen Funktion abhängige Bezeichnungen haben. Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) II. Alter Orient [English version] A. Baugeschichte Im Alten Orient und Äg. war ein P. von den Ursprüngen her ein Wohnhaus mit…

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…

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…

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…

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, …
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