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Ḫammurapi

(240 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Ḫammurabi). Most important ruler of the 1st Dynasty of  Babylon, in office from 1792 to 1750 BC. Following extended battles with rival powers in Mesopotamia as well as with the rulers of  Elam who all claimed sovereignty over the states of Mesopotamia, Ḫ. ruled over all of Mesopotamia from Mari on the middle reaches of the Euphrates and the region surrounding modern Mossul to the Persian Gulf from 1755 BC on. In over 200 of his letters and in numerous reports by delegates of Zimr…

Potamophylax

(79 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (ποταμοφύλαξ/ potamophýlax, 'river guard'). The potamophýlakes (Ptolemaic officials) used guard boats (attested from the 2nd cent. BC on) to guard the Nile, its branches (in the Delta) and the canals of Alexandria up to Syene (Aswan). They occasionally also carried urgent letters and were put to service collecting tolls and taxes. The potamophýlakes were conscripted into service; the office of potamophýlax was a liturgy. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography E. Kießling, s. v. P., RE 22, 1029 f.

Sardanapalus

(88 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Σαρδανάπαλ(λ)ος; Sardanápal(l)os). Legendary Assyrian ruler, who combines traits of several Assyrian rulers (e.g. Sennacherib and Saosduchinus/Šamaš-šuma-ukīn) according to the accounts of  Greek authors (Hdt. 2,150; Pol. 8,12,3; Dion. Chrys. 4,135; Clem. Al. Strom. 2,20). During the 19th century, S. was a subject in music [1. 168], literature (Byron) and fine arts (Delacroix) (Orient, reception in the West). Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography 1 J. Renger, Altorientalistik und Vorderasiatische Archäologie in Berlin, in: W. Ahrenhövel, Chr. Sc…

Tennes

(247 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Sylvia | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] [1] Eponym of the island of Tenedos (Τέννης/ Ténnēs, also Τένης/ Ténēs). According to Plutarch (Quaest. Graec. 28) the eponym of the island of Tenedos, son of king Cycnus [2]; Apollo is often given as his father. Stepson of Philomene, who after an alleged rape has T. and his sister Hemithea put out at sea in a chest. Under the protection of Poseidon they land on the island of Leucophrys near Troy, where T. becomes king. The island is named after him. Later Cycnus recognises the truth and sai…

Inn

(1,837 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Dräger, Michael
[German version] I. Ancient Orient So far, evidence of inns comes mainly from Mesopotamia. There the inn was usually also the place where - outside institutional households -  beer was brewed. Inns normally served beer, with only one mention of the operator of a  wine tavern (ancient Babylonian period, 17th cent. BC; [3]). The running of an inn by a landlord or landlady or a hot-food stall by a cook was registered and licensed by royal edict in the ancient Babylonian period [5. 85]. Both had to pay a…

Empires, Concept of empire

(1,874 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The idea of a  rulership that encompassed the entire known world was expressed in Mesopotamia in various royal epithets ─ i.a. ‘Ruler of the Four Regions (of the world)’ ( šar kibrāt arbaim/erbettim), ‘Ruler over the Totality’ ( šar kiššatim), ‘Ruler of Rulers’ ( šar šarrāni). The title ‘Ruler of the Four Regions (of the world)’ is first documented for the Akkadian ruler  Naramsin (23rd cent. BC). However, the claim inherent in this title did not hold true according to contemporary documents, since Naramsin's…

Amulet

(478 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Grieshammer, Reinhard (Heidelberg)
[German version] A. Ancient Orient Since prehistoric times in the Ancient Orient there have been numerous objects made as pendants (either figurative or abstract symbols) which could be worn, tied on or hung and also chains or other arrangements, which were all referred to as amulets [1]. Particularly Akkadian and Hittite texts for experts in the area of magic rituals describe materials, shapes and the process for making amulets and the purpose for which they are used. Stones and plants are ascribed …

Population, demographic history

(3,019 words)

Author(s): Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] A. Object of research, and method The object of demographic history is the description and explanation of structures and developments in (ancient) populations in their relationship to living space. So far, ancient demographic history has made studies of esp. ancient views of population development, the numerical values of ancient populations (at a particular point in time or over a particular period of time), the age and gender structures of ancient demographics and particular determina…

City deity

(508 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The religion of Mesopotamia is characterized by a system of tutelary deities for the numerous city settlements that has its origin in the Sumerian religion of the 4th millennium BC. There is evidence of the existence and worship of city deities from the 3rd to the 1st millennium. Individual city deities achieved supraregional importance in the course of history (e.g.  Assur [2];  Enlil;  Ištar,  Marduk;  Nabû).  Asia Minor IV.;  Pantheon;  Religion II. and III. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) [German version] II. Classical antiquity For Graeco-Roman …

Dreams; Interpretation of dreams

(2,165 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Dreams and their interpretation were a popular topic in the written tradition of the Ancient Orient and Egypt since the 22nd cent. BC. Both spontaneously experienced dreams as well as dream incubation are attested. Preserved dreams relate divine messages (in the form of theophanies). Though usually contained in literary texts [3; 5. 746; 6], they also occur in letters [1]. Dreams also contained ethical maxims and wisdom for life reflecting personal experience and st…

Adamas

(93 words)

Author(s): Peter, Ulrike (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
(Ἀδάμας; Adámas). [German version] [1] Thracian (4th cent. BC) Thracian, who in the 370s BC seceded from Cotys (Aristot. Pol. 5,10,1311b). The identification with A. in IG XII 5,245 is doubtful (SEG 34, 1984, 856). Peter, Ulrike (Berlin) [German version] [2] River of India on the Gulf of Bengal A river of India on the Gulf of Bengal mentioned only in Ptol. 7,1,17; 41, identical with the current Subarna rekha. The name means ‘River of Diamonds’. Inland, to this day the diamond mines of Chota Nagpur are known. Renger, Johannes (Berlin)

Issedones

(90 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Treidler, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] (Ἰσσηδόνες; Issēdónes, Ἰσσηδοί; Issēdoí, Ἐσσηδόνες; Essēdónes). A Scythian people of Asian origin. According to Herodotus (1,201; 4,13-26), they lived southeast of the Aral Sea; however, the heaviest population centres within the regions of their habitation lay in Central Asia. Ptolemy (6,16,5; 16,7; 8,24,3; 24,5 N) ascribes to them the cities of Ἰσσηδὼν Σκυθική (modern Kucha) and Ἰσσηδὼν Σηρική (modern Charqliq), which were located on the Silk Road in Chinese East Turkistan (Tarim Basin, Xinjiang), to the southwest of Lobnor.  Scythians Renger, Johannes (Ber…

Votive offerings

(1,524 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Frateantonio, Christa (Gießen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East and Egypt Votive offerings (VO) to a variety of deities played an important role in the religious practices of the Ancient Middle East and Egypt, as documented by inscriptions found on consecrated objects. In Mesopotamia, the oldest clearly identifiable VO date from the 24th cent. BC [14], and in Egypt from the prehistoric and Early Dynastic eras (end of the 4th/early 3rd millennia; e.g. the Narmer Palette). Most of the attested Mesopotamian offerings came from rule…

Rations

(515 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East In the Ancient Near Eastern oikos or palace economy, the majority or (large) parts of the population were integrated into the institutional households of temples and/or palaces as direct dependents (the extent varied according to region and period). They were provided with the rations of natural produce (grain, oil, wool) guaranteeing them the level of subsistence necessary for their reproduction. In Mesopotamia, these rations of produce were in part supplemented, and in certain periods replaced, by the allocation of areas of land ( c. 6 ha.) as…

Leek

(608 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
and other Alliaceae [German version] I. Mesopotamia, Egypt, Asia Minor The numerous Sumerian and Akkadian expressions for Alliaceae, not all of which can be definitely botanically identified, partly refer only to the subspecies leek, shallot, onion or garlic [1. 301]. Leek in its various forms - Sumerian *karaš, Akkadian kar( a) šu, Hebrew kārēš, Aramaic karrāttā, Arabic kurrāṯu - is a word of Oriental culture. Garlic is in Sumerian, sum, Akkadian šūmū, otherwise in Semitic languages ṯūm; the onion is in Akkadian šamaškillū, in Aramaic šmšgl (also as an ideogram in Pahlavi); the…

Deluge, legend of the

(716 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In Mesopotamia, the legend of the deluge is preserved in a Sumerian as well as an Akkadian version; the Akkadian one is transmitted in 17th-cent. BC copies of the  Atraḫasīs myth[3. 612-645]. Extensive passages reappear verbatim on the 11th tablet of the recension of the Epic of  Gilgamesh from Niniveh [3. 728-738], and the myth is later also transmitted by  Berosus [1. 20 f.]. The gods perceive the noisy behaviour of the humans as hubris, causing them to eliminate …

Interest

(2,129 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Andreau, Jean (Paris)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt The early Mesopotamian documents (24th-21st cents. BC) that refer to  loans and advances from institutional bodies to private individuals allow us to surmise that interest was calculated, though without our being able to make any observations about the rates of interest. Instead of being made to pay interest, the debtor was often obliged to undertake agricultural work for the creditor [10. 117]. In the Early Babylonian period (19th-17th cents. BC) a sharp distinction was drawn between loans of grain (331/3 %) and loans of silver (20%…

Secret police

(629 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Eder, Walter (Berlin)
[German version] A. Ancient Near East Xenophon (Cyr. 8,2,10ff.) tells of undercover informants, the “eyes and ears of the king”, who reported to the Persian king. Antecedents of this Achaemenid institution can be found in Mesopotamia: soothsayers (Mari 18th cent. BC) and state officials (Assyria 8th/7th cents.) undertook in their oath of office to report to the king any moves or actions against him. The extent to which fear of the “eyes and ears of the king” was an encumbrance to contemporaries can be…

Bisutun

(388 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel)
[German version] (Old Persian bagastāna ‘place of gods’, Βαγίστανα; Bagístana), Βαγίστανον ὄρος; Bagístanon óros, Behistun). Rock face 30 km east of Kermanshah, on the road from Babylon to Ecbatana on the  Choaspes ( Silk Road [3. 11]), on which  Darius I had his achievements from c. 520 BC recorded pictorially and in inscription -- c. 70 m above the road level -- in several phases. Because of their trilingual form (Elamite, Babylonian, Old Persian) the inscription [1] was the key to decipherment of the  cuneiform script ( Trilinguals). The reli…

Songs

(1,465 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Fuhrer, Therese (Zürich)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Many song genres are attested in Mesopotamia (beginning in approx. 2600 BC), in Egypt (from the 24th/23th cents. BC onwards), among the Hittites (14th/13th cent.), in Ugarit (14th/13th cents.) and in the OT (see below). There is no uniform genre classification, since hybrid forms are common. The ancient terminology is only of limited help. The umbrella term ‘cultic poetry’ refers to the literary, lyric form of song. The term ‘song’ is related to the type of performance, i.e. singing with or without instrumental accompaniment. Texts from M…
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