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(850 words)

Author(s): Maul, Stefan (Heidelberg) | Krafft, Fritz (Marburg/Lahn)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia The push of the Arabian peninsula to the north-east against the Eurasian plate caused the uplift of the Zagros and Taurus mountains. Seismic release of tensions can lead to earthquakes in the whole of Mesopotamia, particularly in the north. Earthquakes were considered to be expressions of wrath by  Enlil, king of the gods, by various  chthonic gods and by Inanna/Ištar as the star of Venus. They were regarded as severe warnings to the king and as precursors of further disasters. Earthquake omens were recorded from the middle of the 2nd millennium BC on and are preserved in cuneiform script from as late as Hellenistic times. They were incorporated into Greek tradition with almost no changes [1]. From observation stations all over Mesopotamia, reports were made to the Neo-Assyrian kings  Asarhaddon and  Assurbanipal (7th cent. BC) not only about astrological omens, but also about earthquakes. Thanks to the preserved reports [3], several earthquakes of the 7th cent. can be dated accurately. In order to calm the wrath of the gods, the king had to carry out extensive expiatory ri…


(713 words)

Author(s): Maul, Stefan (Heidelberg) | Krafft, Fritz (Marburg/Lahn)
[English version] I. Mesopotamien Das Drängen der Arabischen Halbinsel nach NO gegen die Eurasische Platte bewirkt die Auffaltung des Zagros und des Taurus. Seismische Spannungsentladungen können in ganz Mesopotamien, v.a. im Norden, zu E. führen. E. hielt man für Zornesäußerungen des Götterkönigs Enlil, verschiedener chthonischer Götter und der Inanna/Ištar als Venusstern. Sie galten als schwere Verwarnung an den König und als Vorboten für weiteres Unheil. E.-Omina wurden bereits in der Mitte des 2…


(5,672 words)

Author(s): Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) | Burkard, Günther (Munich) | Maul, Stefan (Heidelberg) | Vössing, Konrad (Aachen)
I. Library buildings [German version] A. Definition A library is a depository or building for books of all kinds. Libraries could be part of private houses, royal palaces, public and religious buildings ( Gymnasium, Forum, Thermae [1]), sanctuaries, or be independent buildings. Only few libraries have been secured or preserved, because most of their constituent elements, including bookcases ( armaria) and furnishings, were made of wood. Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) [German version] B. Greece Book collections have been known in the Greek cultural area since the 6th cent. BC (see below II.B.1.). Their inclusion in the palaces of tyrants may have been borrowed from the Orient. Even in the Hellenistic period the most famous libraries belonged to the royal palaces, and were reserved for scholars. The most famous was the library in Alexandria (see below II.B.1.c), which was founded by Ptolemy I. It was located in the palace, next to the Mouseion, which contained a peripatos (stoa) and an exedra for studying, and a large


(2,953 words)

Author(s): Maul, Stefan (Heidelberg) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen) | Macuch, Maria (Berlin) | Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia Mesopotamia did not develop a generic term for demons. A large number of immortal beings was known that each had their own name and acted as servants of the gods and as enemies or helpers of humans. They did not have cults of their own. Since demons were only able to exercise their limited powers, which manifested themselves in physical and psychological illnesses, with the approval of the gods,…


(2,882 words)

Author(s): Maul, Stefan (Heidelberg) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen) | Macuch, Maria (Berlin) | Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[English version] I. Mesopotamien Ein übergeordneter Begriff für D. wurde in Mesopotamien nicht entwickelt. Bekannt ist eine Vielzahl unsterblicher Wesen, die jeweils einen eigenen Namen tragen und als Diener der Götter und Feinde oder Helfer der Menschen auftraten. Gegenstand eines eigenen Kultes waren sie nicht. Da D. ihre beschränkte Macht, die sich etwa in Krankheiten physischer und psychischer Art manifestierte, nur mit Billigung der Gött…


(6,021 words)

Author(s): Maul, Stefan (Heidelberg) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen) | Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia While attention in old Egyptian culture was largely centred on existence after death, the concerns of Mesopotamia were almost exclusively with the present. A significant part of the cultural energy of ancient Mesopotamia was devoted to keeping human actions in harmony with the divine, so as to ward off such misfortunes as natural catastrophes, war, sickness and premature death. As such, heavy responsibility rested on the ruler as mediator between the world of gods and that of men. In Mesopotamia everything which is and happens was seen as a manifestation of divine will. There was no such thing as ‘chance’; any disaster was attributed to the gods turning away from mankind, provoked to divine anger by pollution or the breaking of taboos. A break in their relations with the gods would not be revealed to the people of Mesopotamia only by a catastrophe but by warning signals in their surroundings deviating from the rules established at creation. Thus signs when properly interp…


(5,782 words)

Author(s): Maul, Stefan (Heidelberg) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen) | Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel) | Et al.
[English version] I. Mesopotamien Während das Augenmerk der altägypt. Kultur in hohem Maße auf die Existenz nach dem Tode gerichtet ist, kreisen die Ängste der mesopotamischen Kulturen fast ausschließlich um Belange des Diesseits. Ein bed. Teil der kulturellen Energien des alten Mesopotamien fließt in das Bemühen, menschliches Handeln im Einklang mit dem Göttl. zu halten, um dadurch Unglück wie Naturkatastrophen, Krieg, Krankheit und vorzeitigen Tod fernzuhalten. Hierbei kommt einem Herrscher als Mittler zw. Götter- und Menschenwelt bes. Verantwortung zu.…
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