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Purity

(1,297 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia In Sumerian the adjective kug and in Akkadian the corresponding adjective ellu express the principle of (cultic) purity. Both words also contain the nuance of 'bright', 'shining'. Sumerian kug and Akkadian ellu (when in textual dependence upon kug) mark characteristics of deities, localities (e.g., temples), (cult) objects, rites and periods of time as belonging to the sphere of the divine. This, however, does not necessarily mean that they must be in an uncontaminated state. In this respect kug is most often rendered as 'holy/sacred'. Akkadian ellu, …

Serapeum

(129 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
(Σαραπεῖον/ Sarapeîon, Σαράπιον/ Sarápion). [German version] [1] Burial and cult sites of dead Apis bulls in Memphis Term for the burial and cult sites of dead Apis bulls in Memphis (Apis [1]), and generally for cult buildings of the god Serapis derived from it in the Graeco-Roman world. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) [German version] [2] Name of various places As a reflexion of presumably Egyptian terms such as pr-wsjr-ḥp a place name in Greek and Latin sources (see also [1]). According to the Tabula Peutingeriana there were three such places in the Nile Delta; one w…

Pheron

(185 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Φερῶν; Pherôn). Greek rendering of the Egyptian pr-, Pharaoh, therefore not a personal name, but the Egyptian royal title. According to Hdt. 2,111 (similarly also Diod. Sic. 159), the son and successor of Sesostris I (1971-1928 BC). He is said to have thrown his spear into the flooding Nile and to have been blinded as a punishment, until he could wash his eyes with the urine of a woman who had always been faithful to her husband. After recovering his sight, he had all unfaithful wives …

Coptus

(218 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Commerce | India, trade with | Egypt Main city of the 5th upper Egyptian district (besides Ombos and Qūṣ), Egyptian gbtw, which became Greek κοπτός ( koptós), Copt. kebt and Arab. qifṭ. Important starting-point for expeditions into the Wadi Hamāmat and the Red Sea. Located in C. were temples for  Min (main god),  Isis (also referred to as ‘Widow of Coptus’) and  Horus; records also indicate a cult of Geb. Colossal stone statues of Min stem from the early 1st dynasty. Protect…

Literature

(23,376 words)

Author(s): Rüpke, Jörg (Erfurt) | Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hazenbos, Joost (Leipzig) | Hose, Martin (Munich) | Et al.
[German version] I. General Literary communication is communication by means of texts - stabilized, coherent and substantial statements. These may be written or eventually put down in writing, but they may also remain oral ( Literacy). Since for earlier societies as a rule only written texts can be studied, the term ‘literature’ focusses on such sedimented media of literary communication. Nevertheless, particularly for ancient societies the mainly oral character of literary communication must be emp…

Myth

(8,403 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Zgoll, Annette (Leipzig) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hazenbos, Joost (Leipzig) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen)
I. Theory of myth [German version] A. Definition Despite many attempts, it has proven impossible to arrive at a definition of myth (Gr. μῦθος/ mýthos; Lat. mythos) that would satisfy all disciplines. The most satisfactory one refers to G.S. Kirk and W. Burkert who described myth as a ‘traditional narrative of collective significance’ [1; 2]. Still, this definition fails to fully represent the function of myth in the time after Classical Antiquity, when we find myths in entertaining narratives such as Ovidius's ‘Metamorphoses or Nonnus's Dionysiaká. The term ‘traditional’ implies…

Tefnut, legend of

(186 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] Group of myths about the Egyptian goddess Tefnut (Greek Τφηνις; Tphēnis), the daughter of Atum, who parted with her father in anger and is brought back from Nubia to Egypt by her brother Onuris with the aid of Thoth (Thot). Attestations of the legend can be found in temple inscriptions (mostly in the form of short epithets and allusions) mainly in Nubia and southern Upper Egypt, and in the Demotic Myth of the Eye of the Sun, which was also translated into Greek. This Greek translation (P. Lit. Lond. 192, ed. [4]) has been discussed by scholars as indicati…

Thonis

(120 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Θώνις/ Thṓnis). City on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt (Egyptian t ḥn.t), in the area of the Canopian mouth of the Nile, according to Str. 17,1,16 and  Sic. 1,19 once an important trading post. The recent find of a duplicate of the Naucratis stele has made identification with Heracleum likely. The place name T. is probably the origin of the figure of a homonymous hero who plays a part in the tradition of Helena [I]  in Egypt. Hdt. 2,113-115 tells of T. as a guardian of the mouth of the Nile, who notifies King Proteus of the arrival of Paris and Helen. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) Bibl…

Sesostris

(282 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Σεσῶστρις; Sesôstris). Greek form of the name of three Egyptian rulers of the 12th Dynasty, Egyptian z (j)-n-Wsrt: S. I (1956-1911/10 BC), S. II (1882-1872 BC) and S. III (1872-1853/52 BC). In Hdt. 2,102-110 and Diod. Sic. 1,53-58, S. appears as the greatest general of Egypt, who conquered large parts of Asia and Europe. An alleged settlement of Egyptians in Colchis is reported to go back to his campaigns. He is supposed to have been brought up together with all other Egyptian men who were born o…

Nemanus

(117 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Νεμανούς/ Nemanoús). According to Plutarch (Plut. De Is. et Os. 15,357 B) one of the names of the Queen of Byblos [1], wife of Malcathrus. She received Isis during her search for Osiris and made her the wet nurse of her children. She is also called Astarte and Saosis and is said to have been called Ἀθηναΐς/ Athēnaís by the Greeks. Her name is derived from nḥm( .t)- n, a frequent variation on the goddess's name nḥm( .t)- wy in the late period. She is the companion of Thot. In the late period (1st millennium BC), she was considered to be an aspect of Hathor. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) B…

Lisht

(134 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] ( al-Lišt). Modern Arabic name for the town that under the name iṯi-t.wi (‘who seizes the two lands’) was the capital city of Egypt (C.) in the Middle Kingdom [3. 53-59]. The pyramids of Amenemhet I and Sesostris I were situated there, the latter surrounded by smaller pyramids of the royal family [1]. An officials' cemetery continued to be used until the 17th dynasty. As an archetypal residence the place name was later used as a cryptographic symbol for the word ‘internal’, ‘residence’. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) Bibliography 1 D. Arnold, The Pyramid Complex of Senwosre…

Serapis

(1,264 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Takacs, Sarolta A. (Cambridge, MA)
(Σάραπις/ Sárapis, also Σέραπις/ Sérapis, Latin Serapis), original Egyptian bull god whose main cult was in Memphis; from the Hellenistic period, it was widespread throughout the Mediterranean region. [German version] I. Egypt The Greek form Sarapis (Σάραπις; Sárapis), and in later sources Serapis (Σέραπις; Sérapis), derives from the combination Wsjr-Ḥp (Osiris - Apis [1]), which is rendered as οσεραπις ( oserapis) in the oldest sources from Memphis, e.g. in the Curse of Artemisia (UPZ 1; 4th cent. BC). Because the initial sound was understood as the article (ὁ; ho) it became detac…

Multilingualism

(2,975 words)

Author(s): Binder, Vera (Gießen) | Schwemer, Daniel (Würzburg) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Rieken, Elisabeth (Berlin)
[German version] I. General ‘Multilingualism’ refers to two different things: on the one hand the ability of an individual to use several languages, on the other hand a situation where, within a social group, several languages are used (linguistic contact). As a result, research into multilingualism can look at multilingual individuals or a multilingual society; accordingly, points of contact arise to psycho- and neurolinguistics on the one hand or to sociolinguistics and historical linguistics (des…

Leukos Limen

(78 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Egypt | Commerce (Λευκὸς λιμήν; Leukòs limḗn; only in Ptol. 4,5,8). Harbour on the Red Sea at the eastern mouth of Wadi Hammamat opposite Coptus, modern Marsa Koseir el-qadim. Leukos Limen (LL) was the starting-point for trips to Punt (coast of Eritrea). From the Ptolemaic period the harbours Myos Hormos and Berenice [9] supplanted LL. Hardly any ancient remains are extant. Quack, Joachim (Berlin)

Selkis

(128 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] Egyptian goddess ( srq.t); her emblem is an animal interpreted as a scorpion or a water scorpion. Her putative origin is in the western Delta. Together with Isis, Nephthys and Neith she protects the viscera of a dead person in a canopic chest (Canope). Her symbol is found among those in the relief depiction of a ruler's jubilee. In medicine and magic her priest, the 'Exorciser of S'., primarily provides help for snake bites and scorpion stings, against miscellaneous dangerous animals…

Science

(3,548 words)

Author(s): Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | R.NE.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia The framework for the emergence of science, i.e. of a socially organized, systematic search for discoveries and their transmission, existed in Mesopotamia from the early 3rd millennium BC. It included social differentiation and the development of a script (Cuneiform script) which was soon applied outside administrative and economic contexts. The potential of numeracy and literacy, sustained by the professional group of scribes, was developed beyond concrete, practical…

Moon

(1,588 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hübner, Wolfgang (Münster)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The rotation of the moon and the phases of the moon served as significant structural elements of the calendar from early times in all ancient Oriental cultures. People discussed not only the phases of the moon but also, from earliest times, the eclipses of the moon, regarding them as ominous signs (Astrology; Divination). Like the sun, the moon, which was represented as a deity, was the protagonist of numerous myths in Egypt, Asia Minor [1. 373-375] and Mesopotamia (Moon deities). In Babylonia, as early as toward the end of the 3rd millennium,…

Metre

(8,752 words)

Author(s): Zaminer, Frieder (Berlin) | Leonhardt, Jürgen (Marburg/Lahn) | Hecker, Karl (Münster) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
[German version] I. Preliminary remark Originally sung poetry, often accompanied by dance, metric literature was obviously subject to other formative conditions than poetry intended from the outset for spoken presentation or for reading. Texts of such kinds still show traces of their earlier sound form ( Music). Accordingly the form ranged from simple ‘melodic lines of sound’, as can be presumed for the ancient Orient and Israel ( parallelismus membrorum, strophic poetry, sometimes with rhythmic accent order, congruence of form and language s…

Oxyrhynchus

(551 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Eleuteri, Paolo (Venice)
This item can be found on the following maps: Egypt | Pilgrimage | Egypt [German version] A. The city City in Middle Egypt, modern Al-Bahnasā; in Pharaonic times the capital of the 19th nome of Upper Egypt, Egyptian pr-mḏd, 'meeting house (?)'. Originally O. was one of the main cult centres of Seth as well as of Thoeris. Because Seth had killed Osiris, it was mentioned in traditional lists of nomes as a banned place. There are hardly any archaeological finds from the pre-Ptolemaic period; the ancient centre of the nome was presumably located in spr-mrw. During the Graeco-Roman period, the…

Priests

(4,255 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia From the 3rd millennium to the end of Mesopotamian civilization, the staff of Mesopotamian temples consisted of the cult personnel in the narrower sense - i.e. the priests and priestesses who looked after the official cult in the temples, the cult musicians and singers - and the service staff (male and female courtyard cleaners, cooks, etc.). In addition, there was the hierarchically structured administrative and financial staff of the temple households, which constit…
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