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Seleucia-Ctesiphon

(249 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Tell Omar) was founded c. 300bce by Seleucus I on the right (west) bank of the Tigris, on the site of the earlier Upi (Opis). Babylonians, Greeks, Macedonians, and Jews are said to have settled there, bringing its eventual population to some 600,000. In the first half of the 2nd century bce, the Parthians built their new capital Ctesiphon on the east bank of the Tigris; c. 230/240 ce the Sasanids likewise built a capital Veh-Ardashir (Coche) south of Ctesiphon. Legend traces the earliest Christian community in Seleucia-Ctesiphon back to the apost…

Solin

(155 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] in Croatia near Split, was an Illyrian city that became a Roman colony under Julius Caesar. It flourished under the Empire, since it had an excellent harbor and good communications with the interior, and became the capital of the province of Dalmatia. Christianity spread very early and intensively in Salona. The city and its surroundings and the nearby island of Brattia (Brac) contain the ruins of a large number of churches and buildings over the tombs of martyrs, dating from the…

Via Appia

(110 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] Via Appia, a via publica laid out in 312 bce by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus, in part on top of earlier roads. It ran from Rome to Brundisium (Brindisi), then continued along the Via Egnatia to the Balkans; for centuries, therefore, it was the most important link joining Rome to Asia Minor and the Levant (Trade and traffic in the Mediterranean world). Impressive sections lined with tombs and other structures are preserved near Rome. Guntram Koch Bibliography M. Rathmann, DNP XII/2, 2002, 159f. I. de Portella et al., eds., Via Appia antica, 2003; ET: The Appian Way: Fro…

Sacred Sites

(2,374 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Reichert, Andreas | Dan, Joseph | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Characterization of a place as “sacred” or “holy” lends it a special status vis-à-vis its environment. Usually specific regulations govern how it is entered and used. Traditionally this status has been grounded in the belief that the site is proper to a deity or another spiritual being, or that a special power emanates from it. Sacred sites are particularly common at the center and on the fringes of group territories: the “men’s house” or festival ground defines the center of a village, just as the temple complex on …

Mistra

(327 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] was founded as a castle in 1249 by William II of Villehardouin, the Frankish prince of Achaea; it was built on a prominent rock elevation (621 m) for the protection of the city of “Lakedaimonia” (ancient and modern Sparta [see Greece, map]), which lies roughly 7 km to the southeast of Mistra. In 1204, the Latin knights of the Fourth Crusade had conquered the Peloponnese, as well as other places. The Byzantines regained control of its southeastern part in 1262, and Mistra became th…

Demons and Spirits

(6,288 words)

Author(s): Hutter, Manfred | Görg, Manfred | Kollmann, Bernd | Haustein, Jörg | Koch, Guntram | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion (Ancient Near East and Antiquity) – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Iconography – VI. Practical Theology – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. History of Religion (Ancient Near East and Antiquity) The term “demon” as used in European language groups derives from the Greek (δαίμων/ daímōn), where it initially also referred simply to gods (ϑεοί/ theoí; cf. Homer Iliad 1.122) without either positive or negative connotations. The exclusively “negative” charge associate…

Stobi

(179 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] The town of Stobi (modern Gradsko) in what is today Macedonia came into existence no later than the 3rd century bce. It flourished during the Roman Empire, as the remains of various structures attest, serving as a junction on the important north-south road to Thessalonica and linking with the Via Egnatia toward the northeast. Stobi took on special importance in Late Antiquity, when it became the capital of the province of Macedonia Secunda. Its conquest by the Goths under Theodoric the Great in 479 b…

Megaliths/Menhirs

(275 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] A menhir (Fr.-Breton “long stone”) is an elongated stone set vertically in the open air. In some areas, especially in France, the upper part resembles a human form, either just the face or the whole upper body, usually simply incised, more rarely three-dimensional (“statue menhirs”). Women are identified by their breasts; men usually carry a weapon as an attribute. Menhirs vary in size, from 1–2 m to exceptional examples 20 m high or more. They are found throughout extensive areas…

Atrium

(175 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram

Ephesus

(1,220 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Günther, Matthias
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. Church History I. Archaeology Early evidence of settlement in the area of Ephesus dates back to the 5th millennium bce. The city itself was founded sometime after 1200 bce…

Abercius, Inscription of

(390 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] In 1883, two fragments of an altar slab with portions of a lengthy Greek epitaph of a certain Abercius were discovered at Hieropolis on the Glaucus, near Synnada in Phrygia (western Turkey). The fragments were given to Pope Leo X by Sultan Abdülhamid II in 1888 and are now in the Museo Pio Cristiano in the Vatican, with a reconstruction of the altar. The inscription comprises 18 incomplete lines, with nine verses (7–15). The entire inscription (a distich and 20 hexameters) is preserved in the legendary Life of a Bishop Abercius, which may go back to the 4th century; it appears in a 10th-century text by Simeon Metaphrastes. Its author had probably seen the altar tomb. Portions are used in the epitaph of an otherwise unknown Alexander, also from Hieropolis, dated in the year 216 (now in the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul); the Abercius inscription …

Symbols/Symbol Theory

(9,049 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Cancik-Lindemaier, Hildegard | Recki, Birgit | Schlenke, Dorothee | Biehl, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Use of the Greek word σύμβολον/ sýmbolon in a sense relevant to religious studies is attested quite early in the history of European religions; Dio of Prusa (1st/2nd cent. ce), for example, used it in his speech on Phidias’s statue of Zeus in Olympia ( Oratio 12.59). In this context, the Greek term reflects the problem posed by images of the gods: what is intrinsically inaccessible to human vision (Vision/Intuition) is somehow to be represented visually. In religious studies, especially in the phenomenology of religio…

Martyrium

(848 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram

Tur ʿAbdin

(326 words)

Author(s): Tamcke, Martin | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Church History The “Mountains of the Servants (of God)” in southeastern Turkey gained their fame from monasticism, which began in the 4th century with Jacob of Nisibis and Augin of Clysma. Mount Izla, in the east, was home to the monasteries of the Nestorians (Nestorianism); the so-called Great Monastery on Izla was the fountainhead of the East Syrian monastic revival in the 6th century under Abraham of Kashkar. The mountains are the heart of Syrian Orthodox monasticism (Syrian mo…

Qalaat Seman

(309 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] Qalaat Seman, major early Christian pilgrimage (III) site in northern Syria, some 40 km from Aleppo. The focus of the site was the pillar on which the monk Simeon Stylites the Elder spent his life from 415 to 459 …

Carthage

(2,038 words)

Author(s): Huß, Werner | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Names – II. Geography – III. History and Society – IV. Religion and Literature I. Names Even though in ancient literary contexts Carthage was occasionally called Tyre, Tarshish, Kaine Polis, Kadmeia, Oinus, Kaccabe, Afrike, and Byrsa, the official name of the city was, nonetheless, always Qrtḍdšt, “New City.” The city was called “New City” to characterize it as an establishment of the “Old City,” Tyre (in Phoenicia). It shared this name with Phoenician settlem…

Bozrah (Hauran, Syria)

(361 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Pre-Christian Period – II. Christian Archaeology I. Pre-Christian Period Bozrah (or Bostra; Arab. Bushra ash-Sham), in the southeast of the Hauran, is a crossroads of many long-distance routes. It is mentioned in Egyptian texts from the 2nd millennium. First settled in the Early Bronze Age, it was captured by Judas Maccabeus (Maccabees) (1 Macc 5:28). In the 1st century bce and the 1st century ce, it was on the edge of the Nabatean territory in southern Auranitis and was the site of an important sanctuary where Nabatean gods were worshiped; the ruins of the temple and its propylaeum just behind the Roman east gate may still be seen. In 106 ce it was made the capital of the new Provincia Arabia; coins were minted there and the city expanded. In 256 it was captured by the Sassanids. Robert Wenning Bibliography M. Sartre, Bostra, IGLS 13/1, BAH 113, 1982…

Trier

(1,623 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Seibrich, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. Archaeological Monuments Augusta Treverorum was founded around 17 bce under Emperor Augustus, on the site of the main settlement of the tribe of the Treveri; it soon prospered by virtue of favorable road links and its situation on the Moselle River. Trier was an imperial residence under Emperor Constantius Chlorus and his son Constantine the Great (i.e. from about 285 to 312), and again under Valentinian I and Gratian (c. 364–383). Trier’s decline began soon after 400, the city becoming a Frankish possession around 470. Impre…

Sarcophagus/Urn/Ossuary

(793 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Freigang, Christian
[German Version] I. Bronze Age to Late Antiquity It is important to distinguish between a sarcophagus to hold a dead body, an urn for the ashes of a person who has been cremated, and an ossuary to hold the bones of the dead after the flesh has decayed (see also Burial). These receptacles were generally buried; they were not visible and were therefore simple. In some areas and in some periods, it became customary to make them out of marble or other kinds of stone and decorate them with representational or ornamental reliefs. In Greek areas sarcophagi were the exception (6th–4th cents. bce). The E…

Iconography

(6,550 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Koch, Güntram | Arnulf, Arwed | Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle | Finster, Barbara | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Archaeology – III. Iconography and the Bible – IV. Christian Iconography – V. Jewish Iconography – VI. Islamic Iconography – VII. Buddhist Iconography – VIII. Hindu Iconography I. Religious Studies Iconography (Gk εἰκονογραϕία/ eikonographía) originally meant the description of images (Arist. Poet. XV; Strabo XV 1.19), but nowadays is used to refer to the methodical study of images. Where scholars distinguish between iconography, iconology , and iconics (Ger. Ikonik), iconography denotes the description of the object, …
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