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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…

Grain

(4,159 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Sallares, Robert (Manchester)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The various species of hulled and naked wheat ( triticum = t.) and barley ( hordeum) are among the earliest domesticated plants of the Middle East (Q. Ǧarmu; Çatal H.;  Faiyum). Besides  emmer ( t. dicoccum) and einkorn ( t. monococcum), both hulled, the common or bread wheat (naked; t. aestivum) are also species of wheat. The fact that the hulled sorts, which require more work (removal of the hull through roasting), also predominated in later millennia is ascribed to their better storability [1. 35]. The species o…

Pyrgos Lithinos

(119 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Πύργος Λίθινος: Ptol. 1,12,8 M.; 6,13,2 N.; literally 'stone tower'). Important station on the Pamir on the Silk Road leading to China from the west via Antioch [7] and Bactra. Despite the favourable situation with regard to sources - Ptolemy uses the itinerary of Marinus [1] of Tyre as his basis, the latter the notes of the silk trader Maēs Titianus - no one has yet succeeded in a full identification; the town is however marked on the map [2. 6 D2]. Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography 1 J. I. Miller, The Spice Trade of the Roman Empir…

Sippar

(193 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Mesopotamia full name S.-Yaẖrurum [1; 2], modern Abū Ḥabba. One of the most significant cities of northern Babylonia, counted among the cities 'before the flood' in the Sumerian kings' lists. Main cultic site of the sun god Šamaš. With origins going back to the 4th millennium BC; it reached its zenith in the 2nd and 1st millennia. The nearby twin city of S.-Amnānum (modern Tall al-Dair) can also be designated S. Supplementing the results of 19th…

Yazılıkaya

(171 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Hittite rock sanctuary (dated to c. 1260 BC), about 2 km to the northeast of the capital Ḫattusa. In a limestone layer – accessible from the outside by means of a cleft – there are two naturally formed main chambers and two side chambers, whose vertical rock walls are covered in reliefs. In front of the opening there were several buildings, serving as an entrance area for the sanctuary proper in the upwardly open rock chambers. In the centre of the depiction on the northern wall of Cha…

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…

Salt

(1,504 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Germer, Renate (Hamburg) | Giovannini, Adalberto (Geneva) | Pingel, Volker (Bochum)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East and Egypt Salt (Sumerian mun; Akkadian ṭabtu; Hittite puti; Hebrew mælaḥ; Egyptian sm.t) played an important role in all ancient Near Eastern cultures and in Egypt. In often high temperatures, the supply of salt was essential to life: salt was therefore part of workers' ordinary rations in Mesopotamia and Egypt (Rations). It was esp. used to season foods and to preserve meat and fish. In medicine, too, salt was used internally and externally. Salt was an important ingredient…

Sogdiana

(304 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Σογδιανή; Sogdianḗ). Region of the Achaemenid Empire between Oxus (Araxes [2]) and Iaxartes, part of the Sixteenth Satrapy; The inhabitants were called Sogdianoí or Sógdoi, Old Persian Sug(u)da, Avestan Su γδ a, Sogdian Sughdh. The capital was Maracanda (modern Samarkand), the Achaemenid base for ruling eastern Iran. In Darius [2] II's building report on his palace in Susa S. is mentioned as the supplier of lapis lazuli and cornelian. S. played an important part in trade with the peoples of the Steppes and the …

Steppe

(316 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Steppe is a term for semi-arid regions of vegetation and climate that, in relation to temperature, experience inadequate precipitation for trees to grow. This form of vegetation and climate can be found in southeastern Europe, northern Africa, in various areas of the Near East, of southern Russia and of central Asia. The boundaries both with agrarian land and with desert can fluctuate in accordance with the annual climatic conditions; in the latter case, one can also speak of dese…

Sambus

(143 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Karttunen, Klaus (Helsinki)
[German version] [1] Tributary of the Ganges (Σάμβος/ Sámbos). Tributary of the Ganges (Arr. Ind. 4,4: Megasthenes), possibly identical to the Sarabus (Ptol. 7,1,29; 2,13) corresponding to the Sarayū (Agoranis). Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) [German version] [2] Indian king, 4th cent. BC (Σάμβος/ Sámbos in Arr. Anab. 6,16,3 f., Σάβος/ Sábos in Diod. Sic. 17,102,6 f. and Str. 15,1,33, Σάββας/ Sábbas in Plut. Alexander 64, Sambus in Curt. 9,8,13 and 9,8,17, Ambus in Just. Epit. 12,10, etc.). Indian king; his kingdom, with its capital at Sindimana, lay in the mountain …

Zoo

(933 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Müller, Stefan (Hagen)
(παράδεισος/ parádeisos, ζωγρεῖον/ zōgreîon; Latin vivarium). [German version] I. Ancient Orient Zoos are known primarily from neo-Assyrian palace sites (11th-7th cents. BC), in the sense both of parks populated with animals of every kind and of enclosures in which game was kept (Paradeisos). Reliefs of hunting lions, wild asses etc. are known from the palace of Assurbanipal in Nineveh with representations of cages/enclosures; there are written records of lion enclosures as early as the beginning of the 2n…

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…

Necropoleis

(7,045 words)

Author(s): Tsochos, Charalampos (Erfurt) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Genz, Hermann (Istanbul) | Hiesel, Gerhard (Freiburg) | Et al.
[German version] I. Introduction The Greek word νεκρόπολις/ nekrópolis, ‘city of the dead’, is attested in Antiquity only in Strabo (17,1,10,14) as the name of a suburb of Alexandria [1] (Necropolis). Modern scholarship transfers the term necropolis to cemeteries of various cultures and time periods. General definitions as to shape and size do not exist. In this article, necropolis refers only to sites of a certain size and usually lying outside the settlements themselves. The size of a necropolis, the …

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…

Turfan

(280 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Town and oasis region (T. basin) in eastern Uyghurstan (Xinjian) in China, to the south of the Tianshan mountains, on the northeastern edge of the Taklamakan desert, an important station on the Silk Road. There are numerous historically and archaeologically significant places there: 10 km to the west of modern T. is the Chinese fortress of Jiaohe, which from the 2nd cent. BC until the 5th cent. AD was the capital of the kingdom of Cheshi. Around 100 BC Gaochang came into being 30 …

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,…

Palace

(3,814 words)

Author(s): Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin)
[German version] I. Terminology and Definition The modern term ‘palace’ is derived from the Palatine (Mons Palatinus), one of Rome’s seven hills, on which the residences of the Roman emperors were located. Palaces are buildings that a ruler uses as a residence and for representation. Depending on additional functions, they could have other names in Antiquity, relating to their respective use. Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) II. Ancient Near East [German version] A. Structural History In the Ancient Near East and Egypt, the palace was originally a house with considerably expa…

Seleucia

(1,530 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Wagner, Jörg (Tübingen) | Martini, Wolfram (Gießen) | Hild, Friedrich (Vienna) | Brandt, Hartwin (Chemnitz)
(Σελεύκεια/ Seleúkeia, Latin Seleucia). [German version] [1] S. on the Tigris This item can be found on the following maps: Diadochi and Epigoni | Hellenistic states | India, trade with (Σελεύκεια ἡ ἐπὶ τῷ Τίγρει/ Seleúkeia hē epì tôi Tígrei: Str. 16,738; 743; 750 et passim; Latin Seleucia Magna: Plin. HN 6,43, cuneiform Selukuja [1], modern Tall Umar). On the right bank of the Tigris, c. 60 km north-east of Babylon and 35 km south of Baghdad, at the mouth of the Nahr Malkā (connecting canal between the Tigris and Euphrates) and thus very favourably located …

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…
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