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(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…


(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 e…

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


(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…

Qalaat Seman

(283 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[English Version] Qalaat Seman, bedeutende frühchristl. Pilgerstätte (Wallfahrt/Wallfahrtsorte: III.) im nördlichen Syrien, ca.40 km von Al…


(200 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[English Version] (Sator arepo tenet opera rotas). Das »S.« begegnet seit der Mitte des 1.Jh. n.Chr. im gesamten Röm. Reich, zunächst mit ROTAS, später mit SATOR beginnend. In MA und Neuzeit ist es im Volksglauben auf Amuletten sowie als Beschwö…


(153 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[English Version] Salona, nahe bei Split (Kroatien) gelegen, war eine illyrische Stadt, die unter Iulius Caesar röm. Kolonie wurde. In der Kaiserzeit blühte S., da es einen vorzüglichen Hafen und recht gute Verbindungen ins Landesinnere hatte, und wurde Hauptstadt der Provinz Dalmatia. Das Christentum verbreitete sich in S. früh und intensiv. Bereits aus dem 4.Jh., v.a. dann aus dem 5./6.Jh. ist in der Stadt, ihrer Umgebung und auf der vorgelagerte…


(510 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[English Version] (sem. Tadmor), Oase mit der bedeutenden Efqa-Quelle, an einem wichtigen Karawanenweg in der syr. Wüste zw. Euphrat (Dura-Europos) und den Städten im Westen (Hama, Homs, Damaskus) bzw. der Küste gelegen. Älteste menschliche Zeugnisse (ca.75 000 Jahre alt) wurden in der Höhle von Douara gefunden. Seit ca.7000 v.Chr. war der Hügel bei der Efqa-Quelle bewohnt. Im 2.Jt. v.Chr. wird Tadmor in Texten aus Kültepe, Mari und Emar erwähnt. Seit ca.300 v.Chr. muß P. große Bedeutung gehabt ha…


(145 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[English Version] (Porecˇ), kroatische Hafenstadt an der Westküste Istriens, seit der B-Zeit besiedelt; im 2.Jh. v.Chr. röm., unter Tiberius (14–37 n.Chr.) »colonia«. Noch heute wird das Stadtbild durch das System der sich rechtwinklig kreuzenden Straßen und das hervorgehobene Forum bestimmt. Die Anfänge des Christen…


(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 o…


(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 extensi…


(175 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] An atrium is an open courtyard associated with big churches from the time of Constantine until the 6th century. Temples of the Imperial Period furnish prototypes. As a rule, the atrium is located at the narrow end before the main entrance – usually at the western, rarely at the eastern end (e.g. St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Church of the Holy…

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 …


(848 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] In the early Christian period, a martyrion (Gk) or memoria (Lat.) was a place of “witness” and “commemoration” providing an opportunity for cultic veneration (cf. also Sacred sites: IV). The site might be associated with a biblic…

Qalaat Seman

(309 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram

Sator-Rotas Square

(210 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] ( Sator arepo tenet opera rotas). The sator-rotas square began to appear in the mid-1st century throughout the Roman Empire, initially beginning with ROTAS, later with SATOR. In the Middle Ages and the modern period, popular belief put the square on amulets and used it widely as a charm or magic formula. The five lines of five letters can each be read from all four sides and in all directions:…

Wilpert, Joseph

(115 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Giuseppe; Aug 22, 1857, Eiglau, Silesia – Mar 10, 1944, Rome), Catholic priest and professor in Rome from 1926. Wilpert published three monumental works discussing the historical monument in Rome, which are still fundamental to any study of early Christian art. Guntram Koch Bibliography Works include: Die Malereien der Katakomben Roms, 1903 (Ger. & Ital.) Die römischen Mosaiken und Malereien der kirchlichen Bauten vom 4. bis 13. Jahrhundert, 4 vols., 1916; partial repr. with suppls.: Die römischen Mosaiken der kirchlichen Bauten vom 4. bis 13. Jahrhundert., ed. W.N. Schumacher, 1976 I sarcofagi cristiani antichi, 3 vols., 1929–1936 On Wilpert: R. Sörries, J…

Lascaux Grotto

(263 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] is a long, multi-branched cave located in the vicinity of Montignac (Dordogne, near Périgueux) that was discovered in 1940. Its walls and ceilings are decorated with the most extensive cylce of paintings ever discovered in a prehistoric cave. At first, they were very well preserved, but have suffered greatly from algae. The cave was closed in 1963 and a viewing copy was installed nearby. Almost 1,500 individual depictions have been counted. Animals, especially wild horses, but als…
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