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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 religion, the concept of sy…

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 by Ionian Greeks. Lying at the mouth of the River Cayster (though now approx. 10 km from the sea), Ephesus grew wealthy as a seafaring and trading town. Impressive architectural remains still testify to its great prosperity …

Atrium

(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…

Constantinople/Byzantium

(7,786 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Ritter, Adolf Martin | Ludwig, Claudia | Thümmel, Hans Georg | Ohme, Heinz | Et al.
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. Early Church – III. After 600 – IV. Councils – V. Patriarchate – VI. Literature – VII. Art – VIII. Church Music – IX. Judaism I. Archaeology Settlers from Megara settled Byzantium in the early 7th century on a previously inhabited hill on the Bosphorus, the most important water route from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea; a deep bay, the “Golden Horn” offered additional protection. In 324 ce, after the victory over Licinius, Constantine chose Byzantium as a new capital and dedicated it on May 11, 330 as Nea Roma, “New Rome”; soon the name …

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…

Baalbek

(174 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Heliopolis) in the northern Biqaʾ (Bekaa valley, Lebanon) was an ancient Phoencian cult site for Baal. Construction of the monumental temple of Zeus, the largest in antiquity, began in the 3rd century bce and was completed between the 1st and 3rd cent. ce; in the 2nd cent. ce further temples were erected, while the city acquired colonnaded streets and public buildings. According to Eusebius of Caesarea ( Vita Constantini III 58), Constantine the Great had a temple to Aphrodite torn down to make room for a church (locat…

Human Form in Art

(3,499 words)

Author(s): Schroer, Silvia | Andreae, Bernard | Koch, Guntram | Apostolos-Cappadona, Diane
[German Version] I. Ancient Near Eastern Art – II. Greco-Roman Art – III. Christian Art I. Ancient Near Eastern Art The earliest datable representations of animals in ancient Near Eastern art stem from the Mesolithic Period, and the oldest representations of the human form from the Neolithic Period (reworked male skulls or imitations of the same, cf. Kenyon; stylized or three-dimensional figurines of sitting, corpulent women). Anthropomorphic ¶ (Anthropomorphism) deities are usually distinguished from humans through attributes (for the exception of the “naked…

Cologne

(1,945 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Klueting, Ham
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. City and Diocese – III. University I. Archaeology Evidence that Cologne was a particularly flourishing city in the 2nd and early 3rd centuries includes remains of the city wall, aqueduct, sewers, and praetorium, mosaic floors and mural paintings from private houses, several tombs, and a great variety of small artworks. Famous is the 3rd-century Dionysus Mosaic in the Römisch- Germanisches Museum, still to be seen in situ in the ceremonial room of a large house within the city walls. There is evidence of Christianity in…

Via Egnatia

(98 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] Via Egnatia, a via publica laid out around the mid-2nd century bce by Cnaeus Egnatius, in part on top of older roads. It continued the Via Appia, leading from the Adriatic ports of Dyrrhachion (Durres) and Apollonia (in modern Albania) through Thessalonica and Philippi to Constantinople/Byzantium (Istanbul). It was thus the most important land route connecting Rome and the Balkans, Asia Minor, and the Levant; it continued to play a significant role into the early Middle Ages. Guntram Koch Bibliography M. Rathmann, DNP XII/2, 2002, 161f. M. Fasolo, La via egnatia, vol. …

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…

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…

Archaeology

(2,519 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans J. | Hübner, Ulrich | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. General – II. Biblical Archaeology – III. Christian Archaeology I. General In an earlier period, the term “archaeology” referred primarily to Greco-Roman antiquity, above all to works of art. Today, archaeology embraces all scientific efforts to derive information from the material remains of ancient civilizations in an attempt to understand them. For periods with written records…

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…

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…

Hand of God and Hand of Humans in Art

(952 words)

Author(s): Schroer, Silvia | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Ancient to Pre-Roman Times – II. From Roman Times I. Ancient to Pre-Roman Times From its earliest beginnings, ancient art reflected the central role of the hand in sign language. Hands were raised in prayer, incantation, greeting, blessing, and in delivering a blow. Hands were raised in entreaty and in mourning, or were thrown in the air in triumph. Hostility was averted with an extended hand and fingers or the fist. Parties to a contract shook the right hand as a sign of binding commitment…

Rome

(11,156 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Cancik, Hubert | Veltri, Giuseppe | Wallraff, Martin | Schimmelpfennig, Bernhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. History and Archaeology 1. History and archaeology. On a favorable site, on the road from Etruria to Latium and Campania, at a ford over the Tiber about 30 km from its mouth, and also on the road from the coast going in the direction of the Apennines, and in fertile lands by the river, there were small settlements from at least the 14th century bce (esp. on the Capitol). According to legend, Rome was then founded in 753 bce by Romulus, who became its first king. Other legends make Aeneas, son of Anchises ¶ and Aphrodite, the most important Trojan hero after Hector, into …

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: ¶ ROTAS SATOR OPERA AREPO TENET TENET AREPO OPERA SATOR ROTAS The interpretation is not clear. The formula is not Christian, but it has been used by Christians since the…

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…

God, Representations and Symbols of

(7,207 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Koch, Guntram | Stietencron, Heinrich v. | Kleine, Christoph | Wädow, Gerd
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Ancient Near East and Old Testament – III. Greco-Roman World – IV. Religions of India – V. Buddhism – VI. Chinese Religions – VII. Japan I. Terminology Gods manifest themselves in the human world; after the analogy of human beings, they are usually envisioned biomorphically, with ascribed sex and genealogy, as well as varying levels of differentiation and autonomy (Demons, Angels, Spirits). Natural entities felt to be supremely powerful (e.g. mountains, rivers, springs, constellation…

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 …
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