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Brick­yards

(532 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] ( figlina). Building bricks and roof tiles were produced in brickyards close to clay deposits and then transported to the building sites. Because of their great weight, every effort was generally made to avoid long transport distances; for that reason, brick production was not concentrated in certain centres, but spread across all of Italy. Nonetheless, brickyards close to the coast, whose bricks could be transported by ship, supplied entire coastal regions; bricks of the figlina of Vibius Pansa near Ariminum can be found across the entire northern Adri…

Purple

(582 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] (πορφύρα/ porphýra, Lat. purpur) was a dye (Dyeing) used in Antiquity for the manufacture of costly materials and garments. It was obtained from various species of sea-snails (Snails and slugs) living in the Mediterranean; Aristotle devoted lengthy disquisitions to the purple-snail (Aristot. Hist. an. 546b-547b), but the most important ancient description of the creature and the manufacture of the dye is found in Pliny (Plin. HN 9,124-138). It is likely that the technique of obtaining dye from sea-snails was first developed by the Phoenicians. In…

Pigmentarius

(105 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] Derived from  pigmentum ('pigment'; cf. Plin. HN 33,111; 33,115; 33,158; 35,29; 37,81), the Latin word pigmentarius is the term for producers of and traders in pigments, ointments and perfumes ( unguenta). Representatives of this group are mentioned in Cicero and in inscriptions (Cic. Fam. 15,17,2; ILS 7604; 7605; CIL VI 9795). The workshop and store of a pigmentarius may be depicted in the house of the Vettii in Pompeii  [2. pl. XV 1]. The selling of poisons or love potions by a pigmentarius was punishable (Dig. 48,8,3,3; cf. Pharmakeía ). Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) Bi…

Slave revolts

(1,378 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] The great slave revolts in Roman Antiquity occurred within a comparatively narrow time span, in the 2nd and early 1st cents. BC; geographically, they centred around Sicily and southern Italy. The extent of these great revolts remains unique; bands formed by fugitive slaves never reached the same level either before or later, nor were they comparable with these revolts (Chios: Ath. 6,265d-266e; Bulla Felix in Italy: Cass. Dio. 77,10). Even though these rebellious movements of the u…

Marble

(4,101 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) | Schneider, Rolf Michael (Cambridge)
[German version] I. Terminology, properties, identification Geologically speaking, marble is a metamorphic rock of crystalline structure (average crystal size 0.3 to 1.0 mm) and variable translucency, derived by mediumor high-level metamorphosis from limestone and dolomite [21. 17-20]. The ancient terms μάρμαρον/ mármaron (originally masc. μάρμαρος/ mármaros = ‘gleaming stone’; later attested in all three genders) and Latin marmor, however, mean all white and coloured rocks capable of being polished, including hard rocks such as granite, greywacke and…

Storage economy

(2,351 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) | Corbier, Mireille (Paris)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East The creation of stores, esp. of less perishable foodstuffs (esp. grain), is essential to the existence of societies whose agriculture is strongly exposed to environmental and political risks. The paradigm for such experiences is found in the OT story, referring to ancient Egypt, of the seven 'fat' and seven 'lean' years (Gn 41:25-36). The economy (I.) of Mesopotamia, centralized from the 4th millennium BC, also had a central SE, but it is known only from texts. In…

Agriculture

(7,403 words)

Author(s): Hruška, Blahoslav (Prague) | Pingel, Volker (Bochum) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) | Osborne, Robin (Oxford) | Schreiner, Peter (Cologne) | Et al.
I. Near East and Egypt [German version] A. Introduction In the Near Orient (particularly the southern Levant and Syria) and Egypt, a fundamental change in the history of mankind occurred 12,000 years ago: the transition from the hunter-gatherer life of paleolithic times to neolithic agrarian society. In the so-called ‘fertile crescent’ and in Egypt, agriculture almost always included livestock farming. Agriculture also encompassed the planting of fruit trees, viticulture and horticulture. The methods of food production led to increasing freedom from dependency on e…

Steel

(153 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] Modern term for alloys of iron with a carbon content of up to two per cent. In the blast-furnace process, however, the iron extracted has a much higher carbon content, which has to be reduced by means of a technical procedure (refining). In Antiquity there was an entirely different technical problem: Crude iron, the product of the smelting process, had only an extremely limited carbon content and was therefore relatively soft. The iron was therefore tempered by further forging in …

Technology, History of

(4,496 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) [German version] A. The Technology of Classical Antiquity as a Research Area (CT) Classical scholarship did not recognize ancient technology as the subject of a special discipline in its own right until late. Up to about 1980, investigations into problems of ancient technology by Classical historians, archaeologists and linguists were relatively rare, and only a few essays and monographs were generally devoted to the field; there were no general treatments of a scholarly standard, no…

Fowling

(509 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] (ὀρνιθευτική/ ornitheutikḗ, ἰξευτικά/ ixeutiká; Latin aucupium). As is shown by the large number of casual references, fowling was probably very widespread in Antiquity, and in rural regions was esp. common. In literary texts, fowling regularly appears in connection with hunting and fishing, as in Sophocles [1], who introduces fowling to illustrate the supremacy of humans over animals (Soph. Ant. 342-347). Plato [1] deals with fowling among the regulations for hunting, but rejects it a…

Artes liberales

(2,330 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) | Schneider, Jakob Hans Josef (Tübingen RWG)
Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) [German version] Artes liberales (CT) The Artes Liberales (AL) describe a group of usually seven of study, ‘worthy of a free man’ (Seneca epist. 88; i.e.: grammar, logic/dialectics, rhetoric and arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy). They originate from the Greek educational programme of the enkyklios paideia, which were passed on to the Latin Middle Ages through the encyclopaedias of Martianus Capella, Cassiodorus, and Isidor of Seville. They are usually divided up into groups of three and four; since Boethius the group of four is ( De arithmetica

Bücher-Meyer controversy

(2,128 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) [German version] A. Introduction (CT) The debate that went on between 1893 and 1902 over the basic features of the economy in Classical Antiquity is referred to in more recent scholarly historical literature, both in Ancient History as well as the history of the discipline, as the Bücher-Meyer Controversy (BMC). The origin of this discussion was the publication in 1893 of a book entitled Die Entstehung der Volkswirtschaft  (‘Industrial Evolution, 1907) by the economist Karl Bücher promulgating the view that a dominance of a home economy…

Barrels (wooden)

(229 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] While in the Mediterranean, liquids such as wine and oil were generally stored in large clay jars (ίθος, dolium) and transported in animal skins or amphorae, we find the increasing use of wooden barrels for the storing and transporting of wine in the western provinces and northern Italy from the early Principate onwards (Upper Italy: Str. 5,1,8; 5,1,12; Alps: Plin. HN 14,132). Numerous reliefs and funerary sculptures show wine barrels being transported on heavy, horse-drawn wagons (funerary reliefs in Langres and Augsburg), or oar-driven shi…

Gynaecocracy

(553 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] (γυναικοκρατία; gynaikokratía). The term gynaecocracy (‘Rule of women’, from Greek γυνή/ gynḗ, ‘woman’ and κρατεῖν/ krateín, ‘to rule’; cf. gynaikokrateísthai, ‘to be ruled by women’) is first attested in philosophical texts from the 4th cent. BC. The use is almost always polemical. In Aristotle the gynaecocracy becomes a theme in the context of criticism of the politeía (constitution) of the Spartans and was considered as the prerequisite for greed and an extremely unequal distribution of land (Aristot. Pol. 1269b 12-1270a 31; cf. als…

Oils for cooking

(2,001 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt In the Ancient Orient and Egypt, oil was not only part of human nutrition (e.g. the daily rations for the population dependent on central institutions), but was also used as body oil, for making scent, for embalming (in Egypt), for medicinal purposes, in craft production, as lamp oil and in the cultic and ritual sphere (e.g. unction for rulers in Israel: 1 Sam 10,1; 16,3; not in Mesopotamia). Depending on the regionally varying agronomic and climatic conditions, oil was obtained from a number of plants: whereas numerous olei…

Screw

(531 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] The screw appears among the five simple mechanical instruments listed in the Mechanics of Hero I of Alexandria (1st cent. AD), next to the rotating axle, lever, pulley and wedge (Hero, Mēchaniká 2,5). It is not mentioned either in the description of surgical instruments in Hippocrates (Hippoc. Perì agmôn 31) or in Aristotelian mechanics. Since there is no indication of the use of the screw before Archimedes [1], it can be considered one of the most significant technical inventions of the Hellenistic period. It appears that the principle of the screw was first us…

Lifting devices

(629 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] Ever since large temples were built of stone in Greece (early 6th cent. BC), architects have been faced with the problem of lifting heavy blocks of stone, for the walls or the architrave, and column drums as far as the building plan demanded. In doing so, loads of significant weight often had to be dealt with, because stone, after all, weighs approximately 2.25 t/m3, and marble c. 2.75 t/m3. In the Archaic age, blocks for the architrave weighed between 10 and 40 t. At first, the stones were put into place via a ramp, as is recorded for the constru…

Tactics

(952 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] I. Greece Tactics are understood as the planning and execution of military operations, such as marching and battles. Before the emergence of the phalanx , no tactical organization of the army is discernible. The battle formation of the phalanx, however, required the army to be divided into subunits, with a marching order, an ordered array in file and a clear system of orders. Ancient historians and military writers document various marching orders and possible transitions (often probably rather remote from reality) fr…

Water lifting devices

(1,820 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] I. General points Water was needed for various purposes in ancient civilizations: in the household as drinking water, for preparing food, and for hygiene (Hygiene, personal); in crafts (Crafts, Trade) for metalwork (Metallurgy) and for fulling (Fulling, Fuller); in public life for bathhouses and thermae; and finally in agriculture for the irrigation of gardens and fields. However, in the Mediterranean region, it was not available in sufficient quantity and quality in the form of surf…

Ivory

(218 words)

Author(s): Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] (ἐλέφας/ eléphas, Latin ebur) was obtained from the tusks of African and Indian elephants, and like silk, amber, incense and pepper is one of those precious goods that had to be imported from areas outside the Roman empire; according to Pliny, ivory was the most valuable material supplied by land animals (Plin. HN 37,204). The price for ivory was extraordinarily high in the 1st cent. AD; nevertheless there was a shortage of ivory so that people began also to process the ordinary bone…
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