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Polytheism

(1,339 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
I. In general and in classical antiquity [German version] 1. History of the term The adjective πολύθεος/ polýtheos refers in poetic Greek to that which pertains to many deities: the altar as the seat ( hédra) of many gods (Aesch. Suppl. 424) or the divine assembly attended by many gods (Lucian. Iuppiter Tragoedus 14). It is only in Jewish and Christian literature (Apologists) that this concept is used to justify the rule ( monarchía) of a single deity. Philo [12] of Alexandria coined the terms δόξα πολύθεος/ dóxa polýtheos (Phil. De decalogo 65) and πολυθεΐα/ polytheḯa (Phil. De mutatione…

Price

(3,822 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Reden, Sitta (Bristol) | Kuchenbuch, Ludolf (Hagen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Prices or equivalents for numerous fungible items had a generally recognized value in both Egypt and Mesopotamia, though nothing is known of how this came about. Prices in Egypt were at first expressed in a value unit šn( tj) (perhaps 'silver ring'?), in the New Kingdom also in copper and sacks of grain (though neither served as media of exchange) [7. 13]. In Mesopotamia, they were generally expressed in weights of silver (in Assyria, occasionally also tin). Indications as to equivalents are preserved to varying degrees of abundance and …

Adamas

(93 words)

Author(s): Peter, Ulrike (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
(Ἀδάμας; Adámas). [German version] [1] Thracian (4th cent. BC) Thracian, who in the 370s BC seceded from Cotys (Aristot. Pol. 5,10,1311b). The identification with A. in IG XII 5,245 is doubtful (SEG 34, 1984, 856). Peter, Ulrike (Berlin) [German version] [2] River of India on the Gulf of Bengal A river of India on the Gulf of Bengal mentioned only in Ptol. 7,1,17; 41, identical with the current Subarna rekha. The name means ‘River of Diamonds’. Inland, to this day the diamond mines of Chota Nagpur are known. Renger, Johannes (Berlin)

Husbandry

(3,460 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Jameson, Michael (Stanford) | Jongman, Willem (Groningen)
(Animal) [German version] I. Ancient Orient In the Ancient Orient and Egypt animal husbandry was always systemically linked with agricultural production (farming), insofar as both were mutually dependent and together formed the basis for society's subsistence. That view was given expression (i.a.) in the Sumerian polemical poem ‘Mother ewe and grain’ [1]. In Mesopotamia the basis of animal husbandry was mainly the keeping of herds of  sheep and to a lesser extent of  goats, which were collectively termed ‘domestic livestock’ (Sumerian u8.udu-ḫia; Akkadian ṣēnu). Sheep were pri…

Oikos economy

(680 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] Oikos economy (OE) was first described as an idealised concept of a form of economy in antiquity by Rodbertus, later by M. Weber. Oikos describes an independent household (of a ruler), which produces everything used and consumed in it, apart from a few exceptions (metals, luxury products, in Mesopotamia also wood). In the Mesopotamian OE of the 4th and 3rd millennia, which had developed under the conditions of a comprehensive and mostly centrally-organized regime of artificial irrigation of the cultivab…

Commerce

(8,308 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Briese, Christoph (Randers) | Bieg, Gebhard (Tübingen) | de Souza, Philip (Twickenham) | Drexhage, Hans-Joachim (Marburg) | Et al.
[German version] I. Ancient Orient (Egypt, South-West Asia, India) Archaeologically attested since the Neolithic and documented since the 3rd millennium BC, long-distance or overland commerce -- as opposed to exchange and allocation of goods on a local level according to daily needs -- was founded on the necessity for ensuring the supply of so-called strategic goods (metal, building timber) not available domestically, as well as on the demand for luxury and prestige goods, or the materials required for producing them. In historical times, the organization of commerce was a…

Religion

(13,714 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Assmann, Jan (Heidelberg) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Colpe, Carsten (Berlin) | Et al.
I. Introduction [German version] A. Definition of the concept 'Religion', the substantive for describing the religious, denotes a system of common practices, individual ideas about faith, codified norms and examples of theological exegesis whose validity is derived chiefly from an authoritative principle or being. For the academic study of religion, conversely, the word is a purely heuristic category in which those practices, ideas, norms and theological constructs are examined historically; however, the…

Papyrus

(2,017 words)

Author(s): Dorandi, Tiziano (Paris) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
I. Material [German version] A. Term and manufacture The term papyrus was adopted into the European languages via the Greek πάπυρος/ pápyros, lat. papyrus, and ultimately is the source of the modern terms for paper, Papier, papier, etc.  Papyrus is hypothetically derived from an (unattested) Egyptian * pa-prro ('that of the king'). Papyrus, an aquatic plant with a long stem and a triangular cross-section ( Cyperus papyrus L.), was in its processed form a widespread writing material ('paper') in the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean. Papyrus is produced by p…

Issedones

(90 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Treidler, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] (Ἰσσηδόνες; Issēdónes, Ἰσσηδοί; Issēdoí, Ἐσσηδόνες; Essēdónes). A Scythian people of Asian origin. According to Herodotus (1,201; 4,13-26), they lived southeast of the Aral Sea; however, the heaviest population centres within the regions of their habitation lay in Central Asia. Ptolemy (6,16,5; 16,7; 8,24,3; 24,5 N) ascribes to them the cities of Ἰσσηδὼν Σκυθική (modern Kucha) and Ἰσσηδὼν Σηρική (modern Charqliq), which were located on the Silk Road in Chinese East Turkistan (Tarim Basin, Xinjiang), to the southwest of Lobnor.  Scythians Renger, Johannes (Ber…

Economy

(7,079 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Alonso-Núñez, José Miguel (Madrid) | W.BR.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia Mesopotamia's economy was based on  agriculture, with animal  husbandry integrated into it. Craft production ( Crafts) was only supplementary in character and catered for internal demand as well as external trade (production of high-quality textiles for  Commerce). Agriculture in southern Mesopotamia (Babylonia) was entirely dependent on artificial  irrigation; in northern Mesopotamia (Assyria) it was generally rainfed. Varying agricultural regimes led to different patterns of land tenure. Large production units are attes…

Votive offerings

(1,524 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Frateantonio, Christa (Gießen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East and Egypt Votive offerings (VO) to a variety of deities played an important role in the religious practices of the Ancient Middle East and Egypt, as documented by inscriptions found on consecrated objects. In Mesopotamia, the oldest clearly identifiable VO date from the 24th cent. BC [14], and in Egypt from the prehistoric and Early Dynastic eras (end of the 4th/early 3rd millennia; e.g. the Narmer Palette). Most of the attested Mesopotamian offerings came from rule…

Rations

(515 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East In the Ancient Near Eastern oikos or palace economy, the majority or (large) parts of the population were integrated into the institutional households of temples and/or palaces as direct dependents (the extent varied according to region and period). They were provided with the rations of natural produce (grain, oil, wool) guaranteeing them the level of subsistence necessary for their reproduction. In Mesopotamia, these rations of produce were in part supplemented, and in certain periods replaced, by the allocation of areas of land ( c. 6 ha.) as…

Genealogy

(962 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Meister, Klaus (Berlin) | Rüpke, Jörg (Erfurt)
In early societies, largely based on family organizations, genealogy as a derivation of a person's descent in the form of a pedigree is often used as a means of legitimation and (pseudo-historical) memory, which was always also directed at publicity (genealogy from Greek γενεαλογεῖν; genealogeîn, ‘to talk about [one's] origin’). [German version] I. Near East and Egypt The purpose of lineage, transmitted in the form of a genealogy (generally patrilineal; exceptions in the case of Egyptian rulers), was to legitimate a claim to rulership, to tenure of a …

Leek

(608 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
and other Alliaceae [German version] I. Mesopotamia, Egypt, Asia Minor The numerous Sumerian and Akkadian expressions for Alliaceae, not all of which can be definitely botanically identified, partly refer only to the subspecies leek, shallot, onion or garlic [1. 301]. Leek in its various forms - Sumerian *karaš, Akkadian kar( a) šu, Hebrew kārēš, Aramaic karrāttā, Arabic kurrāṯu - is a word of Oriental culture. Garlic is in Sumerian, sum, Akkadian šūmū, otherwise in Semitic languages ṯūm; the onion is in Akkadian šamaškillū, in Aramaic šmšgl (also as an ideogram in Pahlavi); the…

Deluge, legend of the

(716 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In Mesopotamia, the legend of the deluge is preserved in a Sumerian as well as an Akkadian version; the Akkadian one is transmitted in 17th-cent. BC copies of the  Atraḫasīs myth[3. 612-645]. Extensive passages reappear verbatim on the 11th tablet of the recension of the Epic of  Gilgamesh from Niniveh [3. 728-738], and the myth is later also transmitted by  Berosus [1. 20 f.]. The gods perceive the noisy behaviour of the humans as hubris, causing them to eliminate …

Ergasterion

(1,000 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Burford-Cooper, Alison (Ann Arbor)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the palace economies (  oîkos economy) of the Ancient Orient, certain mass products were made for the requirements of (large) patrimonial households themselves, but also for exchange in long distance trade with large ergasteria (factories) in which often several hundred, sometimes far more than a thousand male or female workers were employed. Their wages were normally paid in kind as daily rations; their social status was equivalent to patrimonial subjects, required to perform compulsory service. The best evidence for ergasteria comes from s…

Interest

(2,129 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Andreau, Jean (Paris)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt The early Mesopotamian documents (24th-21st cents. BC) that refer to  loans and advances from institutional bodies to private individuals allow us to surmise that interest was calculated, though without our being able to make any observations about the rates of interest. Instead of being made to pay interest, the debtor was often obliged to undertake agricultural work for the creditor [10. 117]. In the Early Babylonian period (19th-17th cents. BC) a sharp distinction was drawn between loans of grain (331/3 %) and loans of silver (20%…

Alexandria

(1,725 words)

Author(s): Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) | Schwertheim, Elmar (Münster) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Treidler, Hans (Berlin) | Brentjes, Burchard (Berlin) | Et al.
(Ἀλεξάνδρεια; Alexándreia). Name of numerous cities founded by Alexander the Great, including nine in eastern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. [German version] [1] in Egypt This item can be found on the following maps: Egypt | Caesar | Christianity | Wine | Zenobia | | Diadochi and Epigoni | Alexander | Commerce | Hellenistic states | Hellenistic states | India, trade with | Legio | Legio | Limes | Pilgrimage | Pompeius | Rome | Rome | Athletes | Education / Culture | Egypt Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) [German version] A. Topography City on the Egyptian Mediterranean coast foun…

Ḫammurapi

(240 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Ḫammurabi). Most important ruler of the 1st Dynasty of  Babylon, in office from 1792 to 1750 BC. Following extended battles with rival powers in Mesopotamia as well as with the rulers of  Elam who all claimed sovereignty over the states of Mesopotamia, Ḫ. ruled over all of Mesopotamia from Mari on the middle reaches of the Euphrates and the region surrounding modern Mossul to the Persian Gulf from 1755 BC on. In over 200 of his letters and in numerous reports by delegates of Zimr…

Potamophylax

(79 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (ποταμοφύλαξ/ potamophýlax, 'river guard'). The potamophýlakes (Ptolemaic officials) used guard boats (attested from the 2nd cent. BC on) to guard the Nile, its branches (in the Delta) and the canals of Alexandria up to Syene (Aswan). They occasionally also carried urgent letters and were put to service collecting tolls and taxes. The potamophýlakes were conscripted into service; the office of potamophýlax was a liturgy. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography E. Kießling, s. v. P., RE 22, 1029 f.
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