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Prisoners of war

(1,665 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the early period (4th-3rd millennia), both in Egypt ( sqr-nḫ, 'those tied up for killing' [3]) and in Mesopotamia, POW were often killed on the battlefield. Killing - as a ritualized act - or parading POW and plunder before the ruler was ideological in character and hence a theme of pictorial representation  (southern Mesopotamia in 3100 BC: the killing of chained, naked POW in the presence of the ruler [5. 9]; 24th cent: naked male POW - probably immediately after their…

Assemblies

(2,182 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Eder, Walter (Berlin)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East There was at various periods and in various regions of the ancient Near East a spectrum of manifestations of collective bodies with diverse powers of decision-making  and capacities for implementation. Crucial to the role of such collective bodies was on the one hand the nature of their historical genesis, and on the other hand the nature of their integration into the prevailing system of rulership. There were no popular assemblies as in the Classical Mediterranea…

Kinship, Relatives

(1,915 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | di Mattia, Margherita (Rome)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Both Sumerian and Akkadian kinship terms - other than basic words like father (Sumerian a.a, Akkadian abu), mother (Sumerian ama, Akkadian ummu), son (Sumerian dumu, Akkadian māru), daughter (Sumerian dumu.munus, ‘female son’, Akkadian mārtu), brother (Sumerian šeš, Akkadian aḫu), sister (Sumerian nin, Akkadian aḫātu, ‘female brother’) - are of an analytical character (e.g. Akkadian abi abi or abi ummi, paternal or maternal grandfather; father's brother = uncle). In Sumerian, šeš.bànda (literally ‘little brother’) …

Inn

(1,837 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Dräger, Michael
[German version] I. Ancient Orient So far, evidence of inns comes mainly from Mesopotamia. There the inn was usually also the place where - outside institutional households -  beer was brewed. Inns normally served beer, with only one mention of the operator of a  wine tavern (ancient Babylonian period, 17th cent. BC; [3]). The running of an inn by a landlord or landlady or a hot-food stall by a cook was registered and licensed by royal edict in the ancient Babylonian period [5. 85]. Both had to pay a…

Nimbus

(1,534 words)

Author(s): Willers, Dietrich (Berne) | Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] [1] Nimbus vitreus Nimbus vitreus (‘glass clouds’), a pun by Martial (14,112), which has been misunderstood mostly since Friedländer's annotations [1. 322] and into the most recent commentary [2. 174] has been misunderstood and is translated as a ‘glass vessel for sprinkling liquids with numerous openings’. What is meant is the effect of such an instrument when wine is sprayed. Willers, Dietrich (Berne) Bibliography 1 L. Friedländer (ed.), M. Valerii Martialis epigrammaton libri (with explanatory notes), vol. 2, 1886 2 T.J. Leary (ed.), Martial Book XIV. T…

Gardens

(2,325 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Carroll-Spillecke, Maureen (Cologne) | Egelhaaf-Gaiser, Ulrike (Potsdam)
[German version] [1] Horticulture s.  Horticulture Renger, Johannes (Berlin) [2] Gardens [German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt In the immediate proximity of homes, gardens were important providers of shade for humans and livestock. Pleasure gardens as part of palace grounds enhanced prestige. As part of the temple grounds they symbolized the cosmos. The Garden of Eden is a mythological invention (Gen 2,8; 2,15). Gardens were depicted in reliefs (Assyria) and wall paintings (Egypt). Assyrian kings recorded …

Women rulers

(1,599 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | AN.WI.
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the societies of the Ancient Orient and Egypt with their rules regarding patrilineal inheritance and succession, women did not assume the role of rulers. The only exceptions to this occurred in cases when a female member of the ruling family - generally the queen mother - acted as regent for an underage heir to the throne. For example, Hatshepsut, half-sister and wife of Thutmosis [2] II, acted for 22 years as regent for her underage nephew Thutmosis [3] III.. In…

War booty

(1,607 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East In the ancient Near East, the procurement of WB was directed towards obtaining important raw materials (e.g. metals - Egypt: gold from Nubia, silver from Cilicia, copper from Cyprus (Middle Kingdom); Assyria: iron from Iran, silver from Cilicia; Cilices, Cilicia) and items required for further warfare (e.g. horses, chariots in Assyria, 1st millennium BC) or served to supply the royal court with luxury goods for purposes of prestige. WB must be distinguished from '…

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…
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