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Secret police

(629 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Eder, Walter (Berlin)
[German version] A. Ancient Near East Xenophon (Cyr. 8,2,10ff.) tells of undercover informants, the “eyes and ears of the king”, who reported to the Persian king. Antecedents of this Achaemenid institution can be found in Mesopotamia: soothsayers (Mari 18th cent. BC) and state officials (Assyria 8th/7th cents.) undertook in their oath of office to report to the king any moves or actions against him. The extent to which fear of the “eyes and ears of the king” was an encumbrance to contemporaries can be…

Enlil

(59 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Sumerian ‘Lord Wind’). City-god of  Nippur and highest god of the Sumerian-Akkadian Pantheon in the 3rd and the 1st half of the 2nd millennium BC. His place was taken in the 1st millennium by  Marduk, the god of Babylon. His spouse was Ninlil ( Mylissa).  Marduk;  Mesopotamia;  Nippur Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography T. Jacobsen, Treasures of Darkness, 1976.

Cult

(3,745 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Backhaus, Knut (Paderborn)
[German version] I. General Cult encompasses the entirety of ritual tradition in the context of religious practise. Via Christian usage, the term derives from the cultus deorum (‘divine worship’) named already in Cicero, and corresponds to the Greek thrēskeía; like the latter (and the Latin caerimonia, ‘rites’), it can in pagan language stand simply for ‘religion’ in general and thus refer to the absolute predominance in pagan Greek and Roman religion of ritual actions over faith. There, as in the religious cultures of the ancient Mediterr…

Debt, Debt redemption

(2,856 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Crawford, Michael Hewson (London)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Debt incurred by the population which lived on agriculture is a general phenomenon in agrarian societies. It ultimately led to debt bondage, thus threatening the social equilibrium. Debt redemption by sovereign decree was a common means of reducing or eliminating the consequences of debt, i.e. of restoring ‘justice in the land’. Instances of debt redemption are well attested in Mesopotamia from the 3rd millennium BC, but more especially between the 20th and 17th cen…

Wine

(4,434 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Ruffing, Kai (Münster) | Gutsfeld, Andreas (Münster)
(οἶνος/ oînos; Lat. vinum). [German version] I.Egypt and Ancient Near East Archeological finds (excavations, pictorial representations in tombs) as well as Egyptian and Roman texts contain a plethora of information about the growing, production and use of wine in Egypt from the Early Period to the Ptolemaic-Roman Period. Wine (Egyptian jrp; Coptic ērp; Old-Nubian orpj/ē; cf. in Sappho 51 ἔρπις/ érpis [9. 46], probably an old foreign cult word [7. 1169]) was grown primarily in Lower Egypt or the Nile Delta and in the oases, clearly because of the favourab…

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…

Market

(2,086 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Reden, Sitta (Bristol) | Kuchenbuch, Ludolf (Hagen)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt The concept of the market is the subject of controversial discussions in classical Middle Eastern studies and Egyptology, since there was no term, neither in the Mesopotamian area nor in Egypt, that clearly designated the market as a place and a modus operandi. Background of the discussion are, on the one hand, the studies regarding pre-modern societies inspired by K. Polanyi (among others by M. Finley for the classical world), according to which a market did not exist as a system of supply and dema…

Lists

(643 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Cavigneaux, Antoine (Geneva)
[German version] A. Definition Lists are a graphic-linguistic technique for representing facts and concepts of varying complexity. They asyntactically and enumeratively present facts removed from their written or oral (narrative/descriptive) context. Lists may be exhaustive - with a claim to completeness - or open. In addition to simple lists (compilations of terms and/or numbers in a column or line or row), there are binary lists, in which terms (words) are opposed in two columns. In a matrix, term…

Deification

(1,408 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the Ancient Orient the deification of  rulers always occurred in the context of the legitimization and exercise of  rulership. Deified rulers and proper gods were always differentiated on principle. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) [German version] A. Mesopotamia References to the deification of living rulers are geographically restricted to Babylonia and temporally to the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC: a) individual rulers claimed divine descent for themselves as a means of legitimizing their rule…

New Year's celebration

(1,992 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Ahn, Gregor (Heidelberg) | Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH)
(NYC). The beginning of the year was variously fixed in different local or supra-regional calendars. It was oriented, as far as we know, towards agricultural patterns connected to the time of the year (especially sowing in the spring and harvest in the autumn). The beginning of the year was connected with administrative measures (e.g. raising taxes). Spring and autumn received particular consideration in the festival calendar because of their significance within the agrarian cycle. Because in re…

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…

Cattle

(2,971 words)

Author(s): Raepsaet, Georges (Brüssel) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Jameson, Michael (Stanford)
[German version] I. General information Cattle ( Bos taurus) belong to the bovine family and are descended from the Eurasian big-horned aurochs ( Bos primigenius). Longhorn wild cattle were most likely domesticated in Central Asia between 10,000 to 8,000 BC and in the Near East around 7,000 to 6,000 BC. In the 3rd millennium BC various breeds of domesticated cattle spread throughout Europe. Herds of wild cattle still existed in the forested regions of the eastern Mediterranean, such as Dardania and Thrace (Varro, Rust. 2,1,5), as well as in Central Europe (Caes. B Gall. 6,28). In antiquit…

Sun god

(930 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Taracha, Piotr
[German version] I. Mesopotamia In Mesopotamia, the Sumerian sun god Utu (written with the Sumerian sign for day, ud, which may be an etymological connection) was regarded as the city god of South Babylonian Larsa [2. 287-291] and the Akkadian god Šamaš (also common Semitic for 'sun') as the city god of North Babylonian Sippar. The sun god was never at the top of the Mesopotamian pantheon [1] which was dominated by Enlil (3rd/early 2nd millennium), Marduk (1st millennium) and Assur [2]. As the god of daylight, Ša…

Progenitors

(1,342 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Kierdorf, Wilhelm (Cologne)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Knowledge of one's own progenitors in the ancient Near East legitimized one's status and material and immaterial rights in the individual and societal spheres. Such knowledge was based on patriarchal relationships of kinship. Evidence for this comes, for example, from lineage lists (Genealogies; OT: Gn 5; 11:10-32; 22:20-24; 25:1-9; Judges 4:18-22: progenitors of David [1]; 1 Sam 9:1-2: progenitors of Saul; Mt 1:1-17: progenitors of Jesus), the Assyrian Kings' Lis…

Population, demographic history

(3,019 words)

Author(s): Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] A. Object of research, and method The object of demographic history is the description and explanation of structures and developments in (ancient) populations in their relationship to living space. So far, ancient demographic history has made studies of esp. ancient views of population development, the numerical values of ancient populations (at a particular point in time or over a particular period of time), the age and gender structures of ancient demographics and particular determina…

Ptolemais

(1,304 words)

Author(s): Ameling, Walter (Jena) | Harmon, Roger (Basle) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Huß, Werner (Bamberg) | Et al.
(Πτολεμαίς; Ptolemaís). [German version] [1] Daughter of Ptolemaeus [1] I and Eurydice [4] Daughter of Ptolemaeus [1] I and Eurydice [4]; presumably married to a descendant of the pharaoh Nectanebus [2]; from 298 BC betrothed, and from 287 married to Demetrius [2] Poliorcetes. PP VI 14565. Ameling, Walter (Jena) Bibliography W. Huß, Das Haus des Nektanebis und das Haus des Ptolemaios, in: AncSoc 25, 1994, 111-117  J. Seibert, Historische Beiträge zu den dynastischen Verbindungen in hellenistischer Zeit, 1967, 30 ff. 74 f. [German version] [2] P. from Cyrene Ancient scholar of m…

City deity

(508 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The religion of Mesopotamia is characterized by a system of tutelary deities for the numerous city settlements that has its origin in the Sumerian religion of the 4th millennium BC. There is evidence of the existence and worship of city deities from the 3rd to the 1st millennium. Individual city deities achieved supraregional importance in the course of history (e.g.  Assur [2];  Enlil;  Ištar,  Marduk;  Nabû).  Asia Minor IV.;  Pantheon;  Religion II. and III. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) [German version] II. Classical antiquity For Graeco-Roman …

Dreams; Interpretation of dreams

(2,165 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Walde, Christine (Basle)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Dreams and their interpretation were a popular topic in the written tradition of the Ancient Orient and Egypt since the 22nd cent. BC. Both spontaneously experienced dreams as well as dream incubation are attested. Preserved dreams relate divine messages (in the form of theophanies). Though usually contained in literary texts [3; 5. 746; 6], they also occur in letters [1]. Dreams also contained ethical maxims and wisdom for life reflecting personal experience and st…

Lagaš

(73 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] Town and territorial state (capital Girsu) in southern Mesopotamia, with important inscriptions, architectural and artistic finds from the 25th-21st cents. BC, which have been of great significance in reconstructing early Mesopotamian history and culture, as also for establishing a Sumerian Grammar ( Ancient oriental philology and history). Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography J. Bauer, D. P. Hanson, s.v. L., RLA 6, 419-431 A. Falkenstein, Die Inschr. Gudeas von L. Introduction, 1966.

Translations

(4,791 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Görgemanns, Herwig (Heidelberg) | L.FL. | Binder, Vera (Gießen)
I. Ancient Orient and Egypt [German version] A. General Points Translation by means of an interpreter (Akkadian targumannu; Ugaritic targumiānu; Hittite tarkummija- ('to translate'); Aramaic ta/urgmānā; Arabic tu/arǧumān; Italian turcimanno; cf. dragoman) played an important role in the cultures of the Ancient Orient in their contacts with other ethnic groups. Mesopotamian rulers prided themselves on their command of foreign languages. Especially during the second half of the second millennium BC, Akkadian served as a kind …
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