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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%…

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…

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…

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…

Pledge, law of

(1,278 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The requesting of a surety to secure a contract is documented in the laws of the Ancient Orient to varying degrees. Requiring a pledge plays a large role in debt trials in agrarian societies. For example, if tenants were in arrears with their obligations, the forfeiting of a personal surety often led to debt-bondage [1; 2; 15. 179f.] with the resultant negative consequences for the social balance of a society ( Leasehold I.). The requesting of a pledge has been documented in cuneiform legal texts by documents of varying complexity from t…

Universal language

(1,092 words)

Author(s): Binder, Vera (Gießen) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] I. General points The term UL today conveys two meanings: (1) an artificially created language, intended to serve as a lingua franca for the entire world; efforts of this kind were made especially in the 19th cent. (e.g. Esperanto and Volapük); yet, as might be expected, they fell behind their self-imposed goal. (2) A language actually in world-wide use today is, above all, English. In the wake of the colonial period, it has established itself on all continents at least as a subsidiary means of commun…

Labaca

(37 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Fischer, Klaus (Bonn)
[German version] (Λάβακα; Lábaka). According to Ptol. 7,1,46, city in north-west India, in the land of the Pandoi (probably Old Indian Pāṇḍava). Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Fischer, Klaus (Bonn) Bibliography O. Wecker, s.v. L., RE 12, 239.

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…

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…

Libation

(773 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Haase, Mareile (Toronto)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Since sacrifices were primarily intended to ensure that the daily needs of the gods were met, not only victuals but also beverages (generally water, beer, wine) were an essential component of regular sacrifices to the gods, as well as of sacrifices offered to the dead. Both in Egypt and in Mesopotamia, libation and terms used for libation stand as pars pro toto for sacrifice. This may have stemmed originally from the fact that for people living at a subsistence level the libation of water constituted their only opport…

Caraway

(271 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Caraway was widespread as an aromatic plant in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Ethiopia and Asia Minor and is mentioned in Mycenaean Linear B texts as ku-mi-no [6. 131, 136, 227]. The word is a cultural term that can be traced back to the 3rd millennium (Sumerian * kamun; Akkad. kamūnum, Hittite kappani- [with m > p change], Ugarite kmn, Hebrew kammōn, Turkish çemen, English/French cumin). Egyptian caraway (Cuminum cyminum; Egyptian tpnn, Coptic tapen) seems to have possibly been another species of caraway [5]. Caraway was also used medically in…

Horticulture

(2,122 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Christmann, Eckhard (Heidelberg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt In the kitchen gardens of the Middle East and Egypt fruit trees (principally apples, figs, pomegranates, but in Egypt also carob trees and jujube;  Pomiculture) were grown in so-called tiered cultivation in the shade provided by date palms, and below them  vegetables (especially onions and cucumber plants, pulses, leaf vegetables, such as cress, and also aromatic herbs, coriander, thyme, caraway and mint, for example). The date palms provided not only dates …

Hieros Gamos

(862 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
(ἱερὸς γάμος; hieròs gámos: sacred marriage). [German version] I. Term A term which has attained great significance in modern research as the name for a ritual sexual union, since the emergence of the fertility paradigm in the 19th cent. (Mannhardt, Frazer). Based on the sexual intercourse between  Demeter and her mortal lover  Iasion ‘in a thrice-ploughed field’ recounted in the Homeric epic (Hom. Od. 5, 125-128; Hes. Theog. 969-971), which has been understood by analogy with north-European customs as th…

Bisutun

(388 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel)
[German version] (Old Persian bagastāna ‘place of gods’, Βαγίστανα; Bagístana), Βαγίστανον ὄρος; Bagístanon óros, Behistun). Rock face 30 km east of Kermanshah, on the road from Babylon to Ecbatana on the  Choaspes ( Silk Road [3. 11]), on which  Darius I had his achievements from c. 520 BC recorded pictorially and in inscription -- c. 70 m above the road level -- in several phases. Because of their trilingual form (Elamite, Babylonian, Old Persian) the inscription [1] was the key to decipherment of the  cuneiform script ( Trilinguals). The reli…

Songs

(1,465 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Fuhrer, Therese (Zürich)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Many song genres are attested in Mesopotamia (beginning in approx. 2600 BC), in Egypt (from the 24th/23th cents. BC onwards), among the Hittites (14th/13th cent.), in Ugarit (14th/13th cents.) and in the OT (see below). There is no uniform genre classification, since hybrid forms are common. The ancient terminology is only of limited help. The umbrella term ‘cultic poetry’ refers to the literary, lyric form of song. The term ‘song’ is related to the type of performance, i.e. singing with or without instrumental accompaniment. Texts from M…

Trilingual inscriptions

(757 words)

Author(s): Neumann, Günter (Würzburg) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] I. General Inscriptions in three languages on a single object that refer to the same facts exist in Antiquity, albeit rather rarely on the whole, ordered by official as well as private sponsors. The different versions were usually tailored to the cultural requirements and interests of the respective audiences so that their messages (and length) are not always completely congruous (cf. [4]). Most of the trilingual inscriptions (TI) originated in the east. They reflect the multi-lingu…

Temple economy

(1,836 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Rosenberger, Veit (Augsburg)
[German version] I. The Ancient Orient and Egypt With palaces, temples constituted the central institutions of society in the Ancient Orient (in Mesopotamia from the 3rd millennium BC) and Egypt. Besides their function as locations for divine worship, they also normally exercised significant economic power. This was founded on the fact that they had at their disposal extensive tracts of agricultural land (the essential means of production of an agrarian society) and stocks of precious metals, i.a. in the form of craft-produced votive gifts (Votive offerings). The temple estates o…

Lied

(1,275 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Fuhrer, Therese (Zürich)
[English version] I. Alter Orient Zahlreiche L.-Gattungen sind in Mesopot. (seit ca. 2600 v.Chr.), in Äg. (seit dem 24./23. Jh.v.Chr.), bei den Hethitern (14./13. Jh.), aus Ugarit (14./13. Jh.) und dem AT (s.u.) bezeugt. Die gattungsmäßige Zuordnung wird uneinheitlich gehandhabt, da sich häufig Mischformen finden. Die ant. Nomenklatur ist nur bedingt hilfreich. Die als Oberbegriff verwendete Bezeichnung “Kultlyrik” bezieht sich auf die lit., d.h. lyrische Form der L. Die Bezeichnung “Lied” orientiert…

Rationen

(469 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[English version] I. Alter Orient In der altorientalischen Oikos- oder Palastwirtschaft waren - je nach Region und Epoche - die Mehrheit oder (große) Teile der Bevölkerung in die institutionellen Haushalte von Tempel und/oder Palast als direkt Abhängige integriert. Sie wurden durch Natural-R. (Getreide, Öl, Wolle), die das für ihre Reproduktion nötige Existenzminimum garantierten, versorgt. In Mesopotamien wurden diese Natural-R. durch Zuweisung von Unterhaltsfeldern (ca. 6 ha), die das Existenzminimum einer Familie sicherstellten, partiell supplem…
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