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(10,943 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
I. Religious studies [German version] A. General Sacrifice is one of the central concepts in describing ritual religion in ancient and modern cultures. In European Modernity, the term sacrifice (directly or indirectly influenced by Christian theology of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to redeem mankind) also has an intimation towards individual self-giving ('sacrifice of self'). The range of nuances in the modern meaning stretches to include discourses that have lost their religious motif and have rather a moral motif, such as the 'sacrifice of an individual for his community'. At the same time, in the discussion of the 'victims of crime and violence', the 20th cent. has placed the suffering (and no longer redeemable) individual at the centre of its sacrificial imagery. This fixation on the suffering object of an emphatically violent procedure is foreign to the concept of sacrifice as a religious act in ancient -- not to mention many modern -- ritual religions that are only apparently 'primitive'. The differences can be seen not least in the ancient terms from which modern sacrificial terminology is derived…


(8,221 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
[German version] I. Term Ritual refers to an elaborate sequence of individual rites which, following an established ritual syntax, are logically connected within a certain functional context. Rituals are not limited to religious contexts but exist in other cultural contexts, political as well as social. The significance of rituals for those who participate in them can be reduced neither to an integrative function (legitimation ritual) nor to a temporary disabling of the regular structure - the two extreme positions held by scholars of ritual. Instead, in each particular historical instance, the enormously wide range of ritual functions must be contextualized against its performative content and by taking into account the cognitive and emotional impact of the ritual action…

Orient, Reception in the West

(15,656 words)

Author(s): Syndram, Dirk | Pedde, Brigitte | Haas, Volkert (Berlin)
Syndram, Dirk [German version] I. Ancient Egypt (CT) Syndram, Dirk [German version] A. Introduction (CT) At the same time the Occident began to emerge as a cultural sphere in its own right during Late Antiquity, the history of Ancient Egypt came to an end. The christianization of the Nile valley resulted in the destruction of the last remaining vestiges of the millennia-old ancient Egyptian religion that were still being practiced, while the Islamic conquest of Egypt in 642 AD largely severed the country's previously close links with the European northern shore of the Mediterranean Sea [7]. From then up to the late 18th cent., the European reception of ancient Egyptian art was mainly based on the (physical) evidence of the ancient reception of Egypt which had accumulated in the Roman Empire, particularly in Rome itself, after the battle of Actium in 31 BC. These included Egyptian and Egyptianizing cultic objects [47] as well as modified monumental sculptures and obelisks [32; 44] or tomb pyr…


(6,021 words)

Author(s): Maul, Stefan (Heidelberg) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen) | Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia While attention in old Egyptian culture was largely centred on existence after death, the concerns of Mesopotamia were almost exclusively with the present. A significant part of the cultural energy of ancient Mesopotamia was devoted to keeping human actions in harmony with the divine, so as to ward off such misfortunes as natural catastrophes, war, sickness and premature death. As such, heavy responsibility rested on the ruler as mediator between the world of gods and that of men. In Mesopotamia everything which is and happens was seen as a manifestation of divine will. There was no such thing as ‘chance’; any disaster was attributed to the gods turning away from mankind, provoked to divine anger by pollution or the breaking of taboos. A break in their relations with the gods would not be revealed to the people of Mesopotamia only by a catastrophe but by warning signals in their surroundings deviating from the rules established at creation. Thus signs when properly interp…


(249 words)

Author(s): Haas, Volkert (Berlin)
[German version] Hurrite god whose name eludes interpretation; his cult site is the town of Urkeš in the upper Ḫābūr region (Tell Mōzān). A link between K., Father of the gods, and Kronos arises primarily from the close parallels between a Hurrite succession myth, passed down in Hittite, and the Theogony of Hesiod. According to this myth, three world ages preceded the kingdom or rule of the weather god Teššub over the cosmos. These world ages were represented by the three divine kings Alalu, Anu (the god of the heavens) and K. Like Kronos, K. emasculates his predecessor Anu, thus depriving him of power. In a hymn, K. is described as father and mother of Teššub of Ḫalab ( Aleppo), as he, according to the succession myth, was made pregnant by devouring the genitals of Anu and he gave birth to the gods Teššub, Šuwaliyatt- and Tigris (Aranzaḫ). According to an incantation ritual, Teššub, when he takes control of the kingdom in the heavens, banishes K. together with his group of deities - the former gods - to the Underworl…

Asia Minor

(16,327 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) | Genz, Hermann (Istanbul) | Schoop, Ulf-Dietrich (Tübingen) | Starke, Frank (Tübingen) | Prayon, Friedhelm (Tübingen) | Et al.
[German version] I. Name Strabo was the first to refer to the peninsula of Asia Minor (AM) west of the  Taurus (Str. 2,5,24; 12,1,3; cf. Plin. HN 5,27f.; Ptol. 5,2) as a single unit by the name of Asia in the narrower sense, as opposed to the continent of Asia. The term of Asia minor in this sense is first used in Oros. 1,2,26 (early 5th cent. AD). Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) [German version] …


(3,118 words)

Author(s): Käppel, Lutz (Kiel) | Röllig, Wolfgang (Tübingen) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Schönbeck, Hans-Peter (Halle/Saale)
[German version] I. Term and genre In antiquity the folk-tale as a well-defined literary genre with unequivocally established terminology was not known. However, since oral narratives, partly put down in writing, that according to the modern meaning of the term can undoubtedly be designated as folk-tales, existed in all ages and all cultures, the issue of the folk-tale becomes a meaningful and inevitable subject also with regard to antiquity. The German word ‘Märchen’ is derived from OHG māri, MHG diu/daz maere = ‘report’, ‘message’, i.e. ‘narrative’, still entirely in the …

Personal names

(4,094 words)

Author(s): Rix, Helmut (Freiburg) | García-Ramón, José Luis (Cologne) | Streck, Michael P. (Munich) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin)
I. General [German version] A. Function The PN is an individual, generally valid sign for naming a person. The need to use a PN exists when a  social contact group is too large to name its members after their role (e.g. mother) and exists in all historically tangible languages. The PN is a universal. Rix, Helmut (Freiburg) [German version] B. Creation of names In antiquity as also today, the PN is usually given soon after birth and kept later; yet it could also be supplemented or replaced by a new name (pseudonyms!). In developed languages, the possibility …


(4,101 words)

Author(s): Decker, Wolfgang (Cologne) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin)
[German version] I. Introduction The modern generic term 'sports' for physical exercise in the broadest sense, comprising the multi-faceted cultural phenomenon in a generally understandable way, was coined in England in the 18th cent.; it goes back to the late Latin deportare with the secondary meaning 'to enjoy oneself'. Within Classics and sports history as an institutionalized part of sports studies, concentrated work far beyond the traditional area of Graeco-Roman Antiquity has been established in recent decades [1]; the earlier a…