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Solin

(155 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] in Croatia near Split, was an Illyrian city that became a Roman colony under Julius Caesar. It flourished under the Empire, since it had an excellent harbor and good communications with the interior, and became the capital of the province of Dalmatia. Christianity spread very early and intensively in Salona. The city and its surroundings and the nearby island of Brattia (Brac) contain the ruins of a large number of churches and buildings over the tombs of martyrs, dating from the…

Mistra

(327 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] was founded as a castle in 1249 by William II of Villehardouin, the Frankish prince of Achaea; it was built on a prominent rock elevation (621 m) for the protection of the city of “Lakedaimonia” (ancient and modern Sparta [see Greece, map]), which lies roughly 7 km to the southeast of Mistra. In 1204, the Latin knights of the Fourth Crusade had conquered the Peloponnese, as well as other places. The Byzantines regained control of its southeastern part in 1262, and Mistra became th…

Hand of God and Hand of Humans in Art

(952 words)

Author(s): Schroer, Silvia | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Ancient to Pre-Roman Times – II. From Roman Times I. Ancient to Pre-Roman Times From its earliest beginnings, ancient art reflected the central role of the hand in sign language. Hands were raised in prayer, incantation, greeting, blessing, and in delivering a blow. Hands were raised in entreaty and in mourning, or were thrown in the air in triumph. Hostility was averted with an extended hand and fingers or the fist. Parties to a contract shook the right hand as a sign of binding commitment…

Rome

(11,156 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Cancik, Hubert | Veltri, Giuseppe | Wallraff, Martin | Schimmelpfennig, Bernhard | Et al.
[German Version] I. History and Archaeology 1. History and archaeology. On a favorable site, on the road from Etruria to Latium and Campania, at a ford over the Tiber about 30 km from its mouth, and also on the road from the coast going in the direction of the Apennines, and in fertile lands by the river, there were small settlements from at least the 14th century bce (esp. on the Capitol). According to legend, Rome was then founded in 753 bce by Romulus, who became its first king. Other legends make Aeneas, son of Anchises ¶ and Aphrodite, the most important Trojan hero after Hector, into …

Sator-Rotas Square

(210 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] ( Sator arepo tenet opera rotas). The sator-rotas square began to appear in the mid-1st century throughout the Roman Empire, initially beginning with ROTAS, later with SATOR. In the Middle Ages and the modern period, popular belief put the square on amulets and used it widely as a charm or magic formula. The five lines of five letters can each be read from all four sides and in all directions: ¶ ROTAS SATOR OPERA AREPO TENET TENET AREPO OPERA SATOR ROTAS The interpretation is not clear. The formula is not Christian, but it has been used by Christians since the…

Externsteine Rocks,

(117 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] originally a Benedictine rock sanctuary at the southern end of the Teutoburg Forest. It was a replica of Golgotha in Jerusalem, with chapels for the discovery of the cross (dedicatory inscription of 1115) and the exaltation of the cross, a tomb high in the rock and a tomb at the base (Holy Sepulchre). There is a Roman monumental relief of the removal from the cross (24m2), and further, a relief with Adam ¶ and Eve. After the Lippe Reform (1538), it was no longer used for worship. Since 1810, it has been a historic monument. Guntram Koch Bibliography W. Matthes & R. Speckner, Das Re…

Sarcophagus/Urn/Ossuary

(793 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Freigang, Christian
[German Version] I. Bronze Age to Late Antiquity It is important to distinguish between a sarcophagus to hold a dead body, an urn for the ashes of a person who has been cremated, and an ossuary to hold the bones of the dead after the flesh has decayed (see also Burial). These receptacles were generally buried; they were not visible and were therefore simple. In some areas and in some periods, it became customary to make them out of marble or other kinds of stone and decorate them with representational or ornamental reliefs. In Greek areas sarcophagi were the exception (6th–4th cents. bce). The E…

Megaliths/Menhirs

(275 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] A menhir (Fr.-Breton “long stone”) is an elongated stone set vertically in the open air. In some areas, especially in France, the upper part resembles a human form, either just the face or the whole upper body, usually simply incised, more rarely three-dimensional (“statue menhirs”). Women are identified by their breasts; men usually carry a weapon as an attribute. Menhirs vary in size, from 1–2 m to exceptional examples 20 m high or more. They are found throughout extensive areas…

Wilpert, Joseph

(115 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Giuseppe; Aug 22, 1857, Eiglau, Silesia – Mar 10, 1944, Rome), Catholic priest and professor in Rome from 1926. Wilpert published three monumental works discussing the historical monument in Rome, which are still fundamental to any study of early Christian art. Guntram Koch Bibliography Works include: Die Malereien der Katakomben Roms, 1903 (Ger. & Ital.) Die römischen Mosaiken und Malereien der kirchlichen Bauten vom 4. bis 13. Jahrhundert, 4 vols., 1916; partial repr. with suppls.: Die römischen Mosaiken der kirchlichen Bauten vom 4. bis 13. Jahrhundert., ed. W…

God, Representations and Symbols of

(7,207 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Koch, Guntram | Stietencron, Heinrich v. | Kleine, Christoph | Wädow, Gerd
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Ancient Near East and Old Testament – III. Greco-Roman World – IV. Religions of India – V. Buddhism – VI. Chinese Religions – VII. Japan I. Terminology Gods manifest themselves in the human world; after the analogy of human beings, they are usually envisioned biomorphically, with ascribed sex and genealogy, as well as varying levels of differentiation and autonomy (Demons, Angels, Spirits). Natural entities felt to be supremely powerful (e.g. mountains, rivers, springs, constellation…

Abercius, Inscription of

(390 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] In 1883, two fragments of an altar slab with portions of a lengthy Greek epitaph of a certain Abercius were discovered at Hieropolis on the Glaucus, near Synnada in Phrygia (western Turkey). The fragments were given to Pope Leo X by Sultan Abdülhamid II in 1888 and are now in the Museo Pio Cristiano in the Vatican, with a reconstruction of the altar. The inscription comprises 18 incomplete lines, with nine verses (7–15). The entire inscription (a distich and 20 hexameters) is preserved in the legendary Life of a Bishop Abercius, which may go back to …

Excavations

(6,073 words)

Author(s): Bernbeck, Reinhard | Hartmut, Mattäus | Hübner, Ulrich | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. General – II. Eastern Mediterranean – III. Palestine – IV. Realm of the Early Church I. General The development of the discipline of archaeology relates closely to the development of archaeological techniques. Archaeology serves the controlled investigation of the material evidence of past societies. The fundamental idea of the science of archaeology consists in the fact that ancient objects attain full significance chiefly in their original context. Function, da…

Via Appia

(110 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] Via Appia, a via publica laid out in 312 bce by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus, in part on top of earlier roads. It ran from Rome to Brundisium (Brindisi), then continued along the Via Egnatia to the Balkans; for centuries, therefore, it was the most important link joining Rome to Asia Minor and the Levant (Trade and traffic in the Mediterranean world). Impressive sections lined with tombs and other structures are preserved near Rome. Guntram Koch Bibliography M. Rathmann, DNP XII/2, 2002, 159f. I. de Portella et al., eds., Via Appia antica, 2003; ET: The Appian Way: Fro…

Sacred Sites

(2,374 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Reichert, Andreas | Dan, Joseph | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Characterization of a place as “sacred” or “holy” lends it a special status vis-à-vis its environment. Usually specific regulations govern how it is entered and used. Traditionally this status has been grounded in the belief that the site is proper to a deity or another spiritual being, or that a special power emanates from it. Sacred sites are particularly common at the center and on the fringes of group territories: the “men’s house” or festival ground defines the center of a village, just as the temple complex on …

Carthage

(2,038 words)

Author(s): Huß, Werner | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Names – II. Geography – III. History and Society – IV. Religion and Literature I. Names Even though in ancient literary contexts Carthage was occasionally called Tyre, Tarshish, Kaine Polis, Kadmeia, Oinus, Kaccabe, Afrike, and Byrsa, the official name of the city was, nonetheless, always Qrtḍdšt, “New City.” The city was called “New City” to characterize it as an establishment of the “Old City,” Tyre (in Phoenicia). It shared this name with Phoenician settlem…

Stobi

(179 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] The town of Stobi (modern Gradsko) in what is today Macedonia came into existence no later than the 3rd century bce. It flourished during the Roman Empire, as the remains of various structures attest, serving as a junction on the important north-south road to Thessalonica and linking with the Via Egnatia toward the northeast. Stobi took on special importance in Late Antiquity, when it became the capital of the province of Macedonia Secunda. Its conquest by the Goths under Theodoric the Great in 479 b…

Ampulla

(281 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Gk εὐλογία/ eulogía, blessing). In the early Christian era ampullas were well known as pilgrimage-related mementos. They are small receptacles made of metal (alloyed lead-pewter), earthenware or glass, generally in the shape of a round, low canteen with two handles. At times they were used to carry water but mostly oil from sacred places in the…

Hierapolis (Asia Minor)

(186 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] Phrygian Hierapolis (modern Pamukkale, “Cotton Castle”) is situated near the Maeander on silica terraces alongside a vigorous spring, high above a fertile plain. It was founded in the 2nd century bce by colonists from Pergamum and flourished from the 1st through the 3rd centuries (theater; nymphaeum; temple of Apollo by a cleft in the earth thought to be an entrance to the netherworld; thermae; impressive necropoleis with mausolea and sarcophagi) and again in the 5th/6th centuries ce (city walls; several churches within the city; a church in the northern …

Palmyra

(587 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Sem. Tadmor), oasis watered by a major spring (Efqa), on an important caravan route in the Syrian desert between the Euphrates (Dura-Europos) and the cities and towns in the west (Hama, Homs, Damascus) and along the coast. The earliest traces of human settlement (some 75,000 years old) were found in the cave of Douara. Settlement on the hill beside the spring began c. 7000 bce. Tadmor is mentioned in 2nd-millennium texts from Kültepe, Mari, and Emar. Since c. 300 bce, Palmyra must have been a very significant site, as evidenced by ongoing excavations. In 41 bce Palmyra cam…

Poreč

(163 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Ital. Parenzo) is a Croatian seaport on the western coast of Istria. The site has been settled since the Bronze Age. In the 2nd century bce it came under Roman rule; it was made a colonia under Tiberius (14–37 ce). Today the layout of the city still reflects the ancient system of orthogonal streets, dominated by a forum. The beginnings of Christianity in Poreč are obscure. Around 550 Bishop Euphrasius had a church built on the site of a large 3rd-century Roman villa and churches from the late 4th and early 5th centuri…
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