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Literature

(23,376 words)

Author(s): Rüpke, Jörg (Erfurt) | Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hazenbos, Joost (Leipzig) | Hose, Martin (Munich) | Et al.
[German version] I. General Literary communication is communication by means of texts - stabilized, coherent and substantial statements. These may be written or eventually put down in writing, but they may also remain oral ( Literacy). Since for earlier societies as a rule only written texts can be studied, the term ‘literature’ focusses on such sedimented media of literary communication. Nevertheless, particularly for ancient societies the mainly oral character of literary communication must be emp…

Myth

(8,403 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Zgoll, Annette (Leipzig) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hazenbos, Joost (Leipzig) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen)
I. Theory of myth [German version] A. Definition Despite many attempts, it has proven impossible to arrive at a definition of myth (Gr. μῦθος/ mýthos; Lat. mythos) that would satisfy all disciplines. The most satisfactory one refers to G.S. Kirk and W. Burkert who described myth as a ‘traditional narrative of collective significance’ [1; 2]. Still, this definition fails to fully represent the function of myth in the time after Classical Antiquity, when we find myths in entertaining narratives such as Ovidius's ‘Metamorphoses or Nonnus's Dionysiaká. The term ‘traditional’ implies…

Peteesis

(173 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Greek Πετεησις/ Peteēsis; Egyptian p′č̣i̯-s.t, 'the one given by Isis'). According to PRylands 63 [4], Egyptian priest in Heliopolis [1] who teaches Plato about melothesia (allocation of parts of the body to astral magnitudes) [2. 81]. Presumably the same traditional figure of a sage as the P. who is mentioned in several variants in Dioscorides, De materia medica 5,98 as an author, possibly also the Petasius of the alchemistic corpus (CAAG vol. 3, 15,3; 26,1; 95,15; 97,17; 261,9; 2…

Ceremony

(3,932 words)

Author(s): Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel) | Winterling, Aloys (Bielefeld) | Tinnefeld, Franz (Munich)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia In contrast with cultic  rituals, the secular ceremonies of Mesopotamia have up to now rarely been the subject of academic research. On the whole, it has to be assumed that individual and communal life in the societies of the Ancient Orient in general and that of the  ruler in particular were dominated by numerous rules, resulting in more or less standardized patterns of behaviour. The reconstruction of such non-cultic ceremonies is largely dependent on secondary refe…

Sacrifice

(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 hav…

Serapis

(1,264 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Takacs, Sarolta A. (Cambridge, MA)
(Σάραπις/ Sárapis, also Σέραπις/ Sérapis, Latin Serapis), original Egyptian bull god whose main cult was in Memphis; from the Hellenistic period, it was widespread throughout the Mediterranean region. [German version] I. Egypt The Greek form Sarapis (Σάραπις; Sárapis), and in later sources Serapis (Σέραπις; Sérapis), derives from the combination Wsjr-Ḥp (Osiris - Apis [1]), which is rendered as οσεραπις ( oserapis) in the oldest sources from Memphis, e.g. in the Curse of Artemisia (UPZ 1; 4th cent. BC). Because the initial sound was understood as the article (ὁ; ho) it became detac…

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…

Wisdom literature

(3,886 words)

Author(s): Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | S.SC. | Hollender, Elisabeth (Cologne) | Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (Freiburg)
I. Ancient Near East [German version] A. Definition When applying the term wisdom literature (WL) to ancient Mesopotamian literature we need to distinguish between the idea of wisdom (Akkadian nēmequ, Sumerian nam.kù.zu, 'precious knowledge') [10; 11] as 'wealth of general human experience' and the concept of wisdom as expertise in a cult. On the one hand, there are a number of non-homogenous, formally different literary genres in which knowledge, procedures, advice and behavioural guidelines are passed on; on the other han…

Xeine

(84 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (ξείνη/ xeínē, 'stranger'). According to Hdt. 2,112 term for a  manifestation of Aphrodite, with a temple in Memphis. Presumably it was a cult of the Syrian goddess Astarte, i.e. 'the Stranger', who had been worshipped there since the Eighteenth Dynasty [1. 45]. It is uncertain whether it can be identified with a temple of Aphrodite or Selene mentioned in Str. 17,1,31 [2. 136]. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) Bibliography 1 A. B. Lloyd, Herodotus, Book II, Commentary 99-182, 1988 2 J. Yoyotte, P. Charvet, Strabon, Le voyage en Égypte (transl. with comm.), 1997.

Tefnut, legend of

(186 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] Group of myths about the Egyptian goddess Tefnut (Greek Τφηνις; Tphēnis), the daughter of Atum, who parted with her father in anger and is brought back from Nubia to Egypt by her brother Onuris with the aid of Thoth (Thot). Attestations of the legend can be found in temple inscriptions (mostly in the form of short epithets and allusions) mainly in Nubia and southern Upper Egypt, and in the Demotic Myth of the Eye of the Sun, which was also translated into Greek. This Greek translation (P. Lit. Lond. 192, ed. [4]) has been discussed by scholars as indicati…

Thonis

(120 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Θώνις/ Thṓnis). City on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt (Egyptian t ḥn.t), in the area of the Canopian mouth of the Nile, according to Str. 17,1,16 and  Sic. 1,19 once an important trading post. The recent find of a duplicate of the Naucratis stele has made identification with Heracleum likely. The place name T. is probably the origin of the figure of a homonymous hero who plays a part in the tradition of Helena [I]  in Egypt. Hdt. 2,113-115 tells of T. as a guardian of the mouth of the Nile, who notifies King Proteus of the arrival of Paris and Helen. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) Bibl…

Sesostris

(282 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Σεσῶστρις; Sesôstris). Greek form of the name of three Egyptian rulers of the 12th Dynasty, Egyptian z (j)-n-Wsrt: S. I (1956-1911/10 BC), S. II (1882-1872 BC) and S. III (1872-1853/52 BC). In Hdt. 2,102-110 and Diod. Sic. 1,53-58, S. appears as the greatest general of Egypt, who conquered large parts of Asia and Europe. An alleged settlement of Egyptians in Colchis is reported to go back to his campaigns. He is supposed to have been brought up together with all other Egyptian men who were born o…

Nemanus

(117 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Νεμανούς/ Nemanoús). According to Plutarch (Plut. De Is. et Os. 15,357 B) one of the names of the Queen of Byblos [1], wife of Malcathrus. She received Isis during her search for Osiris and made her the wet nurse of her children. She is also called Astarte and Saosis and is said to have been called Ἀθηναΐς/ Athēnaís by the Greeks. Her name is derived from nḥm( .t)- n, a frequent variation on the goddess's name nḥm( .t)- wy in the late period. She is the companion of Thot. In the late period (1st millennium BC), she was considered to be an aspect of Hathor. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) B…

Lisht

(134 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] ( al-Lišt). Modern Arabic name for the town that under the name iṯi-t.wi (‘who seizes the two lands’) was the capital city of Egypt (C.) in the Middle Kingdom [3. 53-59]. The pyramids of Amenemhet I and Sesostris I were situated there, the latter surrounded by smaller pyramids of the royal family [1]. An officials' cemetery continued to be used until the 17th dynasty. As an archetypal residence the place name was later used as a cryptographic symbol for the word ‘internal’, ‘residence’. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) Bibliography 1 D. Arnold, The Pyramid Complex of Senwosre…

Mut

(229 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Μούθ/ Moúth; Egyptian mw.t). Egyptian goddess. Her name is written like the Egyptian word for ‘mother’, but is vocalized differently. Beginning in the 18th dynasty in Thebes (Thebes), M., Amun and Chons formed the Theban triad. Other cultic sites of M. can be found in Megeb (near Antaeopolis) as well as at various locations at the tip of the Nile Delta. The Heliopolitan ‘M. who is carrying her brother’ is associated with a fire altar used for punishing criminals. M. is one of the go…

Userkare

(65 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Egyptian Wsr-k-R.w). Egyptian king, according to the evidence of the Kings' lists in the Sixth Dynasty (c. 2300-2250 BC), after Teti I and before Pepi I (Phiops [1]); scarcely any contemporary record. He is sometimes regarded as a usurper or anti-king before or during the reign of Pepi I. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) Bibliography J. Vercoutter, L'Égypte et la vallée du Nil, vol. 1, 1992, 322.

Chronography

(3,691 words)

Author(s): Rüpke | Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hollender, Elisabeth (Cologne) | Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (Freiburg)
I. General [German version] A. Notions of measuring time Most cultures have some method of measuring time, frequently based on periodical changes within nature or the stars. The oldest of these is the pars-pro-toto method, in which it is not a certain period of time as a whole that is connected, but a regularly recurring phenomenon within that time [1. 9 f.] (e.g. lunar phases). Metaphors of time or the measuring thereof play no great role in antiquity, with the exception of the field of  metrics. Usually, the focus was not on …

Re

(650 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] ( R), the most important god in the Egyptian pantheon. Essentially merely the word for 'sun' and as appellative still used as such in Coptic, translated into Greek as Helios. Re is the god who originated in himself, yet the primeval ocean Nun is considered to be his father. In Heliopolis he is linked with the god Atum, and his children are Shu and Tefnut (Tefnut, legend of). Often the epithet 'Horus of the horizon' (Harachte), is bestowed on him. The phases of the sun during the day are classified by the Egyptians as Chepre (morning), Re (midday) and Atum (e…

Min

(389 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Μίν/ Mín; Egyptian Mnw). Egyptian god, chief deity of Coptus and Achmīm, was responsible for the desert regions accessible from Coptus. Colossi of M. are preserved from Coptus from early times (3rd cent) [6], demonstrating the classical iconography - they are anthropomorphic, with relatively unstructured bodies, ithyphallic, with a tall plume on the head. One arm is raised and bears a scourge. This figure became the model for the ithyphallic form of Amun. The written character for M…

Multilingualism

(2,975 words)

Author(s): Binder, Vera (Gießen) | Schwemer, Daniel (Würzburg) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Rieken, Elisabeth (Berlin)
[German version] I. General ‘Multilingualism’ refers to two different things: on the one hand the ability of an individual to use several languages, on the other hand a situation where, within a social group, several languages are used (linguistic contact). As a result, research into multilingualism can look at multilingual individuals or a multilingual society; accordingly, points of contact arise to psycho- and neurolinguistics on the one hand or to sociolinguistics and historical linguistics (des…
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