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Wool

(1,162 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Pekridou-Gorecki, Anastasia (Frankfurt/Main)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East In the Near East, wool (Sumerian si, Akkadian šīpātu) from sheep was an essential raw material for textile production (Textiles, production of). Chiefly with the aid of numerous administrative documents from the time of the Third Dynasty of Ur (21st cent. BC), many typical details of wool production can be reconstructed. The fleecing of sheep, for which Sumerian has various terms, took place as a rule in spring. This is the removal of the fleece from the sheep in its tota…

Prisoners of war

(1,665 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the early period (4th-3rd millennia), both in Egypt ( sqr-nḫ, 'those tied up for killing' [3]) and in Mesopotamia, POW were often killed on the battlefield. Killing - as a ritualized act - or parading POW and plunder before the ruler was ideological in character and hence a theme of pictorial representation  (southern Mesopotamia in 3100 BC: the killing of chained, naked POW in the presence of the ruler [5. 9]; 24th cent: naked male POW - probably immediately after their…

War booty

(1,607 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East In the ancient Near East, the procurement of WB was directed towards obtaining important raw materials (e.g. metals - Egypt: gold from Nubia, silver from Cilicia, copper from Cyprus (Middle Kingdom); Assyria: iron from Iran, silver from Cilicia; Cilices, Cilicia) and items required for further warfare (e.g. horses, chariots in Assyria, 1st millennium BC) or served to supply the royal court with luxury goods for purposes of prestige. WB must be distinguished from '…

Price

(3,822 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Reden, Sitta (Bristol) | Kuchenbuch, Ludolf (Hagen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Prices or equivalents for numerous fungible items had a generally recognized value in both Egypt and Mesopotamia, though nothing is known of how this came about. Prices in Egypt were at first expressed in a value unit šn( tj) (perhaps 'silver ring'?), in the New Kingdom also in copper and sacks of grain (though neither served as media of exchange) [7. 13]. In Mesopotamia, they were generally expressed in weights of silver (in Assyria, occasionally also tin). Indications as to equivalents are preserved to varying degrees of abundance and …

Husbandry

(3,460 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Jameson, Michael (Stanford) | Jongman, Willem (Groningen)
(Animal) [German version] I. Ancient Orient In the Ancient Orient and Egypt animal husbandry was always systemically linked with agricultural production (farming), insofar as both were mutually dependent and together formed the basis for society's subsistence. That view was given expression (i.a.) in the Sumerian polemical poem ‘Mother ewe and grain’ [1]. In Mesopotamia the basis of animal husbandry was mainly the keeping of herds of  sheep and to a lesser extent of  goats, which were collectively termed ‘domestic livestock’ (Sumerian u8.udu-ḫia; Akkadian ṣēnu). Sheep were pri…

Genealogy

(962 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Meister, Klaus (Berlin) | Rüpke, Jörg (Erfurt)
In early societies, largely based on family organizations, genealogy as a derivation of a person's descent in the form of a pedigree is often used as a means of legitimation and (pseudo-historical) memory, which was always also directed at publicity (genealogy from Greek γενεαλογεῖν; genealogeîn, ‘to talk about [one's] origin’). [German version] I. Near East and Egypt The purpose of lineage, transmitted in the form of a genealogy (generally patrilineal; exceptions in the case of Egyptian rulers), was to legitimate a claim to rulership, to tenure of a …

Ergasterion

(1,000 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Burford-Cooper, Alison (Ann Arbor)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the palace economies (  oîkos economy) of the Ancient Orient, certain mass products were made for the requirements of (large) patrimonial households themselves, but also for exchange in long distance trade with large ergasteria (factories) in which often several hundred, sometimes far more than a thousand male or female workers were employed. Their wages were normally paid in kind as daily rations; their social status was equivalent to patrimonial subjects, required to perform compulsory service. The best evidence for ergasteria comes from s…

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…

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…

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…

Measures

(1,991 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Sallaberger, Walther (Leipzig) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Schulzki, Heinz-Joachim (Mannheim)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient Although the different basic measurement systems (length, measures of volume and weights) were created and defined independently of each other, at least in Mesopotamia relationships between them were established. In the Ancient Orient as elsewhere, the terms for measures of length were based on body parts (cubit, palm and finger widths), however, the foot was not used as a basic measure of length. Regional and temporal differences must be considered. The Babylonian ‘cubit’ (Sumerian kùš, Akkadian ammatu, normally c. 50 cm; in the 1st millenni…

Goat

(2,086 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Jameson, Michael (Stanford) | Ruffing, Kai (Münster)
[German version] [1] Goat or nymph, who nourished Zeus as a child (αἴξ aíx). According to the post-Hesiodic myth, Zeus was fed and nourished as a child in the Cretan cave by a goat ( Amalthea) or a nymph by the name of ‘Goat’. Zeus kills her, uses her coat as a shield ( Aegis) in the battle of the Titans and in gratitude sets her among the stars (Eratosth. Catast. 13 Capella; Ant. Lib. 36). The nymph is the mother of Aegipan and Aegocerus (Capricorn, Eratosth. Catast. 27). The representation of the constellation of Ἡνίοχος ( Hēníochos; Auriga) bearing the goat on the shoulder and her two …

Social structure

(4,590 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Müller-Wollermann, Renate | Gehrke, Hans-Joachim (Freiburg) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel) | Kuchenbuch, Ludolf (Hagen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Social structure in the ancient Orient was determined by who controlled the fundamental means of production in an agrarian society, the arable land. The usual form of government in such societies was a patrimonial monarchy. Palaces and temples were the institutional centres dominating the economic and social structures and developments, especially in Egypt and Mesopotamia; all parts of society were directly or indirectly incorporated into this system. The existenc…

Political administration

(4,328 words)

Author(s): Eder, Walter (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Rhodes, Peter J. (Durham) | Eck, Werner (Cologne) | Tinnefeld, Franz (Munich)
[German version] I. General The states of antiquity had no executive PA independent of government and legislature in the sense of the modern separation of powers. The triple division of constitutions, indicated in Aristot. Pol. 1297b 35-1301a 15 ( tría mória, 1297b 37), into a decision-making, legislating organ ( tò bouleuómenon), an executive element ('on the offices': tò perì tàs archás) and judicature ( tò dikázon) owes more to the schematically working mind of the author than to a political concept as such, especially since the fields defined show conside…

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…

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 …

Palace

(3,814 words)

Author(s): Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin)
[German version] I. Terminology and Definition The modern term ‘palace’ is derived from the Palatine (Mons Palatinus), one of Rome’s seven hills, on which the residences of the Roman emperors were located. Palaces are buildings that a ruler uses as a residence and for representation. Depending on additional functions, they could have other names in Antiquity, relating to their respective use. Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) II. Ancient Near East [German version] A. Structural History In the Ancient Near East and Egypt, the palace was originally a house with considerably expa…

Pornography

(3,053 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Henderson, Jeffrey (Boston) | Obermayer, Hans-Peter (Munich)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East With the possible exception of the numerous depictions of the sexual act on terra cotta reliefs and lead tablets - many of which may have served as magical amulets or represented ex voto gifts [1. 265] - there is no evidence of pornography from the ancient Near East. In literary texts, explicit verbal depictions that refer to sexuality are found in literary texts (e.g. hymns to Ishtar, who was, among other things, the goddess of sexual love) and therefore are to b…

Palast

(3,499 words)

Author(s): Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin)
[English version] I. Terminologie und Definition Der mod. Begriff “Palast” leitet sich ab vom Palatin (Mons Palatinus), dem Hügel Roms, auf dem die Residenzen der röm. Kaiser standen. Als P. werden Bauanlagen bezeichnet, die einem Herrscher als Wohn- und Repräsentationssitz dienten. Je nach weiteren, dazukommenden Funktionen konnte er im Alt. verschiedene, von der jeweiligen Funktion abhängige Bezeichnungen haben. Nielsen, Inge (Hamburg) II. Alter Orient [English version] A. Baugeschichte Im Alten Orient und Äg. war ein P. von den Ursprüngen her ein Wohnhaus mit…

Rind

(2,724 words)

Author(s): Raepsaet, Georges (Brüssel) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Jameson, Michael (Stanford)
[English version] I. Allgemein Das R. ( Bos taurus) gehört zu den bovidae und stammt von dem eurasischen, großhornigen Ur ( Bos primigenius) ab. Die Domestikation von langhornigen Wildrindern erfolgte in Zentralasien wahrscheinlich 10000 bis 8000 v. Chr. und im Vorderen Orient gegen 7000-6000 v. Chr. Im 3. Jt. v. Chr. verbreiteten sich in Europa verschiedene Rassen des Hausrindes. Bestände von Wildrindern existierten noch in Waldregionen des östlichen Mittelmeerraumes, so in Dardania und Thrakien (Varro rust. 2,1,5) sowie in Mitteleuropa (Caes. Gall. 6,28). In der Ant. wurden…
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