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Secret police

(629 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Eder, Walter (Berlin)
[German version] A. Ancient Near East Xenophon (Cyr. 8,2,10ff.) tells of undercover informants, the “eyes and ears of the king”, who reported to the Persian king. Antecedents of this Achaemenid institution can be found in Mesopotamia: soothsayers (Mari 18th cent. BC) and state officials (Assyria 8th/7th cents.) undertook in their oath of office to report to the king any moves or actions against him. The extent…

Enlil

(59 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Sumerian ‘Lord Wind’). City-god of  Nippur and highest god of the Sumerian-Akkadian Pantheon in the 3rd and the 1st half of the 2nd millennium BC. His place was taken in the 1st millennium by  Marduk, the god of Babylon. His spouse was Ninlil ( Mylissa).  Marduk;  Mesopotamia;  Nippur Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography T. Jacobsen, Treasures of Darkness, 1976.

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 Mediterranean (incl…

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.…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Deification

(1,408 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | von Lieven, Alexandra (Berlin) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the Ancient Orient the deification of  rulers always occurred in the context of the legitimization and exercise of  rulership. Deified rulers and proper gods were always differentiated on principle. Renger, Johannes (Berlin) [German version] A. Mesopotamia References to the deification of living rulers are geographically restricted to Babylonia and temporally to the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC: a) individual rulers claimed divine descent for themselves as a means of legitimizing their rule…

New Year's celebration

(1,992 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Ahn, Gregor (Heidelberg) | Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH)
(NYC). The beginning of the year was variously fixed in different local or supra-regional calendars. It was oriented, as far as we know, towards agricultural patterns connected to the time of the year (especially sowing in the spring and harvest in the autumn). The beginning of the year was connected with administrative measures (e.g. raising taxes).…

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…

Ishtar

(181 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] The Semitic goddess I. is etymologically related to  Astarte ( Aṯtarat). Grammatically speaking, the name is masculine (cf. Western Semitic Aṯtar). In southern Mesopotamia she was identified with Innana, the Sumerian city-goddess of  Uruk, and there is evidence of her being worshipped in that city into Achaemenid times. In northern Babylonia and Assyria figures of I. were venerated in numerous cities (I. of the cities  Akkad,  Arbela [1],  Nineveh) and to an extent identified with other goddesses. Th…

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…

Iobaritae

(33 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Ἰωβαρῖται; Iōbarîtai, Ἰοβαρῖται; Iobarîtai). Ethnic group in southern Arabia; only mentioned in Ptol. 6,7,24 as neighbours of the Sachalitae ( Sachalites). Renger, Johannes (Berlin) Bibliography J. Tkač, s.v. I., RE 9, 1832-1837.

Am(m)athous

(672 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Colpe, Carsten (Berlin) | Senff, Reinhard (Bochum)
(Ἀμ(μ)αθοῦς; Am(m)athoûs). [German version] [1] Fortress to the east of the Jordan A fortress to the east of the Jordan, tell 'ammatā, which towers over the north bank of the wādi raǧib and has control over three roads, one of which runs close beside it on the west towards Pella ( ṭabaqāt faḥil) (Eus. Onom. 22,24) [1; 2]. Ceramics found here have so far shown no evidence of either pre-Hellenistic settlement or Cypriot imports [3. 44; 4. 301]. After 98 BC it was taken by  Alexander Iannaeus from the tyrant Theodorus of Philadelphia and razed to th…

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…

Tammuz

(303 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
[German version] (Thammuz; Sumerian Dumu-zi, 'legitimate son', Aramaic  Tham(m)uza, Hebrew Thammûz, Greek  Θαμμουζ/ Thammouz). Prehistoric king of Uruk and husband of the city goddess Inanna (Ishtar; Hieros Gamos). She hands T. over to the forces of the Underworld when she - having failed in her attempt to seize the rule over the Underworld for herself - is released from the Underworld on condition of the promise of a (human) substitute. Dumu-zi is captured by the demons of the Underworld; howev…

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…

Purity

(1,297 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia In Sumerian the adjective kug and in Akkadian the corresponding adjective ellu express the principle of (cultic) purity. Both words also contain the nuance of 'bright', 'shining'. Sumerian kug and Akkadian ellu (when in textual dependence upon kug) mark characteristics of deities, localities (e.g., temples), (cult) objects, rites and periods of time as belonging to the sphere of the divine. This, however, does not necessarily mean that they must be in an uncontaminated state. In this respect kug is most often rendered as 'holy/sacred'. Akkadian ellu, by contrast, has the primary meaning of 'free of material and immaterial contamination or interference' and can refer to both cultic purity and the legal status of persons and objects (i.e., free of …
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