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Assemblies

(2,182 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Eder, Walter (Berlin)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East There was at various periods and in various regions of the ancient Near East a spectrum of manifestations of collective bodies with diverse powers of decision-making  and capacities for implementation. Crucial to the role of such collective bodies was on the one hand the nature of their historical genesis, and on the other hand the nature of their integration into the prevailing system of rulership. There were no popular assemblies as in the Classical Mediterranea…

Kinship, Relatives

(1,915 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | di Mattia, Margherita (Rome)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Both Sumerian and Akkadian kinship terms - other than basic words like father (Sumerian a.a, Akkadian abu), mother (Sumerian ama, Akkadian ummu), son (Sumerian dumu, Akkadian māru), daughter (Sumerian dumu.munus, ‘female son’, Akkadian mārtu), brother (Sumerian šeš, Akkadian aḫu), sister (Sumerian nin, Akkadian aḫātu, ‘female brother’) - are of an analytical character (e.g. Akkadian abi abi or abi ummi, paternal or maternal grandfather; father's brother = uncle). In Sumerian, šeš.bànda (literally ‘little brother’) …

Women rulers

(1,599 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | AN.WI.
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the societies of the Ancient Orient and Egypt with their rules regarding patrilineal inheritance and succession, women did not assume the role of rulers. The only exceptions to this occurred in cases when a female member of the ruling family - generally the queen mother - acted as regent for an underage heir to the throne. For example, Hatshepsut, half-sister and wife of Thutmosis [2] II, acted for 22 years as regent for her underage nephew Thutmosis [3] III.. In…

Polytheism

(1,339 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
I. In general and in classical antiquity [German version] 1. History of the term The adjective πολύθεος/ polýtheos refers in poetic Greek to that which pertains to many deities: the altar as the seat ( hédra) of many gods (Aesch. Suppl. 424) or the divine assembly attended by many gods (Lucian. Iuppiter Tragoedus 14). It is only in Jewish and Christian literature (Apologists) that this concept is used to justify the rule ( monarchía) of a single deity. Philo [12] of Alexandria coined the terms δόξα πολύθεος/ dóxa polýtheos (Phil. De decalogo 65) and πολυθεΐα/ polytheḯa (Phil. De mutatione…

Adamas

(93 words)

Author(s): Peter, Ulrike (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin)
(Ἀδάμας; Adámas). [German version] [1] Thracian (4th cent. BC) Thracian, who in the 370s BC seceded from Cotys (Aristot. Pol. 5,10,1311b). The identification with A. in IG XII 5,245 is doubtful (SEG 34, 1984, 856). Peter, Ulrike (Berlin) [German version] [2] River of India on the Gulf of Bengal A river of India on the Gulf of Bengal mentioned only in Ptol. 7,1,17; 41, identical with the current Subarna rekha. The name means ‘River of Diamonds’. Inland, to this day the diamond mines of Chota Nagpur are known. Renger, Johannes (Berlin)

Issedones

(90 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Treidler, Hans (Berlin)
[German version] (Ἰσσηδόνες; Issēdónes, Ἰσσηδοί; Issēdoí, Ἐσσηδόνες; Essēdónes). A Scythian people of Asian origin. According to Herodotus (1,201; 4,13-26), they lived southeast of the Aral Sea; however, the heaviest population centres within the regions of their habitation lay in Central Asia. Ptolemy (6,16,5; 16,7; 8,24,3; 24,5 N) ascribes to them the cities of Ἰσσηδὼν Σκυθική (modern Kucha) and Ἰσσηδὼν Σηρική (modern Charqliq), which were located on the Silk Road in Chinese East Turkistan (Tarim Basin, Xinjiang), to the southwest of Lobnor.  Scythians Renger, Johannes (Ber…

Votive offerings

(1,524 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Frateantonio, Christa (Gießen)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East and Egypt Votive offerings (VO) to a variety of deities played an important role in the religious practices of the Ancient Middle East and Egypt, as documented by inscriptions found on consecrated objects. In Mesopotamia, the oldest clearly identifiable VO date from the 24th cent. BC [14], and in Egypt from the prehistoric and Early Dynastic eras (end of the 4th/early 3rd millennia; e.g. the Narmer Palette). Most of the attested Mesopotamian offerings came from rule…

Rations

(515 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East In the Ancient Near Eastern oikos or palace economy, the majority or (large) parts of the population were integrated into the institutional households of temples and/or palaces as direct dependents (the extent varied according to region and period). They were provided with the rations of natural produce (grain, oil, wool) guaranteeing them the level of subsistence necessary for their reproduction. In Mesopotamia, these rations of produce were in part supplemented, and in certain periods replaced, by the allocation of areas of land ( c. 6 ha.) as…

Leek

(608 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg)
and other Alliaceae [German version] I. Mesopotamia, Egypt, Asia Minor The numerous Sumerian and Akkadian expressions for Alliaceae, not all of which can be definitely botanically identified, partly refer only to the subspecies leek, shallot, onion or garlic [1. 301]. Leek in its various forms - Sumerian *karaš, Akkadian kar( a) šu, Hebrew kārēš, Aramaic karrāttā, Arabic kurrāṯu - is a word of Oriental culture. Garlic is in Sumerian, sum, Akkadian šūmū, otherwise in Semitic languages ṯūm; the onion is in Akkadian šamaškillū, in Aramaic šmšgl (also as an ideogram in Pahlavi); the…

Deluge, legend of the

(716 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Stenger, Jan (Kiel)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In Mesopotamia, the legend of the deluge is preserved in a Sumerian as well as an Akkadian version; the Akkadian one is transmitted in 17th-cent. BC copies of the  Atraḫasīs myth[3. 612-645]. Extensive passages reappear verbatim on the 11th tablet of the recension of the Epic of  Gilgamesh from Niniveh [3. 728-738], and the myth is later also transmitted by  Berosus [1. 20 f.]. The gods perceive the noisy behaviour of the humans as hubris, causing them to eliminate …

Interest

(2,129 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Andreau, Jean (Paris)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt The early Mesopotamian documents (24th-21st cents. BC) that refer to  loans and advances from institutional bodies to private individuals allow us to surmise that interest was calculated, though without our being able to make any observations about the rates of interest. Instead of being made to pay interest, the debtor was often obliged to undertake agricultural work for the creditor [10. 117]. In the Early Babylonian period (19th-17th cents. BC) a sharp distinction was drawn between loans of grain (331/3 %) and loans of silver (20%…

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 to which fear of the “eyes and ears of the king” was an encumbrance to contemporaries can be…

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. It ultimately led to debt bondage, thus threatening the social equilibrium. Debt redemption by sovereign decree was a common means of reducing or eliminating the consequences of debt, i.e. of restoring ‘justice in the land’. Instances of debt redemption are well attested in Mesopotamia from the 3rd millennium BC, but more especially between the 20th and 17th cen…

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 the cultic and ritual sphere (e.g. unction for rulers in Israel: 1 Sam 10,1; 16,3; not in Mesopotamia). Depending on the regionally varying agronomic and climatic conditions, oil was obtained from a number of plants: whereas numerous olei…

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). Spring and autumn received particular consideration in the festival calendar because of their significance within the agrarian cycle. Because in re…

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…

Manasse

(506 words)

Author(s): Liwak, Rüdiger (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Kutsch, Ernst (Vienna)
(Hebrew Menašše; Greek Μανασσῆ(ς)/ Manassê(s)). [German version] [1] Israelite tribe Israelite tribe in Middle Palestine, east of the Jordan ( Judah and Israel). Liwak, Rüdiger (Berlin) [German version] [2] King of Judah King of Judah. During his unusually long reign ( c. 696-642 BC), Judah was restricted to Jerusalem and its environs after the Assyrian conquests of 701 BC ( Judah and Israel), but progressively regenerated politically and economically [2. 169-181]. M. (in cuneiform script Me-na-se-e/si-i or Mi-in-se-e) as a loyal vassal of the Assyrians was obliged to pr…

Months, names of the

(2,315 words)

Author(s): Freydank, Helmut (Potsdam) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Trümpy, Catherine (Basle)
I. Ancient Orient [German version] A. Mesopotamia From the middle of the 3rd millennium BC onwards, numerous systems for the names of the months that varied according to region and era are attested. In the Old Babylonian Period (20th-17th cents. BC), a system used throughout Babylonia gained acceptance. In the 19th/18th cents., there were initially autonomous local systems, among other places in the Diyālā area and in Mari, and up to the end of the 2nd millennium BC also in Assyria as well as during va…
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