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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…

Trier

(1,623 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Seibrich, Wolfgang
[German Version] I. Archaeological Monuments Augusta Treverorum was founded around 17 bce under Emperor Augustus, on the site of the main settlement of the tribe of the Treveri; it soon prospered by virtue of favorable road links and its situation on the Moselle River. Trier was an imperial residence under Emperor Constantius Chlorus and his son Constantine the Great (i.e. from about 285 to 312), and again under Valentinian I and Gratian (c. 364–383). Trier’s decline began soon after 400, the city becoming…

Iconography

(6,550 words)

Author(s): Uehlinger, Christoph | Koch, Güntram | Arnulf, Arwed | Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle | Finster, Barbara | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Archaeology – III. Iconography and the Bible – IV. Christian Iconography – V. Jewish Iconography – VI. Islamic Iconography – VII. Buddhist Iconography – VIII. Hindu Iconography I. Religious Studies Iconography (Gk εἰκονογραϕία/ eikonographía) originally meant the description of images (Arist. Poet. XV; Strabo XV 1.19), but nowadays is used to refer to the methodical study of images. Where scholars distinguish between iconography, iconology , and iconics (Ger. Ikonik), iconography denotes the description of the object, …

Tur ʿAbdin

(326 words)

Author(s): Tamcke, Martin | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Church History The “Mountains of the Servants (of God)” in southeastern Turkey gained their fame from monasticism, which began in the 4th century with Jacob of Nisibis and Augin of Clysma. Mount Izla, in the east, was home to the monasteries of the Nestorians (Nestorianism); the so-called Great Monastery on Izla was the fountainhead of the East Syrian monastic revival in the 6th century under Abraham of Kashkar. The mountains are the heart of Syrian Orthodox monasticism (Syrian mo…

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. …

Wilpert, Joseph

(115 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram

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…

Bozrah (Hauran, Syria)

(361 words)

Author(s): Wenning, Robert | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. Pre-Christian Period – II. Christian Archaeology I. Pre-Christian Period Bozrah (or Bostra; Arab. Bushra ash-Sham), in the southeast of the Hauran, is a crossroads of many long-distance routes. It is mentioned in Egyptian texts from the 2nd millennium. First settled in the Early Bronze Age, it was captured by Judas Maccabeus (Maccabees) (1 Macc 5:28). In the 1st century bce and the 1st century ce, it was on the edge of the Nabatean territory in southern Auranitis and was the site of an important …

Qalaat Seman

(309 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] Qalaat Seman, major early Christian pilgrimage (III) site in northern Syria, some 40 km from Aleppo. The focus of the site was the pillar on which the monk Simeon Stylites the Elder spent his life from 415 to 459 ce in stasis, i.e. “standing.” It was said ultimately to have been some 18 m tall. Simeon was already famous during his lifetime and drew many pilgrims. Pictures of him were found as far away as Rome. After his death, probably between 475 and 491 ce, the site was developed on a grand scale; the whole complex measures some 450 by 250 m. Around the pillar …

Martyrium

(848 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] In the early Christian period, a martyrion (Gk) or memoria (Lat.) was a place of “witness” and “commemoration” providing an opportunity for cultic veneration (cf. also Sacred sites: IV). The site might be associated with a biblical event or the life of Christ in the vicinity of the Holy Land. Examples include the site of the burning bush in the eastern portion of the chapel of St. Catherine's monastery at Mount Sinai (Sinai, St. Catherine's monastery); the tree in Mamre where God as a Trin…

Symbols/Symbol Theory

(9,049 words)

Author(s): Berner, Ulrich | Cancik-Lindemaier, Hildegard | Recki, Birgit | Schlenke, Dorothee | Biehl, Peter | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Use of the Greek word σύμβολον/ sýmbolon in a sense relevant to religious studies is attes…

Ephesus

(1,220 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Günther, Matthias
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. Church History I. Archaeology Early evidence of settlement in the area of Ephesus dates back to the 5th millennium bce. The city itself was founded sometime after 1200 bce by Ionian Greeks. Lying at the mouth of the River Cayster (though now approx. 10 …

Atrium

(175 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] An atrium is …

Constantinople/Byzantium

(7,786 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Ritter, Adolf Martin | Ludwig, Claudia | Thümmel, Hans Georg | Ohme, Heinz | Et al.
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. Early Church – III. After 600 – IV. Councils – V. Patriarchate – VI. Literature – VII. Art – VIII. Church Music – IX. Judaism I. Archaeology Settlers from Megara settled Byzantium in the early 7th century on a previously inhabited hill on the Bosphorus, the most important water route from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea; a deep bay, the “Golden Horn” offered additional protection. In 324 …

Lascaux Grotto

(263 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] is a long, multi-branched cave located in the vicinity of Montignac (Dordogne, near Périgueux) that was discovered in 1940. Its walls and ceilings are decorated with the most extensive cylce of paintings ever discovered in a prehistoric cave. At first, they were very well preserved, but have suffered greatly from algae. The cave was closed in 1963 and a viewing copy was installed nearby. Almost 1,500 individual depictions have…

Baalbek

(174 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Heliopolis) in the northern Biqaʾ (Bekaa valley, Lebanon) was an ancient Phoencian cult site for Baal. Construction of the monumental temple of Zeus, the largest in antiquity, began in the 3rd century bce and was completed between the 1st and 3rd cent. ce; in the 2nd cent. ce further temples were erected, while the city acquired colonnaded streets and public buildings. According to Eusebius of Caesarea ( Vita Constantini III 58), Constantine the Great had a temple to Aphrodite torn down to make room for a church (locat…

Human Form in Art

(3,499 words)

Author(s): Schroer, Silvia | Andreae, Bernard | Koch, Guntram | Apostolos-Cappadona, Diane
[German Version] I. Ancient Near Eastern Art – II. Greco-Roman Art – III. Christian Art I. Ancient Near Eastern Art The earliest datable representations of animals in ancient Near Eastern art stem from the Mesolithic Period, and the oldest representations of the human form from the Neolithic Period (reworked male skulls or imitations of the same, cf. Kenyon; stylized or three-dimensional figurines of sitting, corpulent women). Anthropomorphic ¶ (Anthropomorphism) deities are usually distinguished from humans through attributes (for the exception of the “naked…

Cologne

(1,945 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram | Klueting, Ham
[German Version] I. Archaeology – II. City and Diocese – III. University I. Archaeology Evidence that Cologne was a particularly flourishing city in the 2nd and early 3rd centuries includes remains of the city wall, aqueduct, sewers, and praetorium, mosaic floors and mural paintings from private houses, several tombs, and a great variety of small artworks. Famous is the 3rd-century Dionysus Mosaic in the Römisch- Germanisches Museum, still to be seen in situ in the ceremonial room of a large house within the city walls. There is evidence of Christianity in…

Via Egnatia

(98 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] Via Egnatia, a via publica laid out around the mid-2nd century bce by Cnaeus Egnatius, in part on top of older roads. It continued the Via Appia, leading from the Adriatic ports of Dyrrhachion (Durres) and Apollonia (in modern Albania) through Thessalonica and Philippi to Constantinople/Byzantium (Istanbul). It was thus the most important land route connecting Rome and the B…

Demons and Spirits

(6,288 words)

Author(s): Hutter, Manfred | Görg, Manfred | Kollmann, Bernd | Haustein, Jörg | Koch, Guntram | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion (Ancient Near East and Antiquity) – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Iconography – VI. Practical Theology – VII. Judaism – VIII. Islam I. History of Religion (Ancient Near East and Antiquity) The term “demon” as used in European language groups derives from the Greek (δαίμων/ daímōn), where it initially also referred simply to gods (ϑεοί/ theoí; cf. Homer Iliad 1.122) without either positive or negative connotations. The exclusively “negative” charge associated with demons doubtless represents a secondary development reflecting an understanding that opposes them to the gods. In the ancient Near East and ant…

Seleucia-Ctesiphon

(249 words)

Author(s): Koch, Guntram
[German Version] (Tell Omar) was founded c. 300bce by Seleucus I on the right (west) bank of the Tigris, on the site of the earlier Upi (Opis). Babylonians, Greeks, Macedonians, and Jews are said to have settled there, bringing its eventual population to some 600,000. In the first half of the 2nd century bce, the Part…

Archaeology

(2,519 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans J. | Hübner, Ulrich | Koch, Guntram
[German Version] I. General – II. Biblical Archaeology – III. Christian Archaeology I. General

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 e…

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

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 am…

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 (24m…

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…
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