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Ziwiye

(104 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Town in northwestern Iran with Iron Age III remains (7th cent. BC). The objects made of gold, silver, bronze, ivory and ceramics, some magnificent, published as originating in Z. in numerous museums and collections are, however, all from illicit excavations of unknown location: Z. is a label created by dealers in antiquities and unchallenged by the majority of archaeologists. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography O. W. Muscarella, 'Ziwiye' and Ziwiye: The Forgery of a Provenience, in: Journ. of Field Archaeology 4, 1977, 197-219 Id., Art and Archaeology in …

Rabbath-Ammon

(318 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Leisten, Thomas (Princeton)
This item can be found on the following maps: Syria | Theatre | Dead Sea (textual finds) | Hasmonaeans | Pompeius ( Rabbath bnē Ammōn, LXX Ῥαββά/ Rhabbá; Pol. Ῥαβατάμανα/ Rhabatámana, Assyrian bīt ammāna; Philadelphia since the mid 3rd cent. BC; modern Ammān). [German version] I. Through the Persian Period Capital city of the Ammonites (Ammon [2]); the oldest traces of settlement come from the Neolithic Age (7th-6th millennium BC). The earliest important remains with rich tombs on the citadel date from the Middle Bronze Age (1st half of the 2…

Tepe

(33 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (or Tape, Tappe; Turkish 'hill'). Frequent component of the modern name of ruin sites in the region from Near to Central Asia. Synonymous with tell. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)

Persepolis

(605 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Achaemenids | Alexander | Hellenistic states | India, trade with (modern Taḫt-e Ǧamšīd; Greek Πέρσαι Πόλις/ Pérsai Pólis, Περσέπολις/ Persépolis (Diod. Sic. 17,70,1 et passim.; Str. 15,3,6); Latin Persepolis (Curt. 5,4,33 et passim; Amm. Marc. 23,6,42); Ancient Persian Pārsa, homophone of the name of the territory of Persis). Situated on the north eastern edge of the Marv Dašt Plain, approx. 60 km north of Šīrāz near the opening of the valley through which the road to Pasargadae an…

Mills

(1,880 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Baatz, Dietwulf (Bad Homburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt In the Near Eastern and Egyptian cultures, only grinding mills were used. These consisted of an oblong grindstone and a running stone that was moved back and forth on top of it. Rotary mills, the upper stone of which turned on an axis, did not appear until Roman influence made itself felt. The grinding stones were mostly of basalt, imported from afar when necessary. The terms for the grinding and rubbing stones are NA4.ARÀ in Sumerian, erûm and narkabum in Akkadian, bnwt in Egyptian. Mills could be found in every household; large-scale mill…

Höyük

(42 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] also Hüyük. Turkish for hill, mostly used for old settlement sites that have been built up in a mound-like manner and, similar to Arabic  tell, a component in the name of many ruin sites. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)

Town, city

(4,219 words)

Author(s): Eder, Walter (Berlin) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Prayon, Friedhelm (Tübingen) | Kolb, Frank (Tübingen)
[German version] I. Definition 'Town' and 'city' in modern parlance have become general terms to describe settlements of a particular size, with a particular complement of buildings and administrative and legal structure. Owing, however, to the manifold forms assumed by towns and cities, we lack a specific, all-embracing definition: criteria such as a closed built environment, a highly evolved division of labour, and central administrative and economic functions for the surrounding territory, have p…

Stucco, Pargetting

(533 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East Mouldable, quickly hardening material of gypsum, lime, sand and water, occasionally with stone powder, which was used in many places (in Egypt from the Old Kingdom onwards, c. 2700-2190 BC) to smooth walls and as a base for painting. Figurines, vases and moulds for casting metal were also made from stucco. From the Parthian period onwards (1st cent. BC), figured or geometric stucco reliefs covering long walls are attested. They were modelled by hand or using templates; in the Sassanid and early Islamic periods they were also carved. Nissen, Hans Jörg…

Tayma

(165 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Taimā). Oasis in northwestern Arabia on the Incense Road, which led along the western side of the Arabian peninsula. The earliest traces of settlement point to the late 2nd millennium BC. T. is mentioned among the Arabian tribes defeated by the Assyrian ruler Tiglath-Pileser III in 733 BC (cf. OT Jes 21,14). The last ruler of the neo-Babylonian Empire, Nabonid, stayed in T. from 552 until 542 BC (cult city of the moon goddess (Moon deities)). After the Achaemenid period T. - its…

Sanbulus

(110 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] According to Tac. Ann. 12,13,3 the place where Gotarzes II defeated Mithridates [15], his anti-king sent by Rome; it is also mentioned that the last battle between Alexander [4] the Great and Darius [3] III was fought in the same place. Reference is made to a fortress near Nineveh (Ninus [2]). S. is a mountain on which Gotarzes sacrificed to Hercules and is presumably close to the field of battle. S. has to date not been identified. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography P. Bernard, Heracles, les grottes de Karafto et le sanctuaire du Mont Sambulos en Ira…

Ziggurat

(350 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Akkadian ziqqurratu, 'temple tower', from zaqāru, 'build high'). Tower of block-shaped stages, each smaller than the one below, used as the base for a temple. Although no remains of the uppermost part of a ziggurat are extant, it is definite from descriptions that this upper part existed. The term ziggurat is sometimes also used loosely in modern scholarly terminology for the architectural construction of a 'temple on terraces'. Apart from their stepped terraces, the characteristic feature of a ziggurat is its access via a free-standing flight of…

Throne

(613 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Ceremonially decorated piece of furniture for gods and rulers to sit on, with a high back and often with arm-rests. The sides were often shaped as animals or animal protomae; the legs were often worked in the shape of animal legs. Apart from a few fragments in stone, most thrones were probably made of wood and hence in the area of the Near East have not been preserved, but are known from numerous depictions. Thrones were presumably usually provided with metal (gold) or ivory embellishments (cf. the numerous surviving examples from Egypt). Nissen, H…

Relief

(3,221 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Neudecker, Richard (Rome)
I. Egypt and Ancient Near East [German version] A. Egypt Egypt had a long tradition of the two-dimensional portrayal of individual scenes and substantial compositions, initially as paintings on pottery, later as wall paintings and reliefs ( e.g. Narmer Palette, Proto-dynastic Period, c. 3100 BC). At the latest from the time of the Old Kingdom onwards, stone steles could be added to these, erected in association with the cult of the dead (dead, cult of), while the deeds of rulers were depicted in longer scenes on the walls of major build…

Necropoleis

(7,045 words)

Author(s): Tsochos, Charalampos (Erfurt) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Genz, Hermann (Istanbul) | Hiesel, Gerhard (Freiburg) | Et al.
[German version] I. Introduction The Greek word νεκρόπολις/ nekrópolis, ‘city of the dead’, is attested in Antiquity only in Strabo (17,1,10,14) as the name of a suburb of Alexandria [1] (Necropolis). Modern scholarship transfers the term necropolis to cemeteries of various cultures and time periods. General definitions as to shape and size do not exist. In this article, necropolis refers only to sites of a certain size and usually lying outside the settlements themselves. The size of a necropolis, the …

Textiles, production of

(2,346 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Pekridou-Gorecki, Anastasia (Frankfurt/Main)
[German version] I. The Ancient Orient and Egypt Weaving, which presumably developed from the plaiting of mats and baskets, is probably one of the oldest craft technologies. Owing to the climate, textiles do not survive in most of the countries of the Middle East; thus we have only a few, mostly carbonized, remains to show that different styles of weaving were already known, and various materials (Wool, Linen, flax) used, in the Neolithic Period. Great numbers of spindle whorls, mostly of fired clay, an…

Orthostats

(230 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Ancient Near East and Egypt In Near Eastern archaeology, orthostats are standing stone slabs, which in the Anatolian region originally protected the base of walls from backsplash. From the 9th cent. onwards, especially in the Neo-Assyrian palaces, they were used as mounts for static and narrative reliefs. The narrative cycles in the palaces of the rulers Assurnaṣirpal II. in Kalḫu, Sennacherib and Assurbanipal in Nineveh (Ninos [2]) are famous. In the contemporar…

Temple

(5,554 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Seidlmayer, Stephan Johannes (Berlin) | Hollender, Elisabeth (Cologne) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia The Sumerian term é and the Akkadian term bītu, meaning 'temple' or 'house (of the deity)', were not restricted to 'dwellings' of deities of a particular size or importance. They applied to sanctuaries from small neighbourhood shrines in residential areas to large, freestanding, tall buildings, from one-room cult sites to temple complexes with extensive auxiliary buildings, and they could be used for temples where one or many deities were worshipped. Prehistoric structures are often classified as temples only because apparently they nei…

Ur

(542 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Mesopotamia (modern Tall al-Muqayyar; Sumerian uriki ; in the OT Ūr kaśdīm, cf. Gn 11,28 and 31; 15,7 i.a.; no Greek name, since it was abandoned in the 4th cent. BC). City in the southernmost part of Babylonia, discovered and identified in 1854 by J. E. Taylor. Excavations on a larger scale took place under C. L. Woolley in 1922-1934, which became well-known because of the discovery of royal tombs with burial gifts of gold, silver and coloured stones. The orig…

Marsyas

(971 words)

Author(s): Visser, Edzard (Basle) | Badian, Ernst (Cambridge, MA) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Ziegler, Konrat (Göttingen) | Sonnabend, Holger (Stuttgart)
(Μαρσύας; Marsýas). [German version] [1] Phrygian rivergod and Celaenae's god of protection Phrygian river god and Celaenae's god of protection, represented as satyr or silenus. The name is derived from a toponym that can be found repeatedly throughout Asia Minor and Syria; the river, at the source of which Celaenae lies, also carries this name (M. [5]). M. was considered the discoverer of flute playing ( aulós), the inventor of the bandage used for flute playing ( phorbeiá) and of songs for the worship of the goddess Cybele. According to the myth, the possibility to pla…

Tell

(122 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (or tall; Arabic tall, plural tulūl; 'hill', then also 'settlement mound'). A common component of present-day names of ruin sites in the Near East. It indicates a widespread shape for earlier places of settlement in the Near East and Central Asia, which grew, some to a considerable height, by the accumulation of layers of settlement on top of each other. This was caused by the most widespread building material, unbaked mud bricks, which often disintegrated after a few decades. The resu…

Ichara

(122 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Ἰχάρα; Ichára, modern Failaka). Island in the Persian Gulf, on the east coast of Arabia. The island, mentioned in Ptolemy (6,7,47 N), is today generally regarded as a variant of  Icarus. While the identification fluctuated between Failaka, Kharg and Qaru for a long time, the equation of Icarus (and thus Ichara?) with Failaka has meanwhile been confirmed by inscriptions. According to Arrian (Anab. 7,20,2-3), the island received its name from Alexander, after an island in the Aegean…

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…

Uruk

(534 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Mesopotamia (modern al-Warkā; Sumerian unu(g)ki; in the OT Erek/ rk, cf. Gn 10:10; Greek Ὀρχόη/ Orchóē). City in southern Babylonia, discovered in 1849 by W. K. Loftus, excavated by German archaeologists since 1912 (with wartime interruptions). Based on settlements of the 5th millennium BC, Uruk developed in the 2nd half of the 4th millennium ('Uruk period') into one of the first large cities, with an area of 250 ha. Uruk was the cult city of Inanna/Ishtar…

Ptolemais

(1,304 words)

Author(s): Ameling, Walter (Jena) | Harmon, Roger (Basle) | Jansen-Winkeln, Karl (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Huß, Werner (Bamberg) | Et al.
(Πτολεμαίς; Ptolemaís). [German version] [1] Daughter of Ptolemaeus [1] I and Eurydice [4] Daughter of Ptolemaeus [1] I and Eurydice [4]; presumably married to a descendant of the pharaoh Nectanebus [2]; from 298 BC betrothed, and from 287 married to Demetrius [2] Poliorcetes. PP VI 14565. Ameling, Walter (Jena) Bibliography W. Huß, Das Haus des Nektanebis und das Haus des Ptolemaios, in: AncSoc 25, 1994, 111-117  J. Seibert, Historische Beiträge zu den dynastischen Verbindungen in hellenistischer Zeit, 1967, 30 ff. 74 f. [German version] [2] P. from Cyrene Ancient scholar of m…

Grain

(4,159 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Sallares, Robert (Manchester)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The various species of hulled and naked wheat ( triticum = t.) and barley ( hordeum) are among the earliest domesticated plants of the Middle East (Q. Ǧarmu; Çatal H.;  Faiyum). Besides  emmer ( t. dicoccum) and einkorn ( t. monococcum), both hulled, the common or bread wheat (naked; t. aestivum) are also species of wheat. The fact that the hulled sorts, which require more work (removal of the hull through roasting), also predominated in later millennia is ascribed to their better storability [1. 35]. The species o…

Pyrgos Lithinos

(119 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Πύργος Λίθινος: Ptol. 1,12,8 M.; 6,13,2 N.; literally 'stone tower'). Important station on the Pamir on the Silk Road leading to China from the west via Antioch [7] and Bactra. Despite the favourable situation with regard to sources - Ptolemy uses the itinerary of Marinus [1] of Tyre as his basis, the latter the notes of the silk trader Maēs Titianus - no one has yet succeeded in a full identification; the town is however marked on the map [2. 6 D2]. Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart) Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography 1 J. I. Miller, The Spice Trade of the Roman Empir…

Sippar

(193 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Mesopotamia full name S.-Yaẖrurum [1; 2], modern Abū Ḥabba. One of the most significant cities of northern Babylonia, counted among the cities 'before the flood' in the Sumerian kings' lists. Main cultic site of the sun god Šamaš. With origins going back to the 4th millennium BC; it reached its zenith in the 2nd and 1st millennia. The nearby twin city of S.-Amnānum (modern Tall al-Dair) can also be designated S. Supplementing the results of 19th…

Yazılıkaya

(171 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Hittite rock sanctuary (dated to c. 1260 BC), about 2 km to the northeast of the capital Ḫattusa. In a limestone layer – accessible from the outside by means of a cleft – there are two naturally formed main chambers and two side chambers, whose vertical rock walls are covered in reliefs. In front of the opening there were several buildings, serving as an entrance area for the sanctuary proper in the upwardly open rock chambers. In the centre of the depiction on the northern wall of Cha…

Town planning

(3,963 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Prayon, Friedhelm (Tübingen)
[German version] I. General Town planning is the designing of urban settlements (Town, city) on an organizational basis, with the central and particular functions of the town, e.g. as a port or a political centre, having an effect on its external and internal form. Most towns and cities in the Middle East and Egypt arose in the earliest times (in the Middle East from the 5th millennium onwards) at economically or strategically important points (trade routes, river crossings, anchorages). Towns and c…

Salt

(1,504 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Germer, Renate (Hamburg) | Giovannini, Adalberto (Geneva) | Pingel, Volker (Bochum)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East and Egypt Salt (Sumerian mun; Akkadian ṭabtu; Hittite puti; Hebrew mælaḥ; Egyptian sm.t) played an important role in all ancient Near Eastern cultures and in Egypt. In often high temperatures, the supply of salt was essential to life: salt was therefore part of workers' ordinary rations in Mesopotamia and Egypt (Rations). It was esp. used to season foods and to preserve meat and fish. In medicine, too, salt was used internally and externally. Salt was an important ingredient…

Sogdiana

(304 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Σογδιανή; Sogdianḗ). Region of the Achaemenid Empire between Oxus (Araxes [2]) and Iaxartes, part of the Sixteenth Satrapy; The inhabitants were called Sogdianoí or Sógdoi, Old Persian Sug(u)da, Avestan Su γδ a, Sogdian Sughdh. The capital was Maracanda (modern Samarkand), the Achaemenid base for ruling eastern Iran. In Darius [2] II's building report on his palace in Susa S. is mentioned as the supplier of lapis lazuli and cornelian. S. played an important part in trade with the peoples of the Steppes and the …

Steppe

(316 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Steppe is a term for semi-arid regions of vegetation and climate that, in relation to temperature, experience inadequate precipitation for trees to grow. This form of vegetation and climate can be found in southeastern Europe, northern Africa, in various areas of the Near East, of southern Russia and of central Asia. The boundaries both with agrarian land and with desert can fluctuate in accordance with the annual climatic conditions; in the latter case, one can also speak of dese…

Sambus

(143 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Karttunen, Klaus (Helsinki)
[German version] [1] Tributary of the Ganges (Σάμβος/ Sámbos). Tributary of the Ganges (Arr. Ind. 4,4: Megasthenes), possibly identical to the Sarabus (Ptol. 7,1,29; 2,13) corresponding to the Sarayū (Agoranis). Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) [German version] [2] Indian king, 4th cent. BC (Σάμβος/ Sámbos in Arr. Anab. 6,16,3 f., Σάβος/ Sábos in Diod. Sic. 17,102,6 f. and Str. 15,1,33, Σάββας/ Sábbas in Plut. Alexander 64, Sambus in Curt. 9,8,13 and 9,8,17, Ambus in Just. Epit. 12,10, etc.). Indian king; his kingdom, with its capital at Sindimana, lay in the mountain …

Zoo

(933 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Müller, Stefan (Hagen)
(παράδεισος/ parádeisos, ζωγρεῖον/ zōgreîon; Latin vivarium). [German version] I. Ancient Orient Zoos are known primarily from neo-Assyrian palace sites (11th-7th cents. BC), in the sense both of parks populated with animals of every kind and of enclosures in which game was kept (Paradeisos). Reliefs of hunting lions, wild asses etc. are known from the palace of Assurbanipal in Nineveh with representations of cages/enclosures; there are written records of lion enclosures as early as the beginning of the 2n…

Irrigation

(1,183 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Rathbone, Dominic (London)
[German version] I. Near East and Egypt Irrigation means the artificial provision of water to fields in order to enable or intensify plant growth. It supported cultivation in rain-fed regions (attested as early as the 5th millennium BC in western Iran), but its primary significance was in areas whose productivity depended entirely on it, their own rainfall never being sufficient, such as the Nile Valley and the middle and lower reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris. In irrigation, the entire surface to b…

Tochari

(161 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (Τόχαροι/ Tócharoi  Str. 11,8,2; Latin Tochari:  Just. Epit. 42,2,2; Thocari: Plin.  HN 6,55; Τάχοροι/ Táchoroi: Ptol. 6,16,4; Athagurae: Amm.  Marc. 23,6,66; Θαγούροι/ Thagoúroi: Ptol. 6,16,2). Group of Inner Asian tribes, after which an Indo-European language is named Tocharian. It is mentioned in the context of the westward migration of the Yuezhi after their defeat in 176 or 174 BC by the Xiongnu (presumed Central-Asiatic antecedents of the Hunni). According to the Geography of Ptolemaeus [65], and in Strabo and Justin (see above) located in Gans…

Luristan

(75 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Mountain province of central Iranian Zagrus settled from the 6th millennium. L. is especially well known because of the large number of bronze weapons and artefacts from extensive (plundered) cemeteries, particularly from the 1st millennium BC, now in numerous museums. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography F. Hole (ed.), The Archaeology of Western Iran, 1987 L. Vanden Berghe, La nécropole de Mir Khair au Pusht-i Kuh, L., in: Iranica Antiqua 14, 1979, 1-37.

Shipbuilding

(1,703 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Briese, Christoph (Randers) | Konen, Heinrich (Regensburg)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt Due to the lack of original finds from most regions of the ancient Orient, little can be said about shipbuilding, except for Egypt. The fact that many Syrians were employed in Egyptian shipyards and that a ship (from around 1300 BC) found at Ulu Burun, Turkey was built in the same technique as Egyptian ships indicates that a uniform shipbuilding technique was used throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Here, wooden planks were placed in the desired position w…

Mesopotamia

(7,071 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Oelsner, Joachim (Leipzig)
I. General [German version] A. Name The name M., i.e. ‘[land] between the rivers [ Euphrates [2] and Tigris]’, first appears in Arrian (Arr. Anab. 3,7,3; 7,7,3) as a designation for the area of what is now eastern Syria and northern Iraq, probably corresponding to the Aramaic beyn nahrīn and the Akkadian māt birīt nārim (both ‘between the rivers’). However, this expression designated only the region between the bend of the Euphrates and Baliḫ/Ḫabur [1; 2]. Later, M. could also refer to the entire region of the two rivers (Plin. HN 5,86). In modern,…

Navigation

(2,434 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg) | Alonso-Núñez, José Miguel (Madrid)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient and Egypt In Egypt and southern Mesopotamia navigation played a major role, especially in inland traffic but also in communication across the sea. In both countries, rivers and canals were the major traffic arteries that were even used by the gods on their mutual visits and by rulers on their tours. Beyond their ordinary significance as a means of transportation for people and goods, ships also had a religious connotation. In Egypt the vocabulary of navigation entered daily life. In both countries, boats sailed or were towed, but in southern M…

Column

(3,015 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[German version] I. Egypt and the Ancient Orient As a statically significant building element, whether in wood or modelled from stone or brick, the column played different roles in Egypt and the Ancient Orient. In Egypt columns were a component of almost every form of architecture, from roof-bearing wooden posts in family residences to extravagantly shaped stone columns in temples and palaces. Having bases and capitals, the latter, too, betrayed the evolution from wooden columns. Columns frequently took on the shape of plants; they were probably always painted. Columns were used sp…

Marathus

(164 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Diadochi and Epigoni | Phoenicians, Poeni Modern Amrīt, important town in northern Phoenicia south of Aradus [1], which controlled it in 333/2 BC (Arr. Anab. 2,13,8; 14,1; 15,6; Curt. 4,1,6) and in 218 (Pol. 5,68,7). Around the middle of the 2nd cent. M. was independent and was able to defend itself against the Aradians (Diod. Sic. 33,5f.). According to Str. 16,2,12, M. was destroyed and its land divided among settlers from Aradus, but the city must…

Military technology and engineering

(1,756 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Gniers, Andrea Maria (Los Angeles) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient For Mesopotamia, as for the Near East in general, we are poorly informed by both written and archaeological sources about military organization, techniques, and engineering. The isolated case of the ‘Vulture Stele’ (about 2500 BC, from Tello, southern Babylonia; [1. pl. 91]) points to differences between heavily and lightly armed soldiers. The war chariots depicted there and on the ‘Ur Standard’ (somewhat older, from Ur; [1. pl. VIII]) were probably static symbols, …

Susiana

(76 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] (ἡ Σουσιανή/ hē Sousianḗ), cf. OGIS 54,17; Pol. 5,46,7); today the plain forming part of Ḫūzestān in Iran. From the 3rd millennium onwards the main region of the kingdom of Elam, satrapy of the Achaemenid kingdom, in the Seleucid-Sassanid period referred to as Elymais. Its most significant town (from 4000 BC onwards) was Susa. Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) Bibliography E. Carter, M. W. Stolper, Elam: Surveys of Political History and Archaeology, 1984  J. Wiesehöfer, Das antike Persien, 1993.

Obsidian

(280 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] ( obsianus lapis, 'stone of Obsius'; obsidianus is the incorrect reading) is a dark, vitreous (Plin. HN 36,196: in genere vitri = Isid. Orig. 16,16,5) volcanic rock that a certain Obsius of Ethiopia is said to have imported to Rome. In the Near East, obsidian was highly regarded from the 8th millennium and in Egypt from the 4th millennium, principally because of the sharp cutting edges of tools that were made of obsidian blades but also because its semi-transparent property made it attractive as a gemstone (Akkadian ṣurru; Egyptian mnw). From the 2nd millennium, obsid…

Tashkent

(152 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] The capital of modern Uzbekistan, on the western slopes of Mount Tianshan, in an oasis irrigated by the Čirčik (a tributary of the Iaxartes). The country of Juni mentioned in 2nd cent. BC Chinese sources was later identified with the area of T. The local name was presumably Čač, as also used in the Islamic period; Arabic authors used Šaš. The earliest traces of settlement date from the 6th-4th cents. BC (Šaš-Tepe). From the 5th cent. AD several towns developed, which ultimately me…

Turfan

(280 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
[German version] Town and oasis region (T. basin) in eastern Uyghurstan (Xinjian) in China, to the south of the Tianshan mountains, on the northeastern edge of the Taklamakan desert, an important station on the Silk Road. There are numerous historically and archaeologically significant places there: 10 km to the west of modern T. is the Chinese fortress of Jiaohe, which from the 2nd cent. BC until the 5th cent. AD was the capital of the kingdom of Cheshi. Around 100 BC Gaochang came into being 30 …

Rhyton

(619 words)

Author(s): Scheibler, Ingeborg (Krefeld) | Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin)
(τὸ ῥυτόν/ tò rhytón). [German version] I. Object Funnel-shaped vessel for dispensing and drinking, usually ending in the head, or protome, of an animal; the name is derived from ῥύσις/ rhýsis (‘stream’) because the liquid could run out through a small hole at the bottom as long as it was not held closed [1; 2]. Scheibler, Ingeborg (Krefeld) Bibliography 1 F. von Lorentz, s.v. Rhyton, RE Suppl. 6, 643 2 W.H. Gross, s. v. Rhyton, KlP 4, 1426 f. [German version] II. Ancient Near East The only evidence of rhyta in the Ancient Near East and Egypt before the Achaemenids is in Anatolia,…

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…

Seleucia

(1,530 words)

Author(s): Nissen, Hans Jörg (Berlin) | Wagner, Jörg (Tübingen) | Martini, Wolfram (Gießen) | Hild, Friedrich (Vienna) | Brandt, Hartwin (Chemnitz)
(Σελεύκεια/ Seleúkeia, Latin Seleucia). [German version] [1] S. on the Tigris This item can be found on the following maps: Diadochi and Epigoni | Hellenistic states | India, trade with (Σελεύκεια ἡ ἐπὶ τῷ Τίγρει/ Seleúkeia hē epì tôi Tígrei: Str. 16,738; 743; 750 et passim; Latin Seleucia Magna: Plin. HN 6,43, cuneiform Selukuja [1], modern Tall Umar). On the right bank of the Tigris, c. 60 km north-east of Babylon and 35 km south of Baghdad, at the mouth of the Nahr Malkā (connecting canal between the Tigris and Euphrates) and thus very favourably located …
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