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Serapeum

(129 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
(Σαραπεῖον/ Sarapeîon, Σαράπιον/ Sarápion). [German version] [1] Burial and cult sites of dead Apis bulls in Memphis Term for the burial and cult sites of dead Apis bulls in Memphis (Apis [1]), and generally for cult buildings of the god Serapis derived from it in the Graeco-Roman world. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) [German version] [2] Name of various places As a reflexion of presumably Egyptian terms such as pr-wsjr-ḥp a place name in Greek and Latin sources (see also [1]). According to the Tabula Peutingeriana there were three such places in the Nile Delta; one w…

Pheron

(185 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin)
[German version] (Φερῶν; Pherôn). Greek rendering of the Egyptian pr-, Pharaoh, therefore not a personal name, but the Egyptian royal title. According to Hdt. 2,111 (similarly also Diod. Sic. 159), the son and successor of Sesostris I (1971-1928 BC). He is said to have thrown his spear into the flooding Nile and to have been blinded as a punishment, until he could wash his eyes with the urine of a woman who had always been faithful to her husband. After recovering his sight, he had all unfaithful wives …

Oxyrhynchus

(551 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Eleuteri, Paolo (Venice)
This item can be found on the following maps: Egypt | Pilgrimage | Egypt [German version] A. The city City in Middle Egypt, modern Al-Bahnasā; in Pharaonic times the capital of the 19th nome of Upper Egypt, Egyptian pr-mḏd, 'meeting house (?)'. Originally O. was one of the main cult centres of Seth as well as of Thoeris. Because Seth had killed Osiris, it was mentioned in traditional lists of nomes as a banned place. There are hardly any archaeological finds from the pre-Ptolemaic period; the ancient centre of the nome was presumably located in spr-mrw. During the Graeco-Roman period, the…

Serapis

(1,264 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Takacs, Sarolta A. (Cambridge, MA)
(Σάραπις/ Sárapis, also Σέραπις/ Sérapis, Latin Serapis), original Egyptian bull god whose main cult was in Memphis; from the Hellenistic period, it was widespread throughout the Mediterranean region. [German version] I. Egypt The Greek form Sarapis (Σάραπις; Sárapis), and in later sources Serapis (Σέραπις; Sérapis), derives from the combination Wsjr-Ḥp (Osiris - Apis [1]), which is rendered as οσεραπις ( oserapis) in the oldest sources from Memphis, e.g. in the Curse of Artemisia (UPZ 1; 4th cent. BC). Because the initial sound was understood as the article (ὁ; ho) it became detac…

Science

(3,548 words)

Author(s): Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | R.NE.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia The framework for the emergence of science, i.e. of a socially organized, systematic search for discoveries and their transmission, existed in Mesopotamia from the early 3rd millennium BC. It included social differentiation and the development of a script (Cuneiform script) which was soon applied outside administrative and economic contexts. The potential of numeracy and literacy, sustained by the professional group of scribes, was developed beyond concrete, practical…

Moon

(1,588 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hübner, Wolfgang (Münster)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient The rotation of the moon and the phases of the moon served as significant structural elements of the calendar from early times in all ancient Oriental cultures. People discussed not only the phases of the moon but also, from earliest times, the eclipses of the moon, regarding them as ominous signs (Astrology; Divination). Like the sun, the moon, which was represented as a deity, was the protagonist of numerous myths in Egypt, Asia Minor [1. 373-375] and Mesopotamia (Moon deities). In Babylonia, as early as toward the end of the 3rd millennium,…

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, …

Myth

(8,403 words)

Author(s): Graf, Fritz (Columbus, OH) | Zgoll, Annette (Leipzig) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hazenbos, Joost (Leipzig) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen)
I. Theory of myth [German version] A. Definition Despite many attempts, it has proven impossible to arrive at a definition of myth (Gr. μῦθος/ mýthos; Lat. mythos) that would satisfy all disciplines. The most satisfactory one refers to G.S. Kirk and W. Burkert who described myth as a ‘traditional narrative of collective significance’ [1; 2]. Still, this definition fails to fully represent the function of myth in the time after Classical Antiquity, when we find myths in entertaining narratives such as Ovidius's ‘Metamorphoses or Nonnus's Dionysiaká. The term ‘traditional’ implies…

Ceremony

(3,932 words)

Author(s): Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel) | Winterling, Aloys (Bielefeld) | Tinnefeld, Franz (Munich)
[German version] I. Mesopotamia In contrast with cultic  rituals, the secular ceremonies of Mesopotamia have up to now rarely been the subject of academic research. On the whole, it has to be assumed that individual and communal life in the societies of the Ancient Orient in general and that of the  ruler in particular were dominated by numerous rules, resulting in more or less standardized patterns of behaviour. The reconstruction of such non-cultic ceremonies is largely dependent on secondary refe…

Chronography

(3,691 words)

Author(s): Rüpke | Cancik-Kirschbaum, Eva (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Hollender, Elisabeth (Cologne) | Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (Freiburg)
I. General [German version] A. Notions of measuring time Most cultures have some method of measuring time, frequently based on periodical changes within nature or the stars. The oldest of these is the pars-pro-toto method, in which it is not a certain period of time as a whole that is connected, but a regularly recurring phenomenon within that time [1. 9 f.] (e.g. lunar phases). Metaphors of time or the measuring thereof play no great role in antiquity, with the exception of the field of  metrics. Usually, the focus was not on the precise measurement o…

Multilingualism

(2,975 words)

Author(s): Binder, Vera (Gießen) | Schwemer, Daniel (Würzburg) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Rieken, Elisabeth (Berlin)
[German version] I. General ‘Multilingualism’ refers to two different things: on the one hand the ability of an individual to use several languages, on the other hand a situation where, within a social group, several languages are used (linguistic contact). As a result, research into multilingualism can look at multilingual individuals or a multilingual society; accordingly, points of contact arise to psycho- and neurolinguistics on the one hand or to sociolinguistics and historical linguistics (des…

Pantheon

(2,240 words)

Author(s): Richter, Thomas (Frankfurt/Main) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Höcker, Christoph (Kissing)
[German version] [1] Name to describe the plurality of gods In modern scholarship on religious history, the term 'pantheon' is used in systematizing the plurality of ancient gods (Polytheism). In the following, it will be used accordingly to denote all the many deities worshipped in a particular geographical area and socio-historical context.…

Papyrus

(2,017 words)

Author(s): Dorandi, Tiziano (Paris) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg)
I. Material [German version] A. Term and manufacture The term papyrus was adopted into the European languages via the Greek πάπυρος/ pápyros, lat. papyrus, and ultimately is the source of the modern terms for paper, Papier, papier, etc.  Papyrus is hypothetically derived from an (unattested) Egyptian * pa-prro ('that of the king'). Papyrus, an aquatic plant with a long stem and a triangular cross-section ( Cyperus papyrus L.), was in its processed form a widespread writing material ('paper') in the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean. Papyrus is produced by peeling off the bark of the plant in order to obtain the fibres of the pith (βύβλος/ býblos). These were laid out next to each other in a parallel arrangement, and on top of that a second layer at a right angle to the first. Through the treatment with a wooden hammer the two laye…

Wisdom literature

(3,886 words)

Author(s): Böck, Barbara (Madrid) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | S.SC. | Hollender, Elisabeth (Cologne) | Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (Freiburg)
I. Ancient Near East [German version] A. Definition When applying the term wisdom literature (WL) to ancient Mesopotamian literature we need to distinguish between the idea of wisdom (Akkadian nēmequ, Sumerian nam.kù.zu, 'precious knowledge') [10; 11] as 'wealth of general human experience' and the concept of wisdom as expertise in a cult. On the one hand, there are a number of non-homogenous, formally different literary genres in which knowledge, procedures, advice and behavioural guidelines are passed on; on the other hand, there is wisdom as a genuine concept and expertise both in cult and in magic along with the literary genres of ritual, incantation and prayer. Here, the god Enki/Ea with his son Asalluḫi/Marduk, considered the 'lords/gods of wisdom' par excellence [1.1], play a central role; accordingly, someone who has been initiated into the various rituals and ceremonies is considered wise (Magic I.; Ritual III.). The discussion below is about wisdo…

Prophets

(2,681 words)

Author(s): Köckert, Matthias (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Bremmer, Jan N. (Groningen) | Wick, Peter (Basle) | Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (Freiburg)
[German version] I. Introduction The term P. has found its way as a loanword from the Greek translation of the Bible into numerous languages. The Septuagint regularly uses prophḗtēs to translate the Hebrew substantive nābī, which is etymologically connected with Akkadian nabû(m) = 'one who is called'. Since then a very much wider use has emerged. For a more precise demarcation of the concept, it is useful to adopt Cicero's distinction between inductive and intuitive divination ( genus artificiosum, genus naturale: Cic. Div. 1,11,34; 2,26 f.) and to describe as prophets onl…

Thebes

(6,143 words)

Author(s): Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Fell, Martin (Münster) | Wirbelauer, Eckhard (Freiburg) | Klodt, Claudia (Hamburg) | Kramolisch, Herwig (Eppelheim) | Et al.
[German version] [1] City in the 4th upper Egyptian nome This item can be found on the following maps: Egypt | Commerce | Egypt The Egyptian Thebes, city in the 4th upper Egyptian nome. Quack, Joachim (Berlin) [German version] I. Names Actually Ws.t ('…

Priests

(4,255 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia From the 3rd millennium to the end of Mesopotamian civilization, the staff of Mesopotamian temples consisted of the cult personnel in the narrower sense - i.e. the priests and priestesses who looked after the official cult in the temples, the cult musicians and singers - and the service staff (male and female courtyard cleaners, cooks, etc.). In addition, there was the hierarchically structured administrative and financial staff of the temple households, which constit…

Sacrifice

(10,943 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
I. Religious studies [German version] A. General Sacrifice is one of the central concepts in describing ritual religion in ancient and modern cultures. In European Modernity, the term sacrifice (directly or indirectly influenced by Christian theology of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to redeem mankind) also has an intimation towards individual self-giving ('sacrifice of self'). The range of nuances in the modern meaning stretches to include discourses that have lost their religio…

Metre

(8,752 words)

Author(s): Zaminer, Frieder (Berlin) | Leonhardt, Jürgen (Marburg/Lahn) | Hecker, Karl (Münster) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Et al.
[German version] I. Preliminary remark Originally sung poetry, often accompanied by dance, metric literature was obviously subject to other formative conditions than poetry intended from the outset for spoken presentation or for reading. Texts of such kinds still show traces of their earlier sound form ( Music). Accordingly the form ranged from simple ‘melodic lines of sound’, as can be presumed for the ancient Orient and Israel ( parallelismus membrorum, strophic poetry, sometimes with rhythmic accent order, congruence of form and language syntax) to the complicated ‘rhythmic-melodic sound strophes’ of Greek lyric poetry (quantitative rhythms with an abundance of verse and strophic forms with strict responsion, often incongruence of form and syntactic division). From the mid 5th cent. BC the transformation of the poetic metre by musical rhythm can be observed.…
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