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Article

Akhmim  

Janice W. Yellin

[anc. Egyp. Khent-Min; Gr. Chemmis; Lat. Panopolis]

Site of the capital of the 9th Upper Egyptian nome, 200 km north of Luxor, which flourished from Early Dynastic times to the Roman period (c. 2925 bcad 395). Apart from a few excavations during the 20th century, the ruins of the town, as well as temples and extensive cemeteries, have never been completely surveyed or excavated.

Only one of the temples—a rock-cut chapel with relief decoration, dedicated to Min, the principal local god—has survived even partially intact. It was built by a local priest of Min during the reign of the 18th Dynasty king Ay (reg c. 1323–c. 1319 bc) and restored by another priest of Min during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphos (reg 285–246 bc). Within the main city there were two large temples with pylons (ceremonial gateways), one in the north-west area built by Tuthmosis III (reg...

Article

E. Haerinck

Area in the province of Gilan in northern Iran that has given its name to a series of ancient objects. Since the 1950s the area around the village of Amlash has served as a local market for clandestinely excavated objects from the surrounding valleys. Although the term ‘Amlash’ should only be used in a geographical sense, to indicate material from Gilan, it has often wrongly been given a chronological meaning. Many objects purporting to come from this area (including fakes) have entered collections and museums, but their dating is often problematic.

Iranian and Japanese archaeological teams explored several sites in Gilan, of which Marlik, Kaluraz, Dailaman (including Ghalekuti, Nouruz and Hassani Mahaleh) and Tomadjan are the best known. Excavation of the cemeteries provided evidence that the objects belonged to several periods, from the middle of the 2nd millennium bc to the Islamic era. The area was probably inhabited only from the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age by nomads, who buried their dead in stone-built tombs or later in vaulted burial chambers cut into the mountain slopes....

Article

Dominique Collon, Donald F. Easton, Jeanny Vorys Canby, J. D. Hawkins, K. Aslihan Yener, Oscar White Muscarella and A. Nunn

Region roughly equivalent to the modern state of Turkey. The name Anatolia was first used by Byzantine writers in the 10th century ad, as an alternative to Asia Minor, and is now often used in its Turkish form, ‘Anadolu’, to describe Turkey in Asia. In this article the term ancient Anatolia covers the cultures and civilizations that flourished in the region from possibly as early as the 14th millennium bc to the 6th century bc. A wealth of remains from the Neolithic period (c. 8000–c. 5800 bc) to the Early Bronze Age (c. 3400–c. 2000 bc) testifies to the advanced prehistoric culture of Anatolia. During the 2nd millennium bc this was succeeded by the civilization of the Hittites (see Hittite), the demise of which was followed by a Dark Age lasting some two centuries. Eastern and south-eastern Anatolia were dominated from the ...

Article

Dominique Collon, J. D. Hawkins, Beatrice Teissier, D. Barag, G. Herrmann, Jack Ogden, Annie Caubet, Joan Allgrove McDowell, Michael Roaf, Vesta Sarḳhosh Curtis, Ian Carradice, G. D. Summers, Seton Lloyd and Geoffrey Turner

Area of the ancient world that extends from Turkey in the west to Iran in the east (see fig.). Although the term Near East is often synonymous with Middle East, the adjective ‘ancient’ is always attached to Near East, and ‘Ancient Middle East’ never occurs. The term Western Asia is sometimes preferred. The ancient history, arts and architecture of the countries in this area are treated elsewhere in this dictionary under the headings Anatolia, ancient, Syria-Palestine, Mesopotamia and Iran, ancient. Vast though this area is, the cultures and civilizations that flourished in the Ancient Near East from prehistoric times to the early centuries ad often exerted an influence that reached still further. In general, however, peripheral regions, such as Arabia and Afghanistan, are not included in this survey. From the time of the campaigns of Alexander the Great (reg 336–323 bc) to the Islamic conquest in the mid-7th century ...

Article

Armant  

M. S. Drower

[anc. Gr. Hermonthis; Copt. Ermont]

City in Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile, some 10 km south of Luxor. It was at first called Iunu-Shema (Egyp.: ‘the southern Heliopolis’) and Iunu-Montu (Egyp.: ‘Heliopolis of the war-god Montu’), from which subsequent names derive. It was the capital of the fourth nome (administrative province) of Upper Egypt throughout the Old Kingdom (c. 2575–c. 2150 bc), until the rise of the city of Thebes. Armant was the original home of the Mentuhotpe family, the founders of the 11th Dynasty. Preliminary excavations in the town area (1935–7) uncovered stone relief blocks of many periods; a few delicate reliefs of the 11th Dynasty show Sankhkare Mentuhotpe III in the company of Montu and his consorts the goddesses Iuniyt and Teneniyt. Some lower courses of a New Kingdom temple were uncovered, including the base of an 18th Dynasty Pylon bearing a depiction of a lively procession of Nubian captives headed by a rhinoceros. A granite stele, found near by, records various exploits, such as the capture of a rhinoceros by Tuthmosis III....

Article

Marcella Frangipane

[ Malatya]

Site in eastern Turkey, in the Malatya Plain on the right bank of the River Euphrates. It is a large artificial mound (h. c. 30 m) formed by the superposition of successive dwellings from about the 5th millennium bc to the Islamic period, c. 12th century ad. It was a strategic political and economic centre, especially in the Late Uruk period (c. 3300–c. 2900 bc), and was important in the cultural contexts of both Mesopotamia and Anatolia, ancient. Finds from the excavations are housed in the Malatya Museum and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara.

Excavations in the southern area of the mound have revealed a stratified succession of four monumental public buildings of mud-brick at a depth of c. 8 m; radiocarbon dating has suggested that these structures were built c. 3300–3000 bc. Most have thick walls and stone foundations, and contain several rooms. Many niches, plastered and painted white, or more rarely red, are set in the interior walls. Building I, the most recent, has a recognizable temple plan with a rectangular cella containing a central podium and a basin for sacrifices against the end wall; on one side are two communicating rooms for storage. The walls of the main room are richly decorated with concentric ovals stamped with a mould, comparable to an example from southern Mesopotamia (now Iraq) in Uruk itself....

Article

John M. Russell

Name given to people of the ancient land of Assur (Assyria) in northern Mesopotamia (now Iraq), named after their state god. The Assyrian heartland is bounded on the north and east by the Zagros Mountains and on the south and west by arid plains that receive insufficient rainfall to support agriculture. The area is well watered by the Tigris, Greater and Lesser Zab rivers and their tributaries, some stretches of which are suitable for irrigation, and also by rainfall, which allows most of the region to grow one crop of wheat annually. The Assyrians, a Semitic people speaking a dialect of Akkadian, appear in the historical record as traders at the beginning of the 2nd millennium bc and developed into an important power in Mesopotamia and then throughout the Ancient Near East until the fall of their empire in 612 bc. The most important Assyrian cities in the 2nd millennium ...

Article

Aswan  

Edda Bresciani

[anc. Egyp. Abu, Swenet; Copt. Sawan; Gr. Syene]

Egyptian city at the northern end of the first Nile cataract, c. 900 km south of Cairo. The modern town chiefly stretches along the eastern bank of a sandstone valley, which also contains numerous islands formed by the granite outcrops of the cataract; its ancient monuments are found on both the east and west banks and on some of the islands.

In ancient times Aswan was a garrison town marking the traditional boundary between Egypt and Nubia; as such it served as the capital of the first nome (province) of Egypt and the seat of its governors. The town’s wealth was generated by its position on an important trade route between the Nile Valley and the African lands to the south and by its granite quarries, which provided the material for countless ancient monuments. The islands of the cataract enjoyed religious status as the mythological source of the annual Nile inundation, while the Temple of Isis at ...

Article

Ann Bomann

[anc. Egyp. Hwt-hery-ib; now Tell Atrib]

Site in Egypt, just north-west of Benha in the Nile Delta. The capital of the 10th nome administrative province of Lower Egypt, the town’s religious name, Kemwer (the ‘Great Black One’), was applied to the original local god (personified as a bull), the nome and the city itself. Subsequently the major deity was Khentekhtai, at first represented as a crocodile and additionally, from the 12th Dynasty (c. 1938–c. 1756 bc), as a falcon; mummified falcons dating from the Late Period (c.750–332 bc) have been found. The heart of Osiris was believed to be buried at Athribis, and Isis, Hathor, Sekhmet and Khwit, the major goddess after the New Kingdom (c. 1540–c. 1075 bc), also had cults there. It was also the birthplace of Amenhotpe, son of Hapu, royal architect to Amenophis III (reg c. 1390–c. 1353 bc). Apart from partial soundings and occasional discoveries by the Napoleonic expedition (...

Article

Babylon  

[Akkad. Bab-ilim: ‘gate of god’]

Site in Iraq, 80 km south of modern Baghdad. It was once the capital and most important city of Babylonia (see Babylonian). It first rose to prominence under Hammurabi (reg 1792–1750 bc) and reached its peak of development under the Neo-Babylonian kings in the 6th century bc and was occupied until Sasanian times. Babylon was excavated by Austin Henry Layard (1850), Fulgence Fresnel (1852), Hormuzd Rassam (1879–82), and Robert Koldewey and Walter Andrae (1899–1917). Since 1958, excavations have been carried out by the Directorate-General of Antiquities, Baghdad, and the German Archaeological Institute. Finds from the early excavations are divided between the Iraq Museum in Baghdad and the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin. More recent finds are in Baghdad (Iraq Mus.) and in a museum on the site.

Babylon was the largest settlement in ancient Mesopotamia, extending over an area of some 850 ha. The oldest known reference attests the construction of a temple in Akkadian times (late 3rd millennium ...

Article

Michael Roaf

[Barsippa, Barsip; now Birs Nimrud]

Ancient site in Iraq, c. 17 km south-west of Babylon. The city flourished in the 2nd and 1st millennia bc and was important for the cult of the Babylonian deity Nabu, god of writing and scribal knowledge. The most impressive feature of the site is the 47 m-high remnant of a ziggurat, part of the Temple of Nabu. In the 19th century the site was thought to be part of the ruins of Babylon and was investigated by Claudius James Rich, Henry Rawlinson and Hormuzd Rassam. In the 20th century it was investigated by Robert Koldewey and later by a team from Innsbruck University. The main collection of finds is in the British Museum, London. The ziggurat was built in the Old Babylonian period (first half of the 2nd millennium bc) and rebuilt in the Neo-Babylonian period (625–539 bc). Its upper portion is vitrified brick, probably burnt as a result of fires that were lit in trenches dug into the top of the ziggurat in the early Islamic period (...

Article

Charles C. Van Siclen III

[Egyp. Per-Bastet; now Tell Basta, nr Zaqāzīq, Egypt]. Site in the eastern Nile Delta 77 km north-east of Cairo. It flourished c. 2575 bcc. ad 300. The ancient city of Basta (Gr. Bubastis) was the home of the feline goddess Bastet (Egyp.: ‘She of Basta’), often associated in the later periods of Egyptian history with the cat. Both the city and the cult of Bastet date back at least to the beginning of the Old Kingdom (c. 2575 bc). Bubastis was a significant political, economic and religious centre, and during the 22nd Dynasty (c. 950–c. 730 bc) it was home to a family of pharaohs named Osorkon and Shoshenq, who ruled the whole of Egypt. The importance of the city declined with shifting trade routes, changing political structures and above all the appearance of Christianity and later Islam, when the site was abandoned. The great temple to Bastet and her joyous festival are both described by Herodotus (...

Article

Byblos  

Muntaha Saghie

[anc. Gebal, Gabla; now Gebeil, Jbeil]

Ancient city built on a low cliff (h. 24 m) on the Mediterranean coast c. 40 km north of Beirut, Lebanon. Founded in the 6th millennium bc as a fishing village, it later developed into a cosmopolitan centre where trade and various industries flourished. During the 3rd and 2nd millennia bc it was the foremost harbour town in the eastern Mediterranean. The Phoenician alphabet was developed there (see Ancient Near East §I 3..). The word ‘Bible’ is derived from the Greeks’ name for the city whence they obtained the parchment (Gr. biblos) from which they made books (biblia). The site was excavated from 1921 onwards by Pierre Montet (until 1924) and Maurice Dunand. Most of the finds were deposited in the Musée National in Beirut.

The flimsy houses of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods (6th–4th millennia bc) consisted of one big room, rounded or oval for the earlier period, rectangular or apsidal for the later. In the Early Bronze Age (...

Article

J. D. Hawkins

[Lat. Europus; now Jerabis, Jerablus]

Site in Turkey on the west bank of the River Euphrates, now on the Turkish-Syrian border. This ancient city is extensively attested in cuneiform records from the mid-3rd to mid-1st millennia bc and mentioned in New Kingdom Egyptian records, c. 1500–1200 bc, and in the Old Testament. It is the source of indigenous sculpture and associated hieroglyphic Luwian inscriptions dating c. 1000–700 bc. Excavations commissioned by the British Museum (1878–81) recovered some inscribed sculptures. Regular excavations under C. L. Woolley (1911–14 and 1920) were broken off by war, and latterly the establishment of the Turkish–Syrian frontier immediately to the south of the site has precluded further excavation. Finds are in the British Museum in London and in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

Carchemish has produced evidence of occupation stretching back to the Chalcolithic period (c. 5300 bc) and has a long recorded history. First attested in the Ebla archives ...

Article

Irene Bald Romano

Image of a divinity that served in antiquity as a focal-point for worship and cult rituals. Most cult statues were housed in temples or shrines, although outdoor worship of images is also attested. Although aniconic worship (i.e. of a non-anthropomorphic symbol of a deity such as a rock or pillar) is known in Near Eastern, Greek and Roman cults, most deities by the late 2nd millennium bc were worshipped in an anthropomorphic form and were, as such, earthly substitutes or humanized manifestations of the presence of a deity.

Anthropomorphic cult statues are well attested in the Ancient Near East, Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt. Near Eastern cuneiform records going back at least to the 2nd millennium bc indicate that Mesopotamian cult images were made of wood and opulently clad in tiaras, robes and jewellery. The garments of the statue were ceremonially changed, and ritual meals were served up to the cult image. Specific attributes and attire aided identity. From ...

Article

Cyprus  

R. S. Merrillees, Nicolas Coldstream, Edgar Peltenburg, Franz Georg Maier, G. R. H. Wright, Demetrios Michaelides, Lucia Vagnetti, Veronica Tatton-Brown, Joan Breton Connelly, Paul Åström, Jean-Claude Poursat, Elizabeth Goring, Louise Schofield, Wiktor A. Daszewski, A. Papageorghiou, Michael D. Willis, Michael Given, Elise Marie Moentmann, Kenneth W. Schaar, Euphrosyne Rizopoulou-Egoumenidou and Helena Wylde Swiny

[Gr. Kypros; Turk. Kibris]

Third largest island in the Mediterranean (9251 sq. km), 70 km south of Turkey and 103 km west of Syria (see fig.). The island’s geographical location and its natural resources of copper and shipbuilding timber have had a considerable impact on the destiny of its inhabitants. Cyprus has throughout its history been vulnerable to the geopolitical ambitions of the powers controlling the neighbouring countries, which have not hesitated to exploit its resources and to use it as a stepping stone or place of retreat. Although it possessed a vigorous and distinctive local culture in Neolithic times (c. 7000–c. 3800 bc), it lacked the population, resources and strength to withstand the external pressures to which it was subjected from the start of the Bronze Age (c. 2300 bc). Since then and over the subsequent millennia Cyprus has been invaded and colonized for varying periods by Achaeans, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Crusaders, Venetians, Turks and the British. While its strategic position has always given it certain commercial and cultural advantages, it has also been the source of most of the island’s troubles since the beginning of recorded history, because too often the interests and concerns of the native inhabitants were subordinated to the ambitions and dictates of the powers around it. Yet, despite the ultimate demise of the native Cypriot style in the Late Bronze Age, the Cypriot craftsman’s ability to adapt and amalgamate the forms, designs and subject-matter of successive incoming groups produced a range of artefacts that ingeniously blended traditional with foreign concepts. While the forms of Cypriot expression after the introduction of outside influences could be mistaken for provincial imitation, the island’s art never lost its essential native characteristics: a strong underlying sense of inventiveness, superstition and wit. This has left a large body of captivating and whimsical material which, in turn, has inspired not only students and collectors of the island’s past art but modern Cypriot craftsmen as well....

Article

A. J. Mills

The largest of Egypt’s western oases (l. c. 120 km), c. 400 km west of Luxor. It was inhabited from earliest times, and although distant from the civilization of the Nile Valley, it was never isolated: most of the preserved monuments show a strong Egyptian influence. The absence of pressure on space and building materials, combined with a kind climate, has left a series of monuments largely complete and in a reasonable condition. Although there is a group of mud-brick mastaba tombs at Balat that dates to the late 6th Dynasty (c. 2325–c. 2150 bc), the best-preserved remains date to the Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine periods (304 bcad 641). The Tomb of Kitinos (1st century bc) at Balat is the only masonry tomb with carved relief decoration known in the southern oases. Its style is purely Egyptian, though rather provincial, and typical of the period. More important are the contemporary tombs of Petosiris and Pedubastis at Qaret el-Muzzawaqa, where the painted decoration bears an unusual juxtaposition of religious scenes rendered in the traditional Egyptian style and three excellent zodiac ceilings and several owners’ portraits executed in the much freer Classical style. The nearby sandstone temple of Deir el-Haggar (1st century ...

Article

A. R. Millard

Two ancient states that flourished from c. 1300 bc to c. 600 bc in present-day Jordan. Edom and Moab shared territory east and south of the Dead Sea. Ramesses II (reg c. 1279–c. 1213 bc) campaigned there c. 1274 bc; Israel controlled both states in the 10th century bc, and Moab finally broke free c. 840 bc. They were dominated by Assyria in the 7th century bc and then by Babylonia. Excavations at sites such as Buseira, Dibon and Heshbon have uncovered stone buildings and pottery similar to Iron Age Palestinian products. Edomite pottery is distinctive, painted with red and black horizontal bands and chevrons. Monumental sculpture from Moab includes a basalt stele from Balu‛a (Amman, Jordan Archaeol. Mus.), north of Kerak, bearing in low relief, in imitation of the Egyptian style, a scene of the gods Amon-Re and Hathor investing a king. Above it, parts of five lines in a barely legible and unidentified script perhaps record a local ruler’s accession, under Egypt’s aegis, in the ...

Article

Elamite  

Pierre Amiet

Inhabitant of Elam, an ancient state that flourished intermittently from the 4th millennium bc to the 1st, in the area that is now Fars and Khuzistan in south-west Iran. The Elamites spoke a language that was neither Semitic nor Indo-European, and its linguistic affinities are problematic. At certain periods of their history they produced a lively and distinctive art, which they transmitted eastwards along one of the great trade routes of antiquity as far as Afghanistan and the Indus valley.

The frontiers of the original Elam are uncertain, but its heart was the city of Anshan (or Anzan; now Tall-i Maliyan in Fars), on the plateau north-west of Shiraz. The other great city that was sometimes under Elam’s sphere of influence was Susa, some 400 km to the north-west of Anshan, the capital of Susiana (now Khuzistan), which was a rich agricultural plain with a mixed population of settled Semitic peasants and townspeople, and nomadic Elamites from the surrounding uplands and from the plateau. During the periods when Susa fell under the influence of Mesopotamia (now Iraq, to the west) the state of Elam lost all political importance. Thus the history of Elam alternates between periods of prosperity, when the Elamites of Anshan controlled Susa and the main east–west trade route, and periods of obscurity when Susa came under Mesopotamian rule and the Elamites returned to a nomadic existence. The Elamites were frequently in conflict with Mesopotamia throughout their history....

Article

Elmalı  

M. J. Mellink

Town in the district of Antalya, south-west Turkey. Elmalı is set in a fertile plain c. 1100 m above sea-level, which is dotted with ancient sites that belonged to Lycia or the Milyad in Classical times. Roads from Lycian coastal sites lead through mountains and river valleys to Elmalı, from where connections upland to Pisidia and Burdur are easy. Excavations of a site of the 3rd millennium bc and of two painted tombs of c. 500 bc were carried out by M. Mellink from 1963 onwards on behalf of Bryn Mawr College, PA. Finds are in the Archaeological Museum in Antalya; the wall paintings remain in situ. In 1986–7 two tumuli excavated by a team from Antalya Museum produced Phrygian and other grave goods of c. 700 to c. 600 bc.

At Karataş-Semayük, excavations revealed a fortified mansion of the early 3rd millennium bc and a village of megaron-shaped houses in which the extensive use of timber is noticeable. In the burial grounds individual and family burials were contained in large jars. Early art is evident in metalwork (e.g. a silver pendant in double-axe shape and a silver pin with boar’s head finial), in designs on terracotta stamp seals and in incised and applied animal figures on pottery. Red polished pottery is decorated with white painted ornament....