61-80 of 240 Results  for:

  • Ancient Near East x
Clear all

Article

Katrin Kogman-Appel

Hebrew Bible (Jerusalem, National.. Library of Israel., MS. Heb 4°790, and a single page in Toledo, El Transito Synagogue and Sephardic Museum), copied c. 1260, perhaps in Toledo by Menachem ben Abraham ibn Malikh for Isaac bar Abraham Hadad, both members of known and documented Toledan families. At some later stage further decorations were added, apparently in Burgos. The Damascus Keter is an outstanding exemplar out of approximately 120 decorated Bibles from Iberia and belongs to a group of three very similar codices from the middle of the 13th century, produced in Toledo. It thus represents a rich tradition of Jewish art flourishing between the 13th and the 15th centuries. These Bibles were used either by scholars for private study, or for biblical readings during synagogue services.

Typical of numerous Bibles from the Middle East and the Iberian Peninsula, the decoration consists of numerous carpet pages executed in Micrography and enriched by painted embellishments. This is a technique typically used in Hebrew decorated books and harks back to Middle Eastern manuscripts of the 10th century. Apart from the carpet pages, the Damascus ...

Article

Damghan  

Chahryar Adle

[Dāmghān]

Town on the road to Mashhad in northern Iran, 344 km east of Tehran. On the southern edge of the modern town are the ruins of the prehistoric site of Hissar, Tepe. Of the numerous Parthian and Sasanian sites near Damghan, the most important is Shahr-i Qumis, located 32 km to the south-west. In ad 857 Qumis was hit by a violent earthquake that destroyed the town’s system of underground irrigation channels (Pers. qanāt) and hastened its decline, to the advantage of Damghan, which received its water supply from the source of Chashma ‛Ali. The walls, bazaar and main streets of Damghan were determined before the mid-12th century. The earliest remaining Islamic monument is the Tarik-khana Mosque (9th century). Its elliptical arches and massive columns, resembling those of Sasanian palaces, show the adoption of pre-Islamic techniques for the construction of an Arab-type hypostyle mosque. The Imamzada Ja‛far complex includes one of the earliest funerary stelae in Iran; it commemorates the martyrdom (...

Article

Seton Lloyd

[Arab. Diyālá.]

Region of ancient Mesopotamia, south of modern Ba‛quba and north-east of Baghdad, Iraq. The area incorporates five major cities that flourished first during the Jemdet Nasr and Early Dynastic periods (c. 3100–c. 2340 bc) and has provided numerous examples of Sumerian architecture and sculpture. The region was also important during the Isin–Larsa period (c. 2000–c. 1760 bc).

Until the middle of the 1st millennium bc, the main stream of the Tigris River below Samarra’ followed a line some distance to the east of its present course. In Abbasid times this ancient bed formed part of the Nahrawan canal, which, together with the tributary waters of the River Diyala, created a wide basin of cultivatable land. Later, with the Nahrawan fallen into disrepair and the Diyala deflected by a weir, the whole province became a wilderness strewn with abandoned city-mounds.

There has been much excavation since ...

Article

Ebla  

Stefania Mazzoni

[Tell Mardikh.]

Ancient site in northern Syria, some 58 km south-west of Aleppo. It is set in an agricultural region between the last eastern branches of the Jabal al-Zawiya and the swampy lowlands of the Matkh and was occupied from c. 3000 bc to c. 1600 bc with intermittent later settlement until the Byzantine period. Since 1964 excavations by the University of Rome’s Italian Archaeological Mission to Syria have been directed by Paolo Matthiae. Most of the finds, including many of the items mentioned below, are in the Archaeological Museum of Idlib; smaller collections are held in the National Museums of Damascus and Aleppo.

The earliest evidence for settlement consists of locally produced stamp seals in a naturalistic style, bearing pastoral scenes that include animal and human figures, shepherds and heroic animal-tamers. They may be dated to the late Chalcolithic or Early Bronze I (c. 3000 bc). Scattered structures from throughout the first half of the 3rd millennium ...

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....

Article

Elymais  

Vesta Sarḳhosh Curtis

Name given in later antiquity (2nd century bc onwards) to an area in south-western Iran that originally probably covered the geographical region of the Bakhtiari Mountains, linking lowland and highland Iran. One route, coming from Susiana, led over the Bakhtiari Mountains through Izeh (Malamir) towards central Iran; another route, passing further south through Behbehan, led to the province of Fars.

Classical authors, rock inscriptions and the coins of Elymaian kings (see Ancient Near East §II 8.) provide information on the history of this area. Although some Elymaian kings from the 2nd century bc to the 2nd century ad are known, the exact sequence of their rule is uncertain. The Elymaians were regarded by Strabo as different from the people of Susiana. They successfully withstood attacks by the Seleucids in the first half of the 2nd century bc, briefly conquered the Greek city of Susa under the Elymaian king Kamnaskires I in ...

Article

Eridu  

Seton Lloyd

[now Tell Abu Shahrein.]

Ancient Mesopotamian city that flourished between c. 5000 and c. 2100 bc. Eridu once lay on the shore of a tidal lagoon created by the Euphrates estuary but is now a table-shaped mound remotely situated in the desert in Iraq. It was regarded by the Sumerians as their oldest city, respected as the religious centre of the god Enki (Sum.: ‘Lord Earth’) rather than as a political power.

In 1855 and 1918–19, the British archaeologists Consul J. G. Taylor and Reginald Campbell-Thompson respectively conducted unproductive excavations at Eridu. The 1946 to 1949 excavations of the Iraq Antiquities Directorate, under Fuad Safar and Seton Lloyd, were more successful, showing that the main mound covered a rectangular precinct (200×150 m) that was raised several metres above ground level and supported by a mud-brick retaining wall. At one end were the ruins of an unfinished ziggurat built by a late king of Ur (...

Article

Michael Roaf

Area in north-western Iraq that was the subject of intense archaeological investigation between 1978 and 1987 as a result of the construction of a dam across the River Tigris. In the course of the Eski Mosul (or Saddam) Dam Salvage Project, numerous sites were excavated along both sides of the River Tigris from a few kilometres upstream of the town of Eski Mosul to the Syrian border. Although the area was not agriculturally wealthy and did not contain the remains of important historical cities, much information about the art and archaeology of the region was recovered.

The earliest works of art from the Eski Mosul region come from the pre-pottery Neolithic site of Nemrik, which is dated to the 8th millennium bc. There several schematic stylized animal, bird and human sculptures have been found carved out of stone (Baghdad, Iraq Mus.).

The investigations also cast new light on the attractive painted and incised pottery styles of the first half of the 3rd millennium ...

Article

Harriet Martin

[anc. Shuruppak.]

Site of an ancient Sumerian city beside the Euphrates, in the middle of Sumer (now in Iraq). The city flourished c. 3000–c. 2000 bc, although the Babylonian King List mentions a dynasty at Shuruppak ‘before the flood’. All versions of the Babylonian flood story name Shuruppak as the home of the Babylonian ‘Noah’. Under the Ur III kings (2112–2004 bc), Shuruppak was an administrative centre with its own ensi (ruler). The city was eventually abandoned when the Euphrates changed course. Tell Fara was excavated by the Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft in 1902–3 (finds in Istanbul, Archaeol. Mus. and Berlin, Pergamonmus.) and by the University of Pennsylvania in 1931 (finds in Baghdad, Iraq Mus., and Philadelphia, U. PA, Mus.). The excavations of 1902–3 recovered little architecture but many objects, most belonging to the Early Dynastic period (c. 2900–c. 2334 bc). Altogether over 900 cuneiform tablets of Early Dynastic IIIa were excavated by both expeditions....

Article

G. Herrmann

[anc. Gur, Ardashir-Khurrah; Pers. Fīrūzābād]

Site of Sasanian city in south-west Iran, just outside the modern town of Firuzabad. It was planned by Ardashir I (reg c. ad 224–41), the founder of the Sasanian dynasty (see Sasanian); its ancient name Ardashir-Khurrah means ‘glory of Ardashir’. The walls of the city form a perfect circle, within which is a circular inner core, probably containing the public buildings, surrounded by radiating streets dividing the city into 20 sectors. The pattern continued into the countryside, resulting in an intricate web of paths with the city at its centre.

Ardashir built his fortress, Qal‛a-i Dukhtar, well away from the city, on a crag commanding the road from Shiraz to Firuzabad and thence to the Persian Gulf. The strongly fortified structure was built in the early 3rd century ad, when Ardashir was still nominally a Parthian vassal. It was constructed of rough stone and mortar and still stands to a considerable height. It is defended by a massive set of outer curtain walls and has an elaborate system of wells securing the water. It is built on three levels, a low entrance level with winding ramps, an outer courtyard surrounded by rooms serving as a barracks, and an upper terrace with an impressive set of reception rooms. These consist of a monumental iwan serving both as a reception hall and as an entrance to a large domed chamber, the dome resting on squinches above a square room. This combination of iwan and domed chamber became a standard feature of ...

Article

L. Glynne Davies

(b Amsterdam, Feb 24, 1897; d London, July 16, 1954).

Dutch archaeologist and cultural historian. After studying at the University of Amsterdam and under Flinders Petrie at University College, London, he directed the Egypt Exploration Society’s excavations at Akhenaten’s city of Amarna, (Tell) el- and elsewhere (1925–9). He was Field Director of the Iraq Expedition of the Oriental Institute of Chicago from 1929 to 1937 and conducted excavations at the Assyrian site of Khorsabad and in the Diyala region; the latter made an important contribution to knowledge of the art of the Sumerians, particularly of their architecture and of the Early Dynastic period (c. 2900–2500 bc). He held professorships at Chicago, Amsterdam and London and was Director of the Warburg Institute from 1949 to 1954. In 1954 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and he was also Corresponding Member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.

Frankfort was a scholar of immense range, insight and artistic sensibility, with an abiding concern for the interrelations of the cultures of the ancient Aegean, Egypt and Mesopotamia, and he was instrumental in defining a structure for the integrated study of early Near Eastern civilizations. It was characteristic of his approach to see artefacts as works of art that could lead to a deeper understanding of ancient cultures, rather than merely as sources of historical data: his ...

Article

Philip E. L. Smith

Early Neolithic mound in the Zagros Mountains of western Iran, occupied from c. 7500 to c. 6600 bc. Finds from Philip Smith’s excavations (1967–74), now in the Archaeological Museum, Tehran, and in Montreal, illustrate the material culture of a society in a transitional phase between hunting and gathering, and true food production based on a sedentary life (see Iran, ancient, §I, 2, (i), (b)). At this site the only controlled sources of food were barley and goats, and subsistence was still largely based on wild resources.

The earliest level had no permanent architecture and was probably a seasonal encampment. The later levels contain buildings of mud-brick and other materials; some are two-storey and are intricately subdivided into cubicles. Skulls of wild sheep were attached to the walls of some buildings, possibly for ritual purposes. A characteristic of this site is the varied and sophisticated use of clay. Soft-baked pottery occurs in small quantities, sometimes used for storage vessels. There are many baked clay animal figurines (probably representing goats, sheep and pigs in most cases) and schematic female figurines. Many hundreds of small geometric clay items also occur: cones, tetrahedrons, balls and discs. There are impressions and incisions on pottery, clay discs and bone artefacts. Personal ornaments are common, consisting of stone and bone beads, perforated shells (some from the Persian Gulf) and pendants....

Article

Joan Oates

Ancient Mesopotamian mound, north-east of modern Mosul in Iraq. The site, which was excavated by E. A. Speiser (1927, 1931–2 and 1936–7) and Charles Bache (1932–6 and 1937–8), is noted for its informative remains dating to the 4th and 5th millennia bc, including rich graves of the Uruk period and the ‘acropolis’ of late Ubaid times (see fig.). The archaeological materials are in the Iraq Museum, Baghdad, and the University Museum, Philadelphia.

The upper levels of the site (numbered I–X) have been totally excavated, providing rare evidence of settlement architecture. Levels I–IV are dated to the 2nd millennium bc, with fine examples of Nuzi and Khabur ceramic types. The preceding levels make up a chronological sequence including Ur III (level V), Sargonic (VI), Early Dynastic/Ninevite 5 (VII), Uruk, including Jemdet Nasr (VIII–XII), late Ubaid (XIII–XIX) and Halaf (XX). Material of the Halaf period was also recovered from soundings at the base of the mound. The most notable objects from the site are those from the brick or stone-built Uruk tombs (4th millennium ...

Article

Gerasa  

M. Rautmann and J. M. C. Bowsher

[anc. Antioch-on-the-Chrysorrhoas; now Jerash]

Ancient city in Jordan, set in the hills of Gilead c. 45 km north of Amman. It flourished from the 2nd century bc to the 7th century ad; the site is in the modern town of Jerash. Founded by Antiochos IV of Syria (reg 175–164 bc), Gerasa first rose to importance as Antioch-on-the-Chrysorrhoas during Hellenistic and Roman times. Its location between Pella and Philadelphia ensured its continued prosperity as one of the cities of the Decapolis in Roman Syria. Gerasa’s shift to the new province of Arabia in ad 106 sparked its greatest urban flourishing, which continued until its capture by the Persians in ad 614 and the Arabs around ad 635. Although ancient Gerasa remained occupied until the 8th century ad, it was devastated by a major earthquake c. ad 746, and later sources suggest that it was abandoned. The site was discovered in 1806 by the German traveller ...

Article

J. B. Hennessy

[Teleilat Ghassul]

Site of a Chalcolithic settlement in Jordan that flourished c. 4600–c. 3600 bc. The site is at the north-east corner of the Dead Sea, 5 km east of the River Jordan and between 290 and 300 m below sea level. The Chalcolithic culture of Palestine and Jordan was first recognized at Teleilat el-Ghassul, which remains the type site for the period. Excavations at the site were conducted by the Pontifical Biblical Institute of Rome under Mallon and Köppel (1929–38), by Robert North (1960), and by the British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem (1967) and the University of Sydney (1975–8), both under the direction of Basil Hennessy. Renewed excavations in 1994–5 by the University of Sydney were directed by S. J. Bourke. Important finds from the excavations include wall paintings, ceramics and stonework. The major collections are in the Jordan Archaeological Museum in Amman, the Rockefeller Museum and the collection of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Jerusalem, and in the Nicholson Museum of Antiquities at the University of Sydney....

Article

Robert C. Henrickson

Site near Nahavand in the Zagros Mountains in central western Iran. It was an important settlement in prehistoric times and during the Bronze Age and Iron Age (c. 5000–c. 600 bc; see Iran, ancient, §I, 2, (i), (b)–(ii)). It was excavated (1931–2) by G. Contenau and Roman Ghirshman and was the type site for the cultural sequence in the area before the excavation of Godin Tepe. Finds are divided between the Louvre, Paris, and the Archaeological Museum, Tehran. Few coherent architectural remains have been found. The earliest period, Giyan v (a–d), yielded largely unstratified Chalcolithic pottery characterized by handmade chaff-tempered buff wares, both plain (generally red-slipped) and decorated, with geometric and, occasionally, naturalistic painted designs or surface modelling. Designs on stone stamp seals (humans, animals, scorpions and geometric patterns) parallel material from Gawra, Tepe in the west; stemmed goblets and painted decoration on pottery are similar to examples from various sites including ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Chaumont, Haute-Marne, Jan 21, 1881; d Paris, July 31, 1965).

French archaeologist and art historian, active in Iran. Godard qualified as an architect at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and in 1910 became involved with the urban planning of Baghdad. At this time, he began to develop an interest in the archaeology and art of the Middle East. He visited Egypt and Syria and, in 1923, went to Afghanistan to research Buddhist remains. In 1928 he settled in Iran, where he lived until 1960, except for the years 1953–6. During his years in Iran he directed the College of Fine Arts, Tehran, and the Department of Antiquities, founded the Archaeological (Iran Bastan) Museum and drew up plans for the museums of Mashhad and Abadan. He also initiated the documentation and restoration of many ancient monuments and archaeological remains and gained access to sites previously forbidden to non-Muslims. He published many of the principal monuments of Iran in such learned journals as ...

Article

Robert C. Henrickson

Site in the Zagros mountains of central western Iran, 7 km east of Kangavar. It was occupied between c. 5000 and c. 1400 bc and between c. 700 and c. 500 bc. T. Cuyler Young’s excavations (1965–73) and his 1974 survey have provided the regional archaeological sequence for c. 5000–c. 500 bc, replacing the sequence derived from Tepe Giyan. Louis Levine excavated remains from the early periods (Godin XI–VI, c. 5000–c. 3100 bc) at the nearby site of Seh Gabi. The main excavation into the summit of the Godin Tepe ruin mound (500×300×30 m) revealed architecture and artefacts from periods VI–II. Small exposures of Period VI remains (c. 3400–c. 3100 bc) yielded bowls, beakers and jars of fine buff ware, some painted with bands of naturalistic and geometric motifs related to pottery from Tepe Sialk (Sialk III). The Godin V oval building (Late Uruk period, ...