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Michael B. Charles

Elephants were widely used in the Mediterranean World and Middle East for military purposes. The Mediterranean world first encountered them during Alexander the Great’s conquest of Achaemenid Persia, but the first major battle between a Mediterranean power and elephants occurred at the Hydaspes (326 ce) during Alexander’s Indian campaign. Thereafter, the Successor kingdoms sought to maintain elephant corps. When Ptolemaic Egypt was cut off from supplies of Indian elephants, it had to look south. The nearby civilization of Meroë had an interest in elephants, although it is unknown whether they used them militarily. Like the Ptolemies, the Carthaginians and Numidians also trained African elephants for war. Although Rome first encountered the Indian elephants of Pyrrhus, it had to contend with the African elephants of Carthage in the First and Second Punic Wars. Having beaten elephants in several battles, and recognizing that elephants were often a danger to their own side, Rome showed little interest in the elephant other than for display and games. This, together with their appetite for ivory, resulted in the extinction of elephants in northern Africa. African elephants were last used for military purposes by the kingdom of Aksum, although it is uncertain whether this use was commonplace. In contrast, the final user of Indian elephants in classical antiquity was Sasanid Persia, which used them against Rome in various wars, most notably during the 4th century ce.



Amélie Kuhrt

Greek term for western part of ancient *Elam, i.e. mod. Khuzistan in SW Iran. The main city is *Susa, lying in a well-irrigated plain, hence another term (broadly) for the region is ‘Susiana’. Elymais/Susiana constituted an important administrative and economic region under the *Achaemenids and *Seleucids, although it is possible that central control of the mountainous territory beyond the Susa plain was never tight. In the mid-2nd cent. bce, local dynasts claimed a measure of autonomy, declared by their issue of coins; throughout the *Parthian period, they exercised some authority. Some of their names show that, despite the marked Hellenization (see hellenism) of Susa, elements of Elamite culture survived, as is further attested by features of the local religion (Nannaia). The art of Arsacid Elymais has links with that of *Hatra. Elymais' autonomy came to an end under the first *Sasanid rulers.



J. F. Healey

Emesa, on the Syrian *Orontes (mod. Ḥomṣ), was the centre of an Arab kingdom. King Sampsigeramus I in the 1st cent. bce, having failed to gain control of former Seleucid territories, became a Roman ally. In the early 1st cent. ce Sampsigeramus II and Azizus continued this policy, though for the end of the century the history of Emesa is obscure. At the end of the 2nd cent. ce it re-emerged as the native city of *Iulia Domna, *Iulia Avita Mammaea, *Elagabalus, and *Severus Alexander. It was famed for the temple of its sun-god, *Elagabalus, worshipped in the form of a large black stone.


Epic of Erra  

Frauke Weiershäuser

The “Epic of Erra” is a major Babylonian literary composition, dating from the first half of the 1st millennium bce. The text describes the horrors of war, caused by the god Erra running amok, in an unusually rich imagery of destruction, unrest, and misery. It is a very dynamic composition with a high proportion of dialogues that push the plot forward. Erra’s furious heart is eventually pacified, and peace then returns to Babylonia.

The Babylonian literary text known as “Epic of Erra” is sometimes also called “Song of Erra” or “Erra and Ishum.”1

The composition tells the story of Erra, the god of war and pestilence, who, instigated by his seven divine weapons (the Sebetti), decides to wreak havoc in Babylonia. He leaves his temple in the city of Cutha and travels to Babylon, where he convinces the city’s tutelary deity (the god Marduk) to leave his divine throne and take his insignia to be cleaned and repaired. Erra volunteers to take care of Babylon during Marduk’s absence. With this trickery and Marduk leaving his divine abode, Erra should have had immediate free rein to execute his plans of bringing about war and destruction to Babylonia. However, it takes some time for Erra to initiate his destructive work. First, the gods try to negotiate the issue in their divine assembly and to convince Erra to abandon his plans. Unfortunately, this part of the composition is still very fragmentarily preserved, but the extant parts of the text seem to indicate that Marduk returns and takes part in the discussions in the divine assembly. Erra’s rage and hunger for war increases, and finally, he is able to start his ravage because even with Marduk's return, the cosmic order is still too unstable to stop Erra in his rage.



Philippa M. Steele

Eteocypriot (or Eteocyprian) is a modern term referring to a group of inscriptions written in an unknown language of Iron Age Cyprus (attested 8th–4th centuriesbce). The name was coined by analogy with the ancient term “Eteocretan” on the common assumption that Eteocypriot had survived from the Cypriot Bronze Age (perhaps related to a language written in the undeciphered Cypro-Minoan script); this is still often considered the preferred hypothesis, in the absence of any linguistic features that would point towards a relationship with known Indo-European, Semitic, or other languages. Eteocypriot was written in the deciphered (Classical) Cypriot Syllabic script (see pre-alphabetic scripts, Greek), which was predominantly used to write the Cypriot Greek dialect.In the inscriptions, several features belonging to a single language are well established, including a patronymic formula of uncertain morphological status (-o-ko-o-), a set of nominal endings (most famously, o-ti), the meanings of one or two lexemes (e.g., ke-ra-ke-re-tu-lo-se, probably “well-born” or similar) and a few phonological features.



Robert G. Morkot

Ethiopia was a name usually applied by the Greeks to any region in the far south (but north of the equator). Perhaps originally designating radiance reflected by dwellers in the east from the morning star, it soon came to mean the land of the ‘Burnt-faced People’. An ethnic connotation is found already in *Homer (Od. 1. 22 etc. ), and as geographical knowledge increased a distinction was made between western and eastern Ethiopians. Early Greek interest in Ethiopia was largely concerned with the source of the *Nile. Ethiopia was favoured by the gods, and hence has an important place in utopian literature. From Herodotus onwards Ethiopia designated especially the lands south of Egypt comprising most of the modern states of Sudan and Ethiopia, the ancient Kush, *Meroe, and Aksum. Ethiopians formed contingents in the Persian army during *Xerxes' invasion of Greece (Hdt. 7. 70) and Greeks visited Ethiopia from the 6th cent. bce onwards.


Eumenes (1) I, d. 241 BCE  

R. M. Errington

Ruler of *Pergamum, nephew and successor of *Philetaerus (2) (263). Eumenes extended Pergamene control in Mysia and Aeolis and defeated *Antiochus (1) I near Sardis (262). Although he paid protection money to the *Galatians he maintained a mercenary army, garrisoning i.a. the forts Philetaireia and Attaleia and controlling the port cities Elaia and Pitane. Pergamum enjoyed a constitution of democratic structure, though Eumenes, who as dynast stood outside the constitution, appointed the stratēgoi (chief magistrates) and so controlled the finances.


Eumenes (2) II, d. 158 BCE  

R. M. Errington

Eumenes (2) II (d. 158 bce), king of *Pergamum (197–158), eldest son and successor of *Attalus I. Characteristic is the family solidarity of Eumenes, his mother Apollonis, and his three brothers, which gave unusual inner strength to the dynasty. Eumenes, immediately threatened by *Antiochus (3) III, was Rome's major ally in the war against him, culminating in the battle of *Magnesia (189), and he made the greatest gains from the ensuing Peace of Apamea (188) which divided Seleucid territory north of the Taurus between Pergamum and *Rhodes. Pergamum became immediately rich but also a guarantor of stability in the Roman interest. A new coinage, the cistophori (‘basket-bearers’), introduced sometime after 188, marked Pergamum's new economic role. Roman support did not mean peace: wars with *Prusias (1) I of Bithynia (187–183) and *Pharnaces I of Pontus (183–179) were ended by Roman intervention.


eunuchs, religious  

Richard Gordon

In the Classical period, religious eunuchs are a feature of several Anatolian cults of female deities, extending across to Scythia (Hdt. 4. 67: not shamans) and to the southern foothills of the Taurus mountains, but independent of Babylonian and Phoenician (Euseb. Vit. Const. 3. 55. 2 f.) practices (see anatolian deities). As a whole the institution created a class of pure servants of a god (Matt. 19: 12). Its significance derives from a double contrast, with the involuntary castration of children for court use and the normal obligation to marry. The adult self-castrate expressed in his body both world-rejection and -superiority.Two forms may be distinguished. (1) A senior, or even high, priest in a temple, e.g. the eunuchs of *Hecate at Lagina in *Caria (Sokolowski, LSAM no. 69. 19, etc.); the Megabyz(x)us of *Artemis at *Ephesus (Strabo 14. 1. 23; Vett. Val., 2. 21. 47); the *Attis and Battaces, the high priests of Cybele at *Pessinus.



Margaret Stephana Drower, Eric William Gray, and Josef Wiesehöfer

The longest river of western Asia, and the more westerly of the Two Rivers of *Mesopotamia. Originating in the Armenian highlands from its two headstreams Kara Su (Pyxurates) and Murad Su (Arsanias), which join above Melitene (Malatya), it flows south-west to the Taurus, then south-east. In the alluvial plain of Babylonia it was connected, in antiquity, with the *Tigris by numerous navigation and irrigation canals. In classical times it was crossed by a number of bridges, for instance at *Zeugma and *Babylon. It served as a political boundary between Armenia and Cappadocia, Sophene and Commagene, and Upper Mesopotamia and Syria (Strabo 16. 746–9; Plin. HN 5. 83; Ptol. Geog. 5. 12). The Parthian empire reached the permanent limit of its expansion westwards at the Euphrates in 53 bce. After the Romans in ce 66 recognized the rule of an Arsacid king over Armenia they began the construction of a military *limes along the upper and middle course of the river; forts along its right bank guarded for more than 500 years the imperial frontier against first the Parthian, later the Sasanid kings.


Evagoras, c. 435–374/373 BCE  

Donald Ernest Wilson Wormell and Simon Hornblower

Evagoras (Εὐαγόρας, c. 435–374/3 bce), an interesting and important figure in Greek, Persian, and Cypriot history. He was a member of the Teucrid house (cf. Tod 194), the traditional rulers of *Salamis (2). Exiled during his youth, which fell in a period of Phoenician domination, he gathered some 50 followers at Soli in Cilicia, and with their help established himself as ruler of Salamis in 411. His subsequent policy aimed at strengthening *Hellenism in *Cyprus by co-operation with Athens (which honoured him c.407, perhaps for shipping corn there); and his court became a centre for Athenian émigrés, of whom *Conon (1) was the most distinguished. A clash with Persia was ultimately inevitable, but in his early years he was not out of line with Persia, and he postponed the confrontation by assisting in the revival of Persian sea-power culminating in the triumph of *Cnidus (394, see athens (history)).



Walter Eric Harold Cockle

A natural depression in west-central Egypt in whose centre is the Birket Qārūn, remnant of Lake *Moeris, fed by the Bahr Yusuf. Far more extensive in Herodotus' day, Ptolemy II instigated its drainage. The area formed the Arsinoite (ex-Crocodilopolite) nome (see arsinoë (1); nomos (1)), divided into the merides (‘sectors’) of Heraclides, Themistus, and Polemon.


Fratarakā, Sub-Seleucid Dynasty in Persis  

Josef Wiesehöfer

Shortly after his reconquest of Babylonia in 312bce, Seleucus, a former general of Alexander the Great, was able to conquer the Achaemenid heartland of Persis (Fars), and in the second half of the 2nd centurybce, it was the Arsacids who put themselves in possession of this prestigious region. Shortly before, Fars had been allowed to enjoy a brief period of independence, when the Seleucid empire, at least after Antiochus III’s heavy defeat by Rome, had shown clear signs of an internal and external crisis. Scholars have openly discussed the date and duration of Persid independence, and even sometimes denied the existence of conflicts between Seleucids and Persid dynasts (Fratarakā; cf. Engels). In these debates, the dating and interpretation of the coins of sub-Seleucid dynasts and independent rulers of Fars are decisive, but this procedure should not be tackled without taking into due and independent consideration the existing archaeological, epigraphic, and literary evidence.



Simon J. Keay

Gades (Phoenician Gadir; now Cádiz), north-west of Gibraltar. The traditional foundation by *Phoenicians of *Tyrec.1100 bce is lowered by archaeologists to the 8th cent. bce. The port lay on the island of Erytheia. The sanctuaries to Baal Hammon and Heracles-Melqart and the cemetery lay on Cotinussa island immediately to the south. A third island (Antipolis) lay to the east. Gadir originally traded for metals with *Tartessus. It issued coins with Phoenician lettering down to the early 1st cent. bce. It had been *Hamilcar (2) Barca's first Spanish base and, after going over to Rome in 206 bce, enjoyed favoured status. After various acts of patronage *Caesar granted municipal status (see municipium) to Gades after 49 bce (Urbs Iulia Gaditana), reaffirmed by *Augustus. Construction of Roman Gades (Didyma) on Cotinussa was begun by 46 bce, aided by the patronage of the Cornelii Balbi. (See cornelius balbus (1–2), l.



Romila Thapar

Gandhara was the name of the region around Peshawar and included the Swat valley with its capital at Taxila (Takshashila; see taxiles). References to it are made in early Indian texts, in Achaemenid inscriptions where it is listed as a satrapy, in accounts of *Alexander (3) the Great's campaign, and later in Chinese sources. Its central location in relation to Indo-Bactrian trade and its access to central and western Asia made it economically prosperous. Sculpture at Buddhist monastic sites, reflecting north Indian, Bactrian, Parthian, and Roman features has come to be referred to as the Gandhara style. See bactria.



John F. Lazenby

Gaugamela, village in Iraq (now Tell Gomel?), scene of *Alexander (3) the Great's decisive victory over *Darius III of Persia in 331 bce. The battle appears to have opened with a Persian attempt to outflank Alexander's right, which was defeated, while a charge of scythed chariots in the centre was also routed by Macedonian light troops. Then Alexander led his Companions (see hetairoi), and the right and centre of his *phalanx, to attack a developing gap in the centre of the Persian line, whereupon Darius fled with Alexander in pursuit. Meanwhile, a force of Persian cavalry may have exploited a gap in the centre of the Greek line to attack their camp, and although it was driven off by allied Greek infantry, the Macedonian left also came under extreme pressure. However, this attack, too, was eventually contained, and turned into a rout on news of the flight of the rest of the Persian army.



Eric William Gray, Jean-François Salles, and J. F. Healey

Gaza, an ancient city of the Philistines and one-time stronghold of the pharaohs (late bronze age). Located in a fertile region and in a key position on the via maris, the route from Egypt to Asia, it was the Mediterranean outlet of the Arabian *trade. For long an ally of the Assyrians, it was later a Babylonian, then a Persian, garrison town. In the Persian period its ‘Philisto-Arab’ coins were based on the Attic standard and reflect connections with Greece, although its main economic links remained with *Arabia and the Minaeans of the south. In 448 bce Herodotus considered the city as one of the largest *markets in the east (3. 5); its wealth came from Nabataean trade. Stormed by *Alexander (3) the Great after a lengthy siege in 332 bce, it became an important city of the Ptolemies (see ptolemy (1)) until 198 bce, when *Antiochus III made it Seleucid.



J. F. Healey

Gerasa, Antioch-on-the-Chrysorhoas and modern Jerash in Jordan, was probably a Seleucid foundation under *Antiochus (4) IV. Captured by Alexander Jannaeus (103–76 bce, see hasmonaeans), it remained in Jewish hands until in 63 bce it became part of Roman *Syria and of the Decapolis. Its prosperity, dependent on caravan trade, increased later when Trajan annexed Nabataea (see arabia). Gerasa, having become part of the Arabian province, enjoyed a ‘golden age’ under the Antonines. In the 3rd cent. ce the city and its trade declined until a revival under *Justinian; then followed capture by Persians (614; see sasanids) and Arabs (635). Extensive ruins survive: triumphal arch, colonnaded street and forum, temples of *Zeus (built 22–43 ce) and *Artemis (c.150 ce), theatres, and several Christian churches (5th/6th cents.).



Daniel Potts

A city in what is today NE Saudi Arabia, possibly Thaj or Hofuf. The name may derive from †han-Hagar, in the local Hasaitic dialect attested epigraphically in the region, via Aramaic Hagarā (W. W. Müller in von Wissmann, 29 n. 21a). *Nicander speaks of the ‘nomads of Gerrha’ (Alex. 244), but *Aristobulus (1), *Eratosthenes (Strabo 16. 3. 3), *Agatharchides, and *Pliny (1) (HN 6. 32. 147) concentrate on their role as merchants in Arabian aromatics (see spices). In 205 bce*Antiochus (3) III visited Gerrha and was given large quantities of silver, frankincense, and stacte for not interfering with the Gerrhaeans ‘perpetual peace and freedom’ (Polyb. 13. 9. 4–5). See arabia.



David John Blackman and Stephen Mitchell

Gordium (mod. Yassıhüyük), capital of ancient *Phrygia, situated at the point where the river *Sangarius is crossed by the main route westward from the Anatolian plateau to the sea (the Persian ‘Royal Road’). The site was occupied in the early bronze age and the Hittite period, and Phrygian settlement probably began in the 10th cent. bce. Gordium became the main Phrygian centre in the 8th cent., at the end of which it reached its greatest prosperity under King *Midas (2). The site had massive fortifications and impressive palace buildings, and many richly furnished tumuli were built around it in the 8th to 6th cents., including one which has been identified as the tomb of Midas himself. Gordium was destroyed by the invading *Cimmerians in the early 7th cent. but recovered, only to lose importance under Persian domination. It was visited by *Alexander (3) the Great (333), who cut the famous ‘Gordian Knot’.