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eschatology, Jewish  

Martha Himmelfarb

During the Hellenistic period Jewish texts began to discuss new ideas about the fate of the individual after death, including the immortality of the soul, bodily resurrection, and post-mortem reward and punishment. At about the same time Jews also developed a picture of history as leading to the end of the world as we know it, to be followed by an age of peace, prosperity, and sovereignty for the people of Israel. Both developments played an important role in the emergence of Christianity.The term eschatology is a modern coinage, derived from the Greek eschatos, “last,” which figures prominently in early Christian discussion of the end of days. The term usually refers to beliefs about the end of the world, but scholars also use it for beliefs about life after death, the end of the individual. The two types of eschatology can be distinguished by labelling the former “collective eschatology” and the latter, “individual eschatology.”.

Article

graffiti  

Jacqueline DiBiasie-Sammons

Graffiti are informal, unofficial writings or drawings on surfaces not first produced for writing purposes, such as walls, pavement stones, rocks, and ceramics. Graffiti elucidate a great deal about life in the ancient world including topics such as social history, literacy, linguistic variation, sexuality, religious practices, and the use of space in ancient cities. These texts were composed in a variety of media: typically, they were scratched into the physical support, but paint, charcoal, and chalk were used as well. Graffiti have been found in many cities of the Greco-Roman world and in a variety of spaces including houses, tombs, religious spaces, and public areas. Since the texts were often inscribed or written on delicate surfaces such as wall plaster, only a small portion of the thousands that were once inscribed survive to the present.Graffiti (singular graffito) are informal, unofficial writings or drawings on surfaces not first produced for writing purposes, such as walls, pavement stones, rocks, and ceramics. A narrow definition of the word from its Italian root meaning “to scratch” only includes texts or drawings scratched into a hard surface such as plaster, stone, or marble. Because informal writings made with materials such as charcoal and chalk served the same purposes and were written in the same locations, and, in some instances, by the same authors as their inscribed counterparts, they are also included in the genre. The term graffiti, now used in English for writing of this sort from any era, was coined by .

Article

Greco-Roman architecture, reception of  

Elizabeth R. Macaulay

Since antiquity Greek and Roman architecture has been subject to diverse and complex receptions. Architectural forms have experienced different and wide-scale transformations across space and time, both in antiquity and in postantique contexts. These adapted forms have emerged because of the complex interactions between building traditions and contemporary needs.

At a fundamental level, architecture must be functional. It must work for the purpose for which it was designed, be it a temple, law court, or residence. Vitruvius endorses this view in De Architectura (I.2.5), the only surviving architectural treatise from Greco-Roman antiquity. At the same time, architecture has a unique ability to concretise ideas. Not only were there political, religious, economic, social, and ideological concepts associated with specific types of ancient buildings, but the architectural forms of the classical world have had a powerful range of resonances that postantique architects, patrons, and regimes have been only too keen to exploit. Classical architectural forms come with a lot of baggage.

Article

ordo matronarum  

Lewis Webb

The ordo matronarum (order of married women) was a corporate body of married women (matronae) in Rome, attested for the Republic and Principate. Its exact composition is uncertain, but accounts of its activities in the Republic suggest its members included wealthy, high-status married women and widows. Criteria for membership probably included a marriage, substantial wealth, and high status: this was an exclusive ordo. It was thus analogous to the ordo equester.The ordo matronarum may have existed already by the 3rd century bce, given the evidence of Plautus and Livy. By 42 bce, the ordo included perhaps 1,400 wealthy married women, as attested by Valerius Maximus and Appian. The evidence from Seneca and Suetonius indicates it persisted in some form into the Principate.Matronae were distinguished by privileges and status symbols (vehicles, mobility privileges, funerary orations, jewellery, dress): they had a visible, corporate identity. The ordo matronarum was feasibly one of the primary structures behind the collective actions of married women attested in the Republic and the Principate, facilitating meetings, collections, benefactions, lobbies, mourning, religious activity, and more. Epigraphic evidence of matronal dedications, benefactions, mourning, and corporate bodies from Italy from the 3rd century bce to the 3rd century ce offers corroborating support for the existence of the ordo matronarum.

Article

Arbela  

John MacGinnis and David Michelmore

The history of Arbela (cuneiform Urbilum/Urbel/Arbail, modern Erbil) is documented in archaeological and textual sources. From the point when it first entered history in the middle of the 3rd millennium, the city’s fortunes alternated between periods of independence and incorporation within the super-regional states of Mesopotamia, including the Ur III kingdom and, more briefly, the Upper Mesopotamian empire of Shamshi-Adad I. In the later 2nd millennium the city was incorporated within the Assyrian Empire, rising to become a regional capital of major importance. Following the fall of Assyria, the city was incorporated within the Achaemenid, Seleucid, Arsacid, and Sasanian empires. A period of independence as an emirate in the early mediaeval period was a golden age. This came to an end with the city’s submission to the Mongols, after which it came under the control of the Black Sheep and White Sheep Turcomans and the Safavid and Ottoman empires.Arbela—modern Erbil—is a city in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq with a documented history going back more than four thousand years. It is situated in the trans-Tigris region at the interface of the Zagros Mountains and the fertile plains of .

Article

Dionysius of Byzantium  

Daniel Hanigan

Dionysius of Byzantium is the author of the Anaplous of the Bosporus. This is a geographical text that uses the literary form of the periplous to narrate a hypothetical tour up and down the European and Asiatic shores of the Thracian Bosporus. He is also remembered by ancient biographers as an epic poet responsible for a work of hexametrical verse entitled On Laments. No other evidence of this poem has survived.Dionysius lived and wrote at some point in the early 2nd century ce. Little else is known about his life and career. The single biographical testimonium is a short entry in the Suda (Δ 1176): Διονύσιος, Βυζάντιος, ἐποποιός. Περιήγησιν τοῦ ἐν τῷ Βοσπόρῳ ἀνάπλου, Περί θρήνωνἒστι δε ποίημα μεστόν ἐπικηδείων (“Dionysius, a Byzantine, an epic poet, [wrote] a periegetical work concerning a tour through the Bosporus and a work entitled On Laments, which is a poem full of dirges”). The identification of Dionysius as a native of .

Article

Dionysius Periegetes  

J. L. Lightfoot

Dionysius Periegetes is the Alexandrian author of a poem in 1,186 hexameters entitled “Periegesis of the Known World” (Οἰκουμένης Περιήγησις). Answering to Aratus’s Phaenomena as a specimen of cosmographically themed didactic epic, and conceived on a similar scale (Aratus’s poem has 1,154 lines), it describes the approximate layout of the seas and landmasses as they were understood at the time of the poem’s composition during the reign of Hadrian. It is the only work on its subject to survive in hexameters. In light of the loss of geographical poems by “Alexander” (presumably of Ephesus) and Varro of Atax, its closest relatives are the partially preserved iambic poems by ps.-Scymnus and Dionysius son of Calliphon. But the poet’s scrupulous metre and sophisticated use of allusion constructs a lineage across archaic, classical, and Hellenistic poets to place him among the most refined writers of the Second Sophistic movement. The packaging of dense informational content with user-friendly readability and adept poetics proved a winning combination, and Dionysius’s poem remained on school syllabuses for a good millennium and a half after its composition.

Article

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.

Article

Nabonidus, King of Babylon  

Frauke Weiershäuser

Nabonidus was the last native king of Babylon and ruled the Neo-Babylonian empire from 555 to 539 bce. Up to the early 21st century, the evaluation of his reign is influenced by the negative propaganda initiated by his conqueror and successor, the Persian king Cyrus II, who portrayed him as unfaithful to Babylon’s main deity Marduk and devotee to the moon-god Sin. Actually, Nabonidus can be described as an energetic and successful ruler and military leader, as well as an active sponsor of construction work all over Babylonia. His decision to spend ten years in northern Arabia was exceptional but did not affect his rule adversely. His reign finally ended because his opponent was a brilliant strategist and military leader and not because of massive discontent or even rebellion of his own people.Nabonidus1 (Akkadian Nabû-na’id “(the god) Nabû is praised”), the last king of the Neo-Babylonian empire, which existed from .

Article

Nebuchadnezzar II  

Frauke Weiershäuser

Nebuchadnezzar II was one of the most famous Babylonian kings and the most prominent ruler of the Neo-Babylonian period. After inheriting the throne from his father Nabopolassar, he successfully ruled Babylonia for more than forty years. During this time, he secured and enlarged the empire that his father had founded, strengthened Babylonian military dominance in the Levant against Egypt, claimed supremacy over Judah by conquering its capital, Jerusalem, twice and exiled the upper stratum of Judah’s population in Babylonia. According to extant sources, the main focus of Nebuchadnezzar’s politics was in the Syro-Palestine area; little is known about his policies towards his eastern neighbour Media. In Babylonia, Nebuchadnezzar sponsored large-scale construction work all over the country, but he paid special attention to his capital, Babylon, which he transformed into the most splendid and world-famous megacity, a metropolis that was praised centuries later and is still the basis for the modern image of Babylon.