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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 .


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 .


glass, Greek  

Katherine A. Larson

Glassmaking has traditionally not been considered a major accomplishment of Greek craft, but new research and archaeological discoveries have established Greek contributions to the history of glass. While there is no single ancient Greek term for glass, the term ὕαλος (hyalos) refers to a transparent, hard, luminous material, such as glass or rock crystal. In the 6th century bce, core-formed glass perfume and cosmetic containers began to appear throughout the Mediterranean, particularly in funerary contexts and dedicatory assemblages. Later, colourless glass, cast in moulds and sagged over forms and often decorated with gilding or cutting, appears as a major technical innovation in the late 5th to early 4th century bce. Although no workshops have been found, Rhodes and Macedonia were likely important producers of these products.The Hellenistic period saw a gradual diversification of forms, expansion of colours, and experimentation with new techniques. Always important luxury trade goods, glass drinking vessels and small objects such as beads and gaming pieces become more accessible to a wider segment of the population by the beginning of the 1st century bce, an important prelude to the spread of glassblowing under the Roman empire.


Book of Daniel  

Anathea E. Portier-Young

Extant in three main ancient editions, the book of Daniel is a Jewish text composed c. 165 bce. Major themes are divine and human sovereignty, allegiance, identity, knowledge, and eschatology. The bilingual Hebrew and Aramaic version preserved in the Masoretic Text (MT) comprises twelve chapters and is one of the earliest examples of the apocalypse literary genre. Chapters 1–6 contain court legends about four Judean captives in Babylon—Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael (renamed Belteshazzzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego)—during the reigns of four kings: Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus. Daniel excels as an interpreter of dreams and visions, yet as the four Judeans rise to positions of power, they must choose between loyalty to king and loyalty to God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are sentenced to death in a fiery furnace for refusing to worship an idol, and Daniel is thrown into a pit of lions for praying to his deity. Yet each of the four experiences divine deliverance. In chapters 7–12, Daniel recounts a series of apocalyptic visions and discourses foretelling a sequence of empires and the concomitant subjugation, suffering, resistance, and deliverance of the Judean people. The ancient Greek versions of the text, Old Greek and Proto-Theodotion, differ in various respects from MT Daniel, most notably in their inclusion of the tales of Susanna and Bel and the Dragon, the Prayer of Azariah, and the Song of the Three Youths. The book of Daniel influenced the development of Jewish and Christian eschatology, including beliefs about resurrection and judgment after death. Early Christian art and liturgy drew on the tales in Daniel to express hope of salvation. In the synoptic gospels, Jesus identifies himself with the “one like a human being” (commonly translated “son of man”; Dan. 7), implicitly identifying the kingdom he inaugurates with the kingdom of the holy ones that succeeds the four empires in Daniel’s vision.



Melissa Funke

Phryne, a Boeotian hetaira, was active in Athens in the mid-to-late 4th century bce. Said to have been born in Thespiae (Ath. 13.591c) and originally named Mnesarete, she took the name Phryne from a nickname given due to her sallow complexion (Plut. De Pyth. or. 401b). Along with several other famous hetairai of the time, she is mentioned in several comedies produced at Athens during her lifetime (Anaxilas Nottis fr. 22; Timocles Orestautocleides fr. 27, and Neaira fr. 25). Narratives about her life associating her with prominent artists and philosophers from 4th-century Athens first became popular in Hellenistic collections of anecdotes influenced by Middle and New Comedy and then featured prominently in Imperial Greek literature. While most scholars acknowledge that Phryne was a real woman living in 4th-century Athens, the majority of the sources on her are Hellenistic and Imperial Greek, casting doubt on the historicity of the biographical details they preserve.


Alexander Jannaeus  

Katell Berthelot

Alexander Jannaeus was a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, a priestly family that ruled Judea from 152 to 63 bce. He became high priest and king in 104/3 bce and waged numerous wars that were both defensive and meant to enlarge Judea’s borders. It was under his rule that Judea’s territory reached its maximum extension. Yet both Josephus’s works and rabbinic writings convey a rather negative record of his rule, mainly because of the violent suppression of his Judean opponents. He ruled for roughly twenty-eight years (from 104 to 76 bce) and left his kingdom to his wife, Salome Alexandra, who became the first Judean queen.Alexander Jannaeus was a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, a priestly family that ruled Judea from 152 to 63bce—from 63 to 37bce they remained in charge to some extent, but under Roman supervision.1 Jannaeus was the son of John Hyrcanus.


Ptolemy III Euergetes (“Benefactor”) I, king of Egypt, early 246 to 221 BCE  

Stanley Burstein

Ptolemy III Euergetes (“Benefactor”) I, king of Egypt, early 246–February 221 bce. Born mid‑280s bce, the son of Ptolemy II and Arsinoë I, daughter of Lysimachus, married Berenice II, thereby reuniting Cyrene and Egypt. Two crises determined the course of his reign: the Third Syrian War (246–241 bce) and the first Egyptian uprising (c. 245 bce) and the accompanying famine. Initially having been begun in 246 bce in support of Ptolemy’s sister Berenice, widow of Antiochus II Theos, the Third Syrian War resulted in extensive territorial gains in Anatolia and Thrace, which Ptolemy strove to retain throughout the remainder of his reign. Almost simultaneously, the Egyptian uprising and famine that occurred c. 245–244 bce led to significant innovations in the internal governance of Egypt and relations between the government and the Egyptian priesthood, which was now required to meet annually in synods but also received important benefits, most notably an extensive temple-building program which included construction of the Serapeum at Alexandria and the temple of Horus at Edfu.


John Hyrcanus  

Katell Berthelot

John Hyrcanus was a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, a priestly family that ruled Judea from 152 to 63 bce. He became high priest in 135 bce and succeeded, after Antiochus VII Sidete’s death, in establishing an independent Judean state thanks to the growing dissensions among the members of the Seleucid dynasty. In the last years of his rule, between 111 and 105 bce, he enlarged Judea’s borders through a series of military campaigns in Idumea, Samaria, and the Transjordan area. He destroyed the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim and imposed Jewish laws and circumcision upon the Idumeans. Josephus’s work and rabbinic writings convey a generally positive record of his rule.John Hyrcanus was a member of the Hasmonean dynasty, a priestly family that ruled Judea from 152 to 63bce—from 63 to 37bce they remained in charge to some extent, but under Roman supervision.1 John Hyrcanus was the son of Simon, the nephew of Judas Maccabeus, and the grandson of Mattathias, who started the “Maccabean revolt” against the Seleucid king .



Anna Tiziana Drago

The collection of fifty fictitious love letters (epistulae amatoriae) subdivided into two books contained in a single Greek manuscript (codex unicus) copied in the south of Italy around 1200 ce and now housed in Vienna (V = Cod. Vindobonensis phil. Graec. 310) has had a curious history. This manuscript identifies its epistolographer as a certain Aristaenetus, but in fact the author’s name is as uncertain as his birthplace and the dates of his career. The corpus might have been composed between the end of the 5th and the beginning of the 6th centuries ce, and its author could be an epistolographer belonging to the literary humanist circles formed in the imperial atmosphere of Constantinople under Justinian I (including Procopius, Agathias, and Paulus Silentiarius). The letters are written from a variety of senders to diverse addressees, including historical or literary figures (often professional epistolographers: Alciphron, Aelian, Philostratus, but also Lucian, Stesichorus, Eratosthenes, Archilochus, and Terpander). Aristaenetus’ epistolary collection has a dominant thematic nucleus: the description, conquest, and defence of love. This thematic nucleus gathers around itself conventional amatory topics: the flame of love; love at first sight; servitium amoris (“love slavery”); love-sickness; the erōtodidaskalos (teacher of love); the paraclausithyron (lover’s lament by a locked door).



John Weisweiler

The just distribution of social goods was fiercely debated in the ancient Mediterranean and the ideologies of egalitarianism and inegalitarianism developed in Rome and Athens shaped Euro-American political thought from the Enlightenment onward. By contrast, the study of actual income and wealth distributions in ancient societies is a more recent development. Only in the early 21st century have scholars begun to make systematic attempts to quantify levels of inequality in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. Since we lack the documentary sources on which the study of inequality in contemporary economies is based, most of these reconstructions rely on a combination of modelling and the interpretation of isolated figures found in literary texts. This fragmentary evidence suggests that in the best-attested regions of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East inequality was considerable. In particular, the formation of large territorial states—most notably the empires of Babylon, Persia, and Rome—facilitated the concentration of wealth into fewer hands. But it is unclear whether inequality increased over time. At least, there is no unambiguous evidence that wealth and income were more unequally distributed in late antiquity than in earlier periods of Roman history.