The first part of this article deals with abbreviations found in Greek documentary papyri and ostraca. The documents in which abbreviation is rife are predominantly those produced on a massive scale and bound to repeat the same words, such as tax accounts and receipts. The most common method of abbreviation is by suspension. to omit one or more of the final letters of a word. Most symbols stem from abbreviations by suspension; these may become reduced to monograms whose original constituents are sometimes no longer discernible. This is the case with most symbols that represent weights and measures, as well as, in the later period, money, which naturally occurred very frequently. In the early days of papyrology, Verschleifungen were given the status of a particular subgroup of abbreviations. This practice is predominantly found with the names and titles of emperors and the names of months in date clauses.
Robert K. Englund
This article examines the accounting methods in proto-cuneiform during the archaic period. It discusses the importance of archaic numerical and metrological systems as elements of social control and explains the use of accounting method in writing by providing examples drawn from grain administration archives. The proto-cuneiform administrative documentation can be divided into the two major bookkeeping types known from later periods in Babylonia, namely into primary and secondary documents.
This article focuses on cuneiform and scribal education in Anatolia. It attempts to trace some of the developments in the corpus of knowledge and training when it let the confines of its initial area of relevance and was received in Anatolia by the Hittites and to draw inferences about the semiotic and sociological context of the wholesale import of a large-scale technocratic apparatus from one culture into another. It discusses the institutional and social context of scribal education in Old Babylonian Mesopotamia and suggests that class composition among the Anatolian elite was not necessarily the same as that in Mesopotamia.
This article presents a survey of research in farming and agriculture. It discusses the extent the economy was open that involved export and import. It then demonstrates how the local agriculture was adapted into the structure of the economy, and assesses the impact of the agrarian structure on agricultural variety. It also studies the influence Jewish religion might have had on agricultural practices in Roman Palestine. Finally, the article considers how different the agrarian economy of Roman Palestine was from the surrounding provinces.
This article examines the role of farmers and sages in the history of cuneiform writing in ancient Mesopotamia. It explains that when cuneiform writing was invented at the end of the fourth millennium
William A. Johnson
From the beginnings of Greek written literature until deep into the Roman era, a “book” was fashioned by taking a premanufactured papyrus roll, writing out the text, attaching additional fresh rolls as the length of text required, and, when finished, cutting off the blank remainder. This article notes that literary texts were produced, in general, with strict attention. It describes what constituted the ancient book. Books on papyrus in the form of rolls (bookrolls) were the norm from the beginnings through the early Roman era. Over the course of the second to the fourth centuries
This article tries to illustrate an idea of the range of extant ancient textual sources for engineering and technology. It also presents a broad outline of how the production of texts dealing specifically with technical matters changed in the course of antiquity. In order to combine the two aims, it proceeds chronologically, focusing on two or three examples from each period, chosen to represent both different types of textual evidence and the technological practice of the period in question. The status of technology in classical Athens is first discussed. Additionally, the technical texts from Hellenistic kingdoms are described. It is stated that the technical texts from the Roman Empire have to be seen not only as providing information, but also as constructing a certain way of knowledge, and a certain identity for their authors. The technical texts from antiquity are then addressed.
Donald G. Kyle
Animal events, shows and hunts of beasts (venationes), were prominent, popular, and enduring Roman entertainments. Modern debates concerning ecology and animals have increased interest, and more works are focusing on the significance of beast shows for Roman culture and society. Historically, Rome’s beast events combined native and foreign traditions as Roman power spread abroad. Displays of exotic beasts, often in triumphs, were expanded into combats against hunters (venatores). Under the empire even more elaborate beast spectacles were housed in the Colosseum. Related in origin to hunting, Rome’s public abuse of beasts was not unique but it became distinctive in terms of scale, geographical scope, and stagecraft. Animal events remained highly significant for the empire as a territorial dominion, for the emperor as protector and patron, and for the citizens and culture of Rome as empowered and privileged).
Archaeozoological research provides impressive, long-neglected evidence for the technical sophistication and productivity of Greco-Roman animal husbandry. A case can be made that the classical and Hellenistic Greeks should be credited for many of the critical innovations in animal husbandry, game-farming, and both fishing and fish-farming. The Greeks and Romans also developed sophisticated new techniques to improve the capture, farming, or fattening of a large range of game, wild birds, and fish. The innovations in Greco-Roman animal husbandry can be broken down into four main areas: breeding, nutrition, housing, and health and veterinary care. Moreover, the economic function of ancient hunting as a source of meat and secondary products is covered. The Greeks and Romans put considerable effort into enhancing and even managing their fish stocks. It is noted that shellfish figured prominently in the Greco-Roman diet.
Animals of all types, be these domestic or wild, native or exotic, were routinely required for spectacles and events in the Graeco-Roman world, most notably, perhaps, in the context of the amphitheatre games of Roman antiquity. Behind such events, however, lay networks involved in the capture, transport, and supply of these animals. The integration of ancient textual, iconographical, and archaeological (including zooarchaeological) evidence provides the requisite data to investigate these aspects. Available ancient textual and artistic evidence suggest that soldiers and professional hunters, assisted by civilians and natives as required or demanded, undertook many of these tasks. Guilds or professional organizations of wild beast hunters and merchants provided further administrative, technical, financial, and transport assistance. Equipment involved in capturing the animals varied depending upon factors such as the size, age, or ferocity of the animal, but included a range of nets, cages, and traps, among other methods. Extrapolation from more modern practices, however, suggests that baiting and ambushing, arguably somewhat less noble or brave tactics, likely characterized much of exotic animal capture in antiquity. Treatment for many of these animals, in transit to their final destination, was probably poor; large numbers certainly perished during transport or while in captivity. Available zooarchaeological evidence helps locate exotic animal bones across different contexts in the ancient Graeco-Roman world, including beasts presumably involved in amphitheatre games, but also provides tempering evidence to downplay the magnitude of numbers actually supplied to such events, as is attested in ancient textual and iconographical data.
Petra M. Sijpesteijn
The Arabs enjoyed a long-standing acquaintance with papyrus and its benefits. Papyrus and other traditional media, such as ostraca, leather, parchment, textiles, stone, and bone, were already fully in use on the Arabian Peninsula in pre-Islamic times. After providing a brief history of Arabic papyrology, this article discusses the reading and publishing Arabic texts; Arabic literary and subliterary papyri; the Islamic narrative tradition; and Arabic documentary papyri.
Documentary papyri describe ancient people. Where unrelated texts are like instant snapshots, archives present a coherent film of a person, a family, or a community and may span several months, years, or decades. Bilingual archives show how some Egyptians tried to become Hellenized, but their private accounts betray their native language. An archive is bound to be of greater interest than isolated texts, and the possibilities of archival research for any aspect of life in Graeco-Roman Egypt are practically unlimited. This article offers a systematic approach to archival documents and explains what constitutes an archive, how archives come to light, how we can reconstruct them, the type of archives that may be discerned, and the types of documents in them. Such an approach to archival documentation of the ancient world has in general been attracting increasing interest and brings together scholars who are studying different regions.
This article deals with Jewish arts and crafts and manufacture and production. It first introduces the sources used to shed more light on the crafts, manufacture, and production industries in Roman Palestine. It then proceeds to look at various forms of arts and crafts in the province. The next section examines food processing, specifically wine and olive oil production.
The ritual ordeal of the athlete re-enacts the ordeals of the warrior, and, like heroic deeds, athletic activity compensates for the athlete’s mortality as the athlete figuratively dies a ritual death in recurrent festivals. The origin of athletics is related both to initiation and to funeral games, and real or symbolic death and rebirth is common to both activities. Epinikian songs refer to those done ‘in compensation for’ (epi) the ordeal involved in winning the victory. Epinician songs also in a sense depict the community’s welfare as being contingent on the reciprocity of aristocratic exchange, and also related to revelry. The non-recurrent agōn occurs in Homeric epic, including gymnic and musikos events (recitation of epics and hymns). Later seasonally recurring festivals became the dominant form. The Panathenaia features the ‘art of the Muses’ among its events, namely rhapsodic contests in the reading of Homer. The apobatēs event in the Panathenaia serves as an evocative link between Homeric heroes in combat and the contestants in armour jumping from chariots in the Athenian games.
Wendy J. Raschke
The monuments created by the Greeks to celebrate victories were of many kinds, as were the victories celebrated. The focus of the present discussion is monuments associated with success in the major athletic games; these were usually in the form of free-standing statues erected in the sanctuary where the games took place. Some fundamental questions are addressed, not least, what the idea of a monument signified to the Greeks? Who qualified for this extraordinary honour? What form did it typically take and how much did it cost to create? Were the statues erected merely a reward? Or did they also have political value which affected the choice of location? In ancient Greece, as now, athletic monuments stood as markers of glory achieved, but also as statements to the viewer.
David M. Pritchard
In Classical Athens athletics consisted of the sporting contests that were staged as part of festivals and the classes of an athletics teacher. Lessons in the standard sporting events were given only by these teachers, whose classes doubled up as the sole opportunity for boys and men to perfect them before competing in games. Thus the participation of individuals in athletics depended on their schooling. Because the Classical Athenians decided against publicly funding education, they did not enjoy equal access to it. Poor citizens could afford only the lessons of a letter teacher. It was only wealthy boys who were educated in the three traditional disciplines of athletics, music, and letters. As poor Athenians did not attend the classes of an athletics teacher, they would have done badly, if they entered games, and so were hesitant about doing so in the first place. Thus the athletes of democratic Athens came exclusively from the wealthy.
Geert De Breucker
This article aims to contribute to the study of Babylonian traditions in Berossos' time and to reveal how a native Babylonian conceived the history of his culture at that period. It examines how Babylonian and Greek culture converged and shows that Berossos unified Babylonian historical traditions and Greek scholarship and transformed native traditions according to Greek forms and concepts. It also describes Berossos' portrait of Babylonian history and its wider cultural context.
Undeniably, in the course of time, texts and readers became more prominent. Yet, as this article explains, all ancient texts remain part of a larger cultural context that is different from today's culture in many important ways. When that wider context is explored, our sense of closeness to the Greeks becomes less secure, and the impression of a Greek ‘miracle’ begins to fade. For instance, the Homeric poems are sometimes presented as a literary big bang: they are thought to have brought European literature into existence out of nowhere.
Mark Jackson and Kevin Greene
Applying the labels “Greek” and “Roman” to the study of ceramic technology from 700
This article examines changes in the images of kingship in Sumerian literature, particularly in the hymns, myths, and narratives of the late third and early second millennia