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.
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.
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.
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
This article discusses the garments that were worn by the Jews in Israel during the Graeco-Roman period. The discussion uses available material and literary sources, and tries to determine if the Jews wore different clothing from their Roman and Greek contemporaries.
Peter G. Van Alfen
When the Athenians began to strike coins in the sixth century
N. K. Rutter
The first coinages of Italy were issued in the sixth century by a group of cities on the coast of the Ionian Sea: Metapontum, Sybaris, and Croton, with Caulonia. All four cities adopted the same weight standard, the “Achaean,” with the stater, or standard coin, weighing initially a little over 8 g and subdivided into thirds and sixths. The coins were struck with an obverse and a reverse die, but their appearance was unprecedented and not emulated elsewhere: on thin, broad flans, the obverse design appeared normally in relief, while on the reverse a similar version of the same design was struck in negative. Over time, the diameter of the flans gradually declined, while their weight was maintained by a corresponding increase in thickness. This was the last attempt at a convergence in coining in Italy before the Romans imposed their own form of convergence over Italy.
Already under the Ptolemies, the coinage of Egypt circulated in a closed currency system: foreign money had to be exchanged for the local currency at the borders, and Egyptian currency remained in Egypt. This closed system continued intact under Roman rule until the end of the third century. The coins were “Alexandrian coins” after the city Alexandria, where they were minted. Two metals were used for coins in circulation in Egypt: billon, a silver alloy, was used for tetradrachms; and bronze for smaller denominations. Oversight of the coinage probably fell either to the idios logos, the highest financial official of Egypt, or to the dioiketes, head of the treasury in Alexandria. Since these provincial coins, with their great variety of types, are official documents of Roman rule, they are considered as excellent sources for study of the monetary, political, religious, artistic and cultural history of Greco-Roman Egypt.
The numismatic history of Sicily reflects the vicissitudes of its political history in truly unique fashion. Cities were conquered and destroyed, populations displaced and resettled, tyrannies raised and toppled. Many of these political shifts have left traces in the history of Sicilian coinage. The native Sicilian conception of coinage led to a groundbreaking innovation: the creation of small denominations in bronze, whose value was based not on their material worth but solely on a fixed exchange rate in silver coins—in other words, on the confidence of the citizens that they could exchange their bronze coins for silver the next day. The numismatic history of Sicily developed organically and gradually in the fifth century, years that saw the production of the coins for which Sicily enjoys a fine reputation among art lovers. Names such as Kimon, Euainetos, Phrygillos, and Eukleidas appear in this lexicon of artists.