Abstracts Ancient Near Eastern Studies and Archaeology

Schedule

Room: F 229, 2. OG, Fürstenberghaus
Day Time    
Mon 13:30-14:00 Neumann Introduction
Mon 14:00-14:30 Glassner The Diviner as a Historian
Mon 14:30-15:00 Linder Frühdynastische Literarische Texte aus Tell Abū Şalābīkh als Spiegel von Semiosphäre und Weltanschauung (?)
Mon 15:00-15:30 Vogel Brîm-Stirnketten-Träger und Dog Collar Trägerinnen als Mitbestattungen und Bestattungen im Royal Cemetery in Ur: Bestandsaufnahme – Diskussion – Schlussfolgerungen
Mon 15:30-16:00 Break
Mon 16:00-16:30 Schulte Altorientalistik als Historische Sozialwissenschaft: Verwaltungsorganisation und Gesellschaftsstruktur im antiken Šaduppûm (Tell Ḥarmal)
Mon 16:30-17:00 Dietrich The multilingual and intercultural evidence from the library of the “high priest” in Ugarit at the end of the 13th century BCE - Changed presentation title
Mon 17:00-17:30 Zaia State-Sponsored Sacrilege: “Godnapping,” Suppression, and the Subtext of Anxiety in the Neo-Assyrian Inscriptions
Mon 18:00-18:30 Break
Mon 18:30-19:00 Dittmann Final remarks
Mon 19:00-19:30 Shobairi Presentation and an Investigation of the Clay Labels and Bulla from the Persepolis Treasury

Relevant interdisciplinary panels:

Multilingualism and Social Experience in Pre-Modern Societies of Ancient Eurasia: Socio-Economic, Linguistic, and Religious Aspects

 

Abstracts of the individual presentations:

Dietrich, Manfried: The multilingual and intercultural evidence from the library of the “high priest” in Ugarit at the end of the 13th century BCE

Wie Briefe aus Ugarit und Amarna zu verstehen geben, legen Briefempfänger großen Wert darauf, daß ihnen Botschaften und Sendungen durch glaubwürdige und autorisierte Personen überbracht werden. Wenn die formalen Gepflogenheiten hier nicht eingehalten werden, dann vermissen die Empfänger, wie etliche Briefe zu verstehen geben, offenbar die Sicherheit, daß die ihnen zugestellte Sendung tatsächlich die erwartete ist und daß hinter ihr der richtige Absender steht. Die Sicherheit kann in beiden Punkten dadurch erreicht werden, daß der Bote entweder ein autorisierendes Begleitschreiben mit sich führt oder daß der Bote dem Empfänger vertraut ist. In dem Referat sollen einleitend die aufschlußreichen Gegebenheiten umrissen werden, die mit Blick auf den ägyptischen Gesandten Gelia beispielsweise der Tusratta-Brief EA 24 aufzeigt, anschließend dann exemplarisch die einschlägigen Angaben aus den alphabet-ugaritischen Briefen KTU 2. 72 (= RS 34.124) und KTU 2.87 (= RS 94.2284).
[Presentation in English]

Glassner, Jean-Jacques: The Diviner as a Historian

From the moment the documentation allowed it, Mesopotamian scholars tried to put in order the ideas and the experiences and this order was offered in the form of lists. To make a long story short, the cumulated knowledge which grew centuries after centuries, conducted the scribes at distance of the surface of the reality in the trivial work of collecting what was said or done.

Nevertheless, the interest these scholars manifested for the past had nothing to do with what we call today the profession of the historian. One is astonished by the remarkable effort they did in copying official inscriptions, studying royal correspondances, composing chronological lists, chronicles, or omen collections. But the main problem was not, at that time as it is today, the criticism of the documents. Nor it was to identify why and how successions of events took place. The important thing consisted in a selection about a precise center of interest, in the mass of the informations, some events or some proper names which, in this way, aquired pertinence and universal significance.These events and names were chosen for their exemplarity.

Mesopotamia didn’t know its Plutarchus with his Parallel Lifes. Nevertheless, anonymous scribes took over some great legendary or historical figures of the past whose feats they related in biographies, epics or legends, to raise them to the rank of examples and to afford them to the meditation of their contemporaries. History was dispenser of examples, as Cicero said, historia magistra vitæ, « witness of centuries, light of truth, life of memory, mistress of life, messenger of the past ».

In other words, Mesopotamian scholars considered that the past was able to offer itself as a reserve collection of experiences and a better knowledge of the present. Therefore, the historian was interested in the lives of eminent personalities or in events of specific interest.

Linder, Nadia: Early Dynastic Literary Texts from Tell Abū Şalābīkh as Mirror of Semiosphere and Weltanschauung (?)

Research on the Early Dynastic in Mesopotamia is often characterised by the use of later documents, the content (and resulting interpretations) of which are liberally projected back onto the earlier periods. Attempts to understand these formative phases of Mesopotamian history on their own (cp. Landsberger’s ‘Eigenbegrifflichkeit’) in the past focused primarily on administrative documents and lexical lists. The continuously progressing editing of sources from the early 3rd millennium has made a multitude of new materials available, among them literary texts. Is it possible to see the semiosphere of Early Dynastic Sumer epistemologically mirrored in these texts? Every narrative, every text, being a part of the semiosphere of the composer(s), transports as such epistemic worlds and systems of order (cp. lexical lists). The hypothesis of literary texts being integrated into a narrative discourse which allows us to read the semiotic and epistemic worlds of the Mesopotamian Early Dynastic is examined here on the basis of the texts IAS 327 (‘Lugalbanda and Lamma-Ninsumuna’), IAS 326+342 (hymn to the sun-god) and IAS 118 // IAS 163 = CUT 4b // CUT 4d (UD.GAL.NUN-text about the sun-god) from Tell Abū Şalābīkh. Conclusions are drawn for the Early Dynastic in Tell Abū Şalābīkh; the differences between Early Dynastic and later traditions (i.e. Ur III, oB) are examined as well, which may allow for a more differentiated reconstruction of the implicitly (and explicitly) transported Weltanschauungen.

Schulte, Stefan: Altorientalistik als Historische Sozialwissenschaft: Verwaltungsorganisation und Gesellschaftsstruktur im antiken Šaduppûm (Tell Ḥarmal)

In Arbeiten zur „Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte“ des Alten Orients steht bisher häufig der Aspekt der Ökonomie im Vordergrund während  gesellschaftliche Strukturen und ihr Wandel deutlich seltener untersucht und thematisiert werden. In meinem Vortrag möchte ich einen Zugang zum Alten Orient vorstellen und diskutieren, der sich als Historische Sozialwissenschaft versteht und Gesellschaft in den Mittelpunkt rückt. Hierzu zeige ich auf, wie sich die philologische, prosopographische und archäologische Analyse der Primärquellen produktiv mit den Methoden der  sozialwissenschaftlichen  qualitativen Datenanalyse verbinden lässt. Konkret bediene ich mich der modernen Organisationssoziologie, wobei Organisation als in gesellschaftliche Strukturen eingebettet verstanden wird. Sie dient somit als Folie um  Aspekte der gesellschaftlichen Strukturierung sichtbar zu machen.

Als empirische Grundlage dient mir dabei das antike Šaduppûm (Tell Ḥarmal) im Dijālāgebiet, welches in der altbabylonischen Zeit zeitweise zum Herrschaftsgebiet des Königreichs von  Ešnunna gehörte und dort als lokales Verwaltungszentrum fungierte. Durch die vergleichsweise umfassende archäologische Erschließung des Tells, bei der ein zentrales Verwaltungsgebäude, Tempel sowie zahlreiche Wohngebäude freigelegt wurden und die hohe Zahl von Textfunden (ca. 3000), bietet der Fundort eine hervorragende Quelle für eine Untersuchung der lokalen Verwaltungsorganisation und Gesellschaftsstruktur.

Shobairi, Seyed Abazar: Presentation and an Investigation of the Clay Labels and Bulla from the Persepolis Treasury

About 15 of clay labels are kept in the Persepolis museum treasury. There is no record of the exact excavator and original position of the objects at the time of excavation, but these findings at Persepolis are very important.

Clay labels were used in the administration and control of crops being transported to and from Persepolis.  The sealing’s would have been attached to the products being transported and stored to ensure they were not tampered with. None of the seals identify a particular individual. The collection of sealings shows the wide variety of seal styles used. Each of the clay labels is stamped with up to four or more different seals, probably reflecting the different individuals involved at each stage of the product’s administration. In some cases the sealing has been stamped more that once by the same seal, in which instances the stamp probably belongs to the same owner. The sealings thus provide important insights into the everyday workings of the Persepolis fortifications.  

This paper wills initially categories the different seal styles, providing an overview of the motifs used. These will then be discussed and compared to other clay labels at Persepolis. These can be divided into the following themes: royal, religious, mythological, athletics, hunting, capture, human lives, animals and plants.

Vogel, Helga: Brîm-Stirnketten-Träger und Dog Collar Trägerinnen als Mitbestattungen und Bestattungen im Royal Cemetery in Ur: Bestandsaufnahme – Diskussion – Schlussfolgerungen

In diesem Beitrag stelle ich die Daten zu Brîm-Stirnketten-Trägern und zu Dog Collar Trägerinnen vor, die sich im Royal Cemetery als Mitbestattungen und als Bestattungen nachweisen lassen. Bei den Brîm-Stirnketten-Trägern handelt es sich in jeden Fall um eine sozial hervorgehobene Gruppe. Ebenso lässt sich einigen, der mit einem Dog Collar geschmückten Frauen, ein hoher sozialer Status zuweisen. Der Befund wird anschließend in Hinblick auf die vorliegenden Interpretationen der so genannten Gefolgschaftsbestattungen diskutiert .

Zaia, Shana: State-Sponsored Sacrilege: “Godnapping,” Suppression, and the Subtext of Anxiety in the Neo-Assyrian Inscriptions

Since A. Livingstone coined the term “godnapping” to describe the forcible removal of cult statues by invading Assyrian forces, scholars have considered this act within the framework of imperialism and political control in the periphery of the Assyrian Empire. Cult statues were removed from their homelands or destroyed in cases when polities were newly incorporated into the Assyrian Empire or when an existing province rebelled. Scholars have argued that, because cult statues were considered manifestations of the gods themselves, godnapping was a powerful tool for asserting hegemony and for demoralizing subjugated peoples. Yet, this phenomenon has not been addressed from the Assyrian perspective: how did the Assyrians reconcile aggression against the gods themselves? What rhetoric did Assyrian scribes use to describe this act and what anxieties may be encoded in their language? This paper seeks to examine closely how Assyrian kings represent their acts of violence against the divine in written sources, with particular attention to the psychology of iconoclasm and sacrilege in the Ancient Near East. I will discuss instances of godnapping within the Assyrian royal inscriptions, royal correspondence, and relevant chronicles, juxtaposing these acts with accounts of the repair and return of cult statues to their places of origin. This paper proposes that, with few exceptions, the Assyrians deliberately suppressed the names of godnapped divinities, referring to the cult statues simply as “his/her/their gods” or “the gods of [foreign ruler’s name or geographic area],” not because of ignorance about the identities of these gods but rather out of a conscious recognition that an act of violence against a god was reprehensible and, therefore, the invocation of the gods’ names could provoke divine retribution. Concealing the divine names, in addition, further removed the agency of the gods in question. Conversely, cult statues that the Assyrians repaired and returned were referred to in inscriptions by name, even in cases of statues that were godnapped by previous Assyrian kings. Using the Assyrians’ own language about godnapping in contrast with their accounts of the restoration of cult statues, this paper will shed light on the anxieties associated with irreverence and the resulting need for indirect language in official texts.