The JOURNAL OF ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS (JAC) is published annually in two fascicles by the Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations (IHAC, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, Jilin Province, People’s Republic of China).
The aim of JAC is to provide a forum for the discussion of various aspects of the cultural and historical processes in the Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean world, encompassing studies of individual civilizations as well as common elements, contacts, and interactions among them (e.g. in such traditional fields as Assyriology, Egyptology, Hittitology, Classics, Byzantine Studies, and Sinology, among others). Hence, we publish the work of international scholars while also providing a showcase for the finest Chinese scholarship, and so welcome articles dealing with history, philology, art, archaeology, and linguistics that are intended to illuminate the material culture and society of the Ancient Near East, the Mediterranean region, and ancient China. Articles discussing other cultures will be considered for publication only if they are clearly relevant to the ancient Mediterranean world, the Near East, and China. Information about new discoveries and current scholarly events is also welcome. Publishers are encouraged to send review copies of books in the relevant fields.
JAC is a double-blind peer-reviewed journal. Articles must not have been published in, or submitted to, another publication at the time of submission. All submitted articles are first carefully read by at least two editors of JAC, who will give a feedback to the author. Articles (excluding book reviews or research reports) are afterwards reviewed anonymously by at least two referees in the specific field, appointed by the editorial board. The whole peer-review process as well as any judgment is based on the quality of the article and the research conducted therein only. In cases where the reviewers recommend changes in the manuscript, authors are requested to revise their articles. The final approval of articles is at the editorial board. Throughout the whole peer-review process, articles are treated confidentially. In case of (alleged or supposed) interest conflict, misconduct, or plagiarism of any party involved the editor in chief and/or the executive editor in chief (or, if necessary, another member of the editorial board) will pursue the case and should the situation of taking action arise, will notify the respective party. From time to time, we will publish a list of the referees on our homepage (http://ihac.nenu.edu.cn/JAC.htm), to make the double blind peer-review process transparent and comprehensible.
In this fascicle, the authors go beyond borders. Comparing ancient and modern concepts, Wayne Horowitz looks at the color terms used to describe sky and heaven in ancient Mesopotamia. Søren Lund Sørensen and Klaus Geus question the traditional dating of an Minaean inscription and ascribe it to the second invasion of Egypt by the Seleucid king Antiochus IV during the Sixth Syrian War. Peter Rothenhöfer carefully interprets a small silver object with an inscription from Roman Spain: materiality and text are not discussed separately but are combined, in order to argue for a miniature offering. The three following articles are based on selected papers from the Melammu workshop “At the Edges of Empires: Territories and Processes Nearby and Between Emerging Great Powers in Antiquity,” held from 30 August to 3 September 2018 at IHAC, NENU. They deal with important questions such as: what happened at the fringes of ancient empires? which exchanges, mutual influences, and entanglements took place at these contact zones? and, to what extent were concepts and categories of fringes, contact zones, frontiers, and edges applied in ancient sources? Gina Konstantopoulos discusses the role of seas in Sumerian and Akkadian inscriptions and texts that mirror certain realities and ideologies. Then, Kai Ruffing explores the economic exchange occurring at the frontiers of the Roman Empire, and its impact on these border regions. He is followed by Stefanie Schmidt who investigates the continuities and changes occurring after the Muslim took over the rule over Egypt from the Byzantine Empire. Both can show that in the two cases discussed, “borders” in territorial or temporal sense reflect only one, mainly an ideological, part of reality while an effective functioning of economic transactions as well as a continued, steady, and stable influx of public revenues formed the major incentives on the operational level of these rules.
Continuity and stability have also become heavily desired and discussed topics in the current situation. For JAC, we are happy to have the constant support from our readers, authors, reviewers, and editors. With the appointment of new members of the consulting editorial board in the past months, we have taken care to equip our ship with the international crew we need to cross all seas in the future, may they be stormy or quiet. More than ever we see our task, aim, and duty in bringing together different disciplines and people for a fruitful and benefitting exchange based on scholarly argument and discussion.
All communications, manuscripts, disks and books for review should be sent to the Assistant Editor, Journal of Ancient Civilizations, Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations, Northeast Normal University, 130024 Changchun, Jilin Province, People’s Republic of China (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), or to the Executive Editor in Chief, Prof. Dr. Sven Günther, M.A. (e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HOROWITZ, WAYNE: Sky Blue, Red Heavens, and Orange over Ancient Mesopotamia (pp. 135–146)
SØRENSEN, SØREN LUND / GEUS, KLAUS: Medes and Minaeans in Egypt – M 247: Who, Where, and When? (pp. 147–160)
ROTHENHÖFER, PETER: Bemerkungen zu einer Mars Tilenus-Weihung aus Quintana del Marco (Provinz León, Spanien) (EE IX 293) (pp. 161–170)
“AT THE EDGES OF EMPIRES: TERRITORIES AND PROCESSES
NEARBY AND BETWEEN EMERGING GREAT POWERS IN ANTIQUITY”
KONSTANTOPOULOS, GINA: The Bitter Sea and the Waters of Death: The Sea as a Conceptual Border in Mesopotamia (pp. 171–197)
RUFFING, KAI: Economic Life on the Fringes of the Roman Empire (pp. 199–239)
SCHMIDT, STEFANIE: Between Byzantine and Muslim Egypt. Mobilizing Economic Resources for an Embryonic Empire (pp. 241–266)
Wayne HOROWITZ (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
SKY BLUE, RED HEAVENS, AND ORANGE OVER ANCIENT MESO-POTAMIA (pp. 135–146)
As a child, my classmates and I almost always painted the sky blue in kinder-garten and elementary school, and the idea of “blue skies” has become synonymous with happy times now, and good tidings ahead. But how did Ancient Mesopotamians think about the color of the sky, and its daylight and nighttime phenomena? Based on the cuneiform evidence, we first examine ancient concepts of blue and red in the heavens, and finish with evidence indicating the planet, Mars, was seen as the color “fire-red,” that is to say the color of the crayon today labeled “orange.”
Søren Lund SØRENSEN / Klaus GEUS (Freie Universität Berlin)
MEDES AND MINAEANS IN EGYPT – M 247: WHO, WHERE, AND WHEN? (pp. 147–160)
An often-quoted Minaean inscription from Barāqish (ancient Yathill) in Yemen, M 247 = RES 3022, referring to “Medes” and “Minaeans” in Egypt, has been dated variously. For a number of reasons, we opt for a low date, proposing that the inscription refers to events during the second invasion of Egypt by the Seleucid king Antiochus IV in 168 BC in course of the Sixth Syrian War. In our view, this establishes a synchronism between the ancient Mediterranean and the Old South Arabian civilisations.
Peter ROTHENHÖFER (Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou/Zhuhai)
BEMERKUNGEN ZU EINER MARS TILENUS-WEIHUNG AUS QUINTANA DEL MARCO (PROVINZ LEÓN, SPANIEN) (EE IX 293) (pp. 161–170)
A small silver object found near Quintana del Marco (León) around the year 1900 has so far only received attention due to the theonym inscribed on it: Mars Tilenus. Examining the small oval item bearing the inscription the author suggests an interpretation as a miniature offering. It is the first evidence for miniature weapon offerings on the Iberian Peninsula from the Roman era.
MELAMMU-WORKSHOP PAPERS: “AT THE EDGES OF EMPIRES: TERRITORIES AND PROCESSES NEARBY AND BETWEEN EMERGING GREAT POWERS IN ANTIQUITY”
Gina KONSTANTOPOULOS (University of Tsukuba)
THE BITTER SEA AND THE WATERS OF DEATH: THE SEA AS A CONCEPTUAL BORDER IN MESOPOTAMIA (pp. 171–197)
The article examines the role of the seas in Sumerian and Akkadian royal inscriptions and literary texts from the third millennium BC onwards. By tracing the presence of the sea in these texts, it becomes clear that the Upper and Lower Sea – or the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, though the former could shift geographically – could stand as terminal points for imperial control; as an obstacle or opponent to tackle; and moreover, as markers of distant, even constructed space. Overall, the sea functioned as both a real and imagined border within the Mesopotamian worldview.
Kai RUFFING (University of Kassel)
ECONOMIC LIFE ON THE FRINGES OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (pp. 199–239)
The present paper aims at making some observations on trade between the inhabitants of the Roman Empire and those dwelling outside its frontiers, but nevertheless living in the vicinity of Roman frontier zones. Using three examples – the Rhine frontier, the Middle Euphrates, and the Eastern Desert of Egypt – it highlights the importance of every-day economic interactions at the frontier zones of the Roman Empire. Furthermore, the paper offers some remarks on the different concepts of frontiers and borders in the Roman world.
Stefanie SCHMIDT (University of Zurich / FU Berlin)
BETWEEN BYZANTINE AND MUSLIM EGYPT. MOBILIZING ECO-NOMIC RESOURCES FOR AN EMBRYONIC EMPIRE (pp. 241–266)
Building an Empire involves more than just the occupation of foreign territory. It needs an economic strategy to sustainably exploit the resources of a country and to keep resistance among the inhabitants to a minimum. The paper aims at exploring how, after the conquest of Egypt in 642, Muslims mobilized economic resources, to what extent they integrated former Byzantine levy systems, and what incentives they created in order to guarantee the economy’s continued productivity.
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