Journal of Ancient Civilizations 34 (2019), 1

Journal of Ancient Civilizations 34 (2019), 1.

Hrsg. v.
Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations

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, Hittitology, Egyptology, Classics, 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 chief executive director (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 (, to make the double blind peer-review process transparent and comprehensible.

The articles of this issue shed new light on long-discussed research questions. Michael Allen Stephens re-examines the classification of ancient Egyptian ship-types and modifies the traditional categorization system (pp. 1–19). Katarina Nebelin argues for the importance of ritualized banquets for knowledge transfer between “East” and “West” and for the emergence of early Greek philosophy (pp. 21–37) while Peter John Rhodes, the eminent expert on the Athenian constitution, offers a detailed account of what we nowadays know about the Athenian assembly and council, and what is still under discussion (pp. 39–67). The second part of the survey of “Ancient Law” comprises discussions of recent research on Ancient Near Eastern (Daniel Justel; pp. 69–81), Egyptian (Sandra L. Lippert; pp. 83–111) and Byzantine (Li Qiang; pp. 113–124) legal cultures. It completes the picture sketched in the first part (JAC 33/2, pp. 181–282) and shows how vivid and fruitful the exchange between different fields and disciplines is if law is not regarded as an autopoietic and separated system but seen in its connection with dynamics in the respective societies.

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:, or to the Executive Editor in Chief, Prof. Dr. Sven Günther, M.A. (e-mail: or

Volume 34/1, 2019


Stephens, Michael Allen: A Reconsideration of the Accuracy of the Reisner Categorisation System of Egyptian Watercraft Hull Types VI–VIII (pp. 1–19)

Nebelin, Katarina: Intercultural Intellectual Contacts: Archaic Ionia and the Emergence of Early Greek Philosophy (pp. 21–37)

Rhodes, P. J.: The Athenian Assembly and Council: Continuing Problems (pp. 39–67)


Justel, Daniel: Ancient Near Eastern Law (pp. 69–81)

Lippert, Sandra L.: Ancient Egypt (pp. 83–111)

Li, Qiang: Recent Studies in Byzantine Law (pp. 113–124)

Abstracts (pp. 125–127)


Michael Allen STEPHENS (Monash University)
George Reisner, when categorizing the hulls and models of ships and boats in the Cairo Museum, developed a typological series of eight hull groups, Type I to Type VIII, covering the models and two surviving hulls in the Cairo Museum. He correctly stated that every type of model boat in the collection had parallels in tomb scenes. Inversely this was not the case; not all hull forms known iconographically were represented in the Cairo collection, as, for example, his Type III class – the papyrus rafts. Additionally, at least one class, his Type VII is demonstrated in this paper as being a group of assorted hull forms, rather than a distinct hull type. Despite these shortcomings, his eight categories have formed a basis for the categorization of Ancient Egyptian hulls. Reisner himself compounded the difficulty of categorization – in his introduction, he lists seven hull types, while elsewhere in his listing he includes the Type VIII.
Although intended only as a tool for cataloguing the models and hulls in the Cairo collection, his categories have been utilised for some one hundred years as a basis for the categorization of Egyptian watercraft. Although five of his categories are broadly correct, I propose in this paper that two of his types – Type VI and VII – are incorrect, and that his final category – Type VIII – should be renumbered or at best retitled. I also highlight some of the difficulties of having over-lapping or competing categories for Egyptian watercraft, and discuss where Types VI–VIII could fit in an expansion of a categorisation system for the Old and Middle Kingdoms as proposed by myself in 2012.

Katarina NEBELIN (University of Rostock)
It is widely accepted today that the emergence of early Greek philosophy and science has to be understood in the broader context of cultural contacts linking the Mediterranean, the Near East and Egypt. However, the social conditions of intellectual exchange between actors that belong to heterogeneous cultures of wisdom have seldom been studied in detail. In order to explain the way these interactions with foreign cultures might have fostered and stimulated the development of philosophical thinking in archaic Greece, it is therefore necessary to take a closer look at the social actors and the social spaces involved in this process. As one possible social space among others, sympotic feasts and banquets could have functioned as such spaces, for they provided relatively free and equal conditions of intellectual exchange.

P. J. RHODES (University of Durham)
The council with its limited membership and the assembly open to all citizens were important elements in the public life of Athens, and indeed of most Greek cities, and how they functioned is an important part of what we need to know in order to understand their public life; but there are still questions to which we do not have certain answers, and in this paper I focus on them. Knowing about the mechanisms is not all that we need to know; but for a city whose mechanisms were well developed, as those of Athens were, knowing about the mechanisms, and the opportunities and the limitations which they provided for the men active in politics, is an important part of what we need to know.


Law is a key factor for understanding ancient societies. Though studies on law have often and for a long time been undertaken by legal historians, mainly in Law Departments, they did not substantially affect historical studies. This is particularly due to specific terminologies and frameworks of ancient laws, and modern attempts to systematize ancient legal cultures in a mere juristic sphere rather than to look at the respective historical context with specific political, social, economic, religious and cultural frames shaping and interacting with legal frames through persons involved in such processes. The present survey offers new perspectives and approaches to understanding the mutual interdependencies between law and the respective ancient society. Experts present theoretical and methodological considerations, recently discussed models and newly published research literature that might shape our understanding of ancient legal cultures in the next decades. In part 2, Daniel Justel looks at current trends in the studies of Ancient Near Eastern Law while Sandra Lippert combines a review of secondary literature with a critical survey of important sources regarding Ancient Egypt. Li Qiang surveys important developments in Byzantine Law Studies and offers insights into Chinese scholarship in this field.

Daniel JUSTEL (University of Alcalá, Madrid)

Sandra L. LIPPERT (CNRS, ASM 5140, Montpellier)
ANCIENT EGYPT (pp. 83–111)

LI Qiang (IHAC, NENU, Changchun)

Journal of Ancient Civilizations 34 (2019), 1. in: H-Soz-Kult, 24.06.2019, <>.