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The article deals with a commentary on the Akkadian composition Marduk’s Address to the Demons from the city of Assur. The first part of the article discusses the unique religious view found in Marduk’s Address and its commentary, in which the āšipu priest is identified with the god Marduk. The second part presents a new philological edition of the commentary.

Open Access
In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions

Abstract

This essay introduces new evidence for an eschatological Phoenician motif that alludes to a final sailing and its perils, represented by a monstrous lion attacking or sinking a boat. The lion-and-boat motif was, so far, only documented in a Phoenician funerary stela from late classical Athens, the Antipatros/Shem stela. Excavations at the fifth-century BCE Tartessic site of Casas del Turuñuelo in southwestern Spain has revealed a set of ivory and bone panels that decorated a wooden box, bearing relevant iconography in the so-called orientalizing style. Additional comparanda from the Levant, Iberia, and Tunisia in various media (coins, ivories, amulets), add weight to this interpretation. Our analysis highlights how the artists behind the Athenian and Tartessic artifacts were innovative in their way of representing a theme that was not codified iconographically. Most remarkable is the use of an ivory-carving convention (the Phoenician palmette motif) to portray the stylized boat, a choice corroborated by a painted pottery sherd from Olympia. This “palmette-boat” depiction, in our view, is coherent with Egyptian Nilotic boats, but also with the use of flat or shallow river-boats in the Tagus and Guadiana region, illustrating mechanisms of local adaptation of Phoenician sailing and life-death “passing” symbolism. If, as we suggest, this representation can be added to that in the Athenian document, we now have testimonies of two different local adaptations of a Phoenician theme at the two ends of the Mediterranean oikoumene between the archaic and late classical periods.

Open Access
In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
Author:

Abstract

No myth about the origin of writing is known so far for Mesopotamia (only a legend). By applying the new Hylistic methodology for research into mythology, the first known myth of the creation of writing can be reconstructed. The myth we call Nissaba Creates Writing for the Sacred Song of Enlil narrates the creation of writing, which serves to immortalise the divine song at the very moment when the supreme god is creating it orally.

Results of this investigation bear important implications for two phenomena, concerning sacred texts and the origin of writing. (1) From an emic perspective, texts created by the gods turn out to be sacred, even numinous, in their conception. Further analysis of the subscript “Nissaba praise!” or of the subscript ka enim-ma, the latter properly understood as “wording of the divine words,” demonstrates that many Sumerian and Akkadian texts were indeed regarded as sacred texts. Ancient Mesopotamia thus proves to be a culture based on sacred texts. (2) The myth Nissaba Creates Writing for the Sacred Song of Enlil sheds new light on the origins of writing as perceived from the culture of the inventors of writing: the decisive function of the creation of writing was seen not in overcoming economic challenges, but in coping with ritual needs. Re-examining the historical evidence from this perspective opens up new possibilities for a cultural history of the origins of writing.

Open Access
In: Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions
Biography of an Ancient Egyptian Cultural Landscape
Author:
This book is the first comprehensive monographic treatment of the New Kingdom (1539–1078 BCE) necropolis at Saqqara, the burial ground of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis, and addresses questions fundamental to understanding the site’s development through time. For example, why were certain areas of the necropolis selected for burial in certain time periods; what were the tombs’ spatial relations to contemporaneous and older monuments; and what effect did earlier structures have on the positioning of tombs and structuring of the necropolis in later times? This study adopts landscape biography as a conceptual tool to study the long-time interaction between people and landscapes.
In: The Saqqara Necropolis through the New Kingdom
In: The Saqqara Necropolis through the New Kingdom
In: The Saqqara Necropolis through the New Kingdom
In: The Saqqara Necropolis through the New Kingdom
In: The Saqqara Necropolis through the New Kingdom
In: The Saqqara Necropolis through the New Kingdom