This paper investigates the presence and action of demons in New Kingdom medical texts, in which these supernatural beings are recognisable only by their determinative, whereas the etymology of certain names is not always clearly understood. Several scholars have presented their own interpretations about this topic, most of whom believe these names can be ascribed to illnesses or to the supernatural sphere, though others have expressed reservations about these ascriptions. A fresh analysis of medical texts from an emic perspective helps in reconsidering this topic: prescriptions and incantations suggest the ancient Egyptians really perceived these entities as supernatural beings and not merely as manifestations of illnesses. The presence of the same demons in other contexts, such as funerary texts, confirms this hypothesis and encourages an in-depth study of the medical sources.
Ancient Near Eastern kings were always assumed to mediate between the divine and human worlds, but where they fell in the spectrum between mortal and divine varied from one king or dynasty to the next. Additionally, human kings could claim divine or semi-divine status through certain activities attached to the office of kingship. Through a diachronic survey, this study examines how the royal act of lawgiving elevated human rulers above other people. As lawgivers, these rulers could embody certain attributes of gods of justice within their political realms – most evident in metaphors attributing solar imagery and solar language to human rulers in royal ideology. Using cognitive metaphor theory, I examine the various ways that ancient audiences received and processed this figurative language, answering for themselves how the king could simultaneously be a mortal man and represent a solar god of justice.
The paper revisits the Hurrian section that is inserted in the Ugaritic-language tablet RS 24.643 (KTU 1.148). The present work comprises two main parts: an individual analysis of each line and clause and a structural analysis of the whole hymn. A near complete elucidation of the hymn is proposed.
The Urartian Kingdom is recognized for its idiosyncratic religious architecture and ritual practices. Tower-temples (susi) at the peak of citadels, dedicated to the “national” god Ḫaldi, constitute the most essential element of religious architecture. Additionally, cult areas with an altar and uninscribed stelae on pedestals, best known from Erzincan/Altıntepe, demonstrate that there were different types of sanctuaries in the Urartian world. Veneration of stelae is also known from depictions in seal-impressions. Recent discoveries of an open-air sanctuary with stelae at Varto/Kayalıdere and uninscribed stelae at Aznavurtepe and Yeşilalıç bear witness to the wide distribution of this cult. Although discoveries at Altıntepe and Varto/Kayalıdere led to an association of stelae with funerary cults, inscriptions that speak of Ḫaldi worship in front of stelae (pulusi) strongly suggest that stelae sanctuaries on the slopes of citadels must be related with the Ḫaldi cult, in whose name susi and temple complexes (É.BÁRA) were built in citadels.
Internationally Western scholars have emphasized the importance of pre-fifteenth-century Western and Eastern Indian Ocean, South Asian, Bay of Bengal, South China; regional Java and wider Southeast Asia commercial, landed, maritime, and societal networking; and Islamic, Hindu, Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. Notably where there were upstream agrarian hinterlands of early historical Southeast Asia polities, royal courts, temples, cultural centers, and traditional farming were relocated in the vulnerable regional downstream coastal ports-of-trade. This essay recenters the discussion of the changing role of Melaka’s trade ports and their engagement with maritime based trade as conducted by various regional populations.
This study examines 15th-century Melaka’s significant role as the primary intermediary eastern maritime port-of-trade between the Indian Ocean and China. It addresses the strategic South China Sea Jiaozhu Vietnam coastline passage to the Ming court’s newly designated southern China Guangzhou port. It replaced Quangzhou to the north as the preeminent port of China’s eastern Asia maritime trade. In 1371 the Ming China court restricted its foreign maritime trade beyond China. In response Chinese and multi-ethnic maritime diasporas based in Southeast Asia ports traveled the South China Sea to the Eastern and Western Indian Oceans and in doing so sustained a post-1400 substantive intermediary transit trade network that connected southern China, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and east-coast of Africa.
This introductory chapter and those that follow in this issue of JESHO celebrate the 500th anniversary of the c.1400–1511 strategic Melaka port-of-trade based Sultanate that controlled the Straits of Melaka maritime passageway connecting the Western and Eastern Indian Oceans to the China and Java Seas and beyond in eastern Asia until the Portuguese seizure of Melaka in 1511. As such, these studies update prior JESHO publications that have addressed Melaka’s history since the Journal’s inception.
The reversion of the Chinese state, under the early Ming emperors, from private maritime shipping and trade to state-sponsored diplomatic and economic missions into Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean littoral under the Admiral Zheng He, has led to the Chinese textual documentation contains substantial information on the Sultanate of Melaka in the fifteenth century. However, this body of information, and the historical narrative of the Sultanate, has been based primarily on the extant records of the imperial Ming voyages, and the official bureaucratic records, such as the Ming shilu and Mingshi. Other texts post-dating the fifteenth century, including such encyclopedias as the Dongxi yangkao, draw their information on Melaka from these texts. The digitization of the Siku quanshu (Compendium of the Four Treasuries) commissioned in the late eighteenth century, has opened up the opportunity to discover hitherto unknown historical information, and the develop new paradigms and methodologies for the research of the history of Melaka. Importantly, the various entries of information on Melaka, found in the compendium that date after the fall of the Melaka Sultanate in 1511, provide insight into the lenses and experiences through which archivalisation, and the process in which Chinese officialdom collected information on the port-city, occurred through the course of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. This paper utilizes digital database search processes to elucidate new aspects of the history of Melaka’s trade and economic interactions with East Asia, and how Southeast Asia ports continued to feature in the memory landscape of the Chinese officialdom, long after the ceased to exist in the form of their original polities.
The Melaka Sultanate spans a period of around one to one and a half centuries, from its supposed founding by the fugitive prince Parameswara around 1360–1400 until the year 1528, when the two sons of the last Sultan of Melaka Mahmud I founded the successor polities of Perak and Johor. The key to understanding Melaka’s history is to focus on the synergies forged by the rulers and the grandees with local and foreign actors, and to appreciate the mutual but malleable relationships maintained by the ruler (sultan) with his subjects and followers. In its heyday Melaka served as one of the crucial procurement, trans-shipment, and commercial centres in the maritime trading world of the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra. Its fame reached as far as North and East Africa in the West, and China and Ryukyu in the East. At its height it exerted political, economic and cultural influence over much of the Malay Peninsula, parts of Eastern Sumatra and the Riau Archipelago.