Horizontal plastic clay bands are commonly observed on the outer surfaces of vessels in the early Late Neolithic pottery assemblages of northern Syria and southeastern Turkey. This horizontal applied band has been regarded as a “grip” (moyen de préhension) along with the handle, and its widespread occurrence during the very early period of pottery development (mid-7th millennium BCE) is often interpreted to suggest how and why pottery vessels were invented.
However, these bands can also be considered decoration. In fact, this decoration theory seems to be popular for pottery from other parts of the world. These two views, furthermore, are not mutually exclusive.
This article discusses the function(s) of horizontal applied bands in Neolithic pottery from the northern Levant through analyses of specimens recovered from Tell el-Kerkh in the Rouj Basin, Syria. It demonstrates that band frequency, its applied ware-type, and its vessel-shape or size changed over time. This evidence suggests that horizontal applied bands were invented as a grip applied to a large-sized vessel. However, the band gradually fell into disuse as pottery attributes diversified. Finally, its size and frequency drastically reduced until its original significance was lost.
This transformation seems to correspond to the specialization of pottery for various purposes reflected in the diversification of ware-type or vessel shape. Specialized pottery used for transportation was designed to be smaller and no longer needed a grip. This interpretation is also confirmed by observation of the changes in handles, the other “grip” form in the Neolithic pottery, recovered from Tell el-Kerkh.
This article analyzes the process and contents of the ritual, text “Hauptritual B” published by W. Farber, in the book Beschwörungsrituale an Ištar und Dumuzi (1977). It examines how this ritual relates to the famous mythological narrative "Ištar's Descent into the Netherworld" by using the following: (1) comparing the ritual process with typical anti-witchcraft rituals (2) comparing the roles of the main divine characters in each texts.
This ritual was linked to the mythological narrative through use of identical divine characters. However, the context in which they appeared in the ritual is not identical to their counterparts in the mythological narrative. Therefore, the above mentioned relationship does not give a direct explanation of the ritual acts by linking them to mythological narratives or provide an etiology of the ritual, as stated in former studies. This article argues that this loose correlation represents another type of relationship between a ritual and a mythological narrative.
This article introduces a hitherto unknown historical account on ‘Obv.’ 6’-10’ of BM 35269+35347+35358, a fragmental tablet of the Late Babylonian astronomical diaries composed in Arsacid Babylon. This account can be dated to the period between 119/118BC and the mid-first century BC and contains the following phrase (‘Obv.’ 7’): [.... lúp]u-li-te-e šá i-ṭár-ri-du-úlúpe-li-ga-[na-a-nu] "[…. p]uliṭē, who are called peliga[nānu]." Another attestation of peliganānu is known from the Babylonian chronicle BCHP 18B Rev.? 3'. This chronicle records some events in the 130s or 120s BC. The group called peliganānu indicates "the council of elders" of a city or a population in the Hellenistic world and is called πελιγᾶνες in some Greek sources. Some recent studies have concluded that the "council of elders" attested in BCHP 18B was that of the Greco-Macedonian citizens (puliṭē/puliṭānu) in Babylon, who are frequently attested in the cuneiform sources from the second and the first centuries BC. However, the line in BCHP 18B attesting the word peliganānu is severely damaged and gives no hint that the group belonged to the puliṭē/puliṭānu of Babylon. Neither does the text show a relationship between the council and any other group of Greco-Macedonian citizens. (Puliṭē/puliṭānu of Seleucia-on-the-Tigris and Kār Aššur are also attested in the cuneiform sources from the second and the first centuries BC, although there are overwhelmingly fewer references to them than to the puliṭē/puliṭānu of Babylon.) However, BM 35269+35347+35358 clearly attests that the members of the "council of elders" are Greco-Macedonian citizens, although their domicile is not stated.
This article discusses the flowering of Persian literature under the patronage of the local Iranian ruler of Luristan, Hazaraspid Nuṣrat al-Dīn (r. 1296-1331/2), in the late Ilkhanid period. It is generally accepted that Persian literature evolved dramatically under the patronage of Ilkhanid rulers and senior officials. However, there is almost no research that deals with the contribution of local rulers to this evolution during the period. In this article, I introduce the case of Hazaraspid Nuṣrat al-Dīn and explain his significant role in this evolution.
Although the Hazaraspid dynasty lasted more than two centuries (1155/6-1424), because of the scarcity of historical chronicles, the details of the history of this dynasty remain unclear. However, through an investigation of literary works compiled in this dynasty, it is shown for the first time that Īdhaj, where the Hazaraspid court was located, was one of the cultural centers of the Ilkhanid domain, and attracted various scholars. They celebrated Nuṣrat al-Dīn in both prose and poetry, and the following five Persian literary works were compiled under his patronage: 1. Sharaf-i Qazwīnī’s al-Muʻjam fī Āthār Mulūk al-ʻAjam, 2. Sharaf-i Qazwīnī’s al-Tarassul al-Nuṣratīya, 3. Shams-i Fakhrī’s Miʻyār-i Nuṣratī, 4. Hindū-shāh’s Tajārib al-Salaf, and 5. the anonymous Tajārib al-Umam fī Akhbār Mulūk al-ʻAjam wa al-ʻArab. Most of them relate to the history of the ancient Persian dynasties or to the rhetoric of Persian prose and poetry.
In these works, Nuṣrat al-Dīn, who identified himself as a descendant of the legendary Persian Kayanid kings, was celebrated as an ideal ruler who combined the characteristics of an Iranian ruler and an Islamic ruler. While Nuṣrat al-Dīn accepted the suzerainty of the Mongol Ilkhanid dynasty, he justified his local power by emphasizing his character as an Iranian ruler, and patronized cultural activities for this purpose. Thus, the local rulers’ growing awareness of themselves as legitimate Iranian rulers under the Mongol domination contributed to the evolution of Persian literature.
The Turkish Republic has forbidden the activity of Sufi orders (tarikat) since the early years of its founding. However, a certain number of them have continued their activity in the form of cultural organizations or philanthropic foundations, but avoiding identifying themselves as Sufi orders in public. This article aims to show how Sufi orders could survive under these circumstances, by taking the example of the Erenköy group of the Naqshbandi order, one of the most influential Sufi groups in today’s Turkey. To do so, it analyzed the journal of the group, Altınoluk.
The Erenköy group started publishing its monthly journal in 1986 and still continues to do so. For the members of the group, subscribing to the journal is considered to be part of their practice of Sufism, and the journal plays an important role in connecting them with the leader of the group. The journal articles cover both religious and non-religious topics. My analysis revealed that in the late 1990s the journal changed its coverage of non-religious topics. This change coincided with "the 1997 Military Memorandum," the de facto coup against the ruling Islamic party that had come into power the year before. Before 1997, Altınoluk carried numerous articles that criticized current politics. However, after the former Islamic party was banned from politics in 1998, the journal suddenly stopped carrying articles related to politics. Instead, articles related to social services, women, and individual lives started to appear. Especially, since 2000, articles about the social services of its own foundations have been very important for Altınoluk. These changes correspond well with the tendencies in Turkish society, and it seems that the Erenköy group is changing itself along the direction of these social changes.
The reverse of the Uruk Prophecy (W 22307/7) predicts a series of unnamed kings and highlights the removal and the later return of "the protective goddess of Uruk." It is widely accepted that the second king, who will remove the goddess, and the next-to-last one, who will return her, should be identified with Nabu-šuma-iškun and Nebuchadnezzar II respectively, on the basis of other historical sources. There is, however, no consensus about the identification of the kings in between. When addressing this issue, the question of how to interpret the repetition sign KIMIN, which is written five times in line 8, must first be resolved, because on it depends the answer to the question of how many kings are mentioned on the reverse.
Given that the surviving exemplar of the text is presumed to date to the Achaemenid period, this article proposes the following hypotheses: (1) The fivefold KIMIN indicates a succession of five kings, and so the reverse of the text refers to eleven kings in total ; (2) the fivefold KIMIN was not in the original text, but the result of an Achaemenid alteration ; (3) the copyist re-identified king 2 with Nabonidus, who gathered the statues of Babylonian deities, including Ištar of Uruk, to Babylon ; and (4) the copyist replaced the repetition of the same phrase describing a reign of a wicked king with a sequence of the iterative sign KIMIN and changed (probably reduced) the number of reigns by adjusting that of KIMIN in order that kings 3-9 would be identified with Cyrus II, Cambyses II, Darius I, Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, Darius II and Artaxerxes II. Thus, the successor to Artaxerxes II (i.e. king 10) would be the one who would arise in Uruk and restore the city as well as its goddess. If these hypotheses are correct, the Uruk Prophecy was updated during Artaxerxes II's reign to foretell that soon the Achaemenid domination would end and a native Urukaean dynasty be founded.