The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten  -  Institut néerlandais du Proche-Orient

Book Specifications
col. 227-464 pp.

Bibliotheca Orientalis LXXIV, 3/4 (2017)

2017  |  BiOr Volume 74 3/4 ISSN: 0006-1913


R. van Walsem — Ancient Egyptian Art as a multi-dimensional innovative information system: Egyptological facts and fallacies – pride and prejudice

The book under review contains 27 chapters or essays by specialists on particular subjects (each consisting of a main text, followed by a Guide for further reading and concluded by (bibliographical) References), distributed over six “Parts”: Methodological Approaches, Materials and Mediums, Concepts in Art, Interconnections with the Larger World, Reception of Ancient Egyptian Art in the Modern World, and Technology and Interpretation. Only the editor has written two chapters (nos. 3 on Style and 11 on Sculpture). The contributions are preceded by the Table of contents, Notes on contributors, a Foreword (David O’Connor), a Preface (Melinda Hartwig), Acknowledgments, Lists of Abbreviations, Illustrations and Plates (10 colour plates between pp. 273-274), Chronologies of Egyptian kings and Kushite rulers and, finally, three Maps. The book is concluded by an Index (pp. 545-573).

The review starts with a systematic and concise discussion and review of each contribution. Reading this texts first will make the reader aware of certain issues, mentioned in the review article’s title, and prepare the way for a better following of the core discussions and arguments in the Miscellaneous remarks and observations, immediately following this survey (cols. 31-38), where an innovative approach of considering art primarily as an information system of several dimensions is advocated. Although there are several leads for this approach in certain chapters, nowhere the consequences are systematically drawn, neither concerning its inherent dynamism and sensitivity for change(s). A certain overlap and/or repetitiveness between these two text parts is unavoidable.

Y. Cohen — An Assyrian Teacher at Ugarit? A New Reading of the Colophon of Šimâ Milka (“Hear the Advice”) from the Maison aux Tablettes

This article presents a new reading of the colophon of the wisdom composition named Šimâ Milka found at Ugarit. It argues that the teacher of the student who copied the manuscript was called Aššur-rešī-išši and that he was probably an Assyrian present at the city, active in the archive of the Maison aux Tablettes. Discussion will also be given to the student's name and title as well as to the identity of the deity behind the logogram DPAP.PAP.

J.K. Weststeijn — Blood on the Wedding Bed. The Capture of Troy, Agamemnon’s Murder, and the Arabic Story of al-Zīr as Variants of the “Avenging Bride” Tale Type

A number of modern Arab thinkers have compared the Story of al-Zīr, a little-known Arabic folk epic, with accounts of the Trojan War and the Oresteia. After dealing with the pitfalls of comparing stories from different cultures, I argue for criteria to distinguish between weak and strong parallels, and then analyse the similarities between the story of Jalīla, that constitutes the first part of the Story of al-Zīr, and the Graeco-Roman stories of Helen’s abduction and Clytemnestra’s murder of Agamemnon. Such a comparative approach, based on the method of folktale studies, sheds new light on a number of much-discussed elements from the story of Clytemnestra, such as “blameless Aegisthus” (Odyssey 1.29), Agamemnon’s minstrel, and the purple fabric and “bathtub” that figure as stage props in the Oresteia.

Book reviews and announcements

Egyptologie, Grieks-Romeins Egypte, Assyriologie, Hettitologie, Semitica, Oude Testament, Syriaca, Archeologie, Arabica, Iranica, Turcica, Varia.


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