The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

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

Book Specifications
col. 465-690 pp.

Bibliotheca Orientalis LXXIV, 5/6 (2017)

2017  |  BiOr Volume 74 5/6 ISSN: 0006-1913

In Memoriam

In Memoriam Dr. E.J. van Donzel

by J.J. Roodenberg, R.E. Kon


L. Depuydt — The Science and the Medicine of the Ancient Egyptians: A Synopsis

This is a survey of the science and medicine of the ancient Egyptians in light of the primary sources. Only fields of learning represented in some kind of systematic way in the primary sources are deemed worthy of mention. In that regard, it seemed inappropriate to discuss the zoology, the botany, the chemistry, the architecture, etc., etc., of the ancient Egyptians. No doubt the Egyptians had some notion of the types of knowledge on which these subjects focus. But no systematic treatment of any of the subjects survives in the extant sources and none probably ever existed. In fact, even the few domains treated in the present survey are for the most part not quite scientific but rather prescientific. Then again, the prescientific is a necessary and organic step on the road to science and therefore an indispensable part of a comprehensive history of science. The present survey was originally commissioned by – and completed – ten to fifteen years ago for a planned Oxford Handbook of Egyptology. It would have been a good place for this text. But plans for publication unfortunately did not materialize and publication did not seem forthcoming. When the go-ahead finally happily came about a few weeks ago, the present text had just been rerouted to its present location in the spring of 2017. The text below still reflects the state of affairs of early 2017. Meanwhile, the author is happy to be able to put his own comprehensive spin on a subject that has occupied him off and on over the past three decades or so in teaching and writing.

N.N. May — The Vizier and the Brother. Sargon II’s Brother and Vizier Sīn-aḫu-uṣur and the Neo-Assyrian Collateral Branches

It is now firmly established that Sargon II’s brother Sīn-aḫu-uṣur was also his vizier (sukkallu). He was the addressee of many letters written by the subjects of the Empire. He appears on a number of contemporary documents. The present study demonstrates that the correspondence of Sargon’s brother and vizier, together with some historical documents, shows that Sīn-aḫu-uṣur was ruling Babylonia on behalf of his brother, the king. The paper will further analyse the spheres of the king’s brother's involvement in the state affairs. The article investigates the extraordinary status and functions of the sukkallu of Sargon, who restored the grandeur of this office based on the Middle Assyrian precedent especially for his brother. The author further explores Ḫarrān as the seat of the collateral royal family members and the role of the precedent of the Middle Assyrian dynasty of sukkallus, the kings of ḪaniGALbat, in the ideology of the Sargonids. Lastly, I will argue that the relationship between Sargon and Sīn-aḫu-uṣur served a model for Esarhaddon in his division of power between his two sons and heirs, Assurbanipal and Šamaš-šumu-ukīn.

M. Dillo — A diplomatic approach to the Hieroglyphic Luwian ASSUR letters: their close relationship and consecution

The lead strips found in Assur with Hieroglyphic Luwian writing have been identified as six letters from the late 8th century BCE, addressed to different merchants. They also express a connection with Karkamiš. Despite this however, too little is still understood about the contents of the letters due to the large number of unknown words. By using the diplomatic method which examines both the extrinsic and intrinsic characteristics of the source text, a distinction as well as a close relationship between the letters can be established, providing greater insight into their genesis and meaning. Four letters (a, e, c, f+g) are directed to three different firms, one of which at least is located in Karkamiš. The senders of these letters are ‘travelling agents’ affiliated to the firm led by the addressees of letter f+g. The connection between this letter and letter e surprisingly appears to have consequences for the identity of Pihami, the addressee of letter e. He must be considered to be the anonymous associate, referred to as the addressee in letter f+g. From the other group of two letters (b, d), Parniwarri, the recipient of letter b, can be identified as his namesake the amurallura/i-, named in letter f+g. His title is interpreted here as “chief of the dogmen.” It can further be concluded that letter b is most probably a ‘supplement’ to letter d. Finally, the region where the sender Taksala and partner were active may be sought in Cilicia.

Book reviews and announcements

Faraonisch Egypte, Assyriologie, Hettitologie, Semitica, Oude Testament, Archeologie, Arabica, Ethiopisch/Islam


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