The Netherlands Institute for the Near East

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

Book Specifications
col. 211-436 pp.

Bibliotheca Orientalis LXXX, 3/4 (2023)

2023  |  BiOr Volume 80 3/4 ISSN: 0006-1913


Bietak, M. — Violence in Ancient Egypt: Comments on a Recent Publication

State authorities in antiquity and even now, who aspire to dominate foreign enemies and their own people, work through intimidation, including the threats of killing, torture, mutilation, execution, incarceration, and forced labour. The book reviewed in this article provides a detailed overview of the abovementioned methods in Egypt during the New Kingdom. The sources are texts in tombs, papyri, temple walls, and displays of war scenes in relief with the king as the foremost of the victorious warriors. Another theme in the book is how to deal with evildoers. The illustrations depicted in the netherworld guidebooks in the Royal Tombs of the New Kingdom may provide some insight into this subject. A different presentation of the osteological evidence, obtained in Egypt and Nubia, however, would have improved coherence with the abovementioned sources.

Keetman, J. — Die Zame Hymne und der Herrschaftsanspruch von Uruk-Kulaba

In this review article to the pioneering interpretation of the so called “Zame Hymns” by Krebernik and Lisman we argue that the text is better seen as only one hymn, not as a collection of hymns. We suggest that this hymn, which was found in Tell Abū Ṣalābīḫ was most probably composed in Uruk, except the last part concerning Lisi(n). The text is promoting the narrative that the En of Uruk-Kulaba is the predominant or only legitimate ruler. The historical framework is supposed to run as follows: Kiš ruled indirectly using Šuruppak for the coordination of the south. The so called “Ki’engi League” is a misnomer for this form of control. Kiš and Šuruppak were destroyed as a result of a revolt of Uruk. Uruk was later defeated by Ur. But rulers of Uruk tried several times again to unite the territory of later Babylonia under their rule. There are indeed indications that the texts from Tell Abū Ṣalābīḫ were written after the destruction of Šuruppak and that Uruk had a direct influence in Tell Abū Ṣalābīḫ. Another text from Tell Abū Ṣalābīḫ, IAS 329, IAS 388 tells the same narrative about the mythical predominance of the En of Kulaba.

Wasserman, N. and N. Madrer — Of Monkeys and Squirrels

This paper suggests that the fanciful description of the cheery, raucous monkeys of the Cedar Forest that amaze Gilgameš and Enkidu is a literary projection of a very real native of the mountains of Lebanon: the Caucasian squirrel (Sciurus anomalus). This animal would have been unfamiliar to Mesopotamians and its appearance and behavior would have reminded them of small monkeys. Support for artistic representation of the Caucasian squirrel can be found on some Syro-Levantine seals that feature a monkey-like figure, which is most plausibly identified with the squirrel.

Stadel, C. — Remarks on Samaritan Aramaic Religious Poems from Late Antiquity

Samaritan Aramaic literature comprises the earliest distinctly Samaritan texts and is our only source for assessing the religious ideas and practices of the Samaritans in the Byzantine period, when they formed a substantial part of the population of Palestine. A corpus of some 50 Aramaic poems is of particular importance, since it constitutes part of the Samaritan liturgy until the present day. These texts have been available in critical editions thanks to the work of Arthur Ernest Cowley and Zeev Ben-Ḥayyim, but they have not been studied much because of their difficult language. Laura Suzanne Lieber’s book provides English translations of these poems that supersede earlier renderings. This article offers an assessment of Lieber’s work as well as corrections to her translations and remarks on linguistic and other aspects of the poems.

Dalley, S. — Postscript to S. Dalley, Babylon: Some Problems with Evidence (BiOr LXXIX 5/6 (2022): 427-445

Book reviews and announcements

Faraonisch Egypte, Christelijk Egypte, Assyriologie, Semitisch, Oude Testament, Manicheïsme, Archeologie, Islam



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