Brill’s New Pauly Supplements I - Volume 3 : Historical Atlas of the Ancient World

Get access Subject: Classical Studies
Edited by: Anne Wittke, Eckhart Olshausen and Richard Szydlak
This new atlas of the ancient world illustrates the political, economic, social and cultural developments in the ancient Near East, the Mediterranean world, the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic world and the Holy Roman Empire from the 3rd millennium BC until the 15th century AD.

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The Achaemenid Kingdom (6th to 4th cents. BC)

(2,101 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M. | Wiesehöfer, J. | Klinkott, H. | Sommer, M.
The Achaemenid Empire was more than just the first great Persian empire; for under the rule of the Teispids (i.e. the kings before Darius I) and the Achaemenids (from Darius I), it unified for the first time all of the Near and Middle East and then kept it together, mostly in peace. It lasted from c. 550 (conquest of the Median kingdom) until 330 BC, when it was itself conquered by Alexander the Great. The Persians created an exemplary infrastructure comprising a network of roads, a uniform currency, an official language and an efficient and durable administrative system. I. The expansion of…

The Aegean area in the Bronze Age

(1,923 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
Far from separating the nations living on its shores, as is the case today, the Aegean Sea in Antiquity served as a medium of interaction to its coastal communities in Macedonia, Greece and Crete, along the shoreline of Asia Minor and in the Ancient Balkan region in the north. In the Aegean Bronze Age ( c. 2700– c. 1200 BC) and the subsequent Iron Age ( c. 1200– c. 900 BC), cultural assets and ideas spread along the sea routes to such a degree that we can speak of an ‘Aegean koine’, although interpretation of the surviving material and textual sources shows that…

The Ancient Near and Middle East in the 15th to 13th centuries BC

(1,482 words)

Author(s): Novák, M.
The two main maps and the supplementary one attempt to reflect the extremely complex political situation in the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Middle East during the Late Bronze Age ( c. 1500–1200 BC). While map A highlights the circumstances before the destruction of the Mittani kingdom by the Hittites around 1350 BC, map B depicts the constellation which resulted from that event and remained stable until 1200 BC. The subject of the supplementary map is the historical geography of Syria and the Levant, the contact zone between the great empires of the age. I. The Ancient Near and …

The Ancient Near East in the 17th and 16th centuries BC

(1,402 words)

Author(s): Novák, M.
The two maps highlight the political conditions during the ‘Early Babylonian period’. This age, named after a stage in the development of the Babylonian dialect, a variety of the Akkadian language, encompassed the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. It followed on the heels of the fall of the ‘Neo-Sumerian’ kingdom of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur in the 20th cent. BC and ended with the conquest and destruction of the city of Bābilim/Babylon by the Hittites in the late 16th cent. BC. Generally the Earl…

The approximate core areas of distribution of hieroglyphic, cuneiform, alphabetic and syllabic scripts in the Eastern Mediterranean area (c. 12th to 7th cents. BC)

(1,492 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
In the history of writing systems, three different fundamental methods of recording the spoken word have been established: these are – in order of emergence – ideographic, syllabic and phonetic scripts. Any known writing system on this planet, including those of the Ancient World, is bound to use one of these methods or a combination of them, with the phonetic script – including the special case of the mostly oriental consonant script (e.g. Phoenician) – best suited to represent combinations of sounds. The Early Iron Age ( c. 12th to 7th cents.) was chosen as the most suitable era…

The Arsacid kingdom in the 1st and 2nd cents. AD (to AD 224)

(1,917 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
The Parthians, or to use the name of the ruling dynasty, the Arsacids, built a kingdom from the 3rd cent. BC in what is now Iran, taking the place of the Seleucids; it encompassed large parts of Mesopotamia, the south-eastern portion of Central Asia and some adjoining peripheral zones, and it formed the link between the Graeco-Roman world on the one hand and Central Asia (and China) on the other. Many details of its history remain obscure because of the poor state of the sources. The Parthians a…

The Augustan division of Rome and Italy into regions

(1,558 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The term regio, which in augural terminology denoted a section of sky whose dimensions were ascertained by arcane principles, also referred (synonymously with the term tribus) to one of the four urban regions into which the sixth of the Roman kings, Servius Tullius, was said to have divided the area of the city of Rome within the Pomerium. The four original urban regiones were 1. the regio Palatina, 2. the regio Collina, 3. the regio Esquilina and 4. the regio Suburana (see Map C – The 4 tribus urbanae (from the 6th cent BC)). I. Rome In 7 BC, Augustus enacted an administrative reform unde…

The Bosporan Kingdom from the 5th cent. BC to the 1st cent. AD

(1,351 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M. | Posamentir, R.
The so-called Bosporan Kingdom established itself in the mostly Scythian-settled region on the north-eastern shore of the Black Sea (cf. also map C) after the phase of colonization, mostly by Greeks of Asia Minor (perhaps under pressure from the Lydians, later the Persians), from the 7th/6th cents. BC. The kingdom was a union of Greek cities to either side of the Cimmerian Bosporus (Straits of Kerč), on the Chersonesus Taurica (Crimea) and its eastward counterpart the Taman Peninsula, south of the Maeotis (Sea of Azov). The union was under the leadership of Panticapaeum. At first ( c. 480 …

The Byzantine Empire under Basil II (976–1025)

(1,485 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
Under Basil II, a son of Romanus II and an emperor of the Macedonian Dynasty which had ruled since 867, the Byzantine Empire attained a degree of domestic political consolidation that enabled an exercise of power abroad the like of which had not been seen since the reign of Justinian I. Like his brother Constantine VIII, Basil II lived in the shadow of extra-dynastic emperors, Nicephorus II Phocas (963–969) and John I Tzimisces (969–976), following the early death of his father Romanus II in 963. After John Tzimiskes’ death, Basil’s eunuch great-uncle, the parakoimomenos (head of the im…

The Byzantine Empire under the Palaeologi (1261–1453)

(1,929 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The Palaeologi Emperors Michael VIII Palaeologus 1259–1282 Andronicus II Palaeologus 1282–1328 Andronicus III Palaeologus 1328–1341 John V Palaeologus 1341–1391 John VI Cantacuzenus 1341;1347–1354 Michael IX Palaeologus 1294–1320 Andronicus IV Palaeologus 1376–1379 John VII Palaeologus 1390 Manuel II Palaeologus 1391–1425 John VIII Palaeologus 1425–1448 Constantine XI Palaeologus 1449–1453 Rulers of the House of Osman Osman I 1288–1326 Orhan I 1326–1362 Murad I 1362–1389 Beyazid I 1389–1402 Mehmet I 1402–1421 Suleiman 1402–1410 Musa 1411–1413 Murad II 1421–1444; 14…

The Byzantine theme system (7th – 9th cents. AD)

(1,435 words)

Author(s): Winkle, C. | Olshausen, E.
Heraclius (610-641), who acceded on the death of Phocas, would be another emperor who tightened the structures of the Empire and its society anew. And he it was (probably more so than his grandson Constans II (641–668)) who undertook a drastic administrative reorganization: the division of the Empire into military provinces, so-called themata or ‘themes’. The actual meaning of the word thema is disputed. It may have meant a ‘sphere of operations’ for particular army divisions that were transferred to Asia Minor in response to the loss of frontier territories. The themes were governed by s…

The campaigns of Alexander the Great (336–323 BC)

(1,335 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
Having secured the northern (Thrace and up to the Istrus/Danube) and western (southern Illyria) frontiers of Macedonia and put down a revolt in Thebes in 335 BC, Alexander the Great crossed to Asia Minor in 334 as hegemon of the Panhellenic League (Corinthian League) to pursue the war of revenge against Persia which Philip II had declared in the spring of 337 (Diod. Sic. 17,17). No-one, ancient or modern, has been able to determine whether it was his intention from the outset to conquer the Persian Empire. Course of events In 334, after defeating a small satrap army at the Granicus, …

The city of Rome

(670 words)

Author(s): Winkle, C.
The most striking topographical feature of Rome at first glance at this map is its riparian location. This guarantees water in abundance – an advantage which might rapidly have become a disadvantage had not nearby heights (spurs of a tufa plateau) provided refuge. And indeed, these were the first sites of settlement. However, the particular advantage of the location was neither water nor protection from it. It was the position on an important trade route leading from the salt flats at the Tiber …

The conflicts of the Etruscans and West Phoenicians with the Greeks (6th cent. to c. 400 BC)

(2,226 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
While (Western) Phoenicians, Greeks and Etruscans had arrived at an understanding about their areas of settlement and economic spheres of influence in the western and central Mediterranean in the 7th cent. BC, this balance was increasingly disturbed from the 6th cent. onward. The map shows the central Mediterranean region (Tyrrhenian Sea), i.e. the area of contact between the three most powerful trading nations and the theatre of war for the essential military operations from c. 540 BC onward. I. Causes of the conflicts One cause of the conflicts was the expansion of the Greek…

The Delian League (478-404 BC)

(1,571 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
‘Delian League’ (also ‘Attic Symmachy’, in Antiquity: ‘the Athenians and their allies’) is a scholarly term signifying the standing alliance Athens called into being after the Persian Wars of the 5th cent. BC. Nominally it was an Athenianled alliance with the Ionians, though not exclusive of others, and a coalition of – at least for the time being – free and independent members (Thuc. 1,96–97, etc.). It was designed to keep the Persians at bay and to defend the freedom of the Greeks, especially …

The development of the Macedonian Kingdom from the 7th cent. until 336 BC

(1,459 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
Until its final political union under Philip II (360/59–336 BC), the region of Macedon was the contact zone between the non-Greek, Illyrian tribes on the Adriatic coast to the west (separated from Macedon by mountain ranges), the Thracian tribes to the east, the northern regions as far as the Istrus/Danube, and the Greek poleis to the south (also separated by high mountains). Politically speaking, Macedonia rose within just two generations from being little more than a scarcely-noticed peripheral phenomenon in the Greek north to becoming the leadi…

The development of the Roman provinces in Asia Minor (2nd cent. BC to 5th cent. AD)

(1,554 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The bewildering frequency with which provincial frontiers in Asia Minor were moved, new provinces founded and provinces merged only to be separated again clearly betrays both the intractability and the importance of this peninsula to the Roman Empire. It was essential to defend the economic potency of the Anatolian provinces continuously against the covetous Parthians (and, from AD 227, Sassanids) at the Euphrates and Tigris. To do this, it was necessary to secure the military deployment route from the Danube to the Euphrates, which led along the southern shore of the Black Sea. On the …

The development of the Roman provinces in Britain (1st cent. AD – AD 410)

(1,573 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The Romans first crossed the Oceanus Britannicus in 55 and 54 BC under Caesar when he was proconsul of Gaul (see Map Caesar’s proconsulship in Gaul (58 – 50 BC)). Since then Rome had maintained its claim of dominion over the island, but this claim had never been realized in the form of a Roman provincial administration. The islanders had merely been obliged since to pay import and export duties. Plans to subjugate the island, prepared under Augustus, Tiberius and Caligula, would only be implemented under Claudius (AD 41–54). A. Plautius, commanding an army of four legions, won the s…

The development of the Roman provinces in Egypt and Arabia (1st cent. BC – 6th cent. AD)

(1,396 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
I. Aegyptus The annexation of the Ptolemaic heartland as a Roman province took place after Roman forces occupied Alexandria on 1 August 30 BC. Augustus, at the time still bearing the name C. Iulius Caesar Divi filius, commanded this action in his capacity as consul IV and by authority of the oath obliging him to prosecute the war against Cleopatra on behalf of all Italy and the western provinces. Aegyptus was the first province he established, and the act was still, as it were, infused by the spir…

The development of the Roman provinces in Gaul (1st cent. BC – 4th cent. AD)

(1,708 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The map deals with Gaul bounded by the Pyrenaei montes, the Mare internum, the Alps, the Jura, the Rhenus and the Oceanus (cf. table). The overall impression of the territory is conditioned by a plethora of individual landscapes including highlands (Massif Central, Vosegus, Cebenna, Arduenna), plains (basin around Lutecia, plateau of Aquitania) and fracture zones (Rhenus, Rhodanus and Arar, Liger). Agriculture, the basis of ancient settlement, thrives throughout the entire region thanks to good …

The development of the Roman provinces in North Africa (146 BC – AD 395)/Rome’s war against Jugurtha (112–105 BC)

(1,743 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
146–46 BC After the destruction of the city of Carthage in the spring of 146 BC, P. Cornelius Scipio had the seventh Roman province defined by laying down a demarcation line to the Numidian kingdom. This Fossa regia, of which evidence survives in the form of boundary stones, ran from Thabraca in the north-west to Thenae in the south-east. The province was named Africa, probably after the Libyan Afri tribe from the lower reaches of the Muthul (cf. smaller map). The province’s administrative seat was at Utica. 46–40/39 BC After his victory at Thapsus in 46 BC, Caesar created a second …

The development of the Roman provinces in the Levant (1st cent. BC to 4th cent. AD)

(1,605 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
Date Province Event Sources 58 BC Part of province of Cilicia Cyprus organized as province by M. Porcius Cato with propraetorial imperium lex Clodia: Cic. Dom. 52f.; 65; Cic. Sest. 57–60; Liv. Per. 104; Vell. Pat. 2,38,6; 2,45,4f.; App. Civ. 2,23; Cass. Dio 38,30,5; 39,22,2f.; Plut. Cato Minor 34–39; Plut. Brutus 3; Plut. Pompeius 48; Flor. Epit. 1,44; Rufius Festus, Breviarium 13,1; Amm. Marc. 14,8,15; Cilicia: Cic. Fam. 13,48; Cic. Att. 5,21,6 48/47–44 BC Part of Ptolemaic kingdom Given by Caesar to a sister and brother of Cleopatra App. Civ. 5,35; 5,9; Cass. Dio 42,35 44–30 BC Given by A…

The development of the Roman provinces in the northern Balkan Peninsula (1st cent. BC to 4th cent. AD)

(1,564 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
I. The Roman Danube frontier territory from the confluence with the Tisza to the Delta At Singidunum/Belgrade, the abundant Savus/Sava flows into the Danube’s middle reaches from the right and the Pathissus/Tisza from the left. The Danube then leaves the Great Hungarian Plain after the conflux with the Margus/Morava (right tributary) at the municipium of the same name. It now breaks through the barrier of the southern Carpathian Alps in a 130 km section of narrower, faster flow which culminates at the Iron Gates (Serbian Ðerdap, Romanian Porţile d…

The development of the Roman provinces in the southern Balkan Peninsula

(888 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
Some 80 years after establishing their protectorate over parts of Illyricum, the Romans successively established three provinces in the southern Balkans: Macedonia, Achaia and, briefly, Epirus. After the end of the 3rd Macedonian War (see Map Rome’s wars in the east I (214-129 BC)), in 167 BC, the senate charged a ten-man commission under the direction of the proconsul L. Aemilius Paullus with organizing the Macedonian heartlands into four res publicae (Greek merides). Livy (Liv. 45,29,5-9) describes the regional structure of these four merides in detail, but does not allow th…

The development of the Roman provinces of Sardinia, Corsica and Sicilia (3rd cent. BC to 5th/6th cents. AD)

(2,004 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
I. Development of the Roman provinces of Sardinia and Corsica (237 BC – AD 534) Records from Sardinia are far more plentiful and informative. The smaller island of Corsica was always in the shadow of its neighbour. Sardinia was known for its fertility. With Africa, Sicily and Egypt, the island delivered the grain so important to the urban population of Rome. Sardinia was also of economic importance for its ore resources. Corsica, on the other hand, could offer only the products of its forests (timber, resin) a…

The development of the Roman provinces on the Iberian Peninsula (2nd cent. BC – 5th cent. AD)

(1,103 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
Their acquisition of the Iberian Peninsula brought the Carthaginians territories of enormous economic importance. Quite apart from the products of the fertility of the land, mineral wealth was particularly striking, especially in the south, the future Hispania Baetica. Here were precious gems, gold, silver, iron, tin and lead: the makings of an expansive overseas trade. After the Roman victory at Ilipa in 207 BC and the expulsion of the Carthaginians from the Iberian Peninsula (see map The Second Punic War (218 – 201 BC)), the Senate announced its i…

The development of the Roman provinces on the middle Danube (1st cent. BC – 3rd/4th cents. AD)

(2,381 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
I. The Roman Danube frontier from the headwaters to the influx of the Tisza Two great river frontiers framed the Roman Empire to the north at the time of its greatest extent under Trajan (AD 98–117): the Rhine and the Danube. The Danube was navigable by the flat-bottomed barges of internal trade all the way from near its head-waters to the Black Sea. Abundant inflowing Alpine rivers, such as the Hilaria/Iller, Licca/Lech, Isara/Isar and Aenus/Inn, swell the river, and by the time it leaves what was the province of Rhaetia at Batavis/Pa…

The eastern and southern frontiers of the Roman Empire, 1st–3rd cents. AD

(1,932 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
I. The eastern frontier of the Roman Empire, 2nd and 3rd cents. AD Whereas on other imperial frontiers Rome had to defend itself against constantly shifting opponents, the foe in the region covered by this map was clear. Until AD 224 it was the Parthian Arsacids, and thereafter it was the Sassanids (see map The Sassanid Empire (AD 224-651)). This section of frontier was not protected with major fortification structures as in Britain and Germany, and only in places was it marked by river frontiers (the upper reaches of the Euphrates and Tigris and the Chaboras/Ḫabur) ( limes of Asia Minor an…

The eastern Mediterranean and Near East (12th – mid 10th cent. BC)

(1,984 words)

Author(s): Fuchs, A. | Kamlah, J. | Müller-Wollermann, R. | Novák, M. | Wittke, A.-M.
Between c. 1200 and 1150, the Late Bronze Age civilizations and political units in the Aegaean region, in Anatolia, Syria and Palestine were obliterated. The collapse of the political, economic and cultural systems had many causes and happened in different ways in different regions. The evidence is problematic: substantial written sources are available only for Egypt and Assyria. Apart from those we have to rely on linguistic research, later texts and archaeological appraisals. I. The eastern Mediterranean region and the Near East (12th cent. BC; map A) Around 1200 BC, the palace …

The eastern Mediterranean at the time of the Imperium Romaniae (1204–1261)

(1,826 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The Emperors of ‘Romania’ 1204–1261 Baldwin I of Flanders 1204–1205 Henry of Flanders 1206–1216 Peter of Courtenay 1217 Yolanda 1217–1219 Interregnum 1219–1221 Robert of Courtenay 1221–1228 Baldwin II 1228–1261, with John of Brienne 1231–1237 The Great Comneni of Trebizond David I 1204–1214 Alexius I 1204–1222 Andronicus I 1222–1235 John I 1235–1238 Manuel I 1238–1263 Andronicus II 1263–1266 George Comnenus 1266–1280 John II 1280–1284; 1285–1297 Theodora 1284/85 Alexius II 1297–1330 Andronicus III Comnenus 1330–1332 Manuel II 1332 Basilius 1332–1340 Irene Palaeologina 13…

The Eastern Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age (c. 1400–1200 BC) – political and cultural interconnections

(1,368 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
This map focusses on the interaction between the territories settled and culturally dominated by the Mycenaeans, the so-called Mycenaean koine ( c. 1400– c. 1200 BC), and the system of states in the eastern Mediterranean under the hegemony of Ḫattusa and Egypt. On the basis of archaeological evidence and Linear B inscriptions, it traces the development of the Mycenaean koine in Greece and the Aegean region. It also shows its connections with the eastern Mediterranean as evidenced by Mycenaean imports into Asia Minor, …

The economy of the Middle Byzantine Empire

(979 words)

Author(s): Fellmeth, U.
This map presents political and economic conditions at the beginning of the 11th cent., at the zenith of the so-called Macedonian Renaissance. It depicts neither the crises of the 7th - 9th cents nor the slow disintegration of the Empire from the mid 11th cent. From the 7th to the 9th cents., the Byzantine Empire found itself in a profound political, military, demographic and economic crisis. Wide expanses of territory from India to Spain had passed into the hands of the Arabs, who had advanced even as far as Sicily and southern Italy. The…

The Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern concepts of the world

(1,612 words)

Author(s): Müller-Wollermann, R. | Fuchs, A.
I. The world from the point of view of the Egyptian New Kingdom ( c. 1570–1080 BC) (map A) The Egyptian world view was Egyptocentric. Reflecting the culture’s dualism, it centred on the two halves of the country, Ta-Mehu (Lower Egypt or the Nile Delta) and Ta-Shemau (Upper Egypt, i.e. the actual Nile Valley up to the first cataract at Elephantine). Both parts of the country were continuously reunited in the person of the king. This was symbolically represented by the linking of the armorial plants of the two kingd…

The Etruscan core territory: emergence of the Etruscan cities (8th to 7th/6th cents. BC), as well as their heyday and crisis (6th to 4th/3rd cents. BC)

(1,922 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
Among the peoples of ancient Italy it was the Etruscans whose highly developed culture attracted the attention of travellers and scholars at an early stage. They were the only Italic people to be actively involved in overseas trade and despite the problematic state of the sources, their history can still be retraced more clearly than that of the other peoples. The question of their origin and immigration has been the subject of controversy ever since Antiquity (among others Hdt. 1,94; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1,30). The same is true of their ethnogenesis, wh…

The expansion of Rome into Etruria and Umbria up to the lex Iulia (4th cent. to 90/88 BC)

(2,002 words)

Author(s): Köder, M. | Wittke, A.-M.
The map shows significant aspects of Rome’s expansion into the region of the Etruscan and Faliscan cities and the region of Umbrian settlement (which has only recently been the object of closer scholarly attention) in the period from the 4th to the early 1st cents. The beginnings of this process of expansion in the territories of Etruria and Umbria can be traced to the military conflicts (434–396 BC) between Latin Fidenae, Veii’s bridgehead on the Tiber (conquered 426 BC), and Veii itself (conquered 396 BC) on the one hand and Rome on the other. It came to an end de iure with the grant of Roma…

The extent of Mycenaean culture in the Aegean area (17th to 11th cents. BC)

(1,923 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
The Mycenaean civilization has been named after its main site Mykenai/Mycenae, located in the Peloponnesian Argolid. In scholarly usage the term signifies the Late Bronze Age (late 17th–11th cents. BC) civilization of mainland Greece and the continuation of the Minoan palace system across the whole Aegean region under Mycenaean auspices (see map Map A – The Aegean area in the Early Bronze Age (c. 2700-2000 BC) — Map B – The extent of the ‘Minoan Koine’ in the Middle and Late Bronze Age (c. 2200-1400 BC)). Its essential manifestations are the finds and findings at the sites immort…

The First and Second Punic Wars

(1,270 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
These maps deal with the 1st and 2nd Punic Wars, military conflicts in pursuit of primacy in the western Mediterranean fought between Rome and Carthage. Before 264 BC, the relationship between the two powers was one of peaceful coexistence, their respective sphere of influence precisely defined by several treaties (509 BC, several in the 4th cent. BC). However, the situation changed radically with a dispute over the city of Messana on Sicily, a situation which arose above all from Roman expansio…

The first three Crusades (1096–1192)

(1,832 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
A ‘Crusade’ is defined in the narrower sense as a military campaign initiated by the medieval Church against ‘infidels’, i.e. ‘heathens’ and ‘heretics’, but historically it refers to the campaigns of the western Christians aimed at regaining the ‘Holy Land’ between the 11th and 15th cents. Of the numerous campaigns in this latter sense, the map shows those counted by canonical tradition as the first three. However, this numbering should not obscure the fact that there were various other armed pi…

The Germanic successor-states to the Western Roman Empire

(1,808 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
First and Second Burgundian kingdoms Around 413, the Burgundians settled around Borbetomagus/Worms. They retreated before the Huns into Belgica, where they were defeated in 436 by the Roman general Aetius with the help of Hunnic foederati. Aetius settled the survivors as foederati in Sapaudia (modern Savoy) between the Rhône and Lake Geneva in 438. They extended their kingdom into modern Burgundy, but were not in the end able to withstand the Franks. Their last king, Godomar, was defeated in 532 at Divio/Dijon and his realm incorporated into the Frankish kingdom. The Visigothic kingd…

The Greek leagues

(2,395 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M. | Freitag, K.
Forms of political organization transcending the individual polis were already developing in ancient Greece during the Archaic period, c. 700-500 BC, and these are today commonly referred to as ‘leagues’. However, the terms used in ancient sources to refer to these organizations, such as koinon (‘commonwealth’), ethnos (‘people’) or sympoliteia (‘confederacy’, ‘union with interchange of civic rights’), are less specific, and were also used of other ancient forms of association (peoples, tribes, societies). The origins of the leagues are obscure. They are discussed by…

The growth of Christian congregations, 1st-4th cents. AD

(1,847 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
I. Mission From its very earliest beginnings, Christianity was a missionary religion, in accordance with the ‘Great Commission’ of the New Testament (Mt 28: 18–20; Mk 16: 15f.; Jo 20: 21). Paul already planned to expand his missionary activities to Spain (Rom 11,25f.). In the mid 40s, the so-called Convention of the Apostles took place at Jerusalem, and from it came important stimuli for the sending out of missionaries, including Paul (Acts 15; Gal 2: 1–10). However, this does not mean that the wo…

The Hallstatt Culture (c. 800-450 BC)

(2,003 words)

Author(s): Hoppe, T.
At the beginning of the first millennium, vast parts of Europe were characterized by the Late Bronze Age urnfield culture. From it sprang the cultures of the Iron Age, as reflected in the chronological terminology. The Early Iron Age culture, which left a formative imprint on central Europe, is generally divided into two time horizons. Stages Ha A and B, which were still Late Bronze Age, were followed by the Early (stage Ha C; 8th to 7th cents. BC) and the Late Hallstatt cultures (Ha D; 7th to 5…

The Hellenistic kingdoms of Indo-Bactria in the 2nd and 1st cents. BC

(1,433 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M. | Wiesehöfer, J.
The region of Bactria in north-eastern Iran, an old cultural centre of Iranian population with an urban culture that developed at an early stage, was richly endowed by nature (grain, livestock, resources, e.g. gold). Its capital, Bactra, lay on what later became the Silk Road. Another long-distance trade route followed the course of the Oxus and its tributary the Bactrus west to the Caspian Sea. To the south, yet another route — which, despite the difficult passes, had been in use since the 4th …

The Hellenistic world in the 2nd cent. BC

(1,658 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
The 2nd cent. BC was the period during which the Hellenistic world of the eastern Mediterranean came under Roman rule. This came about not so much through a policy of aggression on Rome’s part (in fact, the Romans long sought to avoid involvement in the east, not least because of their commitments in the west, e.g. Punic Wars) as in consequence of the self-seeking prestige politics typically pursued, as throughout the preceding Hellenistic period, by the Hellenistic monarchs and the Greek cities and leagues. Ultimately, Rome established a presence in the Balkans and Asia Minor …

The Hellenistic world in the 3rd cent. BC

(1,538 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
I. Sources and the current state of research The source material on the development and formation of the Hellenistic states of the 3rd century is particularly sketchy for the period from the death of Pyrrhus of Epirus (319/18–272 BC), whose life is included in Plutarch’s collection of biographies, and 220 BC, the starting-point of Polybius’ Histories. All that has survived is some disconnected remarks by various ancient writers, such as the Latin excerpts made by Justin in the 4th cent. AD from a history written in the first cent. AD. There are also…

The Hittite Empire, ‘Ḫattusa’, in the 13th cent. BC

(1,511 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
There is demonstrable proof that as early as the 3rd millennium BC, Hittites were living in the area bordering on the inside of the arc formed by the river Halys. From the end of the 18th cent. BC onwards, they succeeded in creating a territorial state which was already characterized by the specifically Hittite organization of government, in which the king and his clan shared an equal degree of responsibility. The Hittite Empire, particularly the so-called Great Empire (14th/13th cents.), repres…

The Iberian Peninsula and its contacts in the Late Bronze Age and in the Early Iron Age (c. 13th to 7th/6th cents. BC)

(1,094 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
As reflected in Greek myth (the Pillars of Hercules), the cultures in the southwest and along the Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula and its 200 km wide hinterland strip had been trading partners of the contemporaneous high civilizations of the eastern Mediterranean region from the Final Bronze Age. Nevertheless their cultures and the prehistoric cultures of the central plateau and the north-west have only in recent times been accorded appropriate interest in research. The choice of pe…

The imperium Romanum in the reign of Septimius Severus (AD 193–211)

(1,418 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
As a ruler, Septimius Severus was profoundly shaped by his long struggle to gain the throne. Almost four years elapsed from his acclamation as emperor by the Pannonian legions at Carnuntum (where he had resided as legatus Augusti pro praetore of Pannonia superior since 191) in April 193 until his acceptance across the whole empire following his victory over Clodius Albinus at Lugdunum on 19 February 197. The lessons learned during this period made themselves felt in many of his governmental measures. We should always be on our guard …

The kingdoms of the Diadochi (c. 303 BC)

(1,570 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
At his sudden death in 323 BC, Alexander the Great left his empire with no provision for succession. The period leading up to the emergence of the Hellenistic states in the 3rd cent. (272) was thus characterized by many disputes among his ‘successors’ ( diadochoi), his closest companions and officers, who held important offices or received or already held satrapies. The emergence of the kingdoms of the Diadochi can be roughly divided into two phases: a) the four Wars of the Diadochi up to the death of Antigonus Monophthalmus (who had primarily fought to …

The La Tène Culture (c. 450 BC – c. AD 1)

(1,845 words)

Author(s): Hoppe, T.
In the 5th cent. BC, the cultural structure of the Hallstatt period in eastern France and southwest Germany underwent a fundamental change. The majority of the Hallstatt settlement centres, the so-called princely residences, lost their status, being either destroyed or deserted, while formerly subordinate areas north of the previous centres suddenly rose to prominence: the regions along the Marne and the middle reaches of the Rhine, along with Bohemia. Splendid warrior graves, frequently contain…

The limites in Britannia, Germania and Raetia

(1,020 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
In principle, the frontiers of Roman influence were as flexible as any particular neighbour permitted. Hence, the Roman Republic never had any external borders fixed by military installations. During the Principate, as the standing professional army developed, so also did an Empire-wide frontier control system. But this system, too, varied according to geographical, ethnic and political conditions. Some examples illustrate its diversity: • the Vallum Hadriani (Hadrian’s Wall) in Britannia, a defensive rampart and wall with military road (Stanegate) running al…

The Luwian-aramaic principalities c. 900 BC

(1,488 words)

Author(s): Novák, M.
I. Antecedents and genesis The system of Late Bronze Age states that had developed over centuries had collapsed in the 12th cent. BC. Numerous political units like the Great Hittite Empire, the New Kingdom in Egypt and the Middle Babylonian Empire failed to survive the turmoil. Small principalities, too, lost large parts of their territories or disappeared completely. Only Assyria managed to hold on to its status as a great power until the early 11th cent. Then, towards the end of the Middle Assyria…

The organization of the Christian church after the Synod of Chalcedon (AD 451)

(1,697 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
In the 2nd cent., the Christian congregations had moved from collegial leadership by the presbyters – modelled on the structure of authority in the Jewish diaspora communities – to the sole authority of one representative of the congregation, a bishop, who held office by virtue of his auctoritas and dignitas in succession to the Apostles. His sphere of authority usually included a city and the villages and individual farmsteads in its territorium. The first ecumenical synod, at Nicaea (19 June – c. 25 August 325) already acknowledged what had developed since the end of the D…

The ‘Palmyrene Empire’ (AD 250–272)

(1,998 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The Greeks adopted an Egyptian term denoting a depression with fertile soil in the desert, calling it an oasis. Palmyra was such an Oasis. It lies in the heart of the so-called Fertile Crescent (a term coined by the Orientalist James Henry Breasted, 1865–1935), the zone of steppe in what is now Jordan, Israel, the Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, surrounded by highlands (Libanus, Antilibanus, Antitaurus, Zagrus) and suitable for rain-fed agriculture (i.e. without artificial irrigation). This zone forms a semicircular fringe around the northern …

The Peloponnesian War (431– 404 BC)

(1,634 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
The theme of the map is ‘the war between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians’ (Thuc. 1,1,1) which was also called ‘the Peloponnesian War’ in subsequent ancient writings (Ephorus, the Hellenistic chronographers, Diod. Sic. 12,37,2 etc.; Cic. Rep. 3,44). Among scholars this term is also used for the so-called First Peloponnesian War (460/58/57–446), which means that this one would have to be termed the Second Peloponnesian War. It covers the military conflict between Athens and its Delian League …

The Pergamene kingdom of the Attalids (241 to c. 185 BC)

(1,209 words)

Author(s): Strobel, K. | Wittke, A.-M.
The terms ‘Pergamene Kingdom’ and ‘Attalid Kingdom’ denote a region of Asia Minor centred upon the fortified city of Pergamum. Growing steadily from 281 BC, its territory fluctuated considerably in the course of the 2nd cent. Initially a dynastic structure (Philetaerus, Eumenes I) tolerated by the Seleucids, it became a kingdom proper (maps A and B) around 238 BC when Attalus I accepted the title of king (regnal period 241-197). At its period of greatest extent under Eumenes II (197-159 BC, maps C and D) it reached from Thrace to the Taurus Mountains. Its early support of Rome …

The Persian Wars (c. 500–478/449 BC)

(1,385 words)

Author(s): Eder, W. | Wittke, A.-M.
‘Persian Wars’ is a modern umbrella term denoting the attacks by the Achaemenid kings Darius I (522–486 BC) and Xerxes I (486–465 BC) on Greece in the period between the Ionian Revolt ( c. 500–494 BC) and the middle of the 5th cent. The expansion of Persian rule to the European continent (from 513/12 BC) and the concomitant Achaemenid claim to world dominion had put an end to the hitherto peaceful nature of Greco-Persian contacts. The defence of ‘Greek freedom’ against the ‘barbarians’, which was launched by the Ionian Revolt, …

The Phoenician and West Phoenician/Carthaginian world in the western Mediterranean area (9th–2nd cents. BC)

(1,477 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M. | Niemeyer, H.G. | Sommer, M.
Not only does the map cover a lengthy period (9th-2nd cents. BC), but it also brings together two separate phases of Phoenician presence in the western Mediterranean. Firstly, there is the period of early Phoenician settlements, trading posts and agrarian communities initiated and controlled by the Levantine mother-cities, notably Tyre (9th-7th/6th cents.). Secondly, what is conventionally referred to as Punic or Carthaginian foundations, are all the Western Phoenician settlements on the African…

The provinces of the Imperium Romanum from Augustus to Septimius Severus (27 BC to AD 211)

(1,639 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
At the Senate sitting of 13 January 27 BC, the future Augustus (he received this honorific title at the Senate sitting three days later) returned to the Senate and people of Rome all the extraordinary powers he had arrogated or been assigned during the preceding period of civil war. However, the Senate pressed him to reassume at least some of the imperial administration, which he finally consented to do (Cass. Dio 53,12,5–7; 53,13,1; Str. 17,3,25; Suet. Aug. 28; 47). On the basis of an imperium proconsulare, then, he took over the administration of the following nine provinces: 1. Cyprus, a…

The provincial administration of the Roman Empire in the 4th cent. AD

(1,243 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The provincial administration of the Roman Empire in the 4th cent. AD The entire Roman Empire was administratively reshaped under the rule of the emperors Diocletian (284–305) and Constantine I (306–337) and their successors. One of the reforms implemented by these emperors concerned the subdivision of the civil administration of the Empire into praefecturae under praefecti praetorio, dioeceses under vicarii and provinciae under praesides. The division of the Empire into dioeceses began under Diocletian; the praefecturae were a creation of Constantine’s. He removed the…

The Roman Empire in the Civil War, 44-30 BC

(2,080 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
I. On 27 November 43 BC, on the basis of the lex Titia, the proconsuls M. Aemilius Lepidus and M. Antonius (Mark Antony), with C. Julius Caesar Octavianus (‘Caesar the Younger’), who had been elected consul suffectus on 19 August of that year, were equipped with consular imperium for five years, i.e. until the end of 38 BC, and charged with the task of reconstituting the commonwealth ( triumviri rei publicae constituendae). In this function, they decreed sweeping proscriptions (to which Cicero was among those who fell victim, on 7 December 43), chose 18 Italian tow…

The Roman Empire in the Civil War 49–45 BC

(2,080 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The causes and provocations of wars have been a constant subject of lively discussion since Thucydides, and the Civil War brought about by Caesar is no exception. One crucial cause of this war was probably the circumstance that Caesar ran the risk, in his confrontation with opponents in the Senate and with Pompey, of losing his political identity and with it his dignitas. However, the war was provoked by the senatus consultum ultimum issued by the Senate on 7 January 49 BC, which aimed at forcing the proconsul to relinquish his army. Caesar reacted to this as close …

The Roman Empire under Justinian (527–565)

(1,887 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
Justin I (518-527) prepared his nephew Justinian well for government, and he duly acceded on his uncle’s death. Justinian (527–565) made the most of his long reign with energy and stamina. Justinian is one of many to suffer from the tendency of the Thucydidean historiographical tradition to focus on foreign policy and the military aspects of government, while doing insufficient justice to achievements in internal government. His efforts in pursuit of an orderly fiscal policy, administrative and legal reforms ( Corpus iuris civilis) and the unification of the Orthodox Church (…

The Roman Social War (91 – 87 BC)

(1,591 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
This war grew out of a revolt within the Roman alliance system ( bellum Marsicum, bellum Italicum, bellum sociale). In the main, it was the Italic socii of central and southern Italy who fought the Romans, and their real purpose was to obtain Roman citizenship for all the Italic peoples. It is possible that some Italic groups were also striving for complete independence from Rome (according to Mouritsen, it was their intention to win more participation in the process of political governance). The conflict had long been brewing, fuelled by the Italic peoples’ gr…

The Sassanid Empire (AD 224–651)

(1,735 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
I. Political developments 1. The relationship with Rome The homeland of the Sassanids, who were named after their dynastic founder Sāsān (Sassan), was the territory of Pārsa (Greek Persis) north of the Persian Gulf, more precisely, the city of Staḫr. The connection between Sāsān and Papak, the father of the kingdom’s founder, Ardashir I, is unclear. The royal history of the Sassanids, the dynasty as well as the Iranians and Persians living in its empire, really begins with Ardashir’s elevation to Prince of Staḫr early in the 3rd cent. AD. Ardashir asserted himself in a revolt against…

The six Syrian Wars (275/74 –168 BC)

(1,769 words)

Author(s): Wittke, A.-M.
Modern scholarship uses the term ‘Syrian Wars’ to denote the group of six conflicts that took place from 275/274 to 168 BC between the Ptolemies and Seleucids, over possession of southern Syria. The initial cause was the state of occupation following the partition of the kingdom of Antigonus in 301 BC. Seleucus I gave southern Syria, which had been allocated to him, to his ally Ptolemy I, who had recently (302/01) conquered the territory; however, Seleucus did not give up his claim to it (Diod. …

The so-called Batavian Revolt and the Roman civil war of AD 69/70

(1,705 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The events we generally refer to as the Batavian Revolt probably began as aspects of the civil war which broke out in the wake of the death of the Emperor Nero, only gradually taking on the character of a full-scale revolt of Germanic and Gaulish tribes against Roman rule as matters unfolded. Nero was forced to take his own life on 9 June AD 68. The brief reign of his successor Galba, who was never equal to his position – particularly in view of his lack of understanding of the political power games surrounding the throne – ended with his murder …

The territorial development of the Imperium Romanum in the Republican Period

(2,575 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The map shows the development of the Roman Empire in 19 chronological steps, marked in the legend and commentary with the years in which the expansions took place. Date Province Sources 241 BC Sicilia, western part Pol. 3,27,2; App. Sic. 2,4; Oros. 4,11,2 237 Sardinia et Corsica Pol. 1,88,8–12; Liv. 21,1,5; 21,40,5; 22,54,11; Fest. 430,14–20 229 Illyrian protectorate App. Ill. 21 f. 210 Kingdom of Syracuse incorporated into the province of Sicilia Liv. 26,40 206 Hispaniae, all of Sicilia App. Ib. 152; Liv.25,31,5; 25,40,4; cf. 31,31,8 148 Macedonia Flor. Epit.1,30; 1,32 146 Achaea inco…

The three Roman wars against Mithridates VI (89–85, 83/82, 74–63 BC)

(2,063 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
I. The 1st Mithridatic War (89–85 BC) From the outset, Mithridates VI pursued the same path as his grandfather, Pharnaces I, and his father, Mithridates V, in conducting a policy characterized by aggressive diplomacy and military intervention. This won him dominion of the Bosporan kingdom in 115/14, then protectorship of the trading cities on the north-western coast, from Olbia to Apollonia. In Asia Minor, he won Colchis and Armenia on the right bank of the Euphrates and eastern Paphlagonia in 104/03. …

The unification and expansion of the Arabs under the first four caliphs (632–661)

(1,243 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
The first four caliphs, successors of Muḥammad (d. 632): ʿAbdallāh Abū Bakr (632–634) ʿUmar ibn al-Ḫaṭṭāb (634–644) ʿUtmān ibn ʿAffān (644–656) ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib (656–661) Muḥammad met such resistance to his doctrine in Makka/Mecca, the town of his birth, that he emigrated with his followers in 622, after long preparations, to the oasis city of Yaṭrīb, subsequently al-Madīna (‘City [of the Prophet]’), where he had engendered great hopes as a mediator in the conflicts between various Arab tribes of the region. To bring some degree of economic independence, he carried out a nu…

The world through the eyes of ancient authors

(1,555 words)

Author(s): Olshausen, E.
Information about cartography in the Graeco-Roman world has come down to us from a number of ancient writers, but there are only a few rare cases of actual maps surviving, and even those have only been preserved in fragmentary form. In the present context the ongoing debate about the scope and purpose of these maps will have to be be put aside, as the focus is on the geographical world picture that emerges – i.e. can be reconstructed – from these maps and from what can be derived – i.e. can be reconstructed – from their portrayal in the writings of the ancients. The use of the term ‘reconstructio…
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