Thursday, February 1, 2024

On the Way in Upper Mesopotamia. Travels, Routes and Environment as a Basis for the Reconstruction of Historical Geography

Otto, Adelheid and Ziegler, Nele (eds.)
[thumbnail of ElF-III_BBVO_30_ OpenAccess.pdf]

  Berliner Beiträge zum Vorderen Orient, Vol. 30. Gladbeck: PEWE Verlag.

Itineraries and route descriptions are among the most outstanding sources for the reconstruction of historical geography. The stages mentioned in texts make it possible to determine the ancient road network in interdisciplinary cooperation between philology and archaeology and to identify ancient toponyms with archaeologically proven settlements dated by excavation or survey. However, routes are rarely the shortest way from A to B, but were always determined by certain parameters: What did the landscape that was travelled through look like? Where was water for travellers and pack animals accessible and where could rivers be crossed? How did travellers adapt to the seasonal conditions? And where did they find safe accommodation if there was no settlement?

This volume brings together the answers of international experts from various disciplines. In the first part, the general conditions of vegetation, weather, water resources and general requirements for routes and travelling are discussed in five contributions by K. Deckers & M. de Gruchy, H. Reculeau, E. Cancik-Kirschbaum and A. Dietz. Furthermore, IT methods that allow knowledge modelling of itineraries are presented by C. Cruz and M. Poncet.

The second part deals with selected itineraries in Upper Mesopotamia during the Middle and Late Bronze Age. A. Tenu, J.-L. Montero Fenollós & Francisco Caramelo present a new Middle Assyrian route stage, and D. Charpin reconstructs Zimri-Lim’s route from the Habur to the Euphrates. N. Ziegler, A. Otto & C. Fink present a new edition of the Old Babylonian „Road to Emar“, the most elaborate travel description of Mesopotamian written documentation, and achieve an advanced reconstruction of the route and the identification of various ancient toponyms, above all of Šamši-Adad’s capital city Ekallatum

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