Big Buildings – Big Architecture? (B-2-3)

Research project

A striking characteristic of many ancient Near Eastern buildings is their vastly oversized dimensions. Based on examples of early monumental buildings in Uruk (Southern Iraq, late 4th to late 3rd millennium BC) and on the Roman Temple of Jupiter at Baalbek (Lebanon), the project involved the quantification of expenditures for building materials and organization, as well as the translation of the results to terms of economy. These examples contributed to the discussions of research group (B-2-) XXL – Monumentalized Knowledge on the definition of monumentality at various times and in diverse parts of the world, the addressees, and the implicit conceptions of space.

Monumentality as Policy (B-2-2)

Research project

This project investigated the function(s) of oversized building projects in the Ancient Near East. Research was conducted into the logistical and economical  aspects involved in implementing large-scale building projects and references the cuneiform archives of the 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC and the monumental expansion of the city of Babylon that took place under the reign of king Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC).

Diffusion of Science (D-1-5)

Research project

In this project the transformation and diffusion of ancient science was investigated with a focus on two key periods of change: a formative period, 400330 BC, during which mathematical astronomy developed in Babylonia; a subsequent expansive period, 330 BCE–500 AD, during which there was a marked increase in the exchange of scientific knowledge and practices between Babylonia and its neighbouring cultures in the eastern Mediterranean region.

Organisation of Ancient Science (D-1-4)

Research project

This project was concerned with organisational, practical and other contextual aspects of scholarship in Babylonia, Greece, the Greco-Roman world and Egypt during the period 600 BCE – 400 AD. Scholarly communities and their relation to the temples and other institutions are investigated on the basis of textual, archival and archaeological evidence. The practical applications of astronomy, astrology, geography and medicine and the mutual relations between these scholarly disciplines are explored.

Empirical Knowledge in Antiquity (D-1-3)

Research project

The aim of this project was to analyse empirical procedures and observational practices in selected natural sciences of the first Millennium BCE in Mesopotamia (astronomy, medicine, flora).

Causal reasoning (D-1-2)

Research project

This project investigated how natural phenomena in different realms of nature (celestial, medical, terrestrial) were interpreted as signs, and how the notion of natural sign changed in Babylonia and Greece, as evidenced by innovations in various textual corpora including Babylonian astronomical diaries, predictive astronomical methods (e.g. the Babylonian Goal-Year method and mathematical astronomy) and contemporaneous developments in astrology, other fields of divination and medicine. The main aims of the project were A: To establish a methodology of signs and its connection to modern concepts of causal reasoning; B: To map how theories underlying the interpretation of signs were actually used in various fields of reasoning.

Mathematical astronomy in Babylonia (D-1-1)

Research project

In this project various operational, mathematical, astronomical, conceptual and theoretical aspects of Babylonian mathematical astronomy were investigated. Babylonian mathematical astronomy comprises about 440 cuneiform tablets and fragments from the Achaemenid, Seleucid and Parthian eras of the Late Babylonian period (400-50 BCE). The tablets were found in Babylon and Uruk, two main centers of Babylonian science.

Peutinger Map (C-5-7)

Research project

This research project investigated the Tabula Peutingeriana from the perspective of the “common sense geography”, theory jointly developed by Topoi research group (C-5) Common Sense Geography. With regard to the significance of this source it is surprising that an academic commentary had not been provided yet.