Acta Orientalia Belgica XXXII - DÉTAILS

AOB XXXII | La mer, les ports, les marins dans les civilisations orientales - 2019, xxviii + 283 pages

La mer, les ports, les marins dans les civilisations orientales
Pauline VOÛTE et Robert DONCEEL in honorem

Édité par

Christian CANNUYER

Avec le soutien de

Groupe de Recherche sur les Traditions Religieuses du Proche-Orient – FacultĂ© de ThĂ©ologie de Lille - Centre d'Ă©tudes orientales - Institut Orientaliste de Louvain (CIOL), Louvain-la-Neuve - SolidaritĂ©-Orient/Werk voor het Oosten (Bruxelles)

Illustration de couverture

Monnaie phĂ©nicienne frappĂ©e Ă  Sidon vers 430 av. J.-C. GalĂšre de guerre avec un rang de soldats armĂ©s d’un bouclier. BNF Paris.


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p. vii - PAULINE VOÛTE ET ROBERT DONCEEL. Notices biobibliographiques


p. xxvii - Marc MALEVEZ, DĂ©borah Moine (1981-2017)


p. 3 - Apolline-Marie HUIN, Quelques créatures fantastiques des mers proche-orientales dans les mythologies mésopotamienne, gréco-romaine et judéo-chrétienne

Ancient mythologies filled the seas with usually monstrous and threatening creatures. Allegories of an unfathomable and unpredictable element, the monsters of Mesopotamian, Greco-Roman or Judeo-Christian narratives were metaphors for the fears of the most seasoned travelers and sailors. Ancient myths describe several categories of entities: original devouring deities (like Tiamat, the primordial Babylonian goddess, as well as keto, a Greek female monster); Leviathan or other giant fishes described in the Bible, less ferocious but just as feared; and finally, various sirens, winged or scaly, malicious in the Greek tradition but civilizing in the Sumerian one. Finally, the Winds, which fly over the waves, are mentioned in narratives which often present them as being dangerous as well, by virtue of their power or their absence.

p. 15 - Christian CANNUYER, Ouadj-our, « le Grand Vert » pour les nuls. Bref regard sur une controverse égyptologique

This article aims at presenting to the non-Egyptologist reader the controversy about the meaning of the term ouadj our, generally translated as ‘‘sea’’ by dictionaries. For several decades, Claude Vandersleyen defended the idea that ouadj our is a name for the nile, its green valley and the Delta. but it never means the sea. The essence of this thesis is indisputably true. but in the Middle and the new kingdom we have at least three occurrences of ouadj our, where it probably designates the Red sea. There was an extension of meaning probably due to the Egyptians embarking at the port of Mersa gaouasis, on the coast of the Red sea, to sail to Punt. in the Hellenistic period, the same semantic extension will transfer the name of ouadj our to the Mediterranean, but in only two documents. These bizarre exceptions are extremely rare and do not compromise the validity of Vandersleyen’s thesis: ouadj our is almost always the nile and its green valley.

p. 31 - Claude OBSOMER, Les ports de la mer Rouge et l'expédition de Sésostris ler vers Pount

Description of the three intermittent red sea ports in activity during the Old and the middle kingdom of egypt. New translation and in-depth study of the documents from the reign of sesostris i that were found in Wadi Gawasis by Abdel monem sayed, in order to reconstruct the stages of the expedition to Punt organized under this reign.

p. 59 - Jacques VANSCHOONWINKEL, La mer et sa représentation dans le monde égéen

the inhabitants of the Cyclades and the Cretans are islanders and the sea was a major asset for them. the sea thus was very present in their civilizations of the Bronze Age. it was an important source of inspiration for the artists. the marine fauna supplied diverse iconographic motives to decorate vases, wall-paintings, etc. the halieutic activity is also present in the Aegean arts. Moreover, the artistic testimonies deliver us numerous types of ships. Finally, rarer and more completely original, some seascapes were preserved.

p. 75 - Justine HENRY, Les rameurs mycéniens : étude du terme e-re-ta dans les tablettes de Pylos

four texts of the an series at Pylos, all found within the so called “archives Complex”, mention the mobilization of several e-re-ta. this word is an agent noun in Mycenaean Greek and means “rower”. if we still don’t fully understand the reason behind this labor mobilization, the texts at our disposal show that the obligation to provide service as a rower was most probably linked to landholding. this papers offers an analysis of the different attestations of the word in these four tablets and underline the elements that suggests that the status of rower is to be understood as a service accomplished in compensation of the possession of a delimited land rather than as a profession.

p. 85 - Hamid MOEIN, The "Forbidden" Maritime Journey of the Zoroastrians

The Zoroastrians are the followers of the Mazdean religion, a millenary Iranian religion that has the creator god ahura Mazda as the central figure and whose prophet was Zarathustra. one of the most important aspects of this religion is the extreme emphasis that is placed on the purity laws and how their religious authorities go to great lengths to provide detailed purifications laws for very specific situations. one of the most impure entities in the world is considered to be “dead matter” and consequently anything that comes into contact with it. amongst the long list of impurities in the world there is also seawater due to its pollution. Therefore, based on this belief travelling by sea has often been regarded as impure. after the fall of the Persian empire, Islam gradually replaced Zoroastrianism as the state religion. as a result, a large number of Zoroastrians immigrated to India, escaping religious persecution and settled there. This mass exodus is believed to have taken place by sea. The present paper briefly explores the circumstances of this journey taking into account the extent of its prohibition.

p. 91 - Florence SOMER GAVAGE, Le déluge selon le traité astrologico-apocalyptique des Ah.kam ï Jamasp

The Ahkām ī Jāmāsp is an unpublished text; it is both an apocalyptic and an astrological treatise attributed to Jāmāsp, a Zoroastrian wise man and astrologer whose originality lies in the use of the theory of planetary conjunctions and his astrological knowledge in elaborating a mythical and cyclic conception encompassing the history of world religions. This particularity allows the anonymous author to describe the past, the present and the future, based on the movement of the celestial bodies. However, one particular detail – his diluvial eschatology - underlines the structural and historical differences between the Ahkām ī Jāmāsp and other texts and tales attributed to the wise astronomer.

p. 105 - Jean-Marie VERPOORTEN, L'océan dans le canon bouddhique

In the Buddhist Canon, the composition of which extends over several centuries, the word ‘‘ocean’’ (samudda, sāgara etc.) is rare and occurs symbolically to qualify the endless calamities of the human existence, f.i. the ocean of pain, the ocean of craving leading to rebirth, etc. In that use, ‘‘ocean’’ is sometimes replaced by the word ogha, ‘‘flood’. The ocean too appears in a meditative exercise (kasiṇa) in which the monk tries to enlarge his imagination from a glass of water up to the whole ocean. We must wait several centuries before meeting an eye witness of the ocean. In a famous work, the Milindapañha (c. 150 BC), a discussion takes place between the king milinda (menander in greek) in power in Northern Punjab and a famous monk Nāgasena. The king claims that he has seen the ocean.

p. 111 - Virginie PREVOST, Des haouanet puniques aux ksour médiévaux : des bateaux dans les montagnes tunisiennes

the ksour and mosques of the southern tunisian mountains, whose architecture is still very much influenced by the former presence of the Ibadis, contain astonishing figurations of boats. some researchers have estimated that they illustrate historical events, others have given them eschatological significance. these two hypotheses of interpretation, discussed in this article, do not seem convincing to us. It seems that these boats, which are most often associated with Berber apotropaic signs, should rather be understood as evidence of the link between the mountain dwellers and the islanders of Djerba, who have shared for centuries the same Ibadi faith and the same Berber customs.

p. 127 - Julien DECHARNEUX, La navigation dans le Coran : entre Psaumes et topai tardo-antiques

This article analyzes two specific themes related to ships, sailors, and seafaring in the Quran in light of biblical and parabiblical literatures, especially psalms. The first part of the article deals with the seemingly odd Quranic inclusion of a boat within lists of cosmic signs that testify God’s beneficence. after having disambiguated the meaning of these verses, we suggest that pericopes enumerating God’s signs are tightly connected to the beginning of Psalm 104. The second part of the article engages with various pericopes describing sailors experiencing a storm at sea. We show that this story finds its roots in Psalm 107 in which a similar “storm narrative” is told and which was interpreted in late antique Christianity as an allegory of the Church. finally, we suggest that this alleged link between the Quran and the Psalms has far-reaching implications as regards to our understanding of the Quran’s historical context.

p. 143 - Johannes DEN HEIJER, Alexandrie et quelques autres villes portuaires Ă  l'Ă©poque fatimide (969-1171)

This article examines how the Mediterranean Sea and some of its port cities, and particularly Alexandria, are described in a number of Arabic sources on the Fatimid caliphate of al-Mustanṣir Billāh (1036-1094 CE) and the vizirate of the powerful military dictator Badr al-Ǧamālī (1074- 1094). Badr’s arrival at the port of damietta, from Akko, with a fleet of a hundred vessels, is the topic of the first passage, by the great 14th -15th century historian al-Maqrīzī which is compared with a passage from the History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria, by the Coptic merchant and notable Mawhūb b. Manṣūr b. Mufarriǧ (11th c.) of Alexandria. The second episode is that of the Alexandrian rebellion by Badr al-Ǧamālī’s son al-Awḥad in 1084, on which an Arabic inscription from Alexandria is compared with a passage by the historian Ibn Muyassar (d. 1278), and another passage from the History of the Patriarchs of Alexandria. Two more passages from this latter text are studied next: one on the anti-Fatimid uprising led by nāṣir al-dawla b. Ḥamdān who had his stronghold in Alexandria, and one on Mawhūb’s own cross-Mediterranean trade network which linked him to the port of Almería in Spain.

p. 153 - Jean-Charles DUCÈNE, Se prémunir du naufrage, le décrire et le gérer dans l'islam médiéval

The shipwreck and its fear belong to the medieval muslim maritime life that sought protection against them in the religious and magical intercessions. unfortunately, when the incident took place, it must to tell it and legally to treat it.

p. 169 - Jan M.F. VAN REETH, Entre l'Égypte et la Chine : la mer d'Arabie, une Mare Nostrum iranienne

Since time immemorial, international maritime trade relations linked the Middle east and Mesopotamia to India. the achaemenid kings tried to organise this relationship systematically and to control the arabian sea. alexander the Great wanted to continue this policy, but he unfortunately did not succeed in securing the arabian Peninsula, due to his premature death. his successors, the Seleucids and the Romans — all had to recognise arab factual independence. thus the leading cities of the Gulf remained inevitable partners for all kinds of transports, by land and by sea, from India and Persia to egypt and Phoenicia. In particular the influence of Gerrha (haggar) was overwhelming, not only politically and economically, but also on religious matters. this is why we should look for the roots of Islam in this region in the first place: in Gerrha, al-Ḥīra and their allies.

p. 191 - Daniel DE SMET, Le navire du salut (safïnat al-najat), un motif stoïco-platonicien sous des traits islamiques : al-Kindï et les Frères de la Pureté

Al-Kindī’s Epistle on the Device for Dispelling Sorrows develops the image of the boat (markab) carrying the souls of the rightful to the intelligible world in a long allegory, which reflects a neoplatonic reading of the seventh chapter of Epictetus’ Encheiridion, close to simplicius’ commentary on this well-known stoic « handbook ». the same image, in a similar neoplatonic context, also occurs in the Rasā’il Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’, where the boat, vehicle of the purified souls of the elected Brethren, is explicitly identified with noah’s Arch and the ship of salvation (safīnat al-najāt) of the islamic tradition.

p. 203 - Motia ZOUIHAL, Le voyage par la mer des adeptes d'al-rilḥla l-'ilmiyya et des soufis andalous et maghrébins

This article addresses some aspects of the riḥla l-ʿilmiyya (scholarly journey) by sea to the orient of the andalusian and the Maghrebian Sufis. it first defines this type of journey by looking for the roots of the riḥla ilmiyya in the early biographical texts. it then discusses the question of sea journey, based on the experience of scholar and Sufi travelers and using texts from different periods.

p. 215 - Alain SERYANTIE, Gian-Francesco Justinian ou une assistance technique vénitienne à la flotte ottomane pour affronter les Portugais dans l'océan Indien (1531-1534)

in first years of the 16th century, the trade of spices, traditionally transiting through egypt and venice, fell into the hands of the Portuguese after their installation in india. the venetians considered that this change was ruining their trade domination more than wars. they tried to cooperate first with the egyptian mamluk sultans, and, then with the turks after the conquest of egypt by the Ottoman Sulan Selim. in 1531-34, Grand vizir ibrahim Pasha planned oceanic navigation to counter the Portuguese, and obtained the technical assistance of a venetian aristocrat, Gian-Francesco Giustinian, to build ships similar to the Portuguese and ultimately to lead an expedition against Portuguese settlements in india. ibrahim Pasha’s execution and the appointment of Barbarossa as admiral of the Ottoman mediterranean fleet brought an end to this assistance.


p. 235 - Arnaud DELHOVE, Approche formelle d'une narration couchite : la structure des Annales d'Irike-Amannote (Kawa IX)

Kawa iX, a graffiti of irike-Amannote (2nd half of the 5th century BC) in the temple of Kawa, is a long annalistic text (126 col.) reporting the important deeds of the king in his two first years. This study highlights the formal structure of the document and its markers: dates, sequential auxiliaries (ʿḥʿ.n and wn.ỉn), śḏm.ỉn⸗f, the construction śpr pw ỉr.n⸗f, and the particles ỉś and ỉśk. We analyse the different occurrences of the markers and we show that episodic structures, like the ones of the Victory Stela of Piankhy, are used and organised in macrostructures which form the entire text.

p. 255 - Marc MALEVEZ, Le vocable « homme » dans la Mission de Paphnuce / Vie d'Onuphre : moine, ange ou simple humain. DeuxiÚme partie

This article is the first part of an analysis of the use of the term "man" by the monks of Egypt, through the Mission of Paphnutius / Life of Onnophrius. The continuation and the conclusion will be for the next year.

p. 277 - Laurent THOLBECQ, Gršw - Gerasa : une note de toponymie nabatéenne

The toponym gršw reported in a Nabataean epitaph from Petra has traditionally been regarded as Gerasa of the Decapolis, in Northern Jordan. We suggest that it may rather refer to a site from Southern Negev called Gerasa in Ptolemy’s Geography and Rasa by the Peutinger map.