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Article

Peter Grossmann

Site of a Christian city and pilgrimage centre in the Maryūt Desert, c. 45 km south-west of Alexandria, Egypt. It grew up around the shrine of St Menas, who was martyred during the persecution of the Christians instigated by Diocletian (reg 285–305). The ancient name of the site is not known, and the position of the saint’s grave had been long forgotten until, according to legend, several miracle cures led to its rediscovery. The place then quickly developed into an increasingly major centre of pilgrimage where, among other things, the so-called Menas ampules were manufactured as pilgrim flasks and achieved particular renown. The first excavations of the site were undertaken by ...

Article

Thorsten Opper

Elaborate monument erected by Octavian (later Augustus) in 29–27 bc on the Preveza Peninsula in Western Greece, north of the present-day town of Preveza, overlooking Cape Actium, to commemorate his naval victory over Mark Antony at Actium in 31 bc. The nearby city of Nikopolis...

Article

Ajanta  

Gary Michael Tartakov

Ancient Buddhist monastic and pilgrimage site (c. 200 bcad 500) located 100 km north of Aurangabad in the Sahyadri range of western India.

Ajanta is India’s richest surviving Buddhist complex. Far from any city, but close to the trade routes linking northern India with the western coast and the Deccan plateau, the monastery (...

Article

Mary Gough

Early Christian monastery on the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains in Isauria, part of the Roman province of Cilicia in south-western Turkey. It is some 300 m above the main road between Silifke (anc. Seleucia) and Konya (anc. Iconium), 21 km north of Mut (anc. Claudiopolis). From two funerary inscriptions, pottery and coins, the monastery may be securely dated to the reigns of two Isaurian emperors, Leo (...

Article

Albenga  

Franz Rickert

Italian town and bishopric, 72 km south-west of Genoa. It was a port in the Roman period, and its street grid-plan has partly survived, but, with the silting of the River Centa, it is now 1 km inland. Pottery and sections of the hull of a merchant ship that sank offshore ...

Article

Robert Knox

Site near the ancient city of Dharanikota on the right bank of the Krishna River in Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India, that flourished from the 3rd century bc to the 14th century ad. It is also the location of a modern town, but the site is celebrated for its stupa, which may have been the earliest Buddhist foundation in the region and which certainly came to be its largest and most elaborate (...

Article

Margaret Lyttleton

Greek architect and astronomer. He is associated with a single building, the Tower of the Winds (Horologion) on the edge of the Roman agora in Athens, of which he was named the architect by Vitruvius (On Architecture I.vi.4). This elegant and ingenious small marble octagonal building was designed externally as a monumental sundial and weather-vane, with a representation of each of the eight winds carved on the sides of the octagon; at the apex of the roof was a bronze Triton that acted as a weathercock. The interior of the building contained a complicated waterclock; apart from the Triton and the clock, the building is well preserved. Andronikos’ home town of Kyrrhos appears to be that in Macedonia, rather than the town of the same name in Syria, because a sundial from the island of Tenos carries an epigram in honour of its maker, who is named as Andronikos of Kyrrhos in Macedonia, son of Hermias, and compares him with the famous Hellenistic astronomer Aratos of Soli in Cilicia (...

Article

Senake Bandaranayake

Ancient city and religious centre in north-central Sri Lanka on the Malvatu Oya River. The site (see fig.) extends over an area of about 64 sq. km. At its centre are the vestiges of a fortified inner city, surrounded by several ancient Buddhist monastery complexes and four large, man-made lakes. The founding of Anuradhapura as a major urban complex is traditionally ascribed to the semi-historical figure of the pre-Buddhist period, King Pandukabhaya, in the ...

Article

T. F. C. Blagg

Roman architect. His first known work, and possibly his training, was in military engineering. He constructed the 1135-m-long bridge across the Danube (nr Turnu Severin, Romania) in ad 103–5, between Trajan’s two Dacian campaigns. It had a timber superstructure and arches on huge masonry piers and is represented on Trajan’s Column in Rome. Apollodorus’ treatise on the bridge remains untraced. His other major achievements were in Rome. Dio (LXIX.iv.1) recorded that he built the Baths and Forum of Trajan and an odeum. Substantial remains of the first two survive. The forum, built in ...

Article

Franz Rickert

Roman and Early Christian city at the east end of the plain of the Veneto, c. 90 km north-east of Venice and 5 km from the Adriatic coast. Founded as a Roman colony in 181 bc, it received full town status in 89 bc and became the regional capital of Venetia et Histria. It was strategically sited on the River Natissa, which was navigable to the sea, and at the intersection of routes leading north-west over the Alps and north-east to the Balkans. Written sources indicate that several emperors, including Constantine the Great, had a residence in Aquileia; from ...

Article

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time....

Article

Augst  

Anthony King

Swiss town on the Rhine near Basle, formerly a Roman colony. The well-preserved and extensively excavated Roman town is important for the study of urban planning and civic architecture. It was founded by a close colleague of Julius Caesar, L. Munatius Plancus, c. 44 bc...

Article

Gary Michael Tartakov

Buddhist monastic and pilgrimage site—fl c. 100 bcad 600—and later city in Maharashtra, India. Together with Ajanta and Ellora, it represents the culmination of Buddhist rock-cut art along the trade routes of western India. The Buddhist site, located in the hills north-west of the city, contains a dozen excavations, an aniconic prayer-hall (Skt ...

Article

Ayodhya  

B. B. Lal

City in Faizabad District, Uttar Pradesh, India. Located on the right bank of the River Sarayu, it was the capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom, one of whose kings, Rama, is regarded by Hindus as an incarnation of Vishnu.

Excavations in 17 different parts of the ancient mounds have revealed that the first occupation at Ayodhya commenced ...

Article

Bagh  

Frederick M. Asher

Site of Buddhist rock-cut sanctuaries in Dhar District, Madhya Pradesh, India. During the second half of the 5th century ad a series of ten sanctuaries, one of them incomplete, was carved at Bagh from rock a great deal softer and thus less durable than that of sites in the Deccan plateau, such as Ajanta: consequently the work is not well preserved. The most elaborately carved caves are nos 2, 3, 4 and 6. All the caves at Bagh are ...

Article

Bamiyan  

Mary S. Lawton

Site in north-central Afghanistan. Located at the western end of the silk route, Bamiyan flourished as a trading and religious centre until the 13th century. It is the site of a rock-cut Buddhist monastery, the most distinctive feature of which were two monumental rock-cut standing ...

Article

Gary Michael Tartakov

Indian monastic site 25 km north of Gaya in north-east India, which flourished in the late 3rd century bc. Seven rock-cut caves were excavated among granite outcroppings of the Barabar and Nagarjuni hills. All are severely geometric interiors modelled on contemporary wood, brick and thatch structures. Three of those on Barabar Hill were inscribed to record their creation by the Maurya emperor ...

Article

Janet DeLaine

Janet DeLaine

Basilica erected on the site of the earlier Horrea Piperataria (Spice Market), in a prominent position overlooking the eastern end of the Forum Romanum. It was begun by the Emperor Maxentius (reg AD 306–12), possibly following the fire of AD 307, which severely damaged the nearby Temple of Venus and Rome, but was only completed, in slightly altered form, after his death in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (...

Article

Janet DeLaine

Janet DeLaine

Vast baths south of the Porta Capena. Known in Latin as the Thermae Antoninianae, they are the best preserved of the Imperial thermae (see also Rome, ancient, §II, 1, (i), (d)) and the only ones in which the combination of monumental architecture and garden setting can still be appreciated. Begun ...

Article

2nd century, male.

Born in Laconia.

Sculptor, architect (?).

Ancient Greek.

Batrachus, with his compatriot Sauras, is mentioned by Pliny in his discussions of sculptors in marble ( Natural History 36. 42) as the builder of the temples of Jupiter Stator and Juno Regina. According to Pliny, because the two artists' names did not feature in the act of consecration, they signed their work by carving 'in columnarum spiris' (on a twisted column) a frog (batrachus) and a lizard (saurus). Quite apart from the matter of their curious (but not impossible) names, the anecdote still seems unlikely to be true. Firstly, it does not appear to have been the custom in the 2nd century BC to mark the consecration of temples with an inscription. Secondly, we know from Vitruvius the name of the architect who built the temple of Jupiter Stator: the Cypriot Hermodorus of Salamis. If they ever existed, Batrachus and Sauras were probably just ordinary decorative sculptors....