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Article

John Camp and Reinhard Stupperich

(Athens)

In ancient Greek the term acropolis means simply the ‘upper or higher city’ or ‘citadel’, although in general usage it has become firmly associated with the unparalleled architectural and sculptural ensemble of the Classical Athenian Acropolis.

First inhabited and fortified in the Bronze Age (c. 1550–c. 1050 bc), the Acropolis was by the Archaic period (c. 700–480 bc) given over largely to cult activity, primarily the worship of Athena. The earliest remains of cult buildings may date to the 8th and the 7th century bc, but it was not until the 6th century bc that the Acropolis was adorned with monumental architecture.

The impetus for the first major building phase on the Acropolis seems to have been the Peisistratid family, who ruled Athens as tyrants (absolute, but not necessarily despotic, rulers; see Peisistratos), and was apparently connected with their reorganization of the Panathenaic festival in honour of Athena around 566 ...

Article

Agora  

John Camp and José Dörig

(Athens)

The Agora was the large open square north-west of the Acropolis that constituted the civic and commercial centre of Classical Athens. It was reserved for public functions, meetings, theatrical events, festivals, markets, elections, and the like. During the Bronze Age and Iron Age it had been used for habitation and as a burial-ground, and its use as the civic centre seems to date from the mid-6th century bc, when the first public buildings were erected along its west side. By the end of the 6th century bc its limits were clearly defined by boundary stones, and a great street, known as the Panathenaic Way, ran diagonally through the square, leading from the city gate in the west to the Acropolis. The ancient site has been excavated under the direction of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens since 1931.

Though few structures were set up within the square itself, one exception was the Altar of the Twelve Gods, erected by the younger ...

Article

Ephyra  

Sanctuary in Thesprotia, north-western Greece, near the mouth of the River Acheron. It includes an acropolis with the remains of a Late Bronze Age settlement and cemetery, but it was chiefly important in Classical and Hellenistic times for its Nekyomanteion (‘oracle of the dead’) dedicated to Persephone and Hades. This was situated at the confluence of the Acheron and Kokytos, where Odysseus was supposed to have entered the underworld to meet the shade of Teiresias (Odyssey X.513–15), and though the sanctuary’s remains date to the 3rd century bc they provide evidence for a ritual strikingly similar to that followed by Odysseus himself. They comprise a large irregular enclosure containing a series of rooms round a courtyard on the west side of the hill, and the main sanctuary building to the east, on the very top of the hill. The shrine building, with massive side walls, was approached by a corridor running along its north and east sides before turning along the south side through a maze-like sequence of arched doorways. Consultation of the oracle was preceded by ritual incubation and bathing in rooms off the north corridor, burnt sacrifices in the east corridor and offerings of white barley in the maze. From here the suppliant entered the central hall, which is flanked by three rooms on each side containing storage jars, wheat, barley and other foodstuffs. Under the central hall was a vaulted crypt representing the underworld. The sanctuary was destroyed in ...

Article

Forum  

F. B. Sear

Public place or market-place in a Roman town. Many of the town’s main religious and administrative buildings were to be found there, such as the Basilica, curia and comitium (see Rome, ancient, §II, 1, (i), (b)). The arrangement of the forum and its buildings is one of the most distinctive elements of Roman urban planning (see Rome, ancient, §III, 2). It was usually placed at the intersection of two main streets, although the square itself was normally inaccessible to traffic. The Forum Romanum at Rome (see fig.; see also Rome, §V, 1) has its origins in the 7th century bc and developed throughout the Republican period until a systematic remodelling, begun by Julius Caesar in 54 bc, was completed by Augustus (reg 27 bcad 14). A series of Imperial fora (see Rome, §V, 2) were built north of the Forum Romanum. They comprised the ...

Article

Anne McClanan

(Athens)

This Middle Byzantine church (see fig.) stands in the south-east corner of the Greek Agora in Athens. It closely resembles the churches of the Theotokos (c. ad 1000) at Hosios Loukas and Moni Petraki (?11th century ad) in Athens, combining the cross-in-square with a circular plan expanded by eight niches. It has no intermediate vault between the niches and main vaults, and, as in Moni Petraki, four free-standing columns support the central drum and dome. The drum is octagonal, with eight windows, each framed by a semicircular arch resting on slender colonettes and forming the characteristic rippling eaves line of Middle Byzantine Greek churches. Later additions to the church include the western narthex and interior tombs. Extensive remodelling and embellishment continued into the 19th century. The exterior of the church is richly patterned and colourful. The walls of poros limestone alternating with brick layers incorporate cloisonné masonry in the lower courses and ornamental dogtooth friezes, geometric patterns, and Kufic motifs higher up. The lower courses also contain large re-used stone blocks....

Article

John Camp and I. Leventi

(Athens)

The Kerameikos, or potters’ quarter, was a large area in ancient Athens demarcated as early as the 4th century bc with inscribed boundary stones, some of which have been found in situ. Its precise extent, origin, and relation to the Agora nevertheless remain uncertain. The boundary stones and literary sources indicate that it covered an area both inside and outside the Themistoklean wall (479 bc), while in the 2nd century ad (Pausanias: Guide to Greece I.iii.1–xiv.6) it even included the Agora. The Kerameikos is now confined to a smaller district around the Dipylon (‘double gate’; see fig.), which lies to the north-west of the Library of Hadrian (see fig. above) and has been excavated since the early 20th century by the German Archaeological Institute. This area was used for burials continuously from the 11th century bc until late Roman times, providing an excellent sequence of funerary sculpture and Attic pottery (...

Article

Oecus  

Article

Stamatia Kalantzopoulou

(Athens)

Middle Byzantine church situated to the south of Athens Cathedral. It is also known as St Eleutherios and the Small Metropolis. It is a cross-in-square church (12.2×7.6 m) with an eight-sided Athenian dome originally supported on four columns, which were replaced by piers during the restoration of 1833. The walls are built with blocks of Pentelic marble from ancient buildings and rest on a base with two steps as in ancient temples. The upper walls are decorated with a frieze of carved marble slabs from the ancient and Byzantine periods. Of special note is the architrave on the west façade with reliefs variously dated between 3rd century bc and 3rd century ad representing a calendar of Attic state festivals. Its decoration and evident classicism date the building to the end of the 12th century. At that time Michael Choniates (c. 1140–1220) was Metropolitan of Athens; he was a well-known classicist, with a background in the prominent intellectual circles of Constantinople, and the construction of this distinctively Athenian monument may be linked with his patronage. In the Turkish period the church served as a chapel to the Metropolitan House, and in ...

Article

Fikret K. Yegül

( Rome )

Circular domed temple erected on the Campus Martius between c. ad 118 and 125 (see fig. ). Preserved almost intact, it is a unique achievement in Roman architecture and one of the most celebrated buildings in all architectural history. It was converted into the church of S Maria ad Martyres in ad 609. Study of brick stamps and limited excavations in 1891–2 show that the whole structure was built by Hadrian. The inscription on the porch entablature stating that it was built by M. Agrippa refers to an earlier Pantheon under the present one, a dynastic monument to honour Augustus and the Julio-Claudian family. Despite the importance of the building, the only ancient reference to it is by Dio Cassius (early 3rd century ad), who mistook it for the earlier building of Agrippa and referred to the building as a temple dedicated to many gods (History of Rome...

Article

( Rome )

Fourth-century basilica on the Via Urbana, which corresponds to the ancient street, the Vicus Patricius, on the Viminal Hill in Rome. It was built by Pope Pius I (reg c. 140–c. 155) in AD 145 over the former residence of the Roman senator Pudens, allegedly to honour St Peter who had stayed there sometime in the 1st century. The church was dedicated to St Pudentiana, daughter of Pudens. The early history of S Pudenziana is fragmentary, although there is evidence of clergy and a congregation on the site by the 4th century.

Significant building took place under Pope Siricius (reg 384–99); he reused part of the original bath complex, which forms the core of the present church. In the nave, seven arcades of Roman columns are part of the original structure. The apse mosaic dates from 390 and depicts an early figural representation of Christ. He sits on a throne flanked by apostles dressed as Roman Senators and personifications of Ecclesia and Synagoga. Above these figures is a jewelled cross flanked by the earliest known representations of the animal emblems of the Evangelists, and buildings representing Jerusalem and Golgotha....

Article

Peter J. Holliday

Roman villa on a promontory on the coast of Latium, 121 km south of Rome, made famous by the discovery in September 1957 of a large number of fragmentary sculptures and other antiquities in a nearby cave. Although excavation initially concentrated on the grotto and its sculpture, research later focused on the villa itself.

The remains of the villa display several distinct building phases. It probably belonged to M. Aufidius Lurcone, grandfather of Livia, the wife of Augustus (reg 27 bcad 14) and mother of Tiberius (reg ad 14–37). The oldest sections are late Republican, given their use of opus incertum (concrete faced in irregular stones), while a second Republican phase has pavements in opus signinum (concrete with crushed tiles) and marble decoration. A total renovation and remodelling of the villa was undertaken during the late Augustan period, while fragments of several Fourth Style paintings (see...

Article

(Athens)

This is the most conspicuous monument in the south-east part of ancient Athens. A massive temple (see fig.) originally laid out in the late 6th century bc by the Peisistratid tyrants (see Peisistratos) on the remains of an earlier monumental structure, the building was in the Doric order and was planned on the scale of the great temples of Sicily and Asia Minor. All construction ceased with the downfall of the tyrants and the temple’s massive limestone column drums were built into the Themistoklean fortification wall (479 bc). Building only resumed under Antiochos IV Epiphanes of Syria (175–163 bc), who identified himself with Zeus. He employed the Roman architect Cossutius, and the new building was a giant octastyle dipteral Corinthian temple (110×43 m) with triple colonnades on its east and west fronts, making a total of 104 Pentelic marble columns. Work was carried out during Antiochos’ reign, and in places had proceeded as high as the architrave by the time he died. It was left unfinished and only finally completed 300 years later by the Emperor ...

Article

Gerald Cadogan

Large Late Minoan i (c. 1560–c. 1425 bc) country house a few kilometres south of Archanes and Knossos in northern central Crete. Excavated by Spyridon Marinatos in 1949–51, it stands on a spur overlooking fertile country, dominated by Mt Juktas to the north-west, with its shrines. The house, which measures over 20×20 m, was apparently not part of a village or hamlet. Its few outbuildings include a kiln, while in the house itself are presses for olive oil and wine. Its architecture exemplifies the high quality of building of these large villas, which probably controlled large estates. Features include ashlar masonry, column bases of different stones, pillar basements, recesses for windows and a paved west court. On the east side of the building, opposite the entrance and across a small courtyard, is a tripartite shrine, with a central recess (possibly for a seat or statue) between two square masonry structures with hollow centres. These may have held flagstaff-like masts, as depicted on the peak-sanctuary chlorite and gold rhyton from ...