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Abaton  

Article

A. Delivorrias

Decorative finial crowning the apex and lower angles of the pediments of ancient Greek and Roman buildings. Acroteria were normally made of terracotta, poros, limestone or marble, although bronze acroteria are mentioned in the literary sources: Pausanias (Guide to Greece V.x.4) noted gilded Victories framed by bronze cauldrons at the lower angles of the pediments of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The bronze Victories framing Bellerophon and the Chimaera on the Temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis at Athens are recorded in inscriptions, and traces of their bases survive.

The stylistic development of acroteria begins in the 7th century bc. The earliest surviving examples are the frequently enormous terracotta discs that crowned Lakonian-tiled roofs, such as that from the Temple of Hera at Olympia (Archaeol. Mus.; c. 600 bc). This type continued in the 6th century bc, and it was also sculpted in marble with relief decoration—rosettes, gorgoneia and gorgons—mainly in regions under Lakonian influence. Terracotta acroteria became highly decorative in the course of the 6th century, thanks to the potential of the more flexible Corinthian system of tiling and the advanced coroplastic tradition of the Corinthian workshops. The evolution of acroteria into increasingly sophisticated compositions based on floral, animal and mythological themes and the development of great plasticity and spectacular polychromy are recorded in a series of fragmentary examples from Greece, Magna Graecia and Sicily. Floral elements appear quite early on in variations of the palmette motif and predominate as central acroteria even after the establishment of marble as the standard sculptural material. Hybrid figures of fantastic beasts, such as sphinxes and griffins, were popular as lateral acroteria, initially in terracotta and later in marble; these did not persist after the ...

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 (Gr.: ‘city of victory’) was founded for the same purpose at about the same time.

According to the historian Dio Cassius (Roman History LI.i.3), after his victory Octavian laid a foundation of square stones on the spot where he had pitched his tent, which he then adorned with the captured ships’ rams. On this foundation, according to Dio, Octavian established an open-air shrine dedicated to Apollo. Suetonius (Augustus xviii.2) and Strabo (Geography VII.vii.6) corroborate this evidence, although the trophy itself (with the ships’ rams) was, according to Suetonius, dedicated to Poseidon and Mars, presumably for their help during the battle. The hill itself was, according to Strabo, sacred to Apollo, and therefore the shrine was dedicated to him....

Article

(b Berlin, Oct 15, 1827; d Berlin, Sept 15, 1908).

German architect, archaeologist and writer. He was one of the leading figures of Berlin’s architectural establishment in the latter half of the 19th century. On completion of his studies in 1852, he was given the prestigious post of Bauleiter at the Neues Museum in Berlin, designed by Friedrich August Stüler. He subsequently became a lecturer and in 1861 a professor of architectural history at the Bauakademie in Berlin. Many of his church buildings used medieval motifs and elements, for example the Christuskirche (1862–8) in Berlin and the Elisabethkirche (1869–72) in Wilhelmshafen. He followed Karl Bötticher in his attempts to merge medieval and classical elements, best illustrated in his design for the Thomaskirche (competition 1862; built 1865–70), Berlin. There, Adler used Gothic structural devices embellished with rich Renaissance detail, a tendency that was also present in many of the entries for the Berlin Cathedral competition (...

Article

Adyton  

[Gr. ‘not to be entered’; Lat. adytum]

Most sacred inner part of a temple, accessible only to the priests (see Greece, ancient, fig. g).

S. K. Thalman: The Adyton in the Greek Temples of South Italy and Sicily (diss., U. California, Berkeley, 1976) M. B. Hollinshead: ‘"Adyton", "Opisthodomos", and the Inner Room of the Greek Temple’, Hesperia: Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 68/2 (April–June 1999), pp. 189–218...

Article

Margaret Lyttleton

Columnar niche or shrine applied decoratively to a larger building. The word is a diminutive from the Latin word aedes (‘temple’). Summerson traced its application to Gothic architecture and drew attention to the importance of playing at being in a house for all small children; he claimed that this kind of play has much to do with the aesthetics of architecture and leads ultimately to the use of the aedicula. The earliest surviving examples of aediculae are shop-signs from Pompeii, such as that showing Mercury or Hermes emerging from a small building. Later aediculae appear extensively in wall paintings of the Fourth Style (c. ad 20–c. 90; see Rome, ancient §V 2.). Later still, aediculae were often used in the architecture of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire; they consisted of columns or pilasters flanking a niche for statuary, with a pediment above, as in the stage-building of the theatre at ...

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Aetoma  

Article

C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl late 5th century bc).

Greek painter. He was the son of Eudemos and came originally from Samos, but worked in Athens; none of his work survives. He was said to be self-taught. Vitruvius (On Architecture VII.praef.11) claimed that Agatharchos was the first artist to paint a stage set on wooden panels. This was for a tragedy by Aeschylus (525/4–456 bc), although it may have been a revival presented later in the 5th century bc. Vitruvius added that he wrote a commentary discussing the theoretical basis of his painted scenery and that the philosophers Demokritos (late 5th century bc) and Anaxagoras (c. 500–428 bc) followed him in exploring theories of perspective. It is unlikely that Agatharchos organized his compositions around a single vanishing point. More probably, individual objects and buildings or groups of buildings were depicted receding towards separate vanishing points. If Agatharchos’ experiments in perspective were confined to stage scenery, they would have been limited to architectural backgrounds, before which the actor moved. Aristotle (...

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Agora  

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Greek, 19th century, male.

Born 1852, in Athens; died 1878.

Painter. Waterscapes, seascapes.

A friend of the architect H.C. Hansen, Altamura visited Copenhagen where he attended the fine arts academy from 1873 to 1876. He was primarily a painter of seascapes.

Copenhagen, 3 June 1976...

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Article

Margaret Lyttleton

(fl late 2nd century bc–mid-1st).

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 (...

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Anta  

Article

Antefix  

Nancy A. Winter

[antefixum; pl. antefixes, antefixa]. Plaque closing the outer end of the final cover tile in each row of overlapping cover tiles running down from the ridge to the eaves of a sloped roof on Classical Greek and Roman and on Neo-classical buildings. Its practical functions were to prevent rain from penetrating below the cover tile and seeping through the opening between the adjacent pan tiles beneath, and to prevent wind from dislodging the row of cover tiles. Although functional in origin, the antefix soon also became a decorative element adorned with relief and/or painted decoration. The size and shape of early examples was determined by that of the cover tile, but by c. 550–525 bc the plaque had become larger than its tile in order to accommodate more decoration.

The earliest antefixes, from the first half of the 7th century bc, apparently formed part of undecorated terracotta roofs in the Corinthia of ...

Article

4th century, male.

Painter.

Ancient Greek.

Pliny Antenorides was, with Euphranor, a follower of Aristides - though not Aristides the famous painter of the time of Alexander but probably the grandfather of the latter and an architect, sculptor and painter. Nothing is known of the works of Antenorides....

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P. Cornelius Claussen, Elisabeth Blair MacDougall and Ian Campbell

P. Cornelius Claussen

Until the late Middle Ages the actual substance from which medieval Roman buildings were constructed was almost exclusively reused antique material. This sometimes involved the rededication of an ancient building as a church (e.g. the Pantheon became S Maria ad Martyres in AD 609, the curia in the Forum Romanum became S Adriano, and one of the Sessorian halls became Santa Croce in Gerusalemme), sometimes the incorporation of ancient parts into a new church building (e.g. in S Maria in Cosmedin or S Nicola in Carcere), or the removal of material from ancient ruins for use in a new building, a process that applied to sections in both marble and brick. The renewal of post-Classical Rome was therefore largely synonymous with the successive destruction of the remains of ancient Rome. Antique marble was the city’s sole mineral resource, and it was plundered and reworked by licensed building yards. Such yards, together with limekilns, were the only real industry in medieval Rome. Since the 8th century AD the pope had had the right to grant licences for the exploitation of ancient buildings as marble quarries. In the 12th and 13th centuries these prospecting rights were in the hands of—perhaps monopolized by—a few families in which marble-working came to be an inherited skill. These ...

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Article

T. F. C. Blagg

(b Damascus; d Rome, c. ad 125).

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 ad 107–13 and famous in antiquity for its magnificence, was a boldly conceived project that involved the removal of part of the Quirinal Hill (see Rome, §V, 2). Apollodoros was probably also architect of the adjacent Markets of Trajan, since its masterly adaptation to its site seems integral with the forum’s design (c....

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Apteral  

Article

Norman A. F. Smith

Bridge that carries a water channel. Strictly speaking the term simply means water channel (Lat. aquaeductus) and can be applied to any conduit intended for water supply, irrigation or transport, although in English it generally designates the bridge that supports the water channel itself where it crosses a valley. (Although often similar in appearance, a Viaduct carries a road or a railway.)

Rudimentary aqueducts were probably features of irrigation works at an early date. The oldest known example was built by the Assyrian king Sennacherib in 690 bc to carry a canal to Nineveh across a river. Its remains reveal a structure 300 m long and 12 m wide on five corbelled arches. Ancient Greek engineers frequently built water supplies but rarely aqueducts; they apparently preferred the security of conduits at or near ground-level and used pipelines to cross valleys. Early Roman systems of water supply followed this pattern, and the use of aqueducts was avoided wherever possible. At ...