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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

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....

Article

5th century, male.

Active in Attica in the second half of the 5th century BC.

Stone worker, sculptor (?).

Ancient Greek.

Archedemus was involved with the transformation of one of the largest natural grottoes to the south of Mount Hymettus (near the modern village of Vari) into a sanctuary dedicated to Pan, the Nymphs and the Charites (the Graces). At the foot of the central wall of the grotto, Archedemus has depicted himself (?) in his working clothes, with his pointed hammer and set square....

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.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

6th century, male.

Active during the second half of the 6th century BC.

Born in Magnesia ad Maeandrum.

Sculptor, architect.

Ancient Greek.

Bathycles, like many other Ionians in Asia, moved westwards under the threat from the Medes as first Lydia and then the coastal towns fell. He came eventually to work in Greece. Around 530 BC, he designed the vast decorative construction known as the ...

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....

Article

6th century, male.

Active during the second half of the 6th century BC.

Born in Chios.

Sculptor, architect.

Ancient Greek.

Boupalus' work is known from the writings of Pausanias. Mention is made of a statue of Fortune, crowned with a polos (head-dress) and holding in her hand the horn of Amalthea. It is likely that Boupalus was the originator of this type of statue, so often copied by the Romans. They, and Augustus in particular, much appreciated his work, examples of which were placed in the temple of Apollo on the Palatine. Boupalus worked with his sculptor brother Athenis in several towns in Asia Minor and at Delos....

Article

G. Lloyd-Morgan

Sculpted female figure (equivalent to the male Atlantid) used in place of a column (see fig.). Caryatids first appeared in ancient Greek architecture around the mid-6th century bc; they were also used in Roman architecture, and these models were revived in the 18th and 19th centuries (see §2). Classical caryatids are always clothed; they may be dressed in the Ionic style and may have either a polos or a high-sided crown on their heads, or a wider drum representing a basket containing sacred objects. When dressed in Doric costume, however, caryatids bear the capital directly on their heads. Where hands survive, they may hold ceremonial religious vessels. Non-architectural caryatid figures occur as decorative elements in the minor arts of Greece, Etruria and Imperial Rome. The most notable are the stand supporting mirror-discs, usually dating from the 6th and 5th centuries bc. Caryatids were used in furniture decoration, often as bronze mounts, during the 18th and 19th centuries....

Article

15th century, male.

Born c. 1400 BC.

Sculptor, architect, inventor. Mythological subjects.

Ancient Greek.

A legendary figure, said to be the great-grandson of Erechtheus, king of Athens, Daedalus was supposed to have invented the saw, the brace, masts and sails for ships, and a range of other practical devices. According to a familiar story, the council of the Areopagus in Athens banished him to exile in Crete for having killed his nephew out of jealousy. In Crete, according to later sources, he built the Labyrinth (which some have identified as the Minoan palace at Cnossus). He is said to have been the first Greek to carve figures in the round and with separated legs....

Article

Sarah P. Morris

[Gr.: ‘cunning worker’; Lat. Daedalus]

(?fl c. 600 bc).

Legendary Greek craftsman. He is conventionally associated with Bronze Age Crete and was credited in antiquity with a variety of technical and artistic achievements.

The earliest reference to Daidalos is in the Iliad, where he is named as maker of a choros for Ariadne at Knossos. In the 2nd century ad Pausanias recorded seeing this choros as a white marble relief at Knossos (IX.xl.2), but the term used in the Iliad could mean equally a painting, dancing-floor or dance. In the Classical period (c. 480–323 bc) Daidalos was mentioned primarily as a sculptor of ‘magic’ statues, both in drama (e.g. Euripides: Hecuba 838; Aristophanes: Daidalos frag. 194) and in philosophy (Plato: Menon 97d and Euthyphro 11c). In Athens he was given an Athenian pedigree as the son of Palamaon or Eupalamos, son of Metion, of the line of Erechtheos, and thus related to Hephaistos (e.g. Plato: Alcibiades I.121). He was also reputedly the teacher or father of the early ...

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

An islet to the west of Paros and Antiparos in the centre of the Cyclades. It has been identified as ancient Prepesinthos, mentioned by Strabo (Geography X.v.3) and Pliny (Natural History vi.66). The archaeological remains of Despotikon were first explored in the late 19th century by pioneer Greek archaeologist Christos Tsountas, who excavated Early Cycladic (c. 3200–2000 bc) cemeteries at Livadi and Zoumbaria, and identified remains of a prehistoric settlement at the site of Chiromilos. Sixty more graves of the Early Cycladic period, as well as one of the Roman period, were discovered in the mid-20th century by the Greek Archaeological Service. Rescue excavations were initiated again in 1997, focused on the site at Mandra, where an extensive sanctuary dedicated to Apollo has been located. The excavation has yielded a great number of finds, many of which are of prime importance as to the interpretation of the site, its role in the Aegean and its relations with the Near East, from the Archaic to the Roman period....

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

Greek city situated at the foothills of Mt Olympus in northern Greece (district of Pieria), 14 km south of modern city of Katerini. It was an important Macedonian political and cultural centre from the Classical to the Roman periods (6th century bc–4th century ad). By the 6th century bc it seems that the Macedonians were gathering at Dion in order to honour the Olympian gods, chiefly Zeus; according to myth, Deukalion, the only man to survive the flood at the beginning of time, built an altar to Zeus as a sign of his salvation. His sons, Macedon and Magnes, lived in Pieria, near Olympus, and became the mythical ancestors of the Macedonians. The altar allegedly erected by Deukalion remained the centre of the cult life at Dion throughout its history.

King Archelaos of Macedon (c. 413–399 bc) organized athletic and dramatic contests in the framework of the religious celebrations, following the practice of the Greeks in the south, such as at the great sanctuaries of Olympia and Delphi. Philip II (...

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

[Satra]

Greek city situated on the island of Crete, by the north-west foothills of mount Psiloritis (anc. Ida), 30 km south-east of the present-day city of Rethymnon. It was a centre for Aegean and Greek culture from the Prehistoric to the Byzantine periods (4th millennium bc–7th century bc).

Ancient Eleutherna is a typical example of a Cretan polis (city) inhabited continuously from at least from the 9th century bc (the so-called ‘Dark Age’ of Greek history) to the late Roman and Byzantine period (6th–7th century bc). Even before that, archaeological finds suggest the existence of a continuous presence on the site from the late Neolithic (4th millennium bc) through to a flourishing Minoan site of the 3rd to 2nd millennia bc. Although later construction all but eliminated traces of prehistoric architecture, there is still significant evidence to confirm unbroken habitation. In historical times (9th century...

Article

Epeius  

13th century BC, male.

Activec.1270 BC.

Sculptor, architect.

Ancient Greek.

The mythical Epeius, son of Panopeus, is said by Pausanias to have made the famous Trojan Horse, and a Hermes for the temple of Apollo Lycius in Argos.

Article

3rd century BC, male.

Active in Megara.

Sculptor.

Ancient Greek.

Eupalinus worked in Athens. He should not be confused with famous architect of the 6th century.

Article

7th century, male.

Active in Lacedaemonia probably during the 7th century BC.

Sculptor, architect.

Ancient Greek.

Gitiadas made a statue of Athena for the temple dedicated to the goddess in Sparta, as well as two tripods decorated with figures of Ares and Aphrodite for the temple of Apollo at Amyclae. He worked in bronze, particularly for the cladding on reliefs in a number of temples, such as that of Athena Chalkioikos (Athena of the Bronze House) in Sparta. This technique, more metalwork than sculpture, derived from eastern art. It is not possible to describe Gitiadas' style, since nothing remains of his work....

Article

Herm  

Statue type consisting of a plain shaft surmounted by a head, shoulder bust or sometimes a head and torso. It originated in ancient Greece and has been used since in a variety of settings, often architectural or open-air. Herms also occur, especially in classicizing contexts, as decorative motifs.

Ancient Greek herms usually featured a head of the god Hermes, from which the type derives its name, and the front of the shaft was carved with male genitals. They are known from surviving examples, the earliest of which date from the Archaic period (c. 600–480 bc; e.g. an ithyphallic herm from Siphnos, c. 520 bc; Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 3728; see fig.), as well as inscriptions and other literary sources, and from depictions in vase paintings. There is evidence, even at an early stage, of numerous variations: in addition to Hermes, other gods including Dionysos, Ares, Artemis and Aphrodite were shown, and portrait herms include the statue of ...

Article

A. Linfert

[Callimachus]

(fl second half of the 5th century bc).

Greek sculptor. Almost nothing is known of his life. He probably came from Corinth since, according to Vitruvius (On Architecture IV.i.9–10), Kallimachos invented the Corinthian capital (presumably before its earliest known use—in uncanonical form—at Bassai). His technical abilities were also displayed in the golden lamp (late 5th century bc) he made for the Erechtheion in Athens, which burnt for a year without refilling and had a chimney in the shape of a palm (Pausanias: Guide to Greece I.xxvi.6), i.e. a hollow column with an Aeolic ‘reed’ capital, rare before the Hellenistic period (323–27 bc). Kallimachos’ technical punctiliousness may be the reason for his ancient nickname, katatexitechnos (‘he who pines away because of art’; Vitruvius IV.i.10), given to him, according to Vitruvius, because of the ‘subtlety’ of his work in marble. His care in drilling the stone led Pausanias to use a play on words, calling him ...

Article

2nd century, male.

Sculptor, architect.

Ancient Greek.

Menecrates is best known for having probably been in charge of the work on the great altar at Pergamum set up by Eumenes II between 180 and 160 BC. The fame of this altar comes from the very large frieze decorating its base. The subject matter is an ancient one, dating from archaic times, that of the ...

Article

Thorsten Opper

[now Torre Annunziata]

Roman settlement on the seaward slopes of Mt Vesuvius about five km north-west of Pompeii, in what is now Torre Annunziata. The name Oplontis is attested in the Tabula Peutingeriana, a 13th-century copy of an ancient map of the Roman Empire (Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., Cod. 324). Baths were discovered at the locality of Punta Oncino in 1834 while systematic excavations between 1964 and 1984 unearthed two villas and remains of a portico in the nearby area of Mascatelle.

Villa A is a grand residence with origins in the 1st century bc and extended in the Claudian period (mid-1st century ad). It is also known as Villa of Poppaea, after Poppaea Sabina, second wife of the Roman emperor Nero (an amphora inscribed with the name of one of her freedmen was found on the site). The villa was empty and undergoing restoration work at the time of the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in ...