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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 ...

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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....

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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  

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Anta  

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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 ...

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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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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  

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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 ...

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 ad 294 to the 5th century it also had its own mint. In 313 it became a bishopric and in 381 it was the venue of a council before which followers of Arianism were tried. Civil wars and the invasions of the Huns (452) and the Lombards (568) led to the migration of most of the population and the transference of the see to Grado....

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Arcade  

Doris Kutschbach

Single arch or series of arches carried on piers or columns. In antiquity arcades were used most prominently in the architecture of the Roman Empire, which took advantage of the greater load-bearing capacity of arches over the trabeated system that dominated Greek architecture (see Trabeated construction). In medieval architecture arcades became one of the principal structural components of church interiors, both dividing and linking the principal and subsidiary spaces, notably nave and aisles (for illustration see Section); similar structural systems were employed in the interiors of many large secular buildings, including variations using the new iron technology of the 19th century (e.g. Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, Paris; 1843). Arcades, sometimes in the form of dwarf galleries, were also used to articulate the façades of Romanesque and Gothic churches; at Lucca Cathedral (13th century), for example, rows of smaller, superimposed arcades entirely cover the façade above the principal portico arcade at ground level. In addition, arcades serve to support the roofs of covered walks, porticos and loggias, being a common feature of a secular urban architecture in medieval and Renaissance Italy (e.g. ...

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Lowermost portion of an entablature, principally used in Classical architecture, comprising a horizontal beam that spans the columns or piers in the manner of a lintel (see Greece, ancient, fig.b and Orders, architectural, fig.vi). The term was subsequently applied to the moulding around a door or window.

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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....

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G. Lloyd-Morgan

Male figure (sometimes known as telamon, and equivalent to the female caryatid) used architecturally since the Classical period to replace a column, and for decorative effect in metalwork and furniture since the 16th century. It is usually represented standing with its hands behind its bowed head, as if supporting a heavy weight on its shoulders, and is probably modelled on the mythical Atlas, who was said to hold up the sky. Unlike caryatids, surviving examples from the Greco-Roman world are scarce. The earliest and most famous, in the huge temple of Zeus Olympios at Akragas (begun c. 480 bc), are 7.65 m high and composed of 12 or 13 courses of stone. Several have been reconstructed on site from excavated fragments. Evidence from coins suggests that atlantids adorned other temples and sacred buildings. They are found in Roman secular architecture from the 1st century bc, for example at Pompeii in the ...

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Term used in Classical architecture for a small order placed above the main entablature of the building. The space so occupied, internally and on the façade, is called the ‘attic storey’. Its front wall may be blank, as in the great panel above the cornice of a triumphal arch, or pierced by windows; in ancient Greek and Roman architecture it was sometimes decorated with relief sculpture or carried an inscription. An open parapet is not correctly described as an attic....