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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....


Robert S. Bianchi

[Arab. Bahbayt al-Hagar; anc. Egyp. Pr-ḥbyt; Lat. Iseum]

Site in northern Egypt, c. 100 km north of Cairo, an important cult centre for the worship of the goddess Isis, which flourished during the 4th century bc. The modern name is a combination of the ancient Egyptian name and the Arabic epithet ‘al-hagar’ (‘the stone’), referring to the jumbled mass of granite blocks from the collapsed Temple of Isis that now litters the site. The site is mentioned in inscriptions of the New Kingdom, but it rose to prominence during the 30th Dynasty (380–343 bc) when Nectanebo II (reg 360–343 bc) sponsored the construction of the Temple of Isis. The geographic proximity of Behbeit el-Hagar to Sebennytos, the capital during the 30th Dynasty, less than 10 km away, implies that Isis was the Dynasty’s titular deity. Behbeit el-Hagar (Iseum) eventually became the capital of an independent nome (administrative province) during the Ptolemaic period (after ...


Charles C. Van Siclen III

[Egyp. Per-Bastet; now Tell Basta, nr Zaqāzīq, Egypt]. Site in the eastern Nile Delta 77 km north-east of Cairo. It flourished c. 2575 bcc. ad 300. The ancient city of Basta (Gr. Bubastis) was the home of the feline goddess Bastet (Egyp.: ‘She of Basta’), often associated in the later periods of Egyptian history with the cat. Both the city and the cult of Bastet date back at least to the beginning of the Old Kingdom (c. 2575 bc). Bubastis was a significant political, economic and religious centre, and during the 22nd Dynasty (c. 950–c. 730 bc) it was home to a family of pharaohs named Osorkon and Shoshenq, who ruled the whole of Egypt. The importance of the city declined with shifting trade routes, changing political structures and above all the appearance of Christianity and later Islam, when the site was abandoned. The great temple to Bastet and her joyous festival are both described by Herodotus (...



Peter Schneider

revised by Gordon Campbell

[Branchidai; now Didim.]

Ancient Greek oracular sanctuary on the west coast of Asia Minor (now Turkey), which flourished from the 7th century bc to the 2nd century ad (see fig.). The site is on an exposed peninsula 75 m above sea level, c. 20 km south of Miletos.

Didyma was originally a spring sanctuary of the indigenous Carians (Herodotus: I.clvii.3), antedating the Ionian colonization of the coast in the 11th–10th century bc (Pausanius: VII.ii.6). The mythological founder of the oracle was the shepherd Branchos, who received the gift of prophecy from Apollo (Konon: xxxiii; Strabo: IX.iii.9). Dedications were made by the Egyptian pharaoh Necho II in 608 bc (Herodotus: II.clix.3) and by the Lydian king Croesus in the earlier 6th century bc (Herodotus: I.xcii.2); during the 6th century bc, under the ‘Branchidai’ dynasty of priests, Didyma became the most important oracular sanctuary in East Greece, and was linked to Miletos by a Sacred Way 6 m wide and ...



R. J. Leprohon and T. G. Wilfong

Egyptian semi-oasis region c. 80 km south-west of Cairo on the Bahr Yusuf, an ancient channel of the Nile (see fig.). In the north-west is Lake Qarun, a remnant of the ancient Lake Moeris, an important part of ancient Egyptian cosmogony since it was reputed by some to be the site of Nun, the primeval ocean. Throughout the Dynastic and Greco-Roman periods (c. 2925 bcad 395) the major god worshipped in the Faiyum was the crocodile-headed Sebek (Gr. Suchos), but the region had a large Jewish community from the 3rd century bc, and Christianity probably arrived in the 1st century ad. Major sites in the Faiyum include the Middle Kingdom monuments at Hawara, el-Lahun and Qasr el-Sagha, and Greco-Roman towns at Qasr Qarun and Kom Ushim. The principal Coptic monuments are the monasteries of Deir el-Azab and Deir el-Malak, and there is a 15th-century mosque in the regional capital of ...



J. M. Rogers

[anc. Gornea]

Armenian village, 30 km east of Erevan in the Abovian district, famous for its pagan and Christian architectural remains. The earliest indications of settlement are the Early Bronze Age (c. 2500 bc) foundation courses of Cyclopean masonry (see Masonry, §II) at the site of Garni’s fortress, which is strategically situated on a triangular promontory high above the River Azat. An Urartian inscription records its conquest by King Argishti I (reg 785–760 bc). The present fortress was probably built in the 3rd century bc, using massive dressed basalt blocks reinforced with iron clamps set in lead. Garni is recorded by Tacitus (Annals XII.xlv) as the Roman garrison of Gornea in ad 51, shortly after which the fortress was partially dismantled and the garrison expelled (62). If the Greek restoration inscription dated to the eleventh year of the reign of King Trdat is attributed to the first ruler of that name (...


Nabil Swelim

[anc. Egyp. Iunu; Bibl. On; now Tell Hisn]. Site near Cairo, Egypt. It was the capital of the 13th Lower Egyptian nome (administrative province) and a cult centre of the sun-god in its various guises (Re, Atum, Khephri). The symbol of Heliopolis was the benben, the precursor of the pyramid and obelisk, which represented the primeval hill on which the sun first rose. The oldest monolithic benben found at Heliopolis dates to the 6th Dynasty (c. 2325–c. 2150 bc). An obelisk of Sesostris I (reg c. 1918–c. 1875 bc) still stands on the site; two other obelisks of Heliopolitan origin—‘Cleopatra’s needles’—are now in London and New York. Remains of a temenos wall and chapel reliefs testify to the city’s importance as a religious centre as early as the Early Dynastic period (c. 2925–c. 2575 bc). Imhotep, who bore the title ‘Greatest of seers’ and served in Heliopolis under the 3rd Dynasty (...


Wolfram Hoepfner

(fl 5th century bc).

Greek city planner. He designed the plan of the new port of Athens at Peiraeus immediately after the end of the Persian wars (480/479 bc). More than thirty years later (444/443 bc) he took a leading part, together with philosophers and other experts, in the foundation of the ideal city of Thourion. Although he is attributed with the rebuilding of his home town of Miletos, which was begun immediately after 479 bc, this is doubtful.

The ‘division’ of Peiraeus mentioned by Aristotle (Politics, 1267b) apparently referred not only to a grid system of streets and to the ‘Hippodamian Agora’ that was connected with it, but also to a sophisticated overall plan, in which the functional uniform dwellings were an important constituent; the practical private houses of the city are expressly mentioned in connection with the ‘Hippodamian principle’ (Politics, 1330b). Moreover, a scholion to Aristophanes (...


P. Hellström

Site on Mt Latmos in Caria (now in south-west Turkey), 15 km north of Mylasa (now Milas). A sanctuary there flourished c. 600 bcc. ad 400. Swedish excavations began in 1948 under A. W. Persson, and finds from the site are now in the Archaeological Museum, Izmir, and Bodrum Museum. After a modest beginning in the 6th century bc, the sanctuary had its greatest building period under the Hekatomnids, who made it the main sanctuary of Caria and gave it a completely new layout on a series of terraces. Mausolos (reg 377–352 bc) erected a large in antis banqueting building, ‘Andron B’ (w. 11.76 m). Its marble front had two Ionic columns carrying a Doric entablature, an early example of mixed orders in the front of a sacred building. Unusually, the frieze had four metopes to each intercolumniation. A male bearded sphinx (Bodrum Mus.) was probably a corner acroterion. At the back of the cella was a large niche (4.77 m wide, 1.35 m deep and ...



C. A. Burney

Site of an Urartian temple of the 9th and 8th centuries bc in eastern Anatolia, Turkey. It is situated on a hilltop more than 300 m above the main road from Erciş, on the north-east shore of Lake Van, to Karaköse (Ağrı). The temple is the earliest known example of the Urartian square tower form, built of ashlar masonry with a mud-brick superstructure (see Urartian, §2). It was excavated by a Turkish expedition in the 1960s and finds are in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. Set into the fine basalt ashlar are the only two known copies of the Annals of Menua (c. 810–c. 788 bc), suggesting that he accorded this district a special status, perhaps as providing a base for his northern campaigns. Fragmentary wall paintings were discovered but left in situ.

A fortified enclosure below the temple, known as Aznavurtepe, may well have served as a compound for the cavalry and for captured livestock; there are traces of a reservoir for the storage of melted snow from the slopes. The perimeter wall is of a design not found elsewhere in Urartu and incorporates a series of towers (8×9 m) that straddle the wall, projecting from both the outer and inner faces; the towers were constructed first....



Erich Winter

Island situated immediately south of Aswan in Upper Egypt, which was the original location of an ancient temple of the goddess Isis, surrounded by associated cult buildings. The earliest surviving parts of the temple date from the reign of Nectanebo I (reg 380–362 bc), and it was subsequently extended and enlarged until the 2nd century ad. Between 1972 and 1980, in an internationally financed rescue operation mounted by UNESCO, the buildings of Philae were transferred to the higher ground on the neighbouring island of Agilqiyya. In the course of this work some 300 blocks from an older construction, dating to the time of the 26th Dynasty ruler Amasis (reg 570–526 bc), were found in and around the later (Ptolemaic) 2nd pylon. These reliefs of Amasis show that there was already a cult of Isis on Philae in the 26th Dynasty. However, even earlier reliefs, dating to the time of the 25th Dynasty ruler Taharqa (...



F. E. Winter

(fl c. 370–c. 330 bc).

Greek architect who worked in Asia Minor. Vitruvius (On Architecture I.i.12–15, VII.Pref.12) cited the Commentaries by Pytheos on his most famous works, the Mausoleum at Halikarnassos (see Halikarnassos §2) and the Temple of Athena Polias at Priene; Pytheos has also been credited with the original design for the altar of Athena at Priene. He may have produced new town plans for Halikarnassos and Priene, including, at Priene, provision for the sanctuary of Zeus east of the agora, and he may be Pliny the elder’s ‘Pythis’, the designer of the quadriga on top of the Mausoleum (Natural History XXVI.iv.31). He apparently incorporated a traditionally Doric opisthodomos and acanthus-scroll sima in the Temple of Athena at Priene, setting a precedent for later Ionic temples such as the new Temple of Artemis at Ephesos. The Priene temple evidently inspired some features of the new Temple of Zeus (c....


A. J. Mills

[Arab. Sīwa]

Area in Egypt, close to the Libyan border, which flourished from the 26th Dynasty (664–525 bc) until Roman times. It was renowned throughout the Classical world as the seat of the oracle of Jupiter–Amun, particularly after the visit of Alexander the Great in 331 bc. The style of the monuments and their decoration shows the influence of pharaonic Egypt, despite strong connections with the desert peoples of North Africa and the Sahara. Of the many sites at the Siwa Oasis, three are of particular interest: the Temple of the Oracle of Amun, another Temple of Amun and a necropolis at Gebel el-Mawta. The Temple of the Oracle of Amun is situated on a bluff at Aghurmi and was excavated by Ahmed Fakhry in 1970–71; probably built during the reign of Amasis (570–526 bc), the plain limestone building has a moulding around the entrance and traces of relief decoration in the sanctuary. The other Temple of Amun, at ...



J. M. Cook and William E. Mierse

[now Izmir]

Greek and Roman site at the head of the Gulf of Smyrna in Ionia, now western Turkey. The earlier site, c. 4 km to the north, has significant Archaic architectural remains; when it became too small it was refounded, reputedly in 334 bc by Alexander the Great.

J. M. Cook

Old Smyrna (now Bayraklı Tepe) occupied what originally seems to have been a peninsula. It was inhabited in prehistoric times, but Greek settlers may not have arrived before 1000 bc. Foundations of houses have been excavated (1948–51 by E. Akurgal (Ankara U.) and J. M. Cook (Brit. Sch., Athens); 1966– by E. Akurgal), the earliest dating from c. 900 bc, followed by levels of densely packed small houses, mainly with curved walls, of the 8th century bc. In the earlier 7th century bc the city began to take on a regular plan with streets on a north–south axis, and, since this seems to have coincided with a spread of population on to the mainland, some form of deliberate urban planning may be assumed. The larger, well-built houses, some at least two-storey, had mud-brick walls on stone socles of up to 1 m high and flat roofs. By the later ...



D. A. Aston

[anc. Djane; now Ṣān al-Ḥagar, Egypt]

Capital city of Egypt in the Third Intermediate Period (c. 1075–c. 750 bc). The main architectural feature of the city is the Temple of Amun, surrounded by mud-brick enclosure walls. The site, in the north-eastern Nile Delta, was excavated by Auguste Mariette (1830–60), Flinders Petrie (1883–6) and Pierre Montet (1929–51).

Between 1939 and 1945 Montet uncovered several subterranean royal tombs within the precincts of the Temple of Amun. These tombs were built of limestone and granite and engraved with mythological scenes on their interior walls. They are famous for the grave goods found inside them, which are now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. The burials of Psusennes I, Amenemope, Wendjebawendjed, Shoshenq II, Takelot I, Osorkon III and Harnakht reveal a high standard of elegant and artistic workmanship characteristic of the Third Intermediate Period. Foremost among these are the silver coffins and gold masks of Psusennes I and Shoshenq II and the gold, silver and bronze cult vessels of Psusennes and Amenemope (Cairo, Egyp. Mus.)....