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Article

Asine  

Robin Hägg

[now Kastraki]

Coastal site in the north-eastern Peloponnese in southern Greece, 8 km south-east of Navplion. Centred around an easily defended rocky promontory (acropolis), the settlement is remarkable for its long, almost uninterrupted history of habitation, from at least c. 4000 bc to c. ad 400. It flourished during the Bronze Age (c. 4000–c. 1050 bc) and in the Geometric and Hellenistic periods (c. 900–c. 725 bc and 336–27 bc). First mentioned in the Homeric epic The Iliad (II.560; Catalogue of Ships), it was identified in modern times by E. Curtius in 1852 and excavated by Swedish expeditions in 1922–30 and 1970–90. The finds are in the Navplion Archaeological Museum, among them a terracotta head of less than life-size from the 12th century bc, known as the Lord (or Lady) of Asine (see Helladic, §V, 2, (i)).

On the north-west slope of the acropolis there was an almost continuous habitation: especially remarkable are an apsidal house of the Early Helladic period (...

Article

Corinth  

Susan Langdon, C. K. Williams II, Charles M. Edwards and Mark Whittow

[Korinth; Korinthos]

Greek city, capital of the nome (department) of Korinthia and seat of a bishopric, near the isthmus between central and southern Greece. It flourished throughout Classical antiquity.

Susan Langdon

Backed by the steep citadel of Acrocorinth, which served as its acropolis, ancient Corinth derived its prosperity from its access to both the Corinthian and Saronic gulfs and hence the Adriatic and Aegean seas. Its twin harbours at Lechaion and Kenchreai, linked by a paved slipway, offered sea merchants a safe alternative to the passage around southern Greece and established Corinth as a transfer point between East and West. Population pressures in the 8th century bc led Corinth to participate in Greek colonizing activities by founding settlements at Syracuse and Kerkyra (Corfu), while in the 7th century bc it became the foremost artistic centre in Greece, promoting the development and spread of Doric architecture and dominating pottery production. Corinthian pottery, with its distinctive animal friezes and exotic vegetation, was ...

Article

Irene Bald Romano

Image of a divinity that served in antiquity as a focal-point for worship and cult rituals. Most cult statues were housed in temples or shrines, although outdoor worship of images is also attested. Although aniconic worship (i.e. of a non-anthropomorphic symbol of a deity such as a rock or pillar) is known in Near Eastern, Greek and Roman cults, most deities by the late 2nd millennium bc were worshipped in an anthropomorphic form and were, as such, earthly substitutes or humanized manifestations of the presence of a deity.

Anthropomorphic cult statues are well attested in the Ancient Near East, Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt. Near Eastern cuneiform records going back at least to the 2nd millennium bc indicate that Mesopotamian cult images were made of wood and opulently clad in tiaras, robes and jewellery. The garments of the statue were ceremonially changed, and ritual meals were served up to the cult image. Specific attributes and attire aided identity. From ...

Article

Cyprus  

R. S. Merrillees, Nicolas Coldstream, Edgar Peltenburg, Franz Georg Maier, G. R. H. Wright, Demetrios Michaelides, Lucia Vagnetti, Veronica Tatton-Brown, Joan Breton Connelly, Paul Åström, Jean-Claude Poursat, Elizabeth Goring, Louise Schofield, Wiktor A. Daszewski, A. Papageorghiou, Michael D. Willis, Michael Given, Elise Marie Moentmann, Kenneth W. Schaar, Euphrosyne Rizopoulou-Egoumenidou and Helena Wylde Swiny

[Gr. Kypros; Turk. Kibris]

Third largest island in the Mediterranean (9251 sq. km), 70 km south of Turkey and 103 km west of Syria (see fig.). The island’s geographical location and its natural resources of copper and shipbuilding timber have had a considerable impact on the destiny of its inhabitants. Cyprus has throughout its history been vulnerable to the geopolitical ambitions of the powers controlling the neighbouring countries, which have not hesitated to exploit its resources and to use it as a stepping stone or place of retreat. Although it possessed a vigorous and distinctive local culture in Neolithic times (c. 7000–c. 3800 bc), it lacked the population, resources and strength to withstand the external pressures to which it was subjected from the start of the Bronze Age (c. 2300 bc). Since then and over the subsequent millennia Cyprus has been invaded and colonized for varying periods by Achaeans, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Crusaders, Venetians, Turks and the British. While its strategic position has always given it certain commercial and cultural advantages, it has also been the source of most of the island’s troubles since the beginning of recorded history, because too often the interests and concerns of the native inhabitants were subordinated to the ambitions and dictates of the powers around it. Yet, despite the ultimate demise of the native Cypriot style in the Late Bronze Age, the Cypriot craftsman’s ability to adapt and amalgamate the forms, designs and subject-matter of successive incoming groups produced a range of artefacts that ingeniously blended traditional with foreign concepts. While the forms of Cypriot expression after the introduction of outside influences could be mistaken for provincial imitation, the island’s art never lost its essential native characteristics: a strong underlying sense of inventiveness, superstition and wit. This has left a large body of captivating and whimsical material which, in turn, has inspired not only students and collectors of the island’s past art but modern Cypriot craftsmen as well....

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

Elmalı  

M. J. Mellink

Town in the district of Antalya, south-west Turkey. Elmalı is set in a fertile plain c. 1100 m above sea-level, which is dotted with ancient sites that belonged to Lycia or the Milyad in Classical times. Roads from Lycian coastal sites lead through mountains and river valleys to Elmalı, from where connections upland to Pisidia and Burdur are easy. Excavations of a site of the 3rd millennium bc and of two painted tombs of c. 500 bc were carried out by M. Mellink from 1963 onwards on behalf of Bryn Mawr College, PA. Finds are in the Archaeological Museum in Antalya; the wall paintings remain in situ. In 1986–7 two tumuli excavated by a team from Antalya Museum produced Phrygian and other grave goods of c. 700 to c. 600 bc.

At Karataş-Semayük, excavations revealed a fortified mansion of the early 3rd millennium bc and a village of megaron-shaped houses in which the extensive use of timber is noticeable. In the burial grounds individual and family burials were contained in large jars. Early art is evident in metalwork (e.g. a silver pendant in double-axe shape and a silver pin with boar’s head finial), in designs on terracotta stamp seals and in incised and applied animal figures on pottery. Red polished pottery is decorated with white painted ornament....

Article

Emborio  

Sinclair Hood

[Emporio.]

Modern and perhaps ancient name of a site on the south coast of Chios. It was excavated by the British School at Athens in 1952–5. The first settlement, at the foot of a rocky hill by the harbour, revealed an occupation sequence with ten periods (X–I) from Neolithic (before c. 4000 bc) to Early Bronze Age (Troy I–II; c. 3000–c. 2000 bc); traces of Middle and Late Bronze Age habitation (c. 2000–c. 1050 bc) were noted on the hill above. Settlers using Late Helladic iiic (c. 1180–c. 1050 bc) pottery occupied the site at the end of the Bronze Age (c. 1200 bc): they may have been Abantes from Euboia. In the 8th century bc, Ionian Greeks founded a Sanctuary of Apollo on the edge of the former Mycenaean settlement but built their town on the slopes of Prophitis Elias Hill north of the harbour, below a walled acropolis with a ruler’s house and Sanctuary of Athena. The town was abandoned by the end of the ...

Article

Gortyn  

Antonino Di Vita and Dimitris Tsougarakis

Site of a city on the northern edge of the Mesara Plain in southern Crete, c. 6 km north-east of Moíres, which flourished c. 700 bcad 670. The westernmost of the hills enclosing it to the north served as its acropolis, where, following Neolithic occupation, there was a Bronze Age settlement after the 13th century bc. The acropolis is separated from the hills to the east by the River Mitropolianos, the course of which also divided the Greco-Roman and Byzantine city into two unequal parts. Excavations were begun by Federico Halbherr in 1884 and were continued by the Italian Archaeological Mission in Crete and from 1912 onwards by the Italian Archaeological School in Athens.

Antonino Di Vita

The most significant late Bronze Age (c. 1580–c. 1100 bc) remains from the area derive from the rural villa of Kannia, to the south-west of modern Mitropolis, which comprised 30 rooms, including at least four small domestic shrines distinguished by benches and by statuettes and ex-votos of the Minoan goddess. The 50 or so large storage pithoi that were found in many of the rooms and that attest to the villa’s connection with agriculture date from Late Minoan (...

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R. S. Merrillees

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R. S. Merrillees

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A. Papageorghiou

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Michael D. Willis

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Kalydon  

R. A. Tomlinson

[Calydon]

Site of ancient Greek city in Aitolia on the northern side of the Corinthian Gulf, situated on two hills overlooking the plain of the River Euenos. It flourished from the Late Bronze Age until 30 bc, when its inhabitants were transferred to Nikopolis. It featured in Greek mythology as the home of Oineus and his sons Tydeus and Meleager and as the location of the Kalydonian boar-hunt, while the more northerly of its two hills was a Mycenaean acropolis and bears traces of possible Late Bronze Age fortifications. The area has also produced Late Bronze Age pottery, and Dark Age (12th century bc) pottery, including Protogeometric work (c. 1050–c. 900 bc), occurs in its tombs. Although Kalydon’s site was strategically important and Strabo (Geography X.ii.3) called it an ornament to Greece, it had little impact on Greek history. The Classical city remains unexcavated, although traces of its fortifications survive, extending for some 4 km. Only a section in the south-west has been published on a contoured plan, along with details of the west gate. The wall forms a series of jogs rather than a continuous straight line, and has square towers, suggesting an early Hellenistic date....

Article

Kea  

R. L. N. Barber

revised by Gordon Campbell

[Keos; Ceos; Zea]

Greek island at the north-western extremity of the Aegean Cyclades. It has several Bronze Age sites, by far the most important of which, in terms of both architecture and finds, is the settlement of Ayia Irini, on a small promontory in the sheltered western bay of Ayios Nikolaos. First identified (1956) as an important prehistoric site by K. Scholas, it was excavated (1960–c. 1971) by the late J. L. Caskey for the University of Cincinnati. Ayia Irini was occupied for most of the Bronze Age. Some houses date from the Early Cycladic (ec) period (c. 3500/3000–c. 2000 bc), while the chief Middle Cycladic (mc; c. 2000–c. 1600 bc) remains are of fortifications—one system with horseshoe-shaped bastions and a later one with square towers (see Cycladic §II 2.). There are some cists and more elaborately built tombs of the ...

Article

K. A. Wardle

[Cephalonia; Kefallinia]

Greek island in the Ionian Sea, opposite the entrance to the Gulf of Patras. In the Homeric poems it is recorded under the name Sami as part of the kingdom of Odysseus. Palaeolithic flints were found at Skala in the south of the island; in later Mycenaean times it was clearly well populated, since local versions of the Mycenaean chamber tomb, with rows of burial pits in their floors, occur at Lakkithra, Metaxata and Mazarakata. These contained poorly made idiosyncratic local pottery with Mycenaean characteristics, as well as bronze weapons and ornaments. Some of the latter are of ‘European’ types, showing that trade with Italy and central Europe persisted even after the destruction of the Mycenaean palaces (c. 1200 bc). Mycenaean pottery was also found during excavations at the Classical acropolis of Krane, which may indicate the existence of a prehistoric stronghold at that site. At Skala there are foundations of an Archaic temple (...

Article

Knidos  

Margaret Lyttleton and Iris Cornelia Love

[Cnidus]

Turkish town on the site of the ancient Greek city of the same name at the tip of the Resadiye Peninsula in south-west Asia Minor. The city was celebrated in antiquity for the nude statue of Aphrodite by Praxiteles, which stood in the circular temple dedicated to the goddess. Knidos was founded, according to tradition, by colonists from Sparta or Argos in the 2nd millennium bc or earlier and it reached the zenith of its wealth and power in the 4th century bc; it was abandoned in the 7th century ad. From early in the 1st millennium bc it was the capital of the Dorian Hexapolis. First excavated by Sir Charles Newton for the British Museum in 1857–9, the site’s antiquity was not established until the Long Island University Archaeological Expedition under Iris Love began excavations in 1967.

Margaret Lyttleton

The remains of the city occupy the headland of Cape Krio and the western tip of the peninsula; the cape was originally an island but was joined to the peninsula by a mole, forming two harbours: the trireme harbour to the north and the commercial harbour to the south. Knidos owed its prosperity to trade and was a noted exporter of wine. The residential quarter was laid out along terraces on the headland, while the public buildings and sanctuaries stood beyond the harbours at the tip of the peninsula. Remains include two theatres, a Hadrianic Corinthian temple, a Doric stoa and the Sanctuary of Demeter, where a life-size marble statue of the goddess was found (mid-...

Article

Kos  

Christopher Mee and William E. Mierse

Greek island off the south-west coast of Turkey. The island, the second largest in the Dodekanese, is long and narrow (l. 45 km) and very fertile on its northern side. The most important site is Kos town (founded 366 bc) at the island’s north-east end. In the Hellenistic period Kos was famous for its Sanctuary of Asklepios. The Knights Hospitaller ruled the island from 1315 to 1522, but they were driven out by the Turks. After World War I it was under Italian control; it was ceded to Greece in 1947.

Christopher Mee

Only two of the prehistoric sites on Kos have been systematically excavated, both by Luigi Morricone between 1935 and 1946: the settlement on the Serraglio in the town of Kos and the associated cemetery at Eleona and Langada. The earliest, unstratified, pottery from the Serraglio is of Early Bronze iii date (c. 2400–c. 2050...

Article

Louise Schofield

Greek village between Chalkis and Eretria on the south-west coast of the island of Euboia. Nearby is the site of an important ancient Greek Bronze Age and Dark Age settlement (occupied c. 2100–c. 700 bc). Excavations since the mid-1960s by the British School of Archaeology at Athens, joined later by the Greek Archaeological Service, have revealed a site comprising the settlement area of Xeropolis and five cemeteries, the most important of which is 1 km to the west on the hill of Toumba. Most of the finds, including those discussed here, are now in Eretria Archaeological Museum.

Xeropolis is a steep-sided plateau (c. 500×120 m), extending east–west along the outer edge of a broad coastal promontory. Although badly eroded, the site (especially in the north-west of the promontory) has retained habitation levels dating from the end of the Early Bronze Age to late Geometric times. The earliest occupation dates from around ...

Article

Lesbos  

Hector Williams

[Gr. Lésvos; now Mitilíni]

Large and mountainous Greek island off the coast of Turkey in the north-east Aegean, south of Lemnos and north of Chios. An important centre in the Early Bronze Age (c. 3600–c. 2000 bc), after c. 1000 bc it became a principal area of Aeolic Greek civilization. Somewhat neglected apart from a systematic German survey in the late 19th century, Lesbos numbers Mytilene (the capital), Methymna, Eressos, Pyrra, Antissa and Arisbe among its cities (see fig.), but only at the first has much work been done.

The only Bronze Age site on the island excavated and published is Thermi, some 10 km north of Mytilene town on the south-east coast. British excavations in 1929–33 under Winifred Lamb uncovered an Early Bronze Age coastal settlement similar to Troy that passed through five stages before its abandonment, resettlement a thousand years later and final destruction by fire c....

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

A distinctively Macedonian type of monumental chamber-tomb, consisting of a built chamber roofed with a barrel-vault, sometimes also preceded by an antechamber, and covered by an earth tumulus. The type emerged some time in the 4th century bc, and was widely used in Macedonia and its sphere of influence well into the Hellenistic period (323–27 bc).

Inhumations and cremations were practised contemporaneously in Macedonia, and are often found in the same tomb; it seems that the choice was a matter of personal preference or family tradition. Cremated remains were deposited inside a chest (larnax) made of stone, metal or wood, or a metal or clay hydria (water-jug). The tombs were furnished with couches, thrones, stools, chests, tables, benches etc reproducing actual interiors. The furniture presumably had a practical as well as symbolic role as it may have been used in funerary rituals. Movable offerings were also deposited to accompany the deceased in the afterlife, offering a glimpse into a world of skilful extravagance and sophisticated luxury....