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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

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

3rd century BC, male.

Painter.

Ancient Roman.

Erigonus, active in 236 BC, is said by Pliny to have started out by grinding colours for Nealces.

Article

4th century, male.

Activec.300 BC.

Painter.

Ancient Roman.

Fabius, a member of the illustrious family of the Fabii, was criticised for dishonouring the family name by becoming a painter - it is thought that the epithet Pictor (the painter) was given to ridicule him. He is cited as the first Roman painter. In 304 BC he decorated the temple of Salus in Rome, probably with a scene showing the battle in which Bibulus defeated the Samnites. These paintings existed until the time of the emperor Claudius when the temple was destroyed by fire. He cannot have been very famous in his time for Pliny seems not to have known of him and makes no mention of him in his writings. An interval of some 150 years was to pass before the advent of the next named Roman painter....

Article

5th century, male.

Active in 491 BC.

Born in Sicily or Greece.

Sculptor, painter.

Ancient Roman.

Gorgasus, along with Damophilus, completed the decoration of the temple of Ceres in Rome, executing terracotta statues and wall paintings.

Article

Lykios  

Diane Harris

(b Eleutherai, Boiotia; fl c. mid-5th century bc).

Greek sculptor. He was trained by his father, the famous sculptor Myron (Pliny: Natural History XXXIV.xix.50). He was active in Athens and Olympia. None of his works survives; they included a bronze statue of a youth holding a basin on the Athenian Acropolis (Pausanias: Guide to Greece I.xxiii.8), of which the inscribed marble base perhaps survives (Inscr. Gr./2, I, 537). He also produced two bronze equestrian statues, which were erected at the entrance to the Acropolis, and remains of an inscribed base (Inscr. Gr./2, I, 400) show that it was a votive gift dedicated by the cavalry to commemorate the victories of Pericles (c. 446 bc). Another statue in Athens, near the prytaneion, depicted Autolykos, a champion wrestler at the Panathenaic games of 422 bc (Pausanias: I.xviii.3 and IX.xxxii.5), while the statues of The Argonauts and a youth blowing on a dying fire were also attributed to Lykios by Pliny (XXXIV.xix.79). The Ionians from Apollonia commissioned Lykios to set up a monument near the hippodameion at Olympia to commemorate a military victory of the ...

Article

Nancy Serwint

(fl c. 370–c. 300 bc).

Greek sculptor. He was the greatest sculptor from the school at Sikyon, then an artistic centre second only to Athens, and ancient sources classed him with Myron of Eleutherai, Pheidias, and Polykleitos as being among the most accomplished sculptors in bronze. His brother Lysistratos was also a sculptor.

Establishing accurate dates for Lysippos’ career is problematic, both because no original works survive and because of disputes over the attribution of copies and the dates of signed statue bases. Pliny dated the height of his activity to 328–325 bc (XXXIV.xix.51) because of his close connection with Alexander the Great. Other literary and epigraphic sources, however, indicate that he had a long and active career that probably spanned much of the 4th century bc.

Lysippos was probably influenced by the Sikyonian painter Eupompos (fl c. 410–c. 310 bc), but there is no evidence that they were contemporaries. A statue of Troilos, set up at Olympia to commemorate equestrian victories in 372 ...

Article

Andrew F. Stewart

(fl later 4th century bc).

Greek sculptor, brother of Lysippos. Pliny dated the artist, like his brother, from Sikyon, to the 113th Olympiad (328–325 bc) and wrote that he developed a method of taking plaster casts from the human body and face, then pouring wax into this to produce a perfect portrait likeness that was ready for moulding and casting. (Early studies of Greek bronze-casting misinterpreted this to mean that he actually invented the indirect method of lost-wax casting, which is clearly untrue: the indirect method is known in large-scale sculpture two full centuries before.) Surviving bronzes from this and the Hellenistic period suggest that these wax likenesses were almost certainly selectively retouched in order to heighten key features and so bring out the character of the sitter.

Nevertheless, Pliny’s observation that portraits thenceforth aimed at likeness rather than beauty is correct, for Hellenistic sculptors usually began with the individual rather than taking an ideal type and individualizing it to a greater or lesser extent, as earlier. Lysistratos also used master-moulds for overcasting variations on the same type, and he and his ...

Article

3rd century, male.

Activec.220 BC.

Painter.

Ancient Roman.

Pacuvius, the tragic poet, took up painting as a hobby as he grew older. He produced a number of works that were seen and admired in the temple of Hercules in the Forum Boarium at Rome, but their style and subject is unknown....