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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

(b Berlin, Oct 15, 1827; d Berlin, Sept 15, 1908).

German architect, archaeologist and writer. He was one of the leading figures of Berlin’s architectural establishment in the latter half of the 19th century. On completion of his studies in 1852, he was given the prestigious post of Bauleiter at the Neues Museum in Berlin, designed by Friedrich August Stüler. He subsequently became a lecturer and in 1861 a professor of architectural history at the Bauakademie in Berlin. Many of his church buildings used medieval motifs and elements, for example the Christuskirche (1862–8) in Berlin and the Elisabethkirche (1869–72) in Wilhelmshafen. He followed Karl Bötticher in his attempts to merge medieval and classical elements, best illustrated in his design for the Thomaskirche (competition 1862; built 1865–70), Berlin. There, Adler used Gothic structural devices embellished with rich Renaissance detail, a tendency that was also present in many of the entries for the Berlin Cathedral competition (...

Article

Bassai  

Frederick Cooper

Site on the slopes and peak of Mt Kotilon in Arcadia, southern Greece, overlooking the fertile plains of Messenia. It is renowned for the late 5th-century bc Temple of Apollo with its sculptured Ionic frieze, its peculiar plan and the earliest extant Corinthian capital.

Apollo Bassitas was the principal god but his sanctuary also embraced cults to other gods, notably Artemis. Twin temples to Apollo and Artemis were built by c. 625–600 bc, the former (Apollo I) found immediately south of the present structure. The second temple (Apollo II, c. 575 bc) was replaced by Apollo III c. 500 bc, and blocks from Apollo III were reused in the last temple, Apollo IV, the remains of which stand today. The construction of Apollo IV began shortly after 429 bc, according to Pausanias, although some scholars date it to one or more generations earlier. Other evidence, however, including inscriptions and literary references, support Pausanias’ date. The architect was ...

Article

Thorsten Opper

Roman town in Italy on the southern slope of Mt Vesuvius immediately to the north of Pompeii, sometimes identified with the ancient Pagus Augustus Felix Suburbanus (one of the town's outer districts). Excavations carried out mainly in the later 19th century brought to light some thirty villae rusticae, part of an intense network of smallholdings situated on the lower slopes of the volcano and the adjacent Sarno plain, and plentiful evidence of intense agricultural activity, principally the production of wine and olive oil. Probably due to its fertility, the area was resettled after the eruption; baths dating to the 2nd or 3rd century ad were discovered in Via Casone Grotta. Most of the villas were reburied after the excavations and documentation tends to be sparse. Finds are now mostly in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, as well as a number of private collections; more recent discoveries are exhibited in a new local museum. The nearby Villa Regina is the only structure that can be visited; it has wine production facilities and large storage areas....

Article

Brauron  

R. A. Tomlinson

revised by Gordon Campbell

Site of an ancient sanctuary of Artemis (worshipped here as Artemis-Iphigenia, protector of pregnant women) on the east coast of Attica, 6 km north-east of Markopoulon, established by the 8th century bc. A special feature of the cult at Brauron was that the priestesses, known as Artemis’ Bears (arktoi), were girls aged between five and ten. They resided within the sanctuary and were instrumental in a great festival, the Brauroneia, celebrated there every five years. A similar cult was subsequently introduced on the Athenian Acropolis, probably owing to the growing importance of aristocratic families with estates near Brauron. The site was excavated in 1946–52 and 1956–63 by J. Papadimitriou.

The Temple of Artemis (6th century bc) is a small, Doric, non-peripteral building of which only the foundations remain. Beyond it was a copious spring, liable to flooding. A small, nondescript building some 10 m south-east of the temple was perhaps the residence of the Bears. The most important architectural remains are those of a Doric stoa (end of ...

Article

Lawrence E. Butler

(b Croton Falls, NY, March 7, 1872; d Paris, Aug 13, 1922).

American archaeologist and teacher. After receiving his MA in 1893 from Princeton University with a fellowship in archaeology, Butler studied architecture at Columbia University. From 1895 until his death he held various appointments at Princeton in architecture, archaeology, and art: his teaching of architecture as one of the fine arts led to the creation of the Princeton School of Architecture, of which he became the founding director in 1922. He was one of the most influential American archaeologists of his time, owing to his discoveries in Syria and at Sardis. His work in Syria was inspired by Melchior de Vogüé’s explorations there in the 1860s. Butler organized and led an American expedition in 1899 with the intention of verifying, photographing, and adding to the list of de Vogüé’s sites. His work in Syria continued until 1909 and resulted in several important publications on the early Christian architecture. In 1910 he began excavating at Sardis, uncovering the Artemis Temple and a number of important Lydian objects, until ...

Article

Delphi  

Georges Roux and Jean Marcadé

Site in Phokis in central Greece, c. 165 km north-west of Athens, which flourished from the 8th century bc to the 2nd century ad. It was one of the most important sacred sites of ancient Greece, the home of the Delphic Oracle and reputed to be the centre of the world. High in the foothills of Mt Parnassos, Delphi lies between the twin cliffs of the Phaidriades (‘shining rocks’), overlooking the valley of the River Pleistos and the plain of Kirrha (now Itea) on the shores of the Gulf of Corinth.

Delphi is widely regarded as the most strikingly beautiful ancient site in Greece. The Oracle was formally abolished by the emperor Theodosios I c. ad 385, and thereafter Delphi was almost entirely neglected until the site was rediscovered in 1676. Excavations started in the mid-19th century, and in 1892 a systematic survey was begun by the French School at Athens. Work on the site was intensive until ...

Article

Derveni  

Dimitris Plantzos

Site in Northern Greece, approximately 9.5 km NW from Thessaloniki, where seven mostly undisturbed tombs were discovered in 1962, dating from about 320–290 bc.

Five of the Derveni tombs are cist graves, large rectangular chambers dug underground, dressed with large blocks of local limestone; one is a pit grave, and one a monumental tomb of the ‘Macedonian’ type (see Macedonian tomb). The majority of the Derveni cist graves were roofed with stone covering slabs, while wooden planks were also used for some. Two of the tombs were paved with stones, while the remaining three had floors of beaten earth. Many similar 4th century bc examples exist in western and central northern Greece.

The interior walls of the tombs, and the floor of some, were coated with lime plaster, often coloured in wide blue, yellow and red bands or bearing painted decoration, such as the horizontal friezes depicting olive branches in Tomb Beta, and a garland of myrtle leaves and berries in Tomb Alpha. The use of wall paintings in chamber tombs and cist graves was a widely observed practice in northern Greece (Thessaly and Macedonia) in the Classical and Hellenistic periods....

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

Didyma  

Peter Schneider

revised by Gordon Campbell

[Branchidainow 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 ...

Article

Anastasia N. Dinsmoor

(b Wyndham, NH, July 29, 1886; d Athens, July 2, 1973).

American architect and Classical archaeologist. He studied architecture at Harvard University, graduating in 1906, and worked for three years in architectural practice. Architectural history claimed him, however, and he devoted his life to the study of Greek architecture, becoming one of the leaders in this field. He divided his time between teaching at Columbia University, where he received a PhD in 1929, and conducting field research, mainly in Greece. He wrote four books and numerous articles between 1908 and 1968, mostly on Athenian architecture. Dinsmoor was associated throughout his life with the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, serving as Fellow in Architecture, Architect of the School and Professor of Architecture. He served as president of the Archaeological Institute of America between 1936 and 1945 and was later (1969) awarded the gold medal of the Institute for his archaeological achievements. At the end of World War II Dinsmoor was a member of the American Commission for the Protection and Salvage of Artistic and Historic Monuments in War Areas....

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

Dodona  

R. A. Tomlinson

Site of ancient sanctuary in Epiros, north-west Greece. It is in many ways the remotest of Greek sanctuaries: Epiros was largely uninfluenced by the main developments of the Archaic and Classical periods, retaining its tribal organization at a time when more progressive regions were forming city states. The sanctuary was dedicated to Zeus, probably because the high mountains surrounding it attract spectacular thunderstorms. Despite the site’s remoteness, the Greeks were aware of Zeus of Dodona from early times; for example he is invoked in the Iliad (XIV.233) as Achilles prepares to allow Patroklos to lead his Myrmidons once more into battle. The cult was oracular, and the oracles were associated with a sacred oak tree in the sanctuary, whose prophecies (the whispering of its leaves) were interpreted by a hereditary family of priests, the Selloi. The sanctuary offers a good example of an important cult that flourished without the need for a temple. For a long time it had no architectural embellishment, consisting simply of the precinct containing the sacred oak tree surrounded by tripods, though a simple shrine was added at the beginning of the ...

Article

(b London, Oct 17, 1795; d London, Aug 1, 1885).

English architect, archaeologist and teacher. He was the son of an architect, James Donaldson (c. 1756–1843), and great-nephew of Thomas Leverton. Trained in his father’s office and at the Royal Academy, London, Donaldson travelled in Italy, Greece and Asia Minor from 1818 to 1823 and on his return set up in practice. His first sizeable commission (won in competition) was for the church of the Holy Trinity, Brompton Road, London (1826–9), constructed in the non-archaeological Commissioners’ Gothic style, which was typical of those churches built as a result of the 1818 Act. Other works include the library (1848–9) of University College, Gower Street, London, in a classical style, and University Hall (1848–9; formerly Dr Williams’s Library), Gordon Square, London, in a Tudor Gothic style.

Donaldson’s principal achievements were not as an architect but in his other roles and in his wide range of publications. He was the leader of the ...

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

Ephyra  

Sanctuary in Thesprotia, north-western Greece, near the mouth of the River Acheron. It includes an acropolis with the remains of a Late Bronze Age settlement and cemetery, but it was chiefly important in Classical and Hellenistic times for its Nekyomanteion (‘oracle of the dead’) dedicated to Persephone and Hades. This was situated at the confluence of the Acheron and Kokytos, where Odysseus was supposed to have entered the underworld to meet the shade of Teiresias (Odyssey X.513–15), and though the sanctuary’s remains date to the 3rd century bc they provide evidence for a ritual strikingly similar to that followed by Odysseus himself. They comprise a large irregular enclosure containing a series of rooms round a courtyard on the west side of the hill, and the main sanctuary building to the east, on the very top of the hill. The shrine building, with massive side walls, was approached by a corridor running along its north and east sides before turning along the south side through a maze-like sequence of arched doorways. Consultation of the oracle was preceded by ritual incubation and bathing in rooms off the north corridor, burnt sacrifices in the east corridor and offerings of white barley in the maze. From here the suppliant entered the central hall, which is flanked by three rooms on each side containing storage jars, wheat, barley and other foodstuffs. Under the central hall was a vaulted crypt representing the underworld. The sanctuary was destroyed in ...

Article

R. A. Tomlinson and Ann Thomas Wilkins

Site on the south side of the Saronic Gulf in Greece that flourished especially in the 4th and 3rd centuries bc. Though traces of the ancient city exist, its fame derives from the Sanctuary of Asklepios c. 10 km inland from Epidauros town, which was the principal cult-centre of the healing god in mainland Greece (see fig.). Here there are remains of a Bronze Age settlement, later abandoned, and an early sanctuary of Apollo. Until the end of the 5th century bc the place was of little importance and architecturally undistinguished. The cult of Asklepios began to develop significantly only at this time, perhaps because of the plague that devastated Athens and adjacent regions in the early 420s bc and the general malaise that resulted from the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta (431–404 bc). With the exception of the theatre, the sanctuary buildings are badly ruined. The site was excavated principally by the Greek archaeologist ...

Article

(b Hilpoltstein, nr Nuremberg, June 10, 1774; d Ampelakia, Greece, Nov 5, 1817).

German archaeologist and architect. He studied architecture at the Karls-Akademie in Karlsruhe and with David Gilly at the Bauakademie in Berlin. In 1808 he visited Italy. For a short while he worked as a building official in Nuremberg, but only a small number of his designs were executed. In 1810 he travelled to Greece, where he spent the rest of his life on archaeological expeditions and excavations. In April 1811 he was one of an English and German group, which included C. R. Cockerell, that discovered and excavated the Temple of Aphaia at Aigina. Haller von Hallerstein was able to persuade Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (later King Ludwig I) to acquire the pediment sculptures for Munich (Munich, Glyp.). In August 1811 the same group excavated at Bassai and unearthed the Temple of Apollo, with its now-famous reliefs (London, BM). During his time in Greece, Haller von Hallerstein collated a collection of sketches and notes of great academic value, now held at the University of Strasbourg. As an architect, he is known mainly for his designs (...

Article

J. A. Sakellarakis

Site on Mt Ida (now Psiloritis) in central Crete. It lies at an altitude of 1498 m and measures some 59×46 m. It was the most important cave in Greek antiquity, identified by many ancient writers as the place where Zeus was born and raised. It was discovered accidentally in 1884 and was excavated first in 1885 by Federico Halbherr, then from 1982 by John Sakellarakis, with funds from the Archaeological Society of Athens. Human presence within the cave is evident from the end of the Late Neolithic period (c. 3800 bc) and continued without interruption until the 5th century ad. It was a place of worship from the end of the Middle Minoan period (c. 1600 bc). The first object of worship may have been a Minoan male deity who dies and is reborn each year. For this reason, when the Mycenaean Greeks occupied Crete ...

Article

Kea  

R. L. N. Barber

revised by Gordon Campbell

[KeosCeosZea]

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 ...