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Article

D. T. Potts, J. Schmidt, Paolo M. Costa and Alessandro De Maigret

Region in which diverse cultures and civilizations flourished from c. 4500 bc to the rise of Islam in the early 7th century ac. Throughout history the term Arabia has varied according to changing political and cultural conditions. In this article it denotes the Arabian peninsula as far north as the borders of Jordan and Iraq. For regions north of this modern boundary see Syria-Palestine and Mesopotamia.

A supraregional survey is not always possible for the art forms discussed below, either because of distinct regional diversity or because archaeological excavation is more advanced in some parts of the peninsula than in others. In some cases, therefore, this article simply discusses those works of art and architecture that are most noteworthy, either stylistically, technologically or iconographically. Generally, the earliest material considered dates to the latter part of the late prehistoric period, c. 4500–c. 3400 bc. Thereafter there is a range of sites and finds that span the protohistoric (...

Article

Arausio  

T. F. C. Blagg

[now Orange]

Roman town in south-west France, 7 km east of the river Rhône. It is famous for its theatre and triumphal arch. The Roman colony of Arausio was founded c. 35 bc for veterans of the 2nd Gallic Legion beside the Saint-Eutrope Hill, probably a stronghold of the native tribe of the Tricastini, which Strabo (IV.i.12) described as the most Romanized in southern Gaul. The Roman city included most of the hill, the regular street grid beginning at the foot of its steep northern slopes. The alignment of the streets was continued in the road system that divided the territory into equally sized plots of land allocated to each colonist. This is attested by the remarkable discovery in a limekiln near the theatre of fragments of three cadastral surveys carved on marble tablets (Orange, Mus. Mun.), the earliest set up in the city’s record office in ad 77, the second and most informative probably made in the reign of Trajan (...

Article

Argos  

Pierre Aupert

Principal city in the Argolid, southern Greece. It was built around the Larissa and Aspis hills dominating the Argive plain, about 8 km from the sea, and flourished throughout Classical antiquity. The modern town occupies the site of the ancient city. Argos was a major power in the Peloponnese from the Bronze Age. Rivalry with Sparta culminated in King Pheidon’s victory in the 7th century bc, which made Argos pre-eminent in Greece. After Pheidon’s death, however, Sparta and the rising power of Corinth held Argos in check. Argos was included in the Roman province of Achaia in 146–5 bc. Polykleitos was the most famous of several renowned Argive sculptors (the ‘Argive school’) of the High Classical period (c. 450–c. 375 bc). Argive architecture, although firmly within the Hellenic tradition, had various distinctive local characteristics and took many innovative forms, especially under the early Roman Empire. Excavations in and around Argos were made by the Dutch archaeologist ...

Article

Mark D. Fullerton

(fl Rome, mid-1st century bc).

Greek sculptor. He was one of the greatest masters of his time, though referred to only by Pliny. A contemporary of Pasiteles, like him he worked in a variety of media (marble statuary, marble and/or metal vessels) and believed in the value of preliminary models, which were themselves sold at high prices. Arkesilaos was commissioned by L. Lucullus or his son to make a statue of Felicitas (Pliny: XXXV.clv–clvi), which was never completed. His most famous work was the cult statue for Caesar’s Temple of Venus Genetrix (ded. 46 bc). Hadrianic coin representations of this deity show a figure close to the late 5th century bc Fréjus Aphrodite type. If these represent Arkesilaos’ cult statue, then it must have been classicizing in style. The Temple of Venus, however, was extensively rebuilt in Trajanic times, so the statue depicted may have been a 2nd-century ad replacement. Only two other works are mentioned: a group of ...

Article

Armant  

M. S. Drower

[anc. Gr. Hermonthis; Copt. Ermont]

City in Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile, some 10 km south of Luxor. It was at first called Iunu-Shema (Egyp.: ‘the southern Heliopolis’) and Iunu-Montu (Egyp.: ‘Heliopolis of the war-god Montu’), from which subsequent names derive. It was the capital of the fourth nome (administrative province) of Upper Egypt throughout the Old Kingdom (c. 2575–c. 2150 bc), until the rise of the city of Thebes. Armant was the original home of the Mentuhotpe family, the founders of the 11th Dynasty. Preliminary excavations in the town area (1935–7) uncovered stone relief blocks of many periods; a few delicate reliefs of the 11th Dynasty show Sankhkare Mentuhotpe III in the company of Montu and his consorts the goddesses Iuniyt and Teneniyt. Some lower courses of a New Kingdom temple were uncovered, including the base of an 18th Dynasty Pylon bearing a depiction of a lively procession of Nubian captives headed by a rhinoceros. A granite stele, found near by, records various exploits, such as the capture of a rhinoceros by Tuthmosis III....

Article

Luca Leoncini

revised by Thorsten Opper

Group of three ancient Greek bronze figures, now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. The various fragments were recovered in 1926, 1928 and 1937 from the sea-bed site of an ancient shipwreck off Cape Artemision at the northernmost point of Euboia, Greece, together with scant remains of a wreck whose cargo they seem to have formed. The most famous is the bronze statue identified as Zeus or Poseidon (h. 2.09 m), datable to the second quarter of the 5th century bc (see fig.). It is attributed to an Attic artist, perhaps Kalamis, who made the Omphalos Apollo. The figure represents a bearded man with long hair tied up at the back of his neck, striding forward with his arms extended. He is poised to throw either a thunderbolt or a trident, depending on which of the two gods he portrays. Ample iconographic parallels exist for both (coins of Poseidonia show Poseidon hurling his trident in this manner, while Zeus is represented in a similar pose in numerous bronze statuettes). The position of the fingers of the right hand suggests that the statue originally held a trident rather than a bolt of lightning, though Zeus is represented in a similar pose in numerous bronze statuettes (see Stewart, ii, pls 287–9). The hypothesis that this was the pose of an earlier cult statue in the Temple of Zeus at Olympia before Pheidias created his colossal chryselephantine ...

Article

Dorothy Verkerk

Illuminated manuscript of the first five books of the Old Testament (now incomplete), dating from the late 6th or early 7th century (Paris, Bib.N., MS. nouv. acq. lat. 2334) and named after the English collector Bertram Ashburnham. Also known as the Pentateuch of Tours, the Ashburnham Pentateuch is one of the oldest surviving pre-Carolingian Vulgate manuscripts of the Old Testament. In its present condition, it lacks the last verses of Numbers and all of Deuteronomy; while 18 pages of illustration and 1 frontispiece survive from the original 65 pages with illustrations. The illustrated pages comprise several scenes generally arranged in two or three bands, although some pages have one or two large scenes, others combine illustration and text. Painted tituli that follow the Vulgate accompany the miniatures; however, beneath the painted titutli are preliminary inscriptions penned in ink that follow the Vetus latina text.

Based upon stylistic, iconographical and codicological evidence, the Pentateuch appears to have been made in a late 6th- to early 7th-century Italian scriptorium. Twelve pages were added in the 8th century by scribes from Fleury; an additional restored page (fol. 33) was added in the 7th century by a Touronian scribe. The illustrations often deviate from the exact retelling of the biblical text. The column of smoke and fire, for example, in the story of the Crossing of the Red Sea is depicted as a large candle held in two hands, a reference to Easter Vigil liturgical ceremonies (fol. 68...

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

Martin Robertson

(fl c. 100 bc).

Mosaicist from Arados, Phoenicia. The fragmentary inscription… piades Aradios epoiei (Gr.: ‘…piades of Arados made’) is set in two lines of black tesserae on the white ground of a tessellated floor still in situ in the House of the Dolphins on the island of Delos (see Bruneau, fig.). The beginning of the name is lost, but ‘Asklepiades’ is the most probable. The square floor, which occupies the central court, can be dated to c. 100 bc. It has an outer border of black crenellation and within that a series of pattern bands in concentric circles surrounds a rosette, each corner being occupied by an Eros riding a dolphin and leading a second on the rein. Most of the floor is worked in opus tessellatum, but these corner groups are in opus vermiculatum (using very fine tesserae). The inscription lies between two of the pattern circles. One of these has horned heads, alternately characterized as griffins and lions, that grow out of arcs of ornament. Animal ornament is rare in Greek art, but there is a close parallel on an Orientalizing vase of the ...

Article

Iain Browning

[now Bilkis]

Site in southern Turkey of a Greek and Roman city that flourished c. 100 bcad 300. It is eight miles from the mouth of the River Köprüçay (anc. Eurymedon) in the region once known as Pamphylia. It was a Greek colony that claimed to have been founded by Argos, but was incorporated with all Pamphylia into the Lydian empire of Croesus (c. 560 bc), and was then lost by Croesus to Cyrus of Persia in 546 bc. Despite the Athenian general Kimon’s double victory over the Persians at the mouth of the Eurymedon (c. 468 bc), and its subsequent membership of the Athenian-dominated Delian League, Aspendos remained voluntarily under Persian control until taken by Alexander the Great (334/333 bc). Thereafter it changed hands several times, being held successively by Antigonos, the Ptolemies and the Seleucids until it was ceded to Rome in ...

Article

Assos  

Bonna D. Wescoat

[now Behramkale]

City on the Aegean coast of Turkey, rising from the sea to the summit of the coastal ridge opposite the island of Lesbos. Ancient testimony and archaeological evidence indicate that Assos was founded in the 7th century bc by colonists from Methymna on Lesbos, and its strategic location and protected harbour assured its importance from the 6th century bc to the 4th century ad; Aristotle lived there from 348 to 345 bc. The site was first excavated by Americans in 1881–3; work resumed in 1981 under Turkish direction. Finds, including reliefs from the temple, are now in Paris (Louvre), Boston, MA (Mus. F.A.), Istanbul (Archaeol. Mus.), Çanakkale (Archaeol. Mus.) and at the site.

The plan of Assos followed the steep contours of the area; the buildings were constructed of local volcanic andesite. The Archaic temple on the summit (see fig. (a)), probably dedicated to Athena Polias and built in the second half of the ...

Article

Astana  

Henrik H. Sørensen

Site of an ancient cemetery for Khocho, 40 km south-east of Turfan in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. The burial ground, which contains over 400 tombs, covers a large area and is divided into three sections: a north-western group with the earliest graves, a north-eastern group consisting of later, commoners’ graves, and a later northern group intended for the nobility. A wooden document found at the site indicates that it was in use before ad 273. From other unearthed written evidence it is thought that Astana ceased to be used in the late 8th century. It appears that most of those buried here were Chinese.

Many tombs contained a couple, or in some cases a man and several wives. A few single burials have also been found. In several cases the exact dating of a tomb is possible owing to memorial inscriptions on clay slates placed next to the bodies. The early tombs were made by digging a vertical entry shaft into the ground with chambers on the sides, while the later tombs have an access ramp sloping down to the burial chamber, sometimes with side rooms and antechambers. The tombs made for the nobility are usually decorated with wall paintings depicting such motifs as birds and flowers, stylized landscapes and figures; many are in the style of the early Tang period (...

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

Aswan  

Edda Bresciani

[anc. Egyp. Abu, Swenet; Copt. Sawan; Gr. Syene]

Egyptian city at the northern end of the first Nile cataract, c. 900 km south of Cairo. The modern town chiefly stretches along the eastern bank of a sandstone valley, which also contains numerous islands formed by the granite outcrops of the cataract; its ancient monuments are found on both the east and west banks and on some of the islands.

In ancient times Aswan was a garrison town marking the traditional boundary between Egypt and Nubia; as such it served as the capital of the first nome (province) of Egypt and the seat of its governors. The town’s wealth was generated by its position on an important trade route between the Nile Valley and the African lands to the south and by its granite quarries, which provided the material for countless ancient monuments. The islands of the cataract enjoyed religious status as the mythological source of the annual Nile inundation, while the Temple of Isis at ...

Article

C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl later 4th century bc–early 3rd).

Greek painter from Maroneia in Thrace, none of whose work survives. The only account of Athenion is given by Pliny (Natural History XXXV.134), who said he was a pupil of Glaukion of Corinth. Some thought his work more pleasing than that of Nikias, who was thus probably a contemporary. Yet Athenion used a more severe colour scheme, an austerity that reflected the intellectual principles by which he painted. His work included Odysseus Discovering Achilles Disguised as a Girl, an Assembly of Relatives (at Athens) and, his most famous painting, a Groom with a Horse. He also painted a portrait of the cavalry commander Phylarchus for the temple at Eleusis, which seems to link him to the period of Athens’ wars against Kassander, King of Macedon (reg 310–297 bc; cf. Pausanias: Guide to Greece I.xxvi.3). Athenion died young.

K. Jex-Blake and E. Sellers: The Elder Pliny’s Chapters on the History of Art...

Article

Athens  

O. T. P. K. Dickinson, John Camp, Eleni Bastéa, Evita Arapoglou, Sheila S. Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom, Reinhard Stupperich, José Dörig, I. Leventi, Anne McClanan and Stamatia Kalantzopoulou

[Gr. Athinai]

Capital city of the Republic of Greece, occupying the greater part of the Attic plain, enclosed by the Hymettos, Pentelikon, and Parnis mountains to the east, north, and west, and open to the Saronik Gulf to the south. On this side, about 10 km from the centre of Athens, is the city’s port of Piraeus (anc. Peiraeus). Several lesser hills also form part of the city, including Lykabettos and a group of five hills to the south-west namely the Acropolis, the Areopagos, the Pnyx, and the hills of the Muses and of the Nymphs. From ancient times until the later 20th century the city was dominated by the rocky outcrop of the Acropolis, rising c. 155 m above sea level in the middle of the Attic plain. Difficult to access on all sides except the west, it was a natural site for a fortified settlement that later became the centre of the city’s cult of Athena and the location of some of the most celebrated buildings in world history....

Article

Ann Bomann

[anc. Egyp. Hwt-hery-ib; now Tell Atrib]

Site in Egypt, just north-west of Benha in the Nile Delta. The capital of the 10th nome administrative province of Lower Egypt, the town’s religious name, Kemwer (the ‘Great Black One’), was applied to the original local god (personified as a bull), the nome and the city itself. Subsequently the major deity was Khentekhtai, at first represented as a crocodile and additionally, from the 12th Dynasty (c. 1938–c. 1756 bc), as a falcon; mummified falcons dating from the Late Period (c.750–332 bc) have been found. The heart of Osiris was believed to be buried at Athribis, and Isis, Hathor, Sekhmet and Khwit, the major goddess after the New Kingdom (c. 1540–c. 1075 bc), also had cults there. It was also the birthplace of Amenhotpe, son of Hapu, royal architect to Amenophis III (reg c. 1390–c. 1353 bc). Apart from partial soundings and occasional discoveries by the Napoleonic expedition (...

Article

Susan Walker

revised by Gordon Campbell

[Lucius Vibullius Tiberius Claudius Atticus Herodes]

(b Athens, ad 103; d Athens, ad 177).

Teacher, writer, politician and patron. He was born into a family long distinguished for its services to Athens. A sophist, Herodes also followed a Roman career, serving in ad 134–5 as financial officer for the province of Asia. He overspent the budget for a new aqueduct for the city of Alexandria Troas, displeasing the Emperor Hadrian (reg ad 117–38). In ad 139–40 Herodes directed the Panathenaic festival in Athens. He commissioned a mechanical ship to carry Athena’s robe to the Acropolis; the ship was later conserved above the stadium at Ardettos, rebuilt by Herodes to seat 50,000 spectators. The stadium at Delphi was replated with marble, and Herodes gave an aqueduct and fountain decorated with family and imperial portraits to the Panhellenic sanctuary at Olympia (see Olympia §1). He also gave fine statues at Isthmia and Corinth, where he is said to have rebuilt the theatre. Herodes married a member of the Roman high aristocracy, Appia Annia Regilla, and became consul ordinarius in ...

Article

Augst  

Anthony King

[anc. Augusta Raurica]

Swiss town on the Rhine near Basle, formerly a Roman colony. The well-preserved and extensively excavated Roman town is important for the study of urban planning and civic architecture. It was founded by a close colleague of Julius Caesar, L. Munatius Plancus, c. 44 bc in order to establish a bastion of Romanization in the region. The earliest surviving remains date from the Augustan period, and there was much building activity throughout the 1st and 2nd centuries ad, a period that marks the floruit of the colony. The centre of Augst was dominated by its forum–basilica–capitolium complex, laid out in the format typical of Gallic towns and one of the best examples of its type (see Rome, ancient, §III, 2). Considerable rebuilding during the 2nd century included the addition of a circular curia. The axis of the complex was the same as that of the surrounding street grid. At the temple end of the forum, however, the axis changed orientation and led to a second major group of monuments, including a theatre, which faced a second large Classical temple (am Schönbühl). The theatre originated in the early 1st century but was transformed into an amphitheatre in the later 1st century and then back into a theatre in the mid-2nd century. The Schönbühl temple (2nd century), positioned on a low hill and aligned with the theatre, would have been a major backdrop to theatrical performances. It succeeded a group of much smaller Romano-Celtic temples. The town as a whole is notable for its religious remains....

Article

T. F. C. Blagg

revised by Gordon Campbell

[now Mérida]

Roman town in south-west Spain, c. 56 km east of Badajoz, at the confluence of the Guadiana and Albarregas rivers. It was founded in 25 bc as a colony for army veterans (emeritus means ‘veteran’) and was the chief city of the Roman province of Lusitania. Its Roman remains are the most substantial in Spain.

Emerita benefited from superior public works projects. Roman bridges remain across both the rivers. The larger of the two, that over the Guadiana River (nearly 800 m long; early 2nd century ad), which is still in use, was originally constructed of 60 arches of which 57 survive, although many of them have been rebuilt since Roman times. The arches are made of concrete faced with granite and the bridge extends 792 metres across the river valley. The route across the bridge carried the traffic from the major highway out of town directly into the ...