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Article

Arles  

T. F. C. Blagg, E. B. Sarewitz and Alan Borg

[Lat. Arelate]

French town in Bouches-du-Rhône, c. 25 km from the Mediterranean coast and c. 25 km from Nîmes. It lies on a ridge south of a bend in the River Rhône.

Originally a Greek settlement, it was refounded with the name Arelate in 46 bc by Julius Caesar as a colony for army veterans. Christianity was established by Bishop Trophimus in the late 3rd century ad, and one of the first Councils of the Church was held in the city in ad 314.

The walls were among the first structures of Arelate; the east gate was interrupted by the foundations of a new building constructed above. Much broken early Imperial sculpture, no doubt from the forum, was deposited there. Two columns of the building with an arcaded entablature remain as part of the structures in the modern Place du Forum.

The theatre and the amphitheatre are both well preserved. The theatre was built soon after the colony was founded, probably early in the reign of Augustus (...

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

Arras  

Isabelle Gournay, Annick Davy-Notter and Jacques Thiébaut

[Lat. Nemetacum]

French city and préfecture of the Pas-de-Calais, now the major city of the Artois region in north-east France.

Isabelle Gournay

The history of Arras has been particularly unstable. First inhabited by the Atrebates, it was destroyed in ad 407, rebuilt by St Vaast (its first bishop) in 500, and razed by the Normans in 880. It remained under the authority of the Counts of Flanders from 863 to 1180, when, with the marriage of Philippe II Auguste (reg 1180–1223) and Isabella of Hainault (1170–90), it became part of France. By 1384, when it was annexed by Burgundy, Arras consisted of a Gallo-Roman town to the west and the medieval Bourg-Neuf to the east. It was a thriving commercial centre and acquired an international reputation for its tapestries (see §2 below); the city was briefly occupied by the French in the late 15th century. In 1659, as a consequence of the Treaty of the Pyrenees, Louis XIV reclaimed Arras from Spain and surrounded the city with fortifications by ...

Article

Arta  

Barbara Papadopoulou

[anc. Ambrakia]

Capital of the Arta district in south Epiros, Greece, on the east bank of the River Arachthos, 16 km north of the Ambrakian Gulf. The town occupies the site of Ambrakia, which was colonized by Corinth in 625 bc. Pyrrhos, King of Epiros (reg 319–272 bc), transferred his capital to Ambrakia in 292 bc. It first appears with the name of Arta in 1082. The state (better known as the Despotate) of Epiros, with its capital of Arta, was founded by Michael I Angelos Doukas Komnenos (reg 1205–15) after the Latin conquest of Constantinople in 1204. His state included the whole of north-west Greece, New Epiros (part of modern Albania), north-west Macedonia and parts of Thessaly. Arta fell to the Turks in 1449, regaining its independence in 1881 when it was incorporated into the Greek state.

The town was laid out on a grid plan and was surrounded by impressive walls, large parts of which survive. Remains of the Doric temple of Pythian Apollo (...

Article

Ingrid Jenderko-Sichelschmidt

German town in Bavaria on the River Main, with a population of c. 65,000 (1986). It is first documented (ad 974) in relation to the collegiate church of SS Peter and Alexander, founded c. 950 by the ruling Ottonian dynasty. The church belonged to the archbishopric of Mainz from c. 980 until 1803. Aschaffenburg consequently became the second residence of the prince-bishops of Mainz (see §1) and played a significant role politically, economically and culturally. The church was rebuilt between the 12th and 15th centuries, and was stylistically influenced by Reformation architecture. It has a beautiful three-winged cloister (1220–40) and chapter house (now Stiftsmuseum). Its rich furnishing includes a life-size Romanesque crucifix (c. 1100); two pieces by Matthias Grünewald (the frame, 1519, for the Virgin of the Snows Altarpiece (paintings dispersed), and the Lamentation, c. 1525); and works by ...

Article

Adriano Ghisetti Giavarina

[Lat. Asculum Picenum]

Italian city, a provincial capital in the Marches built at the confluence of the Castellano and Tronto rivers and on the ancient Via Salaria, which links Rome with the Adriatic Sea. After being conquered and destroyed by the Romans in 89 bc, Ascoli Piceno was rebuilt on a rectangular grid, which it has retained to this day. Because of its geographical position, the city always enjoyed a certain economic well-being, and the River Castellano provided the energy for mills and paper factories from the Middle Ages. Throughout the city’s history, this wealth favoured the production of many noteworthy works of art. Its architectural monuments, built of the local Travertine marble, are set in a medieval and Renaissance urban fabric of considerable interest.

Important remains of the Roman period have survived in Ascoli, including the Solestà bridge and gate (originally the Augustan gate; partially rebuilt 1230); the ‘di Cecco’ bridge (...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[Pers. ‛Ashqābād; formerly Ashkhabad Askhabad, Poltoratsk]

Capital city of Turkmenistan. Lying in an oasis south of the Karakum Desert, the city was founded in 1881 on the site of a mountain village (Rus. aul). Linked by rail with the Caspian coast in 1885, it developed rapidly as the center of the Transcaspian region at the turn of the 20th century and became the capital of the Turkmen republic in 1924. It suffered greatly from earthquakes in 1893, 1895 and 1929; following complete destruction by the earthquake of 6 October 1948, the city was rebuilt during the 1950s and 1960s.

Saparmurat Niyazov (generally referred to as Turkmenbashi, or leader of the Turkmen), president from 1985 to 2006, used the revenues from huge gas reserves to lavishly embellish the city with grandiose monuments of gleaming white marble and gold. Civic structures include not only the palace, government offices and an exhibition center, but also the Arch of Neutrality, a large tripod in front of which stands a gold statue of Turkmenbashi that rotates to face the sun. Religious structures include the Azadi Mosque, which resembles the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, and the Kipchak Mosque, said to be the largest in Central Asia. The National Museum of History (...

Article

A. A. Ivanov and Jonathan M. Bloom

revised by Sheila S. Blair

[Pers. ‛Ashqābād; formerly Ashgabat, Askhabad, Poltorack]

Capital city of Turkmenistan. Lying in an oasis south of the Karakum Desert, the city was founded in 1881 on the site of a mountain village (Rus. aul). Linked by rail with the Caspian coast in 1885, it developed rapidly as the center of the Transcaspian region at the turn of the 20th century and became the capital of the Turkmen republic in 1924. It suffered greatly from earthquakes in 1893, 1895 and 1929; following complete destruction by the earthquake of 6 October 1948, the city was rebuilt during the 1950s and 1960s.

The region has long been settled. The archaeological site at Anau, lying 6 km to the east, has yielded items dating from the 5th to the 1st millennium bc and has given its name to the Bronze Age culture of southern Turkmenistan (see Central Asia, §I, 2, (iii), (a)). The complex of shaykh Jamal al-Din (...

Article

Lucy Der Manuelian and Armen Zarian

Town on the banks of the K‘asagh River, 20 km north-west of Erevan, Armenia. It is the site of several churches (5th–19th centuries) and a cemetery with khatchk‘ars (see Armenia, Republic of §IV 1.; Cross, §II, 4) of the 12th to the 14th century.

The earliest church is the three-aisled basilica of Tsiranavor, which was built in the 5th century and partially reconstructed in the 6th, probably by Catholicos Nerses II (reg 538–57), a native of Bagravand. It subsequently underwent numerous alterations and was finally left a ruin in 1815. Restoration work in 1963 revealed that the exterior walls, the apse area, the north pier bases and the south aisle and nave arcade have survived. Traces of the beginnings of the main vault can be seen at the west end.

The walls are of tufa ashlars, facing a rubble core. The plan was defined by three pairs of T-shaped piers, a characteristic of 5th-century Armenian architecture (...

Article

Assisi  

Anabel Thomas, Jacqueline Colliss Harvey, Adrian S. Hoch, Virginia Roehrig Kaufmann and Ruth Wolff

Pilgrimage town in Umbria, Italy, on the slopes of Mt Subasio, south-east of Perugia, and the birthplace of St Francis (1181/2–1226), founder of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor. The church of S Francesco (see §II below), an example of early Italian Gothic architecture, was raised in honour of St Francis shortly after his death. The main focal points of pilgrims are the church’s late 13th- to early 14th-century fresco cycles, which include the Legend of St Francis and lives of other saints.

Anabel Thomas

Populated first by the Umbrians, the town later became the flourishing Roman settlement of Asisium. There are surviving remains of the Roman walls, forum, theatre, amphitheatre, and the Temple of Minerva (now the church of S Maria) dating from the reign of Augustus. Most of the town was destroyed in ad 545. Assisi emerged as a free Ghibelline comune in the late 12th century, having previously been in the power of the Duchy of Spoleto. The town developed considerably during the 13th century, a period during which it was under papal jurisdiction. In the early 14th century Assisi fell to Perugia and subsequently succumbed to a number of despots, including Gian Galeazzo Visconti and Federigo I da Montefeltro. Despite continuing disputes between local families, however, Assisi returned to papal jurisdiction under Pope Pius II 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

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

Asyut  

Diana Magee

[Assiut; anc. Djauty, Gr. Lycopolis, Arab. Siūt]

Capital city of the 13th Upper Egyptian nome (administrative province), situated on the west bank of the Nile at the end of the caravan route from the el-Kharga oasis. The ancient town, with its temple dedicated to Wepwawet, the local canine deity, probably lies under the modern one. The necropolis was excavated by Emile Chassinat in 1903. The most important periods at Asyut were the Herakleopolitan (c. 2130–c. 1970 bc), when Asyut supported the northern kings against Thebes, and the Middle Kingdom (c. 2008–c. 1630 bc), although two Ramesside tombs have also been found.

The rock-cut tombs of the Herakleopolitan nomarchs are single-chambered, containing biographical inscriptions describing campaigns against the south. The Middle Kingdom tomb of Hepdjefa I, famous for its texts of contracts with funerary priests, introduced a new type: a series of chambers leading to a central shrine at the rear. The scanty remains of the reliefs indicate that a school of fine craftsmen was established in the Herakleopolitan period, producing good, formal work at a time when other provincial art was eccentric. A scene of soldiers in the tomb of ...

Article

Ateni  

Oxana Cleminson

Village on the River Tana, 12 km from Gori in Georgia. It is known for Sioni Cathedral (7th century ad), dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, which, together with one other small church, is all that remains of the monastery founded there at the beginning of the 7th century. The small domed tetraconch church was built of undressed stone during the reign of King Stephanos II (reg c. 640–50) and rebuilt in the 10th century. In size and plan Sioni Cathedral is very similar to the Jvari Church at Mtskheta. The core of the spatial conception is the dome (diam. c. 10 m), which, together with the church’s other architectural elements, forms a spatial hierarchy corresponding to the descent from heaven to earth. Like the Jvari and the more provincial Dzveli Shuamta in Kakheti, Sioni Cathedral is an example of the pilgrims’ churches that were to become, in the period following the Iconoclastic Controversy (...

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

Atlanta  

Robert M. Craig

North American city and capital of the state of Georgia. Situated in the foothills of the Appalachians, Atlanta was established in 1837 and has been the state capital since 1868; the urban area remains today the most populous metropolitan region of the south-eastern United States. The city has historically always been linked to transportation and has served as the hub in the south-east of, successively, the regional railroad system, the interstate highway system, and (with one of the busiest international airports in the world) the global air transportation system.

In 1836 few whites had yet settled in the land of the Creek and Cherokee Indians when the Georgia General Assembly voted to build a state railroad linking the Midwest to the Georgia coast (and through the port of Savannah to the Atlantic). The proposed Western and Atlantic Railroad ran from the Tennessee state line to the bank of the Chattahoochee River, and from there connected to branch rail lines. A small community, initially named Terminus, and in ...

Article

Diana Fowle and Jennifer Wearden

Town situated on the River Creuse in the Creuse département (formerly La Marche) in central-southern France . Tapestries have been produced at Aubusson and the nearby town of Felletin since the 16th century, and carpet manufacture was established in Aubusson in 1743.

Diana Fowle

It seems likely that the first looms in Aubusson were set up in the 14th century by Flemish refugees, although tapestry production did not begin until the 16th century. The tapestry industry in Felletin seems to have been established earlier than that of Aubusson: an inventory of 1514 written after the death of Charlotte D’Albret records tapestry pieces originating from Felletin. It was not until 1560 that Errard D’Ahun recorded the weavers of both towns, in Histoire de l’antique ville d’Ahun en la province de Marche (Clermont, 1857). The Aubusson and Felletin weavers wove many types of tapestries, using subject-matter similar to that favoured by their Flemish contemporaries. The quality of the work was, however, considerably less accomplished. The fact that La Marche was so far from Paris meant that the tapestry market was weak, as access to the richest clients was limited. Weavers often had to travel in search of profitable commissions or sell to local buyers who were unable to afford expensive, high-quality tapestries. Consequently the Aubusson weavers specialized in the cheaper, low-warp weaving technique. The cartoons from which the weavers worked were also of rather poor quality; they were often taken from contemporary engravings, which were simplified when copied....

Article

John Stacpoole

City in New Zealand. It is situated on a narrow isthmus between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean in the north of the country’s North Island. The city is an important port, with harbours on both sides of the isthmus. It is New Zealand’s largest centre of commerce and industry, with a metropolitan population of c. 900,000. European settlement began in 1840, when the British Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson chose the isthmus as the site for the capital of the new colony of New Zealand. In 1841 the Surveyor General drew up an elaborate town plan, but the unfavourable topography and early economic conditions meant that little of it was executed, although considerable foresight was shown then and subsequently in setting aside areas of parkland. The most significant surviving buildings of the early colonial period are the Old Government House (1855–7) by William Mason and Hulme Court (...

Article

Wolfgang Wüst, Josef Č. Mancal, Hans-Joachim Kunst and Carola Hicks

Capital since 1817 of Swabia, Bavaria, Germany, on the confluence of the rivers Lech and Wertach, with a population of c. 263,699 (1993).

Wolfgang Wüst

The city is built on the site of a Roman settlement, Augusta Vindelicorum (founded 15 bc), which became the capital of the province of Raetia (est. c. ad 50). In ad 121 it was officially designated as a borough (municipium). In the 8th and 9th centuries the town’s development centred around both the cathedral and the pilgrimage church of St Afra (7th century) south of the Roman town wall, on the site of the old Roman cemetery. After the defeat of the Hungarian army (955) at the battle of Lechfeld, with the support of Bishop Ulrich (reg 923–73), the city was granted the imperial privileges of a market and a mint. There followed rapid growth and the foundation of the convent of St Stephan (...

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....