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Article

Jeremy J. Tanner

[Octavian ; Gaius Octavius ; Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus]

(b Rome, Sept 23, 63 bc; reg 27 bcad 14; d Nola, 19 Aug ad 14).

Roman emperor and patron. When Gaius Octavius was named the heir of Julius Caesar (assassinated 44 bc), he was a politically unknown 18 year old. Early portrait types presented him bearded, as a sign of mourning for his adoptive father, thereby reinforcing his claim to be Caesar’s rightful successor. Octavian’s most important programme of artistic patronage, however, followed his assumption in 27 bc of the title ‘Augustus’ (Lat.: ‘venerable’) and with it effective monarchic power. Artistic patronage was a vehicle by which Augustus sought to legitimate his new position in terms of traditional Roman values. He rebuilt 82 temples in order to demonstrate his piety and to restore the pax deorum (‘peace of the gods’) disrupted by the civil wars of the late Republic (see Rome, ancient, §II, 2, (i), (b)). New building in the Forum Romanum (see Rome, §V, 1) allowed him to redefine civic space in order to display his exceptional power. A temple of his deified father, Julius Caesar, dominated the eastern end of the forum. Two triumphal arches celebrating Augustus’ victories at Actium and against the Parthians flanked the temple and formed the entrance to the forum....

Article

Gary Michael Tartakov

[ Auraṅgābād]

Buddhist monastic and pilgrimage site—fl c. 100 bcad 600—and later city in Maharashtra, India. Together with Ajanta and Ellora, it represents the culmination of Buddhist rock-cut art along the trade routes of western India. The Buddhist site, located in the hills north-west of the city, contains a dozen excavations, an aniconic prayer-hall (Skt caityag ṛha) of the 1st century bc, two possibly Mahayana Buddhist designs that resemble examples at Ajanta closely enough to be by the same artists, a series of profusely decorated Vajrayana Buddhist ma ṇḍala shrines and a unique syncretic temple combining Brahmanical and Buddhist deities within a single sanctum. The richness and sensuousness of both the architecture and the sculpture is exceptional.

The earliest structure at the site is an aniconic caitya (Cave 4) of the 1st century bc. This prayer-hall was followed in the 5th century ad by two caves in the manner of later Ajanta: Cave 1, a ...

Article

Luca Leoncini

[before adoption, Marcus Annius Verus; as emperor, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus]

(b Rome, 26 April ad 121; reg ad 161–80; d Vienna, 17 March ad 180).

Roman emperor and patron who, in contrast to the long and pacific reign of his predecessor Antoninus Pius, had to deal with natural disasters, rebellions and attacks by the subject peoples of the Empire. One of the few surviving monuments from his reign is the base of the Column of Antoninus Pius near the Ustrinum in the Campus Martius, which was discovered in 1703 (c. ad 161; Rome, Vatican, Cortile Pigna; see Rome, ancient, §IV, 2, (vii)). A fragment of the column containing an inscription also survives. On the base is represented the apotheosis of the emperor Antoninus Pius, transported to heaven along with his wife Faustina by a winged Genius, while the goddess Roma and the Genius of the Campus Martius look on; the opposite side depicts a decursio (military parade). A triumphal arch dedicated to Marcus Aurelius was built by the senate; this structure may originally have contained both the reliefs that were later reused in the Arch of Constantine (...

Article

Anthony King

[now Avenches , Switzerland]

Roman site, 17 km south-west of Berne, which flourished in the 2nd century ad. The town was founded c. 8 bc as the administrative centre of the civitas Helvetiorum and was elevated to the status of colonia during the Civil War of ad 69–70. It had suffered near total abandonment by the late 3rd century, although occupation may have continued in the vicinity of the existing medieval and modern town. The layout of the town—a good example of urban planning of the early Imperial period—is on a grid plan on a module of 75×110 m, with a central forum and baths, and a religious complex on the south side of the gridded area. The surrounding walls are 5.7 km in length, enclosing an area twice the size of the town. The reason for the disparity is not known: perhaps it represents an over-ambitious allowance for expansion, or perhaps the length of the walls was a symbol of civic pride. The most notable architectural feature is the temple building that includes the well-known standing column called Le Cigognier. The column forms one of the sides of the temple’s pronaos, which was probably of Classical, not Romano-Celtic, form, to judge from the excavated plan. The temple faces the town’s theatre across an expansive temenos, in a single ensemble dated to the ...

Article

Ayodhya  

B. B. Lal

[Ayodhyā]

City in Faizabad District, Uttar Pradesh, India. Located on the right bank of the River Sarayu, it was the capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom, one of whose kings, Rama, is regarded by Hindus as an incarnation of Vishnu.

Excavations in 17 different parts of the ancient mounds have revealed that the first occupation at Ayodhya commenced c. 700 bc, as is indicated by the occurrence of the earliest variety of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) and a few sherds assignable to a late stage in the production of Painted Grey Ware (PGW). The NBPW is very well fired, thin-sectioned, with a shining surface and showing a variety of colours: steel grey, coal black, indigo, silver, even gold. In the earliest levels the houses were of wattle and daub, but later they began to be constructed of kiln-fired bricks. Terracotta ringwells were used for disposing of sullage water. Concomitantly, systems of coinage (punch-marked and uninscribed cast coins) and weights (cylindrical pieces of jasper, chert etc) also came into being, laying the foundation of urbanization in the Ganga Valley around the middle of the 1st millennium ...

Article

Ayrtam  

B. Ya. Stavisky

[Aïrtam]

Site in Uzbekistan, on the right bank of the Amu River, 18 km east of Termez. In 1932 the accidental discovery of a stone relief with the busts of three musicians against a background of acanthus leaves (see Central Asia, §I, 3, (ii), (a)) led the following year to the excavation by M. Ye. Masson of a further seven reliefs of the same type. In the 1960s–70s excavations by G. A. Pugachenkova and B. A. Turgunov revealed a settlement that dated from shortly before the time of Christ and flourished during the Kushana period (1st–4th century ad), when it formed an oasis extending 2.5–3.0 km along the river bank without planned layout or defensive wall. Several archaeological sites have been uncovered in the area of the settlement. The largest mound, which occupied the western part of the site, was enclosed by a wall and was probably a fortified citadel or acropolis. Excavations in ...

Article

Baalbek  

Margaret Lyttleton

[Heliopolis]

Greco-Roman site in Lebanon, c. 1150 m above the fertile Bekaa Valley 64 km to the north-east of Beirut. Its remains chiefly comprise the vast Sanctuary of Jupiter Heliopolitanus (begun c. 1st century bc), the exceptionally well preserved ‘Temple of Bacchus’ (2nd century ad; see fig.) and an elegant circular temple perhaps dedicated to Venus (3rd century ad; 1b). The ancient city lay on the caravan route from Damascus and Palmyra to the Phoenician coastal cities and was occupied from prehistoric times, although it did not become important until the Hellenistic period (323–27 bc). Attempts to link Baalbek with Solomon’s Balaath, or with any other biblical site, have not met with general acceptance. The worship at Baalbek of the Semitic storm god Baal, whom the Greeks assimilated to Zeus and the Romans to Jupiter, was of great antiquity: the rectangular court of the Temple of Jupiter was built over an ancient tell containing the remains of at least three sanctuaries going back to the ...

Article

Babylon  

[Akkad. Bab-ilim: ‘gate of god’]

Site in Iraq, 80 km south of modern Baghdad. It was once the capital and most important city of Babylonia (see Babylonian). It first rose to prominence under Hammurabi (reg 1792–1750 bc) and reached its peak of development under the Neo-Babylonian kings in the 6th century bc and was occupied until Sasanian times. Babylon was excavated by Austin Henry Layard (1850), Fulgence Fresnel (1852), Hormuzd Rassam (1879–82), and Robert Koldewey and Walter Andrae (1899–1917). Since 1958, excavations have been carried out by the Directorate-General of Antiquities, Baghdad, and the German Archaeological Institute. Finds from the early excavations are divided between the Iraq Museum in Baghdad and the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin. More recent finds are in Baghdad (Iraq Mus.) and in a museum on the site.

Babylon was the largest settlement in ancient Mesopotamia, extending over an area of some 850 ha. The oldest known reference attests the construction of a temple in Akkadian times (late 3rd millennium ...

Article

[Greco-Bactrians; Indo-Greeks]

A number of Hellenistic kingships that ruled portions of Afghanistan, Central Asia and India in the last three centuries bc. In ancient times the region of Bactria was bounded on the north by the Oxus and on the south-east by the Hindu Kush mountains. The western frontier remained ill-defined and in constant flux. Following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 bc, Bactria and adjoining Sogdiana were controlled by the Seleucids until c. 250 bc, when the governor Diodotus asserted independence. A large body of coins, Hellenistic in style and iconography and with Greek legends, was minted by the Greco-Bactrian rulers. This style of coinage, but with bilingual Greek and Kharoshthi legends, continued into the Kushana period (1st to 3rd century ad). With the exception of Ai Khanum, a Greek-style city, few remains of the Greeks in Bactria have yet been uncovered. Control of Sogdiana was lost to the local kings in the late ...

Article

Bagh  

Frederick M. Asher

[Bāgh]

Site of Buddhist rock-cut sanctuaries in Dhar District, Madhya Pradesh, India. During the second half of the 5th century ad a series of ten sanctuaries, one of them incomplete, was carved at Bagh from rock a great deal softer and thus less durable than that of sites in the Deccan plateau, such as Ajanta: consequently the work is not well preserved. The most elaborately carved caves are nos 2, 3, 4 and 6. All the caves at Bagh are viharas (monastic dwellings). The characteristic plan places monks’ cells around the outer walls enclosing a large pillared central hall. The pillars have thicker shafts than those of contemporary shrines at Ajanta (probably to compensate for the quality of stone), yet their design is imaginatively varied. Some of the shafts have diagonal or spiral flutes, while others are composite varieties combining a lower section of four sides, with upper sections moving from an octagonal to a 16-sided section; yet others become 12- or 24-sided. The pillar brackets of Cave 4 depict animals, some with riders. At the rear of most of the sanctuaries is an image shrine housing a stupa, not a Buddha figure as in the Ajanta shrines. Buddha images are, however, carved elsewhere in the Bagh sanctuaries, for example in the antechamber of several of the caves. The most famous are those of Cave 2, where larger-than-life-size standing Buddha figures flanked by bodhisattvas are depicted on two of the side walls. These figures bear a close resemblance to contemporary figural sculpture of Ajanta....

Article

Bahía  

Jorge G. Marcos

Pre-Columbian regional culture of coastal Ecuador that flourished c. 500 bcc. ad 500. Archaeological field research by Emilio Estrada and Matthew and Marion Stirling at Manta, Manabí, identified a platform-mounded Bahía urban and ceremonial centre. Since no extensive excavation of the area was conducted, the only evidence for Bahía houses is a number of terracotta models, similar in form to examples from China; some archaeologists, such as Meggers, consider them as evidence of transpacific influence. Excavation of a few test pits produced a relative ceramic sequence and some radiocarbon assays. In the Guayas Basin, to the south, Bahía-like Tejar and Guayaquil phases have been described by Meggers and Parducci. Bahía pottery appears to have evolved from the earlier Chorrera style developed by intensive farming communities in the rich alluvial valleys of central Manabí and the Guayas Basin. Bahía potters practised a highly developed craft, having mastered not only traditional coiled construction but also slip-casting, a technique introduced during the Chorrera period. They were proficient in controlled smudging and resist decoration, and excelled in the use of polychrome slips, employing a wide spectrum of mineral and organic pigments. Another characteristic was decoration encrusted after firing in brilliant yellows, reds, greens and blues. Flutes, ocarinas and flamboyantly decorated whistling bottles with spouts and strap handles imitated human and animal forms. At ...

Article

Thorsten Opper

In 1954 a large number of fragments of ancient plaster casts came to light in the Roman city of Baiae on the gulf of Naples. Of a total of 430 fragments, 293 were in a condition that allowed further analysis. This revealed that they originally belonged to a group of 24–35 full-length statues that formed a representative collection of plaster copies of Greek bronze originals (gods, heroes, mythological figures) mainly of the 5th and 4th centuries bc. Twelve of these statues could be identified through comparison with Roman marble copies (e.g. Tyrant Slayers, Ephesian Amazons, Athena Velletri, Westmacott Ephebe, Hera Borghese, Eirene and Ploutos). For others likely identifications have been suggested, but cannot be proven (e.g. Doryphoros). The Baiae plaster statues were technically highly accomplished (hollow-cast figures with internal armatures, probably the first casts produced from high-quality moulds), and are likely to have been imported, perhaps from a place such as Athens, where at least three of the originals were located....

Article

Balbus  

Thorsten Opper

(Marcus Nonius)

(fl 1st century bc).

Roman patron and statesman. A wealthy Roman benefactor, supporter of Octavian (the later emperor Augustus) and patron of the city of Herculaneum [now Ercolano; formerly Resina], Balbus was a native of Nuceria Alfaterna in Campania, and embarked on a successful senatorial career, serving as Tribune of the People (32 bc), and Praetor and Proconsul of the double province of Crete and Cyrenaica. He chose to live in Herculaneum and lavished benefactions on the town, financing a complete rebuilding of the basilica, town gates and walls. In return, Balbus was appointed the patron (official representative) of the town and received countless honours, among them numerous portrait statues (ten are currently attested in the epigraphic record; five statues have survived). Through their range of media and statuary types, and with their associated base inscriptions, these provide an exemplary insight into the Roman system of portrait honours. Two marble equestrian statues, dedicated by the People of Nuceria and Herculaneum respectively (Naples, Mus. Archeol. N., inv. 6211 and 6104), were discovered in ...

Article

Bamiyan  

Mary S. Lawton

Site in north-central Afghanistan. Located at the western end of the silk route, Bamiyan flourished as a trading and religious centre until the 13th century. It is the site of a rock-cut Buddhist monastery, the most distinctive feature of which were two monumental rock-cut standing Buddhas that bracket the religious complex. Confined in mandorla-shaped niches, they represented the first appearance of the colossal cult image in Buddhist art. Their size not only encouraged approaching pilgrims but exemplified the esoteric Mahayana doctrine of the Universal Buddha (see also Buddhism, §I). Faces and folds in the robes were modelled in mud mixed with chopped straw. This was supported by dowels and ropes pegged into the rock; a final coating of lime plaster was applied before gilding. The smaller Buddha (h. c. 38.5 m) probably dated to the 2nd–3rd century ad and its somewhat fluid drapery folds suggested Gandharan traditions. The frescoes and accompanying minor sculptures of donor figures were provincial Sasanian in technique and imagery. The larger Buddha (h. 55 m) was related to the style of Mathura during the ...

Article

Joyce C. White

Site in north-east Thailand, c. 50 km east of Udon Thani. Excavations in 1974 and 1975 by Chester Gorman (1938–81) and Pisit Charoenwongsa (b 1938) uncovered a distinctive ceramic tradition, revealed chiefly through artefacts recovered from graves. Ceramics from even the earliest levels exhibit an elegance, sophistication and attention to decorative detail that far exceeds mere utilitarian needs. The funerary wares clearly served as an art medium for this village-based society. Although the ceramics are highly diverse, they share certain decorative treatments that characterize the tradition as a whole, in particular the free-hand application of abstract designs. Representational forms are rare. Many wares of the Early Period (3600–1000 bc) are decorated with intricate, curvilinear motifs, which are generally incised. The curvilinear or geometric painted and incised motifs of the Middle Period (1000–300 bc) are relatively simple, but vessel forms are unusually graceful and statuesque, with concave surfaces that are difficult to shape. The thin vessel walls (sometimes 1–2 mm thick) and delicate hue of the white carinated (ridged or heeled) vessels make this one of the most elegant and distinctive of all prehistoric ceramic styles, but it is the red-on-buff ware of the Late Period (...

Article

Daniel Ehnbom

Site of an important port on the bank of Gharo Creek, c. 64 km east of Karachi, Pakistan. It was occupied from around the 1st century bc to the 13th century ad and abandoned after a change in the course of the Indus River and a violent attack. The establishment of a large mosque, the Jami‛, dates to the early 8th century. Kufic inscriptions in the mosque are dated ah 107 (ad 725–6) and ah 294 (ad 906). It is likely that the Battle of Daybul (Debal) in ad 712 that led to the establishment of the first Islamic state in South Asia by Muhammad bin-Qasim took place in the vicinity of Banbhore. Daybul is the only city mentioned in the accounts of the Arab conquest of Sind that has not been identified with certainty.

See also Indian subcontinent, §III, 5, (ii), (a).

F. A. Khan...

Article

Gary Michael Tartakov

[Barābar; Nāgārjunī]

Indian monastic site 25 km north of Gaya in north-east India, which flourished in the late 3rd century bc. Seven rock-cut caves were excavated among granite outcroppings of the Barabar and Nagarjuni hills. All are severely geometric interiors modelled on contemporary wood, brick and thatch structures. Three of those on Barabar Hill were inscribed to record their creation by the Maurya emperor Ashoka (reg c. 269–232 bc). The three on nearby Nagarjuni Hill are inscribed by his grandson Dasharatha (reg c. 232 bc). They were created for use by wandering Ajivika mendicants. The halls are all vaulted and, where complete, have the mirror-smooth finish characteristic of Mauryan art. The caves are the oldest surviving intact architectural forms in India.

The Lomas Rishi cave in the Barabar group has no inscription but is famous for an extremely precise and elegant relief simulation of a wood-joinery (torana...

Article

Janet DeLaine

(Rome)

Janet DeLaine

Basilica erected on the site of the earlier Horrea Piperataria (Spice Market), in a prominent position overlooking the eastern end of the Forum Romanum. It was begun by the Emperor Maxentius (reg AD 306–12), possibly following the fire of AD 307, which severely damaged the nearby Temple of Venus and Rome, but was only completed, in slightly altered form, after his death in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (AD 312). The Senate subsequently dedicated it to his victorious rival Constantine. The collapse of the nave and south aisle in the medieval period created the imposing ruin visible today (see fig.). It was a popular subject for Renaissance artists, who identified it mistakenly as the Templum Pacis, and it may have inspired Bramante’s design for St Peter’s in Rome.

Unlike most earlier basilicas, which had internal colonnades and trabeated timber roofs, the Basilica of Maxentius was built with brick-faced concrete walls and concrete vaults, to a design based on the ...

Article

Izumi Shimada

Region in La Leche Valley on the north coast of Peru, which contains numerous archaeological sites. The central part of the valley, over 55 sq. km in area, has been designated the Poma National Archaeological and Ecological Reserve because of the concentration of some 30 major Pre-Columbian cemeteries and mounds nested within dense semi-tropical thorny native forest. The most notable period of local cultural development was the Middle Sicán (see Sicán), c. ad 900–1100, when the Sicán funerary–religious precinct (see fig.), the dominant feature of Batán Grande, was built. Delineated by some dozen monumental adobe pyramids, it covers an area extending c. 1.6 km east–west and 1 km north–south.

The long-term funerary and religious importance of the Poma Reserve is underlined by the limited evidence for widespread or intensive agricultural activity there, despite its abundant fertile alluvium. As the beginning and end of various major canals, Batán Grande controlled the vital local water supplies and thus held political control over the adjacent valleys. Although a Late Sicán shift of settlement away from Batán Grande removed much of this political significance, the site clearly retained its eminence as a key burial and metallurgical centre up to the Spanish conquest. The Spanish name for the area in fact derives from the hundreds of large ...

Article

Janet DeLaine

(Rome)

Janet DeLaine

Vast baths south of the Porta Capena. Known in Latin as the Thermae Antoninianae, they are the best preserved of the Imperial thermae (see also Rome, ancient §II 1., (i), (d)) and the only ones in which the combination of monumental architecture and garden setting can still be appreciated. Begun c. AD 211, the baths were dedicated by Caracalla (reg AD 211–17) in AD 216, although the outer precinct was not completed until the reign of Alexander Severus (reg AD 222–35). There were several later restorations, and an apse was added to the caldarium in the 4th century AD. Fifth-century AD sources record the baths as one of the wonders of Rome, while brick-stamps of the Ostrogothic king Theodoric (reg AD 493–526) suggest that they continued in use into the 6th century AD.

The site chosen for the baths was terraced to create a platform (328×323 m) from which rose the bathing block proper, surrounded by gardens. Incorporated in the platform were extensive subterranean service areas, including a water-mill and a large Mithraeum. Two tiers of barrel-vaulted chambers formed an impressive façade overlooking the Via Nova, while a monumental staircase led down from the Aventine Hill at the rear. The hillside was buttressed by a series of cisterns fed from an aqueduct built especially to serve the baths. Tiered rows of seats masked the cisterns and provided an area for performances; flanking this were libraries. Either side of the garden between the bathing block and the theatre area were broad exedrae housing other halls for cultural and social activities....