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Margaret Lyttleton, R. A. Tomlinson and Helen Angelomatis-Tsougarakis

[Gr. Kerkyra]

Greek island approximately 3 km off the west coast of Albania, the second largest of the Ionian group. About 64×32 km in area, it is mountainous in the north and fertile in the south. Settlement may be traced to the 6th millennium bc. The island’s position on trade routes from Greece to the Balkans, Italy and Sicily led to the establishment of a colony in the early 8th century bc by settlers from Eretria on Euboia, who were displaced c. 734 bc by Corinthian colonists. The main settlement, close to modern Corfu town, was known as Kerkyra, which may be a corruption of Gorgon (see §1). Attempts by the settlers to assert their independence from Corinth eventually led to an alliance with Athens in 433 bc that initiated the Peloponnesian War (431–404 bc). From 229 bc Corfu was under Roman rule, becoming part of the province of Macedonia in ...



Susan Langdon, C. K. Williams II, Charles M. Edwards and Mark Whittow

[Korinth; Korinthos]

Greek city, capital of the nome (department) of Korinthia and seat of a bishopric, near the isthmus between central and southern Greece. It flourished throughout Classical antiquity.

Susan Langdon

Backed by the steep citadel of Acrocorinth, which served as its acropolis, ancient Corinth derived its prosperity from its access to both the Corinthian and Saronic gulfs and hence the Adriatic and Aegean seas. Its twin harbours at Lechaion and Kenchreai, linked by a paved slipway, offered sea merchants a safe alternative to the passage around southern Greece and established Corinth as a transfer point between East and West. Population pressures in the 8th century bc led Corinth to participate in Greek colonizing activities by founding settlements at Syracuse and Kerkyra (Corfu), while in the 7th century bc it became the foremost artistic centre in Greece, promoting the development and spread of Doric architecture and dominating pottery production. Corinthian pottery, with its distinctive animal friezes and exotic vegetation, was ...



Term for any decorative moulded projection used to crown or finish the part to which it is affixed. In Classical architecture it refers to the uppermost part of an entablature, consisting of bed-moulding, Corona and Cyma (see Greece, ancient, §II, 1, (i), (a), and fig.; see also Orders, architectural, fig....



David Ridgway

Greek colony on the Bay of Naples in southern Italy, which flourished from the 8th century bc until around 300 bc. It was the oldest and most northerly Greek settlement on the Italian mainland. There are faint traces of a Greek presence from around 750 bc, and Livy’s hint (History of Rome, VIII.xxii.5–6) that its Chalkidian founders came from Pithekoussai is strongly supported by the archaeological discoveries made there. The site had a naturally defensible acropolis, already used by an indigenous Iron Age community, and convenient access to a good harbour, now silted up. Cumae took over and developed Pithekoussai’s role as a trading centre, and until around 500 bc played a major part in the spread of Greek religious cults, art and culture to the region. Indeed, it was from Cumae that the Etruscans adopted the Euboian alphabet around 700 bc, taking it eventually to Rome and north Italy, and bringing it back to Campania during their period of hegemony (...


Keith Branigan, C. D. Fortenberry, Lyvia Morgan, R. L. N. Barber, Christos G. Doumas, Updated and revised by Dimitris Plantzos, Dimitris Plantzos, P. M. Warren, Reynold Higgins and J. Lesley Fitton

Culture that flourished during the Greek Bronze Age in the Cyclades, a large archipelago in the Aegean Sea between southern Greece and Turkey (see fig.). The islands, whose name derives from kuklos (‘circle’) because they encircled the holy island of Delos, are bounded to the south by the much larger island of Crete. They were both probably first settled in the Early Neolithic period by peoples from western Anatolia (now Turkey), but in the Bronze Age the Cyclades and Crete (see Minoan) developed their own distinctive art and architecture, in each case strongly influenced by the islands’ natural environment.

For the later history of the islands, see Greece, ancient and the modern Hellenic Republic of Greece, Hellenic Democracy of.

J. Bent: The Cyclades (London, 1885)U. Kahrstedt: ‘Zur Kykladenkultur’, ...



R. S. Merrillees, Nicolas Coldstream, Edgar Peltenburg, Franz Georg Maier, G. R. H. Wright, Demetrios Michaelides, Lucia Vagnetti, Veronica Tatton-Brown, Joan Breton Connelly, Paul Åström, Jean-Claude Poursat, Elizabeth Goring, Louise Schofield, Wiktor A. Daszewski, A. Papageorghiou, Michael D. Willis, Michael Given, Elise Marie Moentmann, Kenneth W. Schaar, Euphrosyne Rizopoulou-Egoumenidou and Helena Wylde Swiny

[Gr. Kypros; Turk. Kibris]

Third largest island in the Mediterranean (9251 sq. km), 70 km south of Turkey and 103 km west of Syria (see fig.). The island’s geographical location and its natural resources of copper and shipbuilding timber have had a considerable impact on the destiny of its inhabitants. Cyprus has throughout its history been vulnerable to the geopolitical ambitions of the powers controlling the neighbouring countries, which have not hesitated to exploit its resources and to use it as a stepping stone or place of retreat. Although it possessed a vigorous and distinctive local culture in Neolithic times (c. 7000–c. 3800 bc), it lacked the population, resources and strength to withstand the external pressures to which it was subjected from the start of the Bronze Age (c. 2300 bc). Since then and over the subsequent millennia Cyprus has been invaded and colonized for varying periods by Achaeans, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Crusaders, Venetians, Turks and the British. While its strategic position has always given it certain commercial and cultural advantages, it has also been the source of most of the island’s troubles since the beginning of recorded history, because too often the interests and concerns of the native inhabitants were subordinated to the ambitions and dictates of the powers around it. Yet, despite the ultimate demise of the native Cypriot style in the Late Bronze Age, the Cypriot craftsman’s ability to adapt and amalgamate the forms, designs and subject-matter of successive incoming groups produced a range of artefacts that ingeniously blended traditional with foreign concepts. While the forms of Cypriot expression after the introduction of outside influences could be mistaken for provincial imitation, the island’s art never lost its essential native characteristics: a strong underlying sense of inventiveness, superstition and wit. This has left a large body of captivating and whimsical material which, in turn, has inspired not only students and collectors of the island’s past art but modern Cypriot craftsmen as well....


Sarah P. Morris

[Gr.: ‘cunning worker’; Lat. Daedalus]

(?fl c. 600 bc).

Legendary Greek craftsman. He is conventionally associated with Bronze Age Crete and was credited in antiquity with a variety of technical and artistic achievements.

The earliest reference to Daidalos is in the Iliad, where he is named as maker of a choros for Ariadne at Knossos. In the 2nd century ad Pausanias recorded seeing this choros as a white marble relief at Knossos (IX.xl.2), but the term used in the Iliad could mean equally a painting, dancing-floor or dance. In the Classical period (c. 480–323 bc) Daidalos was mentioned primarily as a sculptor of ‘magic’ statues, both in drama (e.g. Euripides: Hecuba 838; Aristophanes: Daidalos frag. 194) and in philosophy (Plato: Menon 97d and Euthyphro 11c). In Athens he was given an Athenian pedigree as the son of Palamaon or Eupalamos, son of Metion, of the line of Erechtheos, and thus related to Hephaistos (e.g. Plato: Alcibiades I.121). He was also reputedly the teacher or father of the early ...


Andrew F. Stewart

(fl earlier 2nd century bc).

Greek sculptor from Messene. The only ancient author to mention him is Pausanias, who was impressed by his statues for the Peloponnesian towns of Messene, Aigion, Megalopolis and Lykosoura. Yet since Pausanias gave no dates, and the numerous inscriptions mentioning the sculptor and his family are also undated, Damophon’s chronology must be inferred from the neo-classical style of his surviving works. This points to the period when the Achaian League (to which all the cities above belonged) was at the height of its prosperity and engaged in an extensive building programme.

Damophon specialized in marble cult statues, though he also produced acrolithic works, in which stone was used for heads, hands and feet, and wood for the rest. He was also chosen to restore the ivory on Pheidias’ Zeus at Olympia. His surviving works, all in marble, include the head of Apollo and some other fragments from Messene (Messene Mus.) and numerous pieces from his colossal cult group of ...



Nicolas Coldstream

Term referring to the period from c. 1050 to c. 750 bc in Greece, between the collapse of Mycenaean civilization (see Helladic) and the rise of the Greek city-state (polis). Its chief characteristics are total illiteracy, severe depopulation and loss of communication with the older civilizations of the eastern Mediterranean. The demise of the Mycenaean palaces entailed the eclipse of monumental architecture and of the fine arts associated with Mycenaean palace life, such as wall paintings, ivory-carvings, engraved gems and sophisticated gold jewellery; only the humble art of the potter displays any continuity, passing through Sub-Mycenaean, Protogeometric and Geometric stages (see Greece, ancient, §V, 2). At first the decoration of Dark Age pottery was almost wholly abstract, comprised of simple geometric motifs; rarely before the 8th century bc were any human and animal designs introduced. Although there was no monumental sculpture in stone, figurines in terracotta and bronze were made (...



Philippe Bruneau and Jean Marcadé

Small Greek island (5 sq. km) in the Cyclades. It was inhabited at least as early as the 3rd millennium bc and throughout antiquity was one of the most important religious and trading centres of the Aegean. It was sacred to the ancient Greeks as the birthplace of the deities Apollo and Artemis, and numerous sanctuaries established from the 7th century bc onwards have been excavated. In the early 3rd century bc Delos was at the height of its prosperity. Around 250 bc Roman merchants began to settle there and soon came to dominate its cosmopolitan mercantile community. In 88 bc, during the First Mithridatic War, Delos was sacked, and, although partly rebuilt, it had become virtually uninhabited by the 2nd century ad. Abandoned in the 6th or 7th century ad, it was subsequently exploited as a marble quarry. Excavations were begun in 1873 by the French School at Athens and are still in progress. During the first excavations most of the Imperial Roman and Early Christian buildings were destroyed, often without being studied, and almost the only remains still ...



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 ...


Thorsten Opper

Greek bronze statue of the early 5th century bc from the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi (h. 1.8 m; Delphi, Archaeol. Mus.; see fig.). The Charioteer was discovered in 1896 together with bronze fragments of a horse team and chariot, the arm of a further, smaller figure (an outrider or groom) and an inscribed base block of Pentelic marble, all of which seem to have belonged to the same monument. A young man, the charioteer is clad in a xystis, the long, short-sleeved tunic typical of his profession, the long vertical folds of which highlight the statue's plain, column-like character. While the Charioteer stands erect, with his feet close together and his weight evenly distributed, his entire body turns to the right in an unusual, gradual spiral movement, perhaps an indication that the figure was meant to be seen in a three-quarter profile from the right. The statue was cast in seven main pieces, possibly in the direct lost-wax technique; only the left arm is now missing. Finer details were added in different materials (glass paste, black stone and brown onyx for the eyes, copper for eyelashes and lips, silver for the teeth, copper and silver for the inlaid meander pattern of the hair band). The remains of the dedicatory inscription (‘Polyzalos erected me… Make him prosper, glorious Apollo’) are essential for narrowing down the date and historical context of the monument. It seems likely that the ...


C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl mid-2nd century bc).

Greek painter. He was the son of Seleukos and, although he was from Alexandria, worked in Rome; none of his work survives. He illustrates the shift of artistic patronage from the great Hellenistic cities to Rome in the 2nd century bc. Demetrios is the earliest recorded landscape painter (topographos: Diodorus Siculus: History XXXI.xviii.2). Alexandrian artists began to depict Nilotic scenes in mosaics and paintings from the 2nd century bc, and Demetrios stands at the head of that genre (see Alexandria §2, (v)). A story is told that he gave shelter at Rome to Ptolemy VI Philometor (reg c. 181–145 bc) when that king was driven from Egypt by his younger brother in 164 bc.

J. Overbeck: Die antiken Schriftquellen zur Geschichte der bildenden Künste bei den Griechen (Leipzig, 1868/R Hildesheim, 1959), nos 2141–2

Alexandria, §2(v): Hellenistic and Roman painting

Athens, §ii, 1(ii)(b): Acropolis: Non-architectural sculpture...


(fl c. Athens, ?c. 400–360 bc).

Greek sculptor. Although none of his works (mainly bronze portraits) survive, the signatures of Demetrios on bases of statues that he made suggest a date in the early 4th century bc (Inscr. Gr./2, ii, 3828, 4321, 4322 and 4895). He was celebrated for the uncompromising realism of his portrayals. Quintilian (Principles of Oratory XII.i.9–10) stated that he was ‘criticized because he was too realistic and was hence more fond of verisimilitude than of beauty’, and Lucian of Samosata (Philopseudes xviii) described his portrait of the Corinthian general Pellichos as showing the sitter ‘with a pot belly, a bald head, half exposed by the hang of his garment, with some of the hairs of his beard blown by the wind and with his veins showing clearly’. Even though the statue may be an invention of Lucian for comic effect, the description of a brutally realistic portrait must have been plausible to his readers....



Robin Hägg


Site in the north-eastern Peloponnese in southern Greece, on the eastern fringe of the Argive plain 10 km north-north-east of Navplion. To the settlement, which flourished c. 1350–c. 1200 bc, belong a necropolis near the village of Dendra and the acropolis of Midea east-south-east of the village. In Greek legend Midea was the home of Alkmene, the mother of Herakles. The necropolis was excavated by a Swedish expedition in the 1920s and 1930s, and in 1983 a joint Greek-Swedish excavation project was initiated under the direction of Katie Demakopoulou and Paul Åström; excavation was still in progress in 2006.

In the necropolis a Mycenaean tholos tomb was excavated, as were 16 rock-cut chamber tombs, mostly with long dromoi, one (No. 12) with a vertical entrance shaft. The chambers are rectangular, sometimes with side-chambers. Several of the tombs were unusually rich in metal objects (rings, vessels, weapons and armour). The citadel of Midea was inhabited from the Early Helladic period (...



Term for an ornamental band of small, square, toothlike blocks in the bed-mould of a cornice (see Greece, ancient, §II, 1, (i), (a), and Orders, architectural, fig. xxv; see also Polychromy, colour pl. I, fig.). In ancient Greek architecture the dentils probably represent the ends of wooden joists that originally supported the roof....



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....


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....


Dimitris Plantzos

(fl 5th century bc).

Greek gem-engraver, presumably born on the island of Chios. His signature survives on four of the gems he engraved, all fine specimens of 5th-century Classical Greek art. Two of these works come from sites in southern Russia, in the region to the north of the Black Sea, widely populated by Greek colonists since the 6th century bc. It is thus suggested that Dexamenos was active in the Black Sea colonies, catering for the Greeks residing there or for clientele drawn among the native populations, who widely interacted with the Greeks in most matters, as well as art.

Between 480 and 450 bc, gem-cutting in mainland Greece and the islands had undergone significant changes, gradually abandoning Late Archaic forms and motifs. The shape of choice was the scaraboid, a plain-backed, often highly domed oval stone, carrying a device engraved on its flat side. These stones were perforated lengthways, in order to be fitted in a metal swivel hoop or a plain piece of string. Chalcedony is the commonest material, in its white and blue varieties, though there are many examples cut in cornelian, rock crystal, agate and jasper. Dexamenos’ four signed works show a remarkable variety of subject-matter, as well as being some of the finest examples of Greek art of the time (...