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Article

Judith McKenzie, Gordon Campbell, R. R. R. Smith, Wiktor A. Daszewski, A. H. Enklaar, Dominic Montserrat, C. Walters, Wladyslaw B. Kubiak, Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

Egyptian city situated on the Mediterranean coast west of the delta of the River Nile, capital of Egypt from c. 320 bc to ad 642, seaport and centre of ancient Greek culture.

Judith McKenzie

Alexandria was founded in 331 bc by Alexander, on the site of the small Egyptian settlement of Rhakotis. Its location, with access by canal to the River Nile, enabled it to become an important and highly prosperous trading centre, and by c. 320 bc Alexandria was the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt. During Ptolemaic times (304–30 bc) it became a major centre of learning, with famous scholars of literature, mathematics, astronomy, medicine and geography, and it played a major role in the transmission of Greek culture to the East.

With the defeat of the last Ptolemaic monarch, Cleopatra VII (51–30 bc), by Octavian (later called Augustus) at the Battle of Actium in 30...

Article

M. Rautmann, Katherine M. D. Dunbabin and Mine Kadiroğlu

[now Antakya]

Greek and Roman city on the River Orontes in south-east Turkey (ancient Syria), which flourished from c. 300 bc to the 7th century ad.

Its advantageous site on the edge of the Amuk Plain at the foot of Mt Silpius, commanding important trade routes linking Anatolia with Palestine and the Mediterranean with inland Syria, attracted the attention of Seleukos I (reg 305–281 bc), who founded the city (c. 300 bc) as the capital of his Syrian empire. With its port at Seleucia and residential suburb at Daphne, Antioch prospered as capital of the Roman province of Syria from 64 bc. The city enjoyed the attentions of Roman benefactors from Julius Caesar onwards and attained the height of its prosperity during the 2nd to the 7th century ad, becoming the diocesan capital of Oriens. Its influence was particularly strong in early Christian affairs: Paul and Barnabas were active at Antioch, while Peter was regarded as its first bishop. ...

Article

Stephen Mitchell

[‘Pisidian’]

Greek and Roman city in western Asia Minor (now Turkey) on a plateau above Yalvaĉ. It was founded by the Seleucids in the 3rd century bc and refounded as a colony for veteran soldiers by Augustus c.25 bc; it flourished until the Early Christian period. The site was excavated in 1924 by D. M. Robinson and was the object of a detailed archaeological survey by S. Mitchell and M. Waelkens in 1982–3. Further excavations have taken place during the 1980s and 1990s, directed by M. Taslianan. About 4 km south of the city Hellenistic remains survive at the sanctuary of Mên Askaênos, where an imposing temenos with porticos on four sides enclosed a mid-2nd-century bc Ionic temple (6 by 11 columns) on a high, stepped podium. The design of the temple was influenced by the layout of the temples of Zeus Sosipolis and Artemis Leukophryene at Magnesia on the Maeander...

Article

Apameia  

Jean Ch. Balty and Janine Balty

[Lat. Apamea; Arab. Afāmiya, Fāmiya; now Qal‛at al-Muḍīq]

Hellenistic and Roman city in northern Syria, on a plateau on the south-west tip of Jebel Zawiye overlooking the valley of the Asi (formerly the Orontes). It was founded in 300–299 bc by Seleukos I Nikator (reg 301–281 bc) on the site of an ancient Bronze Age capital; it was one of the four great cities known as the Tetrapolis. The disastrous earthquake of 15 December ad 115 carried away most of the original buildings, but in many places there remain powerful courses, solidly anchored on rock, of the Hellenistic walls, eloquent testimony to their 7 km circuit of the city. The Apameia that the excavations of a Belgian archaeological expedition brought to light from 1928 onwards is essentially a Roman city, capital of the province of Syria Secunda from c. ad 415. Apameia contributed greatly to the cultural life of the empire and a famous school of Neo-Platonic philosophy existed there from the 2nd to the 4th century ...

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

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

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

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

Corinth  

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 ...

Article

Cyrene  

F. B. Sear and Susan Kane

[Arab. Shaḥḥāt]

City in Libya, 8 km from the coast and 620 m above sea-level on a plateau of the al-Jabal al-Akh?ar (Green Mountain). The Greek city flourished from its founding as a Dorian colony c. 630 bc to Hellenistic times, and its Greek culture was maintained during the long period of Roman rule, when its fortunes declined somewhat.

F. B. Sear

Cyrene’s principal monuments, restored by their Italian excavators, reveal the splendours of the Greek city. It changed only superficially in Roman times, when alterations to existing buildings were more common than new projects.

Herodotus (IV. cl–clviii) related how a party of Therans, forced by drought to leave their native island, settled at Cyrene because of its high rainfall. Their leader, Battos, became king and established a dynasty that lasted until 440 bc. The site is protected on three sides by gorges with gently sloping ground to the east. A low hill, the acropolis, rises to the west and immediately below its north slopes is the Sanctuary of Apollo. Springs emerge from the rock at this point, ensuring a constant water supply. The plateau is divided by the valley street, which runs from the east gate down to the Sanctuary of Apollo and then past the north necropolis to the port of Apollonia, 19 km away. Parallel to the valley street is the Street of Battos, which runs from the south-east gate through the agora to the acropolis. A main transverse street intersected both streets just east of the Hellenistic gymnasium. The earliest settlers presumably occupied the acropolis, and the eastern fringe of the later agora seems to have been used as a burial ground, which suggests that the early town could not have extended far to the east. Other evidence for the early city is pottery from ...

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

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

Elmalı  

M. J. Mellink

Town in the district of Antalya, south-west Turkey. Elmalı is set in a fertile plain c. 1100 m above sea-level, which is dotted with ancient sites that belonged to Lycia or the Milyad in Classical times. Roads from Lycian coastal sites lead through mountains and river valleys to Elmalı, from where connections upland to Pisidia and Burdur are easy. Excavations of a site of the 3rd millennium bc and of two painted tombs of c. 500 bc were carried out by M. Mellink from 1963 onwards on behalf of Bryn Mawr College, PA. Finds are in the Archaeological Museum in Antalya; the wall paintings remain in situ. In 1986–7 two tumuli excavated by a team from Antalya Museum produced Phrygian and other grave goods of c. 700 to c. 600 bc.

At Karataş-Semayük, excavations revealed a fortified mansion of the early 3rd millennium bc and a village of megaron-shaped houses in which the extensive use of timber is noticeable. In the burial grounds individual and family burials were contained in large jars. Early art is evident in metalwork (e.g. a silver pendant in double-axe shape and a silver pin with boar’s head finial), in designs on terracotta stamp seals and in incised and applied animal figures on pottery. Red polished pottery is decorated with white painted ornament....

Article

William E. Mierse

revised by Gordon Campbell

[Gr. Emporion; now Catalan Empúries, Spanish Ampurias.]

City on the Gulf of Rosas on the Catalan coast of Spain, founded in the 6th century bc by Greek settlers from the Phokaian colony of Massalia (Marseille). The site may have been occupied earlier by the native Indiketes, but the only evidence is furnished by graves at Parralli and Muralli. The first Greek settlement was on a small island off the coast now covered by the village of San Martín. Early excavators claimed to have found architectural remains on its beach, but these have vanished. The 4th-century ad antiquary Avienus, however, mentioned that there was both a city and a temple on the island, and a section of an Archaic frieze showing two opposed sphinxes (Ampurias, Mus. Monográf. Excav.) may come from the temple. By the time the Romans occupied the region in 218 bc, a new city, Neapolis, had been established on the mainland. This may have been the ...

Article

Eretria  

John R. Lenz

Greek city on the south-west coast of Euboia, east of Lefkandi and Chalkis and facing north-eastern Attica. Eretria was important in two periods: the Late Geometric and Archaic (c. 750 bc until its sack by the Persians in 490 bc) and the Late Classical and Hellenistic (from c. 400 bc until the Roman sack in 198 bc). Greek and Swiss excavations have uncovered many finds from these periods.

On a site of Bronze Age settlement, Eretria in the first half of the 8th century bc grew into a leading Greek city with active overseas connections, surpassing most in its architecture, urban development and metalworking. Having inherited certain architectural and artistic traditions and perhaps population from Lefkandi, Eretria and Chalkis traded from Italy to Al-Mina and jointly founded the first Greek overseas colony at Pithekoussai in Italy. They were key intermediaries in the interaction of Greece, Italy and the Near East. Some of the earliest Greek alphabetic inscriptions come from Euboia and its colonies....

Article

Geoffrey Waywell

[now Bodrum]

City on the south-west coast of Caria, now south-west Turkey. It was founded c. 900 bc by Dorian Greek colonists from Troezen in the Peloponnese, but by the 4th century bc the population was a mixture of Ionian Greeks, Carians and Lelegians. It is famous for its 4th-century bc Mausoleum. From 546 to 480 bc and again from c. 403 to 334 bc the city formed part of the Persian Empire; during the intervening years it was a loyal member of the Athenian alliance. In 334 bc it was stormed by Alexander the Great, and later it was taken over by the Ptolemies of Alexandria, from whom it was freed by the Romans in 190 bc. One of its most famous citizens was the historian Herodotus (c. 484–425 bc).

Halikarnassos reached the height of its wealth and importance in the 4th century bc, when Mausolos (reg 377–352 ...

Article

Knidos  

Margaret Lyttleton and Iris Cornelia Love

[Cnidus]

Turkish town on the site of the ancient Greek city of the same name at the tip of the Resadiye Peninsula in south-west Asia Minor. The city was celebrated in antiquity for the nude statue of Aphrodite by Praxiteles, which stood in the circular temple dedicated to the goddess. Knidos was founded, according to tradition, by colonists from Sparta or Argos in the 2nd millennium bc or earlier and it reached the zenith of its wealth and power in the 4th century bc; it was abandoned in the 7th century ad. From early in the 1st millennium bc it was the capital of the Dorian Hexapolis. First excavated by Sir Charles Newton for the British Museum in 1857–9, the site’s antiquity was not established until the Long Island University Archaeological Expedition under Iris Love began excavations in 1967.

Margaret Lyttleton

The remains of the city occupy the headland of Cape Krio and the western tip of the peninsula; the cape was originally an island but was joined to the peninsula by a mole, forming two harbours: the trireme harbour to the north and the commercial harbour to the south. Knidos owed its prosperity to trade and was a noted exporter of wine. The residential quarter was laid out along terraces on the headland, while the public buildings and sanctuaries stood beyond the harbours at the tip of the peninsula. Remains include two theatres, a Hadrianic Corinthian temple, a Doric stoa and the Sanctuary of Demeter, where a life-size marble statue of the goddess was found (mid-...

Article

Louise Schofield

Greek village between Chalkis and Eretria on the south-west coast of the island of Euboia. Nearby is the site of an important ancient Greek Bronze Age and Dark Age settlement (occupied c. 2100–c. 700 bc). Excavations since the mid-1960s by the British School of Archaeology at Athens, joined later by the Greek Archaeological Service, have revealed a site comprising the settlement area of Xeropolis and five cemeteries, the most important of which is 1 km to the west on the hill of Toumba. Most of the finds, including those discussed here, are now in Eretria Archaeological Museum.

Xeropolis is a steep-sided plateau (c. 500×120 m), extending east–west along the outer edge of a broad coastal promontory. Although badly eroded, the site (especially in the north-west of the promontory) has retained habitation levels dating from the end of the Early Bronze Age to late Geometric times. The earliest occupation dates from around ...

Article

Dimitris Plantzos

Village in western Macedonia, north Greece, near Naousa. Its ancient name may have been Mieza, where Aristotle taught. A number of of Macedonian tomb, dating from the Hellenistic period have been found found in the area, including the Tomb of the Volutes (first half of the 3rd century BC), the Kinch Tomb (3rd century BC) and the Lyson and Kallikles Tomb (2nd century BC). The tomb known as the ‘Great Tomb’ (also known as the Leukadia Tomb) is the largest Macedonian tomb known to date. A number of small finds associated with the tomb, especially pottery, as well as the style of its architectural and painted decoration, suggest a date in the first quarter of the 3rd century BC. The most interesting is a large tomb originally buried under a tumulus (probably 3rd century bc). The interior is simple, consisting of an anteroom and barrel-vaulted tomb chamber. The elaborate façade is built of limestone and covered with stucco, which was brightly painted. It has two orders, divided by a frieze showing a ...

Article

Orhan Bingöl

[now Tekin]

Town in central Ionia (now western Turkey), which flourished in Hellenistic times. According to tradition, Magnesia was among the earliest Greek settlements in Anatolia and was found by the Aeolians from Thessaly. In the 7th century bc it was captured by the Lydian king Gyges (reg 680–652 bc) and destroyed by the Cimmerians c. 650 bc. After being rebuilt with help from Miletos, it fell to the Persians c. 530 bc, and in 460 bc they presented it to the exiled Athenian general Themistokles. The exact location of this early city is uncertain, but in 400–398 bc the Spartan general Thibron transferred the settlement to its present site beside Mt Thorax (Gümüṣ Daḡi), where the Archaic Sanctuary of Artemis Leukophryene stood. The reason for the transfer was to evade the silt carried down by the Maeander River. Although it retained its original name, the new settlement was not actually sited on the river but on its tributary, the Lethaeus (Gümüṣ Çay), on an important road between Ephesos, Priene and Tralleis....