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Ye. V. Zeymal’

[Aï Khanoum; Ay-Khanum]

Site of a Hellenistic town of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom, located at the confluence of the Kokcha and Pyandzh rivers (tributaries of the Amu River), northern Afghanistan. The site was excavated by the Délégation Archéologique Française en Afghanistan under Paul Bernard, from 1965 until the outbreak of the Afghan civil war in 1978. The town was founded on the eastern border of the oikoumene (inhabited territory) in the late 4th century bc or early 3rd, after the conquest of this region by Alexander the Great and, Bernard suggested, was first called Alexandria Oxiana. The name was changed to Eukratidea (after the GrecoBactrian king Eukratides), c. 170–c. 150 bc, when an extensive programme of construction was carried out. After the town was attacked and destroyed c. 140 bc, it was abandoned by its inhabitants. Later, during the Yueh-chih and Kushana periods (c. 1st century bc–3rd century ad), the ruined buildings were occupied by ‘post-Greek’ peoples who did not undertake any significant repair work. Little has yet been published concerning this later period at the site. Finds from the site were placed in Kabul Museum, although they appear to have been looted after the museum was bombed in ...

Article

R. A. Tomlinson

Site of Greek settlement in north-west Turkey at Nemrud Kalesi, 35 km south of Pergamon. It is situated on a steep-sided hill easily accessible only from the north, about three hours walk inland from the modern coast road. Its foundation date is uncertain: although Herodotus (, I.cxlix.1) listed it among the 12 Aeolian Greek cities in the region, there are few traces of it in either the historical or the archaeological record until the 3rd century, when Attalos I Soter of Pergamon (241–197 bc) incorporated it into his kingdom. Its substantial fortifications make clear its function as a defensive position. The earliest walls, of crude, irregular masonry, are on the north side and presumably belong to the Aeolian city. Much more substantial walls on the other sides show Pergamene characteristics and must date to the later redevelopment. Several buildings of this period are well preserved, the most important being the agora, built in the Pergamene manner on a terrace against the eastern hillside supported by a massive retaining wall. This wall is incorporated into a three-storey stoa (the ‘Market Building’) with a lower floor containing shops facing down the slope, an enclosed floor acting as a storeroom above this, divided by a central arcade, and an upper floor at the level of the terrace with a conventional Doric stoa facing on to the agora. Other important buildings are a temple with a two-storey stoa enclosing its precinct and a theatre with vaulted substructures. About 45 minutes’ walk to the east of the city is the Ionic Temple of Apollo Chresterios, which bears a Roman dedication but is Hellenistic in form and perhaps in date....

Article

Aizanoi  

William E. Mierse

[Lat. Aizani]

Site of Hellenistic and Roman city, 54 km south-west of Kütahya in Turkey. Its remains comprise a Temple of Zeus, two agoras, a heroön, a macellum (market), a round structure with the Edict on Prices of Diocletian (ad 301) carved on its exterior walls, a stadium and theatre complex, a bath–gymnasium, bridges and quays. Most date to the 2nd century ad, the period of the city’s greatest prosperity. The theatre–stadium group and the Temple of Zeus were both built during the reign of Hadrian (reg ad 118–37).

The temple is particularly significant because of its excellent state of preservation and its combination of Greco-Anatolian and Roman architectural forms. Inscriptions on the exterior walls of the cella attest to the date of construction. They also record a gift of land to Zeus made by the Hellenistic rulers Attalos I Soter (reg 241–197 bc) and either Prusias I (...

Article

T. F. C. Blagg

[now Pojan]

Site in Albania, c. 20 km north-east of Kerce. The city was founded about 600 bc as a colony of Corinthians and Corcyreans on low hills bordering the coastal plain of the Aoos River (now Vojussa). In the 3rd and 2nd centuries bc Apollonia supported the Romans in their Macedonian wars, and in the civil war the city was one of Julius Caesar’s bases against Pompey (48 bc). Augustus (reg 27 bcad 14), who had studied there, rewarded the city by granting it autonomy, and Greek remained its official language during the Roman Empire. Its prosperity declined after the 2nd century ad, and it was abandoned during the 6th century ad. The first city defences of fine ashlar masonry (mid-5th century bc) were extended in the following century with external towers and a brick superstructure. The acropolis is flanked by a terrace wall with a corbelled gate with a pointed arch, west of which is a ...

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

Bassai  

Frederick Cooper

Site on the slopes and peak of Mt Kotilon in Arcadia, southern Greece, overlooking the fertile plains of Messenia. It is renowned for the late 5th-century bc Temple of Apollo with its sculptured Ionic frieze, its peculiar plan and the earliest extant Corinthian capital.

Apollo Bassitas was the principal god but his sanctuary also embraced cults to other gods, notably Artemis. Twin temples to Apollo and Artemis were built by c. 625–600 bc, the former (Apollo I) found immediately south of the present structure. The second temple (Apollo II, c. 575 bc) was replaced by Apollo III c. 500 bc, and blocks from Apollo III were reused in the last temple, Apollo IV, the remains of which stand today. The construction of Apollo IV began shortly after 429 bc, according to Pausanias, although some scholars date it to one or more generations earlier. Other evidence, however, including inscriptions and literary references, support Pausanias’ date. The architect was ...

Article

Belevi  

William E. Mierse

Site of a monumental mausoleum 11 km north-east of Ephesos on the west coast of Turkey. The remaining structure, a core of natural rock shaped into a cube (15.00×24.00×11.37 m) and faced with cut stone blocks, originally formed a podium capped by a Doric frieze. On the podium stood a marble chamber surrounded by a Corinthian colonnade with eight columns on each side. The colonnade supported sculpted lion-griffins in confronted pairs on either side of marble urns, and the roof took the form of a pyramid, probably surmounted by a chariot group (for a suggested reconstruction of mausoleum. Relief sculptures (Izmir, Archaeol. Mus.) depicting Funerary Games and a Battle of the Lapiths and the Centaurs (Izmir, Archaeol. Mus.) decorated the ceiling coffers of the colonnade. In the main funerary chamber, which was cut into the rock core, stood a large stone sarcophagus with a reclining crowned figure on its lid (Selçuk, Ephesos Archaeol. Mus.) and a statue of a servant placed near by (untraced). The tomb’s occupant has been identified as Memnon, a general in the service of the Persian king Artaxerxes Ochos (...

Article

Brauron  

R. A. Tomlinson

revised by Gordon Campbell

Site of an ancient sanctuary of Artemis (worshipped here as Artemis-Iphigenia, protector of pregnant women) on the east coast of Attica, 6 km north-east of Markopoulon, established by the 8th century bc. A special feature of the cult at Brauron was that the priestesses, known as Artemis’ Bears (arktoi), were girls aged between five and ten. They resided within the sanctuary and were instrumental in a great festival, the Brauroneia, celebrated there every five years. A similar cult was subsequently introduced on the Athenian Acropolis, probably owing to the growing importance of aristocratic families with estates near Brauron. The site was excavated in 1946–52 and 1956–63 by J. Papadimitriou.

The Temple of Artemis (6th century bc) is a small, Doric, non-peripteral building of which only the foundations remain. Beyond it was a copious spring, liable to flooding. A small, nondescript building some 10 m south-east of the temple was perhaps the residence of the Bears. The most important architectural remains are those of a Doric stoa (end of ...

Article

Butrint  

T. F. C. Blagg

[It. Butrinto; anc. Gr. Bouthroton; Lat. Buthrotum]

Site in southern Albania, set on a hill beside a coastal lagoon connected to the sea by a natural channel. The city flourished in Greek, Roman, and Byzantine times. Excavation and display of its extensive and deserted remains, begun by the Italians in 1928, have been continued by Albanian archaeologists; finds are displayed in the site museum (renovated 1988) and in the National Historical Museum, Tiranë. It was probably a colony of Kerkyra (Corfu), from which its site is visible. Earliest occupation on the hilltop is shown by Corinthian pottery of the 7th–6th centuries bc and a wall of polygonal masonry, rebuilt in the 5th century bc. By the following century the expanding city required new walls, which survive up to 9 m high and include the Lion Gate, named after the Archaic relief reused as its lintel (6th century bc). Butrint became a centre for the surrounding Epirot people, the ...

Article

Yu. P. Kalashnik

[now Khersmes]

Site on the south-west of the Crimean peninsula, near Sevastopol’. Its position on the Black Sea trade routes determined its commercial importance. It was founded by the people of Herakleia Pontica jointly with the Delians c. 422/421 bc and became an important state in the 4th and 3rd centuries bc after assimilating the fertile lands of north-west Crimea. From the 3rd century bc, however, the expansion of the Scythian kingdom led to the contraction of the city’s territory. In the first centuries ad Chersonesos lost its independence, becoming subordinate to the neighbouring kingdom of the Bosporus and the administration of the Roman province of Lower Moesia; a garrison of Roman troops was stationed in the city. In the late 4th century ad Chersonesos became part of the Byzantine empire, and from the late 10th century it played an important part in the spread of Christianity in Kievan Russia. In the 13th century the city was destroyed by enemy attack....

Article

Delphi  

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 ...

Article

Dendra  

Robin Hägg

[Dhendrá.]

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 (...

Article

Derveni  

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....

Article

Dodona  

R. A. Tomlinson

Site of ancient sanctuary in Epiros, north-west Greece. It is in many ways the remotest of Greek sanctuaries: Epiros was largely uninfluenced by the main developments of the Archaic and Classical periods, retaining its tribal organization at a time when more progressive regions were forming city states. The sanctuary was dedicated to Zeus, probably because the high mountains surrounding it attract spectacular thunderstorms. Despite the site’s remoteness, the Greeks were aware of Zeus of Dodona from early times; for example he is invoked in the Iliad (XIV.233) as Achilles prepares to allow Patroklos to lead his Myrmidons once more into battle. The cult was oracular, and the oracles were associated with a sacred oak tree in the sanctuary, whose prophecies (the whispering of its leaves) were interpreted by a hereditary family of priests, the Selloi. The sanctuary offers a good example of an important cult that flourished without the need for a temple. For a long time it had no architectural embellishment, consisting simply of the precinct containing the sacred oak tree surrounded by tripods, though a simple shrine was added at the beginning of the ...

Article

Malcolm A. R. Colledge, Joseph Gutmann and Andrew R. Seager

[now Qal‛at as Sāliḩīyah.]

Site of a Hellenistic and Roman walled city in eastern Syria, on a plateau between two gorges on the west bank of the middle Euphrates. The name combines elements that are Semitic (Dura) and Macedonian Greek (Europos). Dura Europos was founded by the Seleucids in the late 4th century bc at the intersection of east–west caravan routes and the trade route along the Euphrates. It was later a frontier fortress of the Parthian empire and after its capture in ad 165 fulfilled the same role for the Roman empire. After the Sasanian siege in ad 256–7 the city was abandoned. The results of excavations by French and American archaeologists in the 1920s and 1930s threw light on the process of synthesis between Classical and indigenous populations and cultures in Syria-Palestine during Hellenistic and Imperial Roman times. The excavated remains include a synagogue (see §3) with an important cycle of biblical paintings and an Early Christian meeting-house (...

Article

T. F. C. Blagg

[anc. Gr. Epidamnos, Lat. Dyrrachium; It. Durrazzo; now Durrës, Albania.]

Site on the Adriatic coast, approximately 30 km west of Tiranë, Albania. It was founded as Epidamnos, as a colony of Corinth and Corfu, in 627 bc, and when the name Dyrrhachion first appeared in the 5th century bc it may have referred only to the port, 5 km north of the walled city. In 437 bc a violent uprising led indirectly, through the involvement of Corfu and Athens, to the Peloponnesian War. In the late 3rd century bc the city became part of the Illyrian kingdom of Glaukias. As Dyrrachium, it remained a free city after the Roman conquests of Macedonia and Epiros (167 bc); as the starting-point for the Via Egnatia (ad 148), the Roman road from the Adriatic to Byzantium, it developed as an important trade and communications centre. The cosmopolitan character of its medieval history reflects its continued strategic significance. It remained a Byzantine stronghold from the 4th century ...

Article

Eleusis  

Demosthenis G. Giraud

Site on the eastern edge of a row of rocky hills extending along the coast of north-west Attica, to the north of the straits of Salamis and about 20 km from Athens. The town flourished throughout antiquity. Due to its strategic position controlling one of the principal access routes to Attica, it was developed as a stronghold by the Athenians as early as Mycenaean times. However, it was chiefly famous in later eras as the venue for the Eleusinian Mysteries, secret annual rituals held in honour of Demeter and Persephone and open only to initiates of their cult. According to tradition the Mysteries were first celebrated by Eumolpos during the reign of the mythical king Erechtheus. Eleusis was given the status of a panhellenic sanctuary in about 750 bc by a Delphic oracle, and Solon included the Mysteries in his list of official Athenian rites around 700 bc. The sanctuary reached the height of its religious influence and architectural development in Roman times under Hadrian and the Antonines (2nd century ...

Article

Ephesos  

Thorsten Opper, M. Rautmann, Anton Bammer, Ulrike Muss and Mark Whittow

[Ephesus.]

Site of an important Classical city on the west coast of Turkey, c. 2 km south-west of modern Selçuk. It has been occupied since perhaps as early as the 10th century bc, and its Late Classical Temple of Artemis (Artemision), built on the site of an earlier temple from the Archaic period, was regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

M. Rautmann

According to Greek tradition, Ephesos was founded in the 10th century bc by Ionian settlers near the mouth of the River Cayster. From the mid-6th century bc it was ruled successively by the Lydians, Croesus of Lydia extending the unfortified city inland, and the Persians. It was conquered by Alexander the Great in 334 bc, and throughout antiquity Ephesos was an important trading centre, its prestige enhanced by the construction of the colossal Temple of Artemis (6th century bc, rebuilt 4th century bc) on the plain to the north-east of the city. In the early ...

Article

R. A. Tomlinson and Ann Thomas Wilkins

Site on the south side of the Saronic Gulf in Greece that flourished especially in the 4th and 3rd centuries bc. Though traces of the ancient city exist, its fame derives from the Sanctuary of Asklepios c. 10 km inland from Epidauros town, which was the principal cult-centre of the healing god in mainland Greece (see fig.). Here there are remains of a Bronze Age settlement, later abandoned, and an early sanctuary of Apollo. Until the end of the 5th century bc the place was of little importance and architecturally undistinguished. The cult of Asklepios began to develop significantly only at this time, perhaps because of the plague that devastated Athens and adjacent regions in the early 420s bc and the general malaise that resulted from the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta (431–404 bc). With the exception of the theatre, the sanctuary buildings are badly ruined. The site was excavated principally by the Greek archaeologist ...

Article

O. T. P. K. Dickinson

Site south-west of Thebes, in central Greece, where Hetty Goldman’s major excavation campaign (1924–7) revealed a long and informative prehistoric sequence, running from the later Neolithic period through almost the entire Bronze Age. Indications of later occupation are present but sparse. Early Helladic (eh; c. 3600/3000–c. 2050 bc) strata make up the bulk of deposit, while Middle Helladic (mh; c. 2050–c. 1600 bc) is poorly represented until near its end. There are important building levels covering the mh to Late Helladic (lh; c. 1600–c. 1050 bc) transition (the abundance of Mainland Polychrome in the third ‘mh’ level demonstrates its equivalence to lh i) and, although few lh buildings were uncovered, a fortification wall, enclosing much unoccupied territory as well as the settlement, was identified, dating to lh iiib (c. 1335–c. 1180 bc). The rather small quantity of ...