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Article

Margaret Lyttleton

Columnar niche or shrine applied decoratively to a larger building. The word is a diminutive from the Latin word aedes (‘temple’). Summerson traced its application to Gothic architecture and drew attention to the importance of playing at being in a house for all small children; he claimed that this kind of play has much to do with the aesthetics of architecture and leads ultimately to the use of the aedicula. The earliest surviving examples of aediculae are shop-signs from Pompeii, such as that showing Mercury or Hermes emerging from a small building. Later aediculae appear extensively in wall paintings of the Fourth Style (c. ad 20–c. 90; see Rome, ancient §V 2.). Later still, aediculae were often used in the architecture of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire; they consisted of columns or pilasters flanking a niche for statuary, with a pediment above, as in the stage-building of the theatre at ...

Article

Aigina  

Margaret Lyttleton, Stefan Hiller, R. A. Tomlinson, Reinhard Stupperich and Melita Emmanuel

[Aegina]

Greek island in the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea, mid-way between Athens to the north and Argos to the west. It is almost triangular, occupying c. 85 sq. km. The interior is mountainous, rising to a peak of 531 m, and the soil is largely infertile. Aigina is conspicuously visible from the Athenian port of Peiraeus, although Pericles’ description of it as ‘the eyesore of the Peiraeus’ (Plutarch: Pericles, viii) stemmed from political rivalry rather than its actual appearance. The main modern settlement (Aegina) is in the north-west of the island, occupying part of the site of the ancient town of Aigina, which it has entirely obliterated, apart from the remains of some tombs. Outside the town there are two important sanctuaries, that of Zeus and that of Aphaia, a local goddess. The city-state of Aigina was important in the 7th and 6th centuries bc, when it took part in many Greek trading ventures and developed the largest navy in Greece. Aigina was for a long time a rival of Athens and was finally defeated in a naval battle in ...

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

Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....

Article

Carmela Vircillo Franklin

(b Berlin, Aug 18, 1911; d Cambridge, MA, Sept 6, 2006).

German historian of antiquity and the Middle Ages, active also in Italy and America. Bloch was trained at the University of Berlin under the historian of ancient Greece Werner Jaeger, art historian Gerhart Rodenwaldt and medievalist Erich Caspar from 1930 until 1933, when the rise of National Socialism convinced him to move to Rome. There he received his tesi di laurea in ancient history in 1935 and his diploma di perfezionamento in 1937. He then participated in the excavations at Ostia, Rome’s ancient port, which was an important site in the revival of Italian archaeology under Fascism. At the outbreak of World War II, he immigrated to the USA, and began his teaching career in 1941 at Harvard University’s Department of Classics, where he remained until his retirement in 1982. His experience of totalitarianism shaped both his personal and professional beliefs.

Bloch applied a deep knowledge of epigraphy, history and material culture, art history, literary and archival sources to his research and he had a propensity for uncovering the significance of new or neglected evidence. One such area was Roman history. His first publications, on ancient Rome’s brick stamps (many of which he discovered ...

Article

Lawrence E. Butler

(b Croton Falls, NY, March 7, 1872; d Paris, Aug 13, 1922).

American archaeologist and teacher. After receiving his MA in 1893 from Princeton University with a fellowship in archaeology, Butler studied architecture at Columbia University. From 1895 until his death he held various appointments at Princeton in architecture, archaeology, and art: his teaching of architecture as one of the fine arts led to the creation of the Princeton School of Architecture, of which he became the founding director in 1922. He was one of the most influential American archaeologists of his time, owing to his discoveries in Syria and at Sardis. His work in Syria was inspired by Melchior de Vogüé’s explorations there in the 1860s. Butler organized and led an American expedition in 1899 with the intention of verifying, photographing, and adding to the list of de Vogüé’s sites. His work in Syria continued until 1909 and resulted in several important publications on the early Christian architecture. In 1910 he began excavating at Sardis, uncovering the Artemis Temple and a number of important Lydian objects, until ...

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

Chios  

Jenny Albani and Margaret Lyttleton

[anc. Pityoussa]

Greek island lying 8 km off the coast of Turkey and 56 km south of Lesbos in the Eastern Sporades. One of the larger Greek islands, it is 48 km long north–south and 13–24 km wide east–west, with a mountain range running the length of the island; it has a population of nearly 100,000. Its most impressive architectural remains belong to the Early Christian, Byzantine and Genoese periods. The principal museums, in Chios city, are the Archaeological Museum, the Adamantios Korais Library and the Ethnological and Folklore Museum.

The earliest evidence of settlement is the Neolithic level uncovered by the British School at Athens during excavations (1952–5) of the harbour town of Emporio. According to tradition the island was colonized by the Ionians in the 11th century bc, and it is claimed to be the birthplace of Homer (c. 800 bc). In the 6th and 5th centuries ...

Article

Corfu  

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 ...

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

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

Geraki  

G. Dimitrokallis and N. Moutsopoulos

Site of ancient Geronthrai in Laconia, Greece, 40 km south-east of Sparta and occupied by a large modern village. The ancient acropolis is surrounded by Cyclopean walls of the Mycenaean period (c. 1300 bc), well-preserved to the north and east. The medieval castle of Geraki, which was built by Jehan de Nivelet in 1254 on the rocky ridge of Parnon 5 km to the south-east, was the headquarters of one of the original twelve Frankish baronies in the Peloponnese. The village, the castle and the surrounding region contain a number of churches of various periods.

In the village there are two 6th-century basilical churches, only one of which has been excavated, and six later churches. Of the latter, the Evangelistria, St Sozon (built above the unexcavated basilica) and St Athanasius are built in the cross-in-square plan and date from the 12th century, while the two-aisled church of St Nicholas dates from the 13th century. St John Chrysostomos, a single-aisled church, and St Theodore, with its barrel-vaulted nave and pointed transverse barrel vault, were founded ...

Article

Gortyn  

Antonino Di Vita and Dimitris Tsougarakis

Site of a city on the northern edge of the Mesara Plain in southern Crete, c. 6 km north-east of Moíres, which flourished c. 700 bcad 670. The westernmost of the hills enclosing it to the north served as its acropolis, where, following Neolithic occupation, there was a Bronze Age settlement after the 13th century bc. The acropolis is separated from the hills to the east by the River Mitropolianos, the course of which also divided the Greco-Roman and Byzantine city into two unequal parts. Excavations were begun by Federico Halbherr in 1884 and were continued by the Italian Archaeological Mission in Crete and from 1912 onwards by the Italian Archaeological School in Athens.

Antonino Di Vita

The most significant late Bronze Age (c. 1580–c. 1100 bc) remains from the area derive from the rural villa of Kannia, to the south-west of modern Mitropolis, which comprised 30 rooms, including at least four small domestic shrines distinguished by benches and by statuettes and ex-votos of the Minoan goddess. The 50 or so large storage pithoi that were found in many of the rooms and that attest to the villa’s connection with agriculture date from Late Minoan (...

Article

W. Eugene Kleinbauer

(b Munich, Dec 12, 1912; d Poughkeepsie, NY, Jan 22, 2003).

German art historian of late antiquity, Byzantium and Norman Sicily, active also in the USA. Kitzinger was a prominent medievalist who went to Rome in 1931 to begin doctoral work in medieval art history under the supervision of Wilhelm Pinder. Within three years he earned his PhD at the University of Munich. His dissertation, Roman Painting from the Beginning of the Seventh to the Middle of the Eighth Century, analysed the style of mosaics and frescoes in church buildings and catacombs, and convincingly demonstrated that no linear development can be traced in this period in part because different ‘styles’ can sometimes be shown to have coexisted. He effectively refuted the thesis advanced by Charles Rufus Morey of Princeton University that the Greek Hellenistic style had been transplanted by Alexandrian refugees to Rome in the earliest Middle Ages. Kitzinger pursued this research in major papers—his exacting analysis of texts related to the cult of images before Iconoclasm (...

Article

Alison Stones

Legends and myths in medieval art are often symbolic rather than narrative, appearing as isolated representations on monuments and portable objects and following the tradition of Greek vase painting where individual subjects are depicted and rely on prior knowledge of the stories for recognition and understanding. World histories celebrated great heroes of the past, starting with Creation and biblical history, then the ancient and medieval world with the exploits of the Trojan heroes, Alexander the Great, King Arthur and the campaigns of Charlemagne and his nephew Roland. Northern gods such as Thor were depicted in cult statues (c. 1000; Reykjavík, N. Mus.) or through such ornamental hammers as those from north Jutland in the Copenhagen Nationalmuseum, and Freya, head of the Valkyries, was painted riding a cat on the walls of Schleswig Cathedral.

The Fall of Troy is most celebrated in the early 13th-century copy of Heinrich von Veldecke’s ...

Article

Naxos  

R. L. N. Barber and Maria Panayotidi

Greek island at the centre of the Aegean Cyclades. It is the largest and most fertile of that island group and has been an important centre since prehistoric times. As well as agricultural wealth, the island also possesses extensive marble deposits and is a rare source of the abrasive mineral emery, which was used for working marble objects.

R. L. N. Barber

By the end of the 20th century the most significant prehistoric finds on Naxos had been from Early (ec) and Late Cycladic (lc) contexts (c. 3500–c. 2000 bc and c. 1600–c. 1050 bc respectively). The earliest excavations, mainly of ec cemetery sites, were conducted by C. Tsountas in the late 19th century, his work being augmented by that of C. Doumas in the 1960s. The most important Bronze Age settlement, Grotta (the northern and north-western coastal area of modern Naxos town), as well as the neighbouring ...

Article

Jenny Albani

[anc. Pyrasos; formerly Phthiotic Thebes]

Greek town on the Pagasitic Gulf, 17 km south of Volos in the nome of Magnesia. It was built in 1907/8 to accommodate Greek refugees from Anchialos (now Pomorie) in Bulgaria. Excavations by the Greek Archaeological Service have confirmed the existence of a settlement at this site from as early as the 2nd millennium bc. It was destroyed in 1200 bc and rebuilt after 900 bc. From the 5th century bc it developed as a trading centre and became the port of the inland city of Thebes, gradually absorbing the population of the latter. In 196 bc it was conquered by the Romans, and it became part of the Thessalian League. From the 2nd century ad Pyrasos was known as Phthiotic Thebes, and the city enjoyed a period of particular prosperity from the 4th century to the early 7th. In the second half of the 7th century its fortunes declined, but it continued to be mentioned in inscriptions until the 9th century....

Article

Andrew Poulter

[Nesebǔr; anc. Mesembria]

Town situated on a peninsula on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. It was founded by Greek colonists from Megara in the late 6th century bc, and it remained an important city and naval base until the Turkish conquest in the 15th century ad. Its ancient name of Mesembria suggests that it had originally been a Thracian fortification (bria) of a local king called Mesa, but after the foundation of the Greek colony it developed, particularly in the 3rd and 2nd centuries bc, into a major port and trading centre. As early as the 4th century bc Mesembria’s coins were circulating widely throughout the Thracian interior and even beyond the Danube in Dacia. The city was at war with its neighbour Apollonia Pontica (now Sozopol in Bulgaria) during the first half of the 2nd century bc, was briefly captured by the Dacians in the second half of the 1st century...