1-20 of 137 results  for:

  • Ancient Greece and Hellenistic States x
  • 300 BCE–CE 500 x
Clear all

Article

Thorsten Opper

Elaborate monument erected by Octavian (later Augustus) in 29–27 bc on the Preveza Peninsula in Western Greece, north of the present-day town of Preveza, overlooking Cape Actium, to commemorate his naval victory over Mark Antony at Actium in 31 bc. The nearby city of Nikopolis (Gr.: ‘city of victory’) was founded for the same purpose at about the same time.

According to the historian Dio Cassius (Roman History LI.i.3), after his victory Octavian laid a foundation of square stones on the spot where he had pitched his tent, which he then adorned with the captured ships’ rams. On this foundation, according to Dio, Octavian established an open-air shrine dedicated to Apollo. Suetonius (Augustus xviii.2) and Strabo (Geography VII.vii.6) corroborate this evidence, although the trophy itself (with the ships’ rams) was, according to Suetonius, dedicated to Poseidon and Mars, presumably for their help during the battle. The hill itself was, according to Strabo, sacred to Apollo, and therefore the shrine was dedicated to him....

Article

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

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

Margaret Lyttleton

(fl late 2nd century bc–mid-1st).

Greek architect and astronomer. He is associated with a single building, the Tower of the Winds (Horologion) on the edge of the Roman agora in Athens, of which he was named the architect by Vitruvius (On Architecture I.vi.4). This elegant and ingenious small marble octagonal building was designed externally as a monumental sundial and weather-vane, with a representation of each of the eight winds carved on the sides of the octagon; at the apex of the roof was a bronze Triton that acted as a weathercock. The interior of the building contained a complicated waterclock; apart from the Triton and the clock, the building is well preserved. Andronikos’ home town of Kyrrhos appears to be that in Macedonia, rather than the town of the same name in Syria, because a sundial from the island of Tenos carries an epigram in honour of its maker, who is named as Andronikos of Kyrrhos in Macedonia, son of Hermias, and compares him with the famous Hellenistic astronomer Aratos of Soli in Cilicia (...

Article

Thorsten Opper

Source of a group of Roman and Greek works of art, in particular a group of Greek bronze sculptures and statuettes. In 1900 sponge-divers discovered the remains of an ancient shipwreck in the sea off the Greek island of Antikythera. In one of the first operations of this kind, they salvaged some its cargo. A new investigation of the wreck site took place in 1976 and succeeded in recovering many further objects, as well as (still unpublished) remains of the hull. All the finds are now in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The ship, which must have foundered in the second quarter of the 1st century bc, carried a mixed cargo of ‘antique’ and contemporary bronze and marble statuary, as well as luxury products such as bronze furniture attachments, rare and expensive types of glass, gold ingots etc. It also contained the so-called Antikythera Mechanism, an elaborate type of astrolabe....

Article

Thorsten Opper

(b Claudiopolis [Bithynion] c. ad 110; d Egypt, October ad 130).

Greek youth from north-western Asia Minor who became the companion and lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian (reg ad 117–138) until his mysterious death in the Nile in October ad 130. The bereaved emperor gave orders for Antinous to be deified as Antinous-Osiris and founded a new city, Antinoöpolis, close to the spot where Antinous had died. From there, his cult spread rapidly over the empire, especially the Greek-speaking areas, where festivals in his honour were established and an astounding number of images dedicated. Most remarkable (apart from preserved representations on coins, gems etc, and paintings attested in literary sources) were his sculptured portraits, frequently likened to gods of the Classical Pantheon, of which nearly 100 have survived—a number surpassed only by the portraits of the emperors Augustus and Hadrian. Their ubiquity and often high quality made them icons of ancient art, highly influential and frequently copied from the Renaissance onwards....

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

C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl later 4th century bc–early 3rd).

Greek painter. Born in Egypt, Antiphilos was a pupil of Ktesidemos. Although none of his works survives, he painted both large and small pictures and was famous for the facility of his technique (Quintilian: Principles of Oratory XII.x.6). Pliny (Natural History XXXV.114, 138) listed many of his pictures, which included portraits (Philip II and Alexander the Great with the Goddess Athena, in Rome in Pliny’s day; Alexander the Great as a Boy, also taken to Rome; and Ptolemy I of Egypt Hunting) and mythological subjects (Hesione; Dionysos; Hippolytos Terrified of the Bull; and Cadmus and Europa), all of which were in Rome in Pliny’s day. He also painted genre pictures: A Boy Blowing a Fire, a painting much admired for the reflections cast about the room and on the boy’s face, and Women Spinning Wool. The Egyptian city of Alexandria was an artistic centre famous for the depiction of comic figures and grotesques in several media. In that context, Antiphilos contributed a picture of a man called ...

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

Apelles  

Susan B. Matheson

(b Kolophon, Ionia; fl late 4th century bc–early 3rd century bc; d? Kos).

Greek painter. Ancient sources stating that he was born at Kos (Pliny XXXV.xxxvi.79) or Ephesos (Strabo: Geography XIV.i.25) apparently confused his correct place of birth (Suidas: ‘Apelles’) with cities where he was later active. According to Pliny, Apelles flourished in the 112th Olympiad (”332 bc), and his association with Philip II of Macedon implies that his career began before 336 bc. His work for Ptolemy I of Egypt suggests that it lasted until after 304 bc, when Ptolemy declared himself king. No painting by Apelles survives, however, and his works are known only from literary sources.

Apelles studied painting first under Ephoros of Ephesos, then under Pamphilos of Sikyon (Suidas). According to Plutarch (Aratos xiii), however, he was already much admired before he went to Sikyon and enrolled at the school simply to share in its reputation. This is borne out by his probable collaboration with ...

Article

Kenan T. Erim and Kalinka Huber

Hellenistic and Roman site in south-west Caria, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), on a plateau in the Baba Dag mountains above a tributary valley of the Maeander (Büyük Menderes).

Kenan T. Erim

As its name suggests, Aphrodisias was a major cult centre of a goddess of nature and fertility, originally of local character but eventually influenced by other similar Anatolian and Near Eastern divinities. She was identified with Aphrodite only in late Hellenistic times, so the use of the name Aphrodisias for the site must also be dated to that time; Stephanos of Byzantium indicated that it was also known by other names (Nations cdlxxvi.6–7). Access to the site was for a long time difficult. From the late 18th century several archaeologically inclined travellers, including members of the Society of Dilettanti, described visible remains and copied inscriptions. Early excavations, undertaken by a French amateur archaeologist, Paul Gaudin, in 1904–5 and by an Italian mission under ...

Article

Luca Leoncini

This statue of the Greek sun-god Apollo (h. 2.24 m) in the Octagonal Courtyard of the Belvedere of the Museo Pio-Clementino, the Vatican, may be a marble copy made in the time of the Roman emperor Hadrian (reg ad 117–38) of a bronze original by the Greek sculptor Leochares; it is now regarded as a Roman creation of the early 2nd century AD. The statue represents the god stepping forwards lightly on his right foot and looking to his left, his left arm outstretched and supporting his cloak (see fig.). When it was found the figure probably lacked most of the left forearm and part of the right hand. These and other parts were restored by Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli between 1532 and 1533, although the restored portions have now been removed. It is likely that in his left hand Apollo was holding the arrows that were the usual attributes of the sun-god. There is also a tradition identifying the statue with the Apollo Venator, the god of the hunt; perhaps for this reason he is often shown beside the huntress Diana. The date and place of the statue’s discovery are uncertain, although Pirro Ligorio advanced the theory that the ...

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

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

Luca Leoncini

revised by Thorsten Opper

Group of three ancient Greek bronze figures, now in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. The various fragments were recovered in 1926, 1928 and 1937 from the sea-bed site of an ancient shipwreck off Cape Artemision at the northernmost point of Euboia, Greece, together with scant remains of a wreck whose cargo they seem to have formed. The most famous is the bronze statue identified as Zeus or Poseidon (h. 2.09 m), datable to the second quarter of the 5th century bc (see fig.). It is attributed to an Attic artist, perhaps Kalamis, who made the Omphalos Apollo. The figure represents a bearded man with long hair tied up at the back of his neck, striding forward with his arms extended. He is poised to throw either a thunderbolt or a trident, depending on which of the two gods he portrays. Ample iconographic parallels exist for both (coins of Poseidonia show Poseidon hurling his trident in this manner, while Zeus is represented in a similar pose in numerous bronze statuettes). The position of the fingers of the right hand suggests that the statue originally held a trident rather than a bolt of lightning, though Zeus is represented in a similar pose in numerous bronze statuettes (see Stewart, ii, pls 287–9). The hypothesis that this was the pose of an earlier cult statue in the Temple of Zeus at Olympia before Pheidias created his colossal chryselephantine ...

Article

Asine  

Robin Hägg

[now Kastraki]

Coastal site in the north-eastern Peloponnese in southern Greece, 8 km south-east of Navplion. Centred around an easily defended rocky promontory (acropolis), the settlement is remarkable for its long, almost uninterrupted history of habitation, from at least c. 4000 bc to c. ad 400. It flourished during the Bronze Age (c. 4000–c. 1050 bc) and in the Geometric and Hellenistic periods (c. 900–c. 725 bc and 336–27 bc). First mentioned in the Homeric epic The Iliad (II.560; Catalogue of Ships), it was identified in modern times by E. Curtius in 1852 and excavated by Swedish expeditions in 1922–30 and 1970–90. The finds are in the Navplion Archaeological Museum, among them a terracotta head of less than life-size from the 12th century bc, known as the Lord (or Lady) of Asine (see Helladic, §V, 2, (i)).

On the north-west slope of the acropolis there was an almost continuous habitation: especially remarkable are an apsidal house of the Early Helladic period (...

Article

Martin Robertson

(fl c. 100 bc).

Mosaicist from Arados, Phoenicia. The fragmentary inscription… piades Aradios epoiei (Gr.: ‘…piades of Arados made’) is set in two lines of black tesserae on the white ground of a tessellated floor still in situ in the House of the Dolphins on the island of Delos (see Bruneau, fig.). The beginning of the name is lost, but ‘Asklepiades’ is the most probable. The square floor, which occupies the central court, can be dated to c. 100 bc. It has an outer border of black crenellation and within that a series of pattern bands in concentric circles surrounds a rosette, each corner being occupied by an Eros riding a dolphin and leading a second on the rein. Most of the floor is worked in opus tessellatum, but these corner groups are in opus vermiculatum (using very fine tesserae). The inscription lies between two of the pattern circles. One of these has horned heads, alternately characterized as griffins and lions, that grow out of arcs of ornament. Animal ornament is rare in Greek art, but there is a close parallel on an Orientalizing vase of the ...