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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

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

Dougga  

M’Hamed Fantar

[anc. Thugga.]

Site of one of the best-preserved Roman towns in Africa, built on a plateau overlooking the valley of Oued Khalled in north-western Tunisia. A fine collection of archaeological material has been found there. Dougga dates back to the earliest phase of Libyan antiquity and certainly belonged to the kingdom of Numidia long before the reign of Masinissa (d 148 bc); writing on the invasion of Agathalus at the end of the 4th century bc, Diodorus Siculus mentioned the king Ailymas, whose domain included the territory of ‘Tebagga’. During the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage (218–201 bc), Dougga was under the Carthaginians, but it was won back by Masinissa and retained by his successors until the death of Juba I in 46 bc. Of the Numidian town there remain the megalithic wall (4th century bc), the dolmens and the Mausoleum of Atban, one of the finest Libyo-Punic ...

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

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

Ghirza  

R. J. A. Wilson

Site of Romanized Berber settlement on the banks of the Wadi Ghirza, 240 km south-east of Tripoli, Libya. The site consists of 38 buildings from the 4th and 5th centuries ad, some still preserved up to a height of 7 m. Half a dozen of them are in the form of impressive castle-like structures, two or three storeys high, with interior courts; this type of farm building, once thought to have had a quasi-military role, is typical of the Tripolitanian pre-desert area from the second half of the 2nd century ad onwards. Smaller houses are either single-roomed or have two or three rooms set end to end. One building is a Semitic-type temple probably dedicated to Baal, with an open court and rooms ranged around it. Cisterns, two wells and rubbish middens have also been identified, the last showing that barley, figs and many other crops were present. The settlement seems to have been occupied until the early 6th century ...

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

Daria Ferrero De Bernardi and Kalinka Huber

[now Pamukkale]

Site in south-west Anatolia, Turkey. The town was built on a travertine terrace formed by sediments of hot mineral-rich springs, overlooking the Meander (Turk. Menderes) Valley. It was founded in the 2nd century bc by the Pergamene kings at an important strategic position; it became part of the Roman province of Asia in 133 bc, and during the Empire it was a prosperous trading centre. In the 4th and 5th centuries ad it was the seat of a bishop, and from the 6th century ad of a metropolitan. It gradually fell into decay and was probably abandoned with the coming of the Saljuqs (12th century). The city was first researched in 1898 by a German mission; since 1957 excavations have been directed by the Italians.

C. Humann and others: Altertümer von Hierapolis, Jahrbuch des Deutschen archäologischen Instituts [prev. pubd as Jb. Ksr. Dt. Archäol. Inst.], suppl. 4 (Berlin, 1898) E. Schneider-Equini...

Article

T. W. Potter

[now Annaba, Arab. al-‛Annāba; formerly Bône]

Site in Algeria that flourished from c. 200 bc to ad 430. It lies close to the Mediterranean coast on flat ground, nearly at sea-level, between two low hills. The town once possessed an excellent harbour as well as a fertile hinterland. It probably began as a Phoenician settlement, but the site has yielded few finds earlier than c. 200 bc and virtually no structures earlier than a great sea-wall of c. 40 bc. Hippo was a Numidian royal centre before being annexed by Rome in 46 bc. It developed in an unplanned way; having received municipal status under Augustus (reg 27 bcad 14), it was promoted to colonial status only in the 2nd century ad. However, extensive white marble quarries lay within its territory at Djebel Filfila, near Skikda, 80km to the west. These were almost certainly developed under Juba II, ruler at Iol Caesarea, 25 bc...

Article

Loukou  

Thorsten Opper

Site of a Roman villa (500 m to the north of the monastery of Loukou) in the ancient region of Thyreatis in the eastern Peloponnese. The recent finds are divided between the archaeological museums of the nearby modern town of Astros and the regional centre Tripolis. Although the villa is not mentioned in the ancient literary sources, the discovery of inscriptions and portrait sculptures (Herodes, Polydeukion) shows that the complex belonged to the family of the famous Athenian sophist Herodes Atticus. Individual sculptures from Loukou, some of them removed to the nearby monastery, were first mentioned by travellers in the early 19th century. Excavations carried out since the 1970s have revealed the nucleus of a richly decorated villa built on a grand scale. The structures uncovered so far stretch over three terraces on different levels. The lowest, to the north of the site, is dominated by a three-aisled basilica-style building with two rows of four columns crowned by composite capitals and a semicircular apse with six statue niches at the western end. The building, which was later converted into a Christian church, is flanked by further rooms of unknown use. A flight of stairs leads to the middle terrace further south. This section of the villa is laid out around a large peristyle with a nymphaeum at the western end and single-storey porticos with ornate mosaic floors (muses, mythological scenes, circus races etc) along the other sides. The centre of the peristyle is surrounded by a wide canal on all sides, which was fed by water from the nymphaeum. Behind the nymphaeum to the west is a further large apsidial room with rectangular side wings. To the east of the peristyle, separated by further rooms and small nymphaea, follows a large garden stadium, while near the south-east corner remains of dining rooms and a heroön dedicated to ...

Article

Giovanna Tedeschi Grisanti

[now Luni]

Site in Liguria, north-west Italy, of a Roman colony (fl 2nd century bc–4th century ad). The town was a port, known for its export of white Carrara marble, which first began to be systematically quarried in the Apuan Alps in the 1st century bc. Luna’s decline in the 4th century ad was partly due to a crisis in the marble trade. The first excavations were carried out in 1837 by the Marchese Remedi (material now in Florence, Mus. Archeol.) and by C. Promis (material now in Turin, Mus. Ant.). At the end of the 19th century C. Fabbricotti carried out further excavations (material now in La Spezia, Mus. Civ. Archeol., and Carrara, Accad. B.A.). Luna has a quadrangular layout, but the side facing the sea is irregular, probably reflecting the original coastline. The Via Aemilia Scauri crossed the town and formed its decumanus maximus, although unusually it is not crossed by the ...

Article

Miletos  

Wolfgang Müller-Wiener

Site on the west coast of Turkey, near the mouth of the River Meander (now Bügük Menderes). The city flourished under the Greeks and the Romans from the 5th century bc to the 3rd century ad. A large Byzantine church was built there in the 6th century. Miletos was once a port but is now 9 km from the sea. German archaeologists have been excavating there since the late 19th century. Milesian architecture played a significant role in the development of ancient Greek architecture in general. It comprised three phases of varying importance.

Little is known of the first settlement, established near the Theatre Bay in the late 16th century bc, except that it consisted of largish but fairly simple dwellings. Towards the end of the 13th century bc it was fortified with a strong wall, mud-brick on stone foundations, 4.3 m high and reinforced by bastions; it enclosed an oval area measuring ...

Article

Nemi  

T. F. C. Blagg

Site with sanctuary of the goddess Diana beside the lake of the same name that fills a volcanic crater in the Alban hills 25 km south-east of Rome, Italy. Both lake and town take their name from the nemus (Lat.: ‘sacred wood’). The sanctuary originated before the 6th century bc as the centre for a local cult in the territory of the Latin town of Aricia; it continued to flourish under Roman rule until the 4th century ad. The peculiar slave priesthood of Diana Nemorensis was the inspiration for Sir James Frazer’s The Golden Bough (London, 1890–1915), while the picturesque scenery of the area attracted English landscape artists in the late 18th and 19th centuries, notably J. M. W. Turner, who painted several views of the lake.

The main remains of the sanctuary now visible to the north-east of the lake are of a large rectangular terraced precinct (...

Article

Eugenia Chalkia

Site of an ancient city 6 km north of Preveza in the Epeiros region of Greece. It was founded by Emperor Augustus (reg 30 bcad 14) to commemorate his victory in the Battle of Actium (31 bc), which took place nearby. Its exceptional position on a peninsula between the Ionian Sea and the Ambrakian Gulf, with harbours on both waters, and the privileges given to it by many emperors made it a particularly important centre. It was a free Roman city; its initial settlers came from neighbouring cities in Epeiros, Aitolia and Akarnania that had suffered decline during the long years of war. From the time of Emperor Diocletian (reg ad 285–305) it was the capital of the region of Epirus Vetus, and it had its own mint. In the Christian era it was the seat of a bishopric and a centre of influence in the ecclesiastical art and liturgical practice of eastern Illyricum. In ...

Article

Olba  

Harry Brewster

[Diocaesarea; anc. Gk. Diokaisareia; now Uğura]

Site of the city of the priestly kings of Cilicia Tracheia (Rough Cilicia), Turkey, in mountainous country 22 km north-east of Seleucia. It is now a village with impressive Hellenistic and Roman remains. The local tribes became hellenized under the Seleucids and were ruled by a dynasty of potentates, the high priests of the sanctuary of Olban Zeus; according to Strabo, the priests traced their line back to Ajax (son of Teucer, the brother of the Homeric Ajax, who had settled in Rough Cilicia after founding Salamis in Cyprus). The Temple of Zeus is among the most interesting and conspicuous buildings of the Hellenistic period at Olba. It is of the Corinthian order, peripteral and hexastyle with 12 columns (h. 13 m) on its flanks. It was built in the first years of the 3rd century bc with funds donated by Seleukos Nikator (c. 358–281 bc) and is the earliest known ...

Article

Dominic Montserrat

[anc. Egyp. Per-Medjed; Copt. Pemdje; now el-Bahnasa]

Site on the Bahr Yusuf, 50 km north of el-Minya in Egypt. Little is known of the town in the Dynastic period (c. 2925–332 bc), when it was the capital of the 19th Upper Egyptian nome and played an important role in the mythology of Osiris. Its main importance is as a source of Roman-period (30 bcad 395) papyri, which were preserved by the dry climate, encaustic mummy portraits and Early Christian funerary sculpture.

The rubbish heaps of Oxyrhynchus were first excavated by Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt in 1896, and they have since yielded over 10,000 papyri, the largest number from a single site. They provide unique examples of Roman book illustrations, including circus scenes and stories from mythology, as well as more ephemeral works such as preliminary sketches in wash for wall paintings and coloured designs for textiles (all now Oxford, Ashmolean). Papyrus rolls with fine manuscripts of literary texts attest the art of the calligrapher in Roman Egypt; some luxury books found at the site may have been produced in ...

Article

Paestum  

R. A. Tomlinson

[Lat.; Gr. Poseidonia]

Site on the east coast of Italy near the mouth of the River Sele (anc. Silaris), 96 km south of Naples. The Greek colony of Poseidonia was founded by the city of Sybaris on the Gulf of Taranto, probably in the late 7th century bc. It flourished until c. 400 bc, when it was overwhelmed by the indigenous population, the Lucanians. In 273 bc it became the Latin colony of Paestum. Much of the city dates from Roman times, although it clearly follows an underlying Greek scheme. When originally founded it was situated on the coast, but silting created by the River Sele, possibly associated with changes in land levels, caused the coastline to recede, so that it is now in the middle of a plain. It is built on flat ground and has no acropolis. The surviving city walls are nearly 5 km long and were constructed by the Lucanians and the Latin colonists, although they appear to follow the lines of the original Greek fortifications. They have some distinctly Hellenistic characteristics, such as towers decorated with elements of the Greek orders, as at Pompeii. Only part of the trapezoidal area that they enclosed has been excavated, but it is clear that the city had a grid plan of straight streets crossing at right angles, creating long narrow blocks. These were subdivided in the residential area into square or rectangular building plots for houses, and the whole scheme belongs to the period of Latin colonization. The grid system differs from the normal Greek town plan, which created shorter, wider blocks, but it may well have been adapted from the original Greek layout....