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Irene Bald Romano

Image of a divinity that served in antiquity as a focal-point for worship and cult rituals. Most cult statues were housed in temples or shrines, although outdoor worship of images is also attested. Although aniconic worship (i.e. of a non-anthropomorphic symbol of a deity such as a rock or pillar) is known in Near Eastern, Greek and Roman cults, most deities by the late 2nd millennium bc were worshipped in an anthropomorphic form and were, as such, earthly substitutes or humanized manifestations of the presence of a deity.

Anthropomorphic cult statues are well attested in the Ancient Near East, Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt. Near Eastern cuneiform records going back at least to the 2nd millennium bc indicate that Mesopotamian cult images were made of wood and opulently clad in tiaras, robes and jewellery. The garments of the statue were ceremonially changed, and ritual meals were served up to the cult image. Specific attributes and attire aided identity. From ...

Article

Cyprus  

R. S. Merrillees, Nicolas Coldstream, Edgar Peltenburg, Franz Georg Maier, G. R. H. Wright, Demetrios Michaelides, Lucia Vagnetti, Veronica Tatton-Brown, Joan Breton Connelly, Paul Åström, Jean-Claude Poursat, Elizabeth Goring, Louise Schofield, Wiktor A. Daszewski, A. Papageorghiou, Michael D. Willis, Michael Given, Elise Marie Moentmann, Kenneth W. Schaar, Euphrosyne Rizopoulou-Egoumenidou and Helena Wylde Swiny

[Gr. Kypros; Turk. Kibris]

Third largest island in the Mediterranean (9251 sq. km), 70 km south of Turkey and 103 km west of Syria (see fig.). The island’s geographical location and its natural resources of copper and shipbuilding timber have had a considerable impact on the destiny of its inhabitants. Cyprus has throughout its history been vulnerable to the geopolitical ambitions of the powers controlling the neighbouring countries, which have not hesitated to exploit its resources and to use it as a stepping stone or place of retreat. Although it possessed a vigorous and distinctive local culture in Neolithic times (c. 7000–c. 3800 bc), it lacked the population, resources and strength to withstand the external pressures to which it was subjected from the start of the Bronze Age (c. 2300 bc). Since then and over the subsequent millennia Cyprus has been invaded and colonized for varying periods by Achaeans, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Crusaders, Venetians, Turks and the British. While its strategic position has always given it certain commercial and cultural advantages, it has also been the source of most of the island’s troubles since the beginning of recorded history, because too often the interests and concerns of the native inhabitants were subordinated to the ambitions and dictates of the powers around it. Yet, despite the ultimate demise of the native Cypriot style in the Late Bronze Age, the Cypriot craftsman’s ability to adapt and amalgamate the forms, designs and subject-matter of successive incoming groups produced a range of artefacts that ingeniously blended traditional with foreign concepts. While the forms of Cypriot expression after the introduction of outside influences could be mistaken for provincial imitation, the island’s art never lost its essential native characteristics: a strong underlying sense of inventiveness, superstition and wit. This has left a large body of captivating and whimsical material which, in turn, has inspired not only students and collectors of the island’s past art but modern Cypriot craftsmen as well....

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

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 (...

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R. S. Merrillees

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R. S. Merrillees

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A. Papageorghiou

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Michael D. Willis

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Kos  

Christopher Mee and William E. Mierse

Greek island off the south-west coast of Turkey. The island, the second largest in the Dodekanese, is long and narrow (l. 45 km) and very fertile on its northern side. The most important site is Kos town (founded 366 bc) at the island’s north-east end. In the Hellenistic period Kos was famous for its Sanctuary of Asklepios. The Knights Hospitaller ruled the island from 1315 to 1522, but they were driven out by the Turks. After World War I it was under Italian control; it was ceded to Greece in 1947.

Christopher Mee

Only two of the prehistoric sites on Kos have been systematically excavated, both by Luigi Morricone between 1935 and 1946: the settlement on the Serraglio in the town of Kos and the associated cemetery at Eleona and Langada. The earliest, unstratified, pottery from the Serraglio is of Early Bronze iii date (c. 2400–c. 2050...

Article

Lesbos  

Hector Williams

[Gr. Lésvos; now Mitilíni]

Large and mountainous Greek island off the coast of Turkey in the north-east Aegean, south of Lemnos and north of Chios. An important centre in the Early Bronze Age (c. 3600–c. 2000 bc), after c. 1000 bc it became a principal area of Aeolic Greek civilization. Somewhat neglected apart from a systematic German survey in the late 19th century, Lesbos numbers Mytilene (the capital), Methymna, Eressos, Pyrra, Antissa and Arisbe among its cities (see fig.), but only at the first has much work been done.

The only Bronze Age site on the island excavated and published is Thermi, some 10 km north of Mytilene town on the south-east coast. British excavations in 1929–33 under Winifred Lamb uncovered an Early Bronze Age coastal settlement similar to Troy that passed through five stages before its abandonment, resettlement a thousand years later and final destruction by fire c....

Article

Tanagra  

Theodore G. Spyropoulos and Jenny Richardson

Site in Boeotia in central Greece, 25 km east of Thebes and 5 km south of Skimatarion.

The prehistoric settlements of the area have been no more than tested by excavation, especially Late Helladic (lh) or Mycenaean (c. 1600–c. 1050 bc) habitation sites near the two Mycenaean cemeteries that have been uncovered by T. G. Spyropoulos during excavations (1968–85). During the lh period Tanagra became a place of some importance, to judge from the two cemeteries. The first covers a slope at Gephyra, some 500 m south-east of the modern village of Tanagra, and the second was found 1200 m to the east of the same village, just above the plain and the Hellenic Air Force base. A total of 300 chamber tombs have been unearthed, each with a spacious chamber, irregularly cut in the soft rock, and long dromos (entrance passage). Other types of grave have been found in both cemeteries, the so-called fossa graves, and cist and pit graves. The two cemeteries date from the ...

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R. S. Merrillees

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