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Article

Gordon Campbell

[Gr.: ‘high stone’]

Ancient Greek statue with a wooden body and the head and limbs made of stone (usually marble, sometimes limestone). This technique seems to have come into use in Greece at the end of the 6th century bc or the beginning of the 5th, and was predominantly, but not exclusively, employed for cult statues. The wooden bodies of acrolithic statues were covered in sheets of precious metal or draped with textiles regularly renewed in cult ceremonies. In ancient Greece the term acrolith (usually agalma akrolithos or xoanon akrolithos) was used relatively rarely, and is first attested in temple inventories of the 2nd century bc; Vitruvius uses it in Latin as a synonym for colossal statues. It was then reintroduced as a technical term by 18th-century antiquarians.

While the wooden bodies of ancient acroliths are not preserved, their stone extremities have occasionally survived and can be identified through specific characteristics of their technical manufacture (acrolithic heads, for example, have flat undersides, whereas heads fashioned for insertion into stone bodies were made with convex tenons). In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the extent of stone elements can increase, so that for example the head and naked parts of the chest are made of one marble segment. The appearance of acroliths could be similar to chryselephantine (gold-ivory) statues, to which they may have offered a more cost-effective alternative, although it seems that other considerations, such as their role within the cult ritual, may have been of greater significance. Examples of surviving stone fragments from acroliths are a colossal head in the Ludovisi collection in Rome and an ...

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Adyton  

[Gr. ‘not to be entered’; Lat. adytum]

Most sacred inner part of a temple, accessible only to the priests (see Greece, ancient, fig. g).

S. K. Thalman: The Adyton in the Greek Temples of South Italy and Sicily (diss., U. California, Berkeley, 1976) M. B. Hollinshead: ‘"Adyton", "Opisthodomos", and the Inner Room of the Greek Temple’, Hesperia: Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 68/2 (April–June 1999), pp. 189–218...

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Anta  

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Lowermost portion of an entablature, principally used in Classical architecture, comprising a horizontal beam that spans the columns or piers in the manner of a lintel (see Greece, ancient, fig.b and Orders, architectural, fig.vi). The term was subsequently applied to the moulding around a door or window.

Article

Thorsten Opper

In 1954 a large number of fragments of ancient plaster casts came to light in the Roman city of Baiae on the gulf of Naples. Of a total of 430 fragments, 293 were in a condition that allowed further analysis. This revealed that they originally belonged to a group of 24–35 full-length statues that formed a representative collection of plaster copies of Greek bronze originals (gods, heroes, mythological figures) mainly of the 5th and 4th centuries bc. Twelve of these statues could be identified through comparison with Roman marble copies (e.g. Tyrant Slayers, Ephesian Amazons, Athena Velletri, Westmacott Ephebe, Hera Borghese, Eirene and Ploutos). For others likely identifications have been suggested, but cannot be proven (e.g. Doryphoros). The Baiae plaster statues were technically highly accomplished (hollow-cast figures with internal armatures, probably the first casts produced from high-quality moulds), and are likely to have been imported, perhaps from a place such as Athens, where at least three of the originals were located....

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Cella  

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Cornice  

Term for any decorative moulded projection used to crown or finish the part to which it is affixed. In Classical architecture it refers to the uppermost part of an entablature, consisting of bed-moulding, Corona and Cyma (see Greece, ancient, §II, 1, (i), (a), and fig.; see also Orders, architectural, fig....

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Dentil  

Term for an ornamental band of small, square, toothlike blocks in the bed-mould of a cornice (see Greece, ancient, §II, 1, (i), (a), and Orders, architectural, fig. xxv; see also Polychromy, colour pl. I, fig.). In ancient Greek architecture the dentils probably represent the ends of wooden joists that originally supported the roof....

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Term applied to a building, usually a temple, with two rows of columns flanking the long walls of the cella externally (see Greece, ancient, fig. f). The term ‘pseudo-dipteral’ is applied to a building that appears to have an arrangement of surrounding columns like a dipteral temple, but with only a single outer row of columns, the inner row being omitted and thus leaving a wide space around the inner cella....

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Distyle  

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Herm  

Statue type consisting of a plain shaft surmounted by a head, shoulder bust or sometimes a head and torso. It originated in ancient Greece and has been used since in a variety of settings, often architectural or open-air. Herms also occur, especially in classicizing contexts, as decorative motifs.

Ancient Greek herms usually featured a head of the god Hermes, from which the type derives its name, and the front of the shaft was carved with male genitals. They are known from surviving examples, the earliest of which date from the Archaic period (c. 600–480 bc; e.g. an ithyphallic herm from Siphnos, c. 520 bc; Athens, N. Archaeol. Mus., 3728; see fig.), as well as inscriptions and other literary sources, and from depictions in vase paintings. There is evidence, even at an early stage, of numerous variations: in addition to Hermes, other gods including Dionysos, Ares, Artemis and Aphrodite were shown, and portrait herms include the statue of ...

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Kouros  

Jeffrey M. Hurwit and Gordon Campbell

Reviser Dimitris Plantzos

[Gr.: ‘youth’; pl. kouroi]

Term applied to one of the principal forms of Archaic Greek (c. 700–c. 500/480 bc) free-standing sculpture: a nude, beardless, often enigmatically smiling male (see Greece, ancient, §IV, 1, (i), (a); and 2(ii)(a) and (b)). Such figures, which may be of bronze or stone, stand upright with one foot (usually the left) advanced, and their weight distributed evenly on both legs, a pose similar to that of their female counterpart, the Kore. Both hands are generally held close to the sides, although in stone kouroi flexed or freer arms are secured to the thighs by means of struts. Usually sculpted in marble, less often in limestone, stone kouroi seem rigidly four-square, reflecting the blocks from which they were originally carved. However, many are actually asymmetrical; their heads, torsos or legs are often turned slightly to one side, and the figures are often set obliquely on their bases, tempering their block-like appearance....

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Area in a theatre between the stage and the audience’s seating area. In the ancient Greek theatre this was a large circular space used by the chorus and dancers in the ancient Roman theatre it was semicircular and reserved as seating for distinguished spectators in the modern theatre it is a narrow space, usually sunken (the ‘pit’), for musicians....

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Pronaos  

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Skene