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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

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....

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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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D. Evely

(b London, Nov 3, 1894; d Borden Wood, W. Sussex, Sept 16, 1963).

English archaeologist and writer. Coming from a landed and educated family, she was taught first at home. Lamb went on to read Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge (1913–17), and served with Naval Intelligence (1917–18), before beginning her career as a Greek and Near Eastern archaeologist. Her first association was with Greece (1920s–30s), where she worked with Alan Wace at Mycenae and with A. M. Woodward at Sparta, assisted in publication and investigated sites on Ithaka and Chios: her contacts with the British School in Athens were never broken. She was Honorary Keeper (Greek and Roman) of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, from 1919 to 1958, but her attentions increasingly turned eastwards. In 1929 she visited Troy, and then conducted a self-financed campaign (1929–33) on the Early Bronze Age site of Thermi on Lesbos. In Anatolia exploration work was made on the Bronze Age site of Kusura. These achievements were recognized by election to the Society of Antiquaries (...

Article

Andrew F. Stewart

Name given to the Macedonian kings of Syria and their territories between 311 and 64 bc, whose empire dominated the Ancient Near East from the end of the 4th century bc until the 2nd. Seleukos I Nikator (reg 305–281 bc), one of Alexander the Great’s generals, founded the empire in Babylon in 311 bc; in 300 bc he moved its capital to Antioch, and by his death he controlled most of the region now occupied by Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey (about two-thirds of Alexander’s conquests). Continuous warfare on all fronts considerably eroded this vast territory during the 3rd century bc. Antiochos III (reg 223–187 bc) succeeded in reversing the situation by the 190s bc and even added Israel to the empire, but his unsuccessful invasion of Greece in 191 bc and subsequent defeat by Pergamon and Rome in 188 bc deprived him of most of Asia Minor and saddled the empire with a huge indemnity. A single Roman envoy prevented the ablest of his successors, the eccentric ...

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R. S. Merrillees

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