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Article

Amorgos  

R. L. N. Barber

Greek island at the south-east extremity of the Aegean Cyclades. Survey work in the 1980s increased the number of known sites of all periods on the island. Most of the Bronze Age finds date from the Early Cycladic (ec) period (c. 3500/3000–c. 2000 bc) and come from cemeteries, although a settlement at Markiani is being excavated; there is also some Middle Cycladic (mc) and Late Cycladic (lc) pottery from graves at Arkesine, and Mycenaean vases were found at Xilokeratidi. The primary investigations were mainly the work of C. Tsountas, and the more recent of L. Marangou and others, although Dümmler published important material from Amorgos in the 1880s. The small but attractive museum on the island (in Chora) has good prehistoric pottery and (mostly fragmentary) marble objects.

The Dokathismata cemetery on Amorgos has given its name to an important category of Cycladic folded-arm stone ...

Article

R. L. N. Barber

[Andiparos; anc. Oliaros]

Small Greek island just to the south-west of Paros, in the Aegean Cyclades. It is the site of a number of finds from the Greek Bronze Age (c. 3600–c. 1100 bc), many of which come from excavations carried out by Tsountas and Bent in the 19th century (e.g. the cemetery of Krassades, which yielded important objects from the Early Cycladic (ec) i period), and in the 20th century by the Greek Archaeological Service. Items found by Bent, including a rare lead figurine, are in the British Museum, London.

The nearby islet of Saliagos is the site of the earliest excavated settlement in the Cyclades, dating to the Final Neolithic period (c. 4000–c. 3500/3000 bc). Among the finds were marble figurines, reflecting both the previous Neolithic tradition of squatting figures (e.g. the ‘Fat Lady of Saliagos’; Paros, Archaeol. Mus.) and a standard ...

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

Corinth  

Susan Langdon, C. K. Williams II, Charles M. Edwards and Mark Whittow

[Korinth; Korinthos]

Greek city, capital of the nome (department) of Korinthia and seat of a bishopric, near the isthmus between central and southern Greece. It flourished throughout Classical antiquity.

Susan Langdon

Backed by the steep citadel of Acrocorinth, which served as its acropolis, ancient Corinth derived its prosperity from its access to both the Corinthian and Saronic gulfs and hence the Adriatic and Aegean seas. Its twin harbours at Lechaion and Kenchreai, linked by a paved slipway, offered sea merchants a safe alternative to the passage around southern Greece and established Corinth as a transfer point between East and West. Population pressures in the 8th century bc led Corinth to participate in Greek colonizing activities by founding settlements at Syracuse and Kerkyra (Corfu), while in the 7th century bc it became the foremost artistic centre in Greece, promoting the development and spread of Doric architecture and dominating pottery production. Corinthian pottery, with its distinctive animal friezes and exotic vegetation, was ...

Article

Keith Branigan, C. D. Fortenberry, Lyvia Morgan, R. L. N. Barber, Christos G. Doumas, Updated and revised by Dimitris Plantzos, Dimitris Plantzos, P. M. Warren, Reynold Higgins and J. Lesley Fitton

Culture that flourished during the Greek Bronze Age in the Cyclades, a large archipelago in the Aegean Sea between southern Greece and Turkey (see fig.). The islands, whose name derives from kuklos (‘circle’) because they encircled the holy island of Delos, are bounded to the south by the much larger island of Crete. They were both probably first settled in the Early Neolithic period by peoples from western Anatolia (now Turkey), but in the Bronze Age the Cyclades and Crete (see Minoan) developed their own distinctive art and architecture, in each case strongly influenced by the islands’ natural environment.

For the later history of the islands, see Greece, ancient and the modern Hellenic Republic of Greece, Hellenic Democracy of.

J. Bent: The Cyclades (London, 1885)U. Kahrstedt: ‘Zur Kykladenkultur’, ...

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

Dendra  

Robin Hägg

[Dhendrá.]

Site in the north-eastern Peloponnese in southern Greece, on the eastern fringe of the Argive plain 10 km north-north-east of Navplion. To the settlement, which flourished c. 1350–c. 1200 bc, belong a necropolis near the village of Dendra and the acropolis of Midea east-south-east of the village. In Greek legend Midea was the home of Alkmene, the mother of Herakles. The necropolis was excavated by a Swedish expedition in the 1920s and 1930s, and in 1983 a joint Greek-Swedish excavation project was initiated under the direction of Katie Demakopoulou and Paul Åström; excavation was still in progress in 2006.

In the necropolis a Mycenaean tholos tomb was excavated, as were 16 rock-cut chamber tombs, mostly with long dromoi, one (No. 12) with a vertical entrance shaft. The chambers are rectangular, sometimes with side-chambers. Several of the tombs were unusually rich in metal objects (rings, vessels, weapons and armour). The citadel of Midea was inhabited from the Early Helladic period (...

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

Emborio  

Sinclair Hood

[Emporio.]

Modern and perhaps ancient name of a site on the south coast of Chios. It was excavated by the British School at Athens in 1952–5. The first settlement, at the foot of a rocky hill by the harbour, revealed an occupation sequence with ten periods (X–I) from Neolithic (before c. 4000 bc) to Early Bronze Age (Troy I–II; c. 3000–c. 2000 bc); traces of Middle and Late Bronze Age habitation (c. 2000–c. 1050 bc) were noted on the hill above. Settlers using Late Helladic iiic (c. 1180–c. 1050 bc) pottery occupied the site at the end of the Bronze Age (c. 1200 bc): they may have been Abantes from Euboia. In the 8th century bc, Ionian Greeks founded a Sanctuary of Apollo on the edge of the former Mycenaean settlement but built their town on the slopes of Prophitis Elias Hill north of the harbour, below a walled acropolis with a ruler’s house and Sanctuary of Athena. The town was abandoned by the end of the ...

Article

O. T. P. K. Dickinson

Site south-west of Thebes, in central Greece, where Hetty Goldman’s major excavation campaign (1924–7) revealed a long and informative prehistoric sequence, running from the later Neolithic period through almost the entire Bronze Age. Indications of later occupation are present but sparse. Early Helladic (eh; c. 3600/3000–c. 2050 bc) strata make up the bulk of deposit, while Middle Helladic (mh; c. 2050–c. 1600 bc) is poorly represented until near its end. There are important building levels covering the mh to Late Helladic (lh; c. 1600–c. 1050 bc) transition (the abundance of Mainland Polychrome in the third ‘mh’ level demonstrates its equivalence to lh i) and, although few lh buildings were uncovered, a fortification wall, enclosing much unoccupied territory as well as the settlement, was identified, dating to lh iiib (c. 1335–c. 1180 bc). The rather small quantity of ...

Article

Geraki  

G. Dimitrokallis and N. Moutsopoulos

Site of ancient Geronthrai in Laconia, Greece, 40 km south-east of Sparta and occupied by a large modern village. The ancient acropolis is surrounded by Cyclopean walls of the Mycenaean period (c. 1300 bc), well-preserved to the north and east. The medieval castle of Geraki, which was built by Jehan de Nivelet in 1254 on the rocky ridge of Parnon 5 km to the south-east, was the headquarters of one of the original twelve Frankish baronies in the Peloponnese. The village, the castle and the surrounding region contain a number of churches of various periods.

In the village there are two 6th-century basilical churches, only one of which has been excavated, and six later churches. Of the latter, the Evangelistria, St Sozon (built above the unexcavated basilica) and St Athanasius are built in the cross-in-square plan and date from the 12th century, while the two-aisled church of St Nicholas dates from the 13th century. St John Chrysostomos, a single-aisled church, and St Theodore, with its barrel-vaulted nave and pointed transverse barrel vault, were founded ...

Article

Gla  

Site in the east Kopais in central Greece north-north-west of Thebes. A low flat-topped rock near the converging point of the Late Bronze Age drainage dikes, it was first settled in Neolithic times. It was occupied again c. 1300 bc after the construction of the dikes and fortified with a 5.5 m thick serrate Cyclopean wall. This was pierced by four gates (west, north, south-east and south), flanked by thickenings of the wall that project at the South Gate to form bastions. Guardrooms were built inside the gates. Within the enceinte there is a central enclosure, bisected by an east–west cross-wall. The north part contains an L-shaped double residential building consisting of two identical wings divided into apartments connected by corridors and having megaron-like units at both ends. The building had monolithic thresholds and low stone walls with a mud-brick superstructure, covered—as were the floors—with plain or painted lime plaster. Roofs were sloped, covered with terracotta tiles. Similar in construction but simpler (fewer plaster floors, no monolithic thresholds) are two duplicate building complexes along the east and west sides of the south enclosure, both ...

Article

Louise Schofield, C. D. Fortenberry, Stefan Hiller, O. T. P. K. Dickinson, Lyvia Morgan, D. Evely, Reynold Higgins, Margaret A. V. Gill and Susan Sherratt

Culture that flourished during the Greek Bronze Age (c. 3600–c. 1050 bc) in central and southern mainland Greece, excluding most of Thessaly (see fig.); only during the late Middle Helladic and the Late Helladic periods did coastal Thessaly become an integral part of the Helladic world. During the Bronze Age period this region, which had been inhabited probably since the Middle Palaeolithic period, developed styles of art and architecture influenced by those of the Aegean islands of Crete (see Minoan) and the Cyclades (see Cycladic). By the Late Helladic II–III period the mainland Mycenaeans dominated the whole of the Aegean. Throughout the area they created a community of cult, customs, language, art forms and techniques. In the process they assimilated several diverse tribes, races and regional cultures and merged them into a homogeneous civilization. This first Greek culture contained in embryo all the elements on which Hellenic and, later, Western thought were nurtured and grew to maturity....

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Louise Schofield, C. D. Fortenberry, Stefan Hiller, O. T. P. K. Dickinson, Lyvia Morgan, D. Evely, Reynold Higgins, Margaret A. V. Gill and Susan Sherratt

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R. S. Merrillees

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R. S. Merrillees

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Louise Schofield, C. D. Fortenberry, Stefan Hiller, O. T. P. K. Dickinson, Lyvia Morgan, D. Evely, Reynold Higgins, Margaret A. V. Gill and Susan Sherratt

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A. Papageorghiou

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O. T. P. K. Dickinson

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Iolkos  

Susan Langdon

[now Volos]

Site in Thessaly on the north-eastern coast of Greece. Iolkos is located on a mound within the boundaries of modern Volos near Mt Pelion on the Gulf of Volos. Systematic excavations carried out in 1921–2 by A. Arvanitopoulos and in 1956–61 by D. Theochares revealed intriguing archaeological correspondence for Iolkos’ legendary fame as the point of departure for the voyage of the Argonauts. The site comprises an artificial mound evincing continuous occupation from Early Helladic (c. 3600/3000–c. 2050 bc) to Late Helladic (lh, or Mycenaean; c. 1600–c. 1050 bc) and Protogeometric (c. 1000–c. 900 bc) times. Among the abundant pottery remains was a Middle Helladic (c. 2050–c. 1600 bc) Matt-painted sherd decorated with ships that prefigured both the later maritime importance of Iolkos as Thessaly’s best port and the launching of the Argo. The mound also revealed a Mycenaean palatial structure with fine white-stuccoed floors and frescoed walls preserved over 1 m high, recalling the palace of King Pelias, who sent Jason on the quest for the Golden Fleece. The building was constructed in ...