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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

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

Kythera  

Nicolas Coldstream and Ioanna Bitha

[Cythera; Kithira; Ven. Cerigo; anc. Porphyrousa]

Greek island, 32×19 km, immediately south of the Peloponnese. It was credited by Herodotus (Histories, I.cv.3) with the oldest cult of Aphrodite, and its more romantic associations are recalled by Antoine Watteau’s Pilgrimage to the Isle of Cythera (Paris, Louvre). The landscape is rocky, with some fertile valleys. One such valley fed the eastern promontory site of Kastri (i), near the modern village of Avlemon, settled by Minoan Cretans from c. 2500 until c. 1425 bc. The historical Greek (c. 480–323 bc) city state of Kythera moved inland to the Palaiokastro hill and became a Spartan dependency, though with brief interludes of Athenian occupation. Kastri was fortified from c. ad 550 until c. 650 as a refuge against Slav and Avar invasions of Greece. After desertion in the 9th and 10th centuries the island’s mid-Byzantine recovery is attested by the building of numerous frescoed churches, continuing after annexation by Venice (...

Article

Naxos  

R. L. N. Barber and Maria Panayotidi

Greek island at the centre of the Aegean Cyclades. It is the largest and most fertile of that island group and has been an important centre since prehistoric times. As well as agricultural wealth, the island also possesses extensive marble deposits and is a rare source of the abrasive mineral emery, which was used for working marble objects.

R. L. N. Barber

By the end of the 20th century the most significant prehistoric finds on Naxos had been from Early (ec) and Late Cycladic (lc) contexts (c. 3500–c. 2000 bc and c. 1600–c. 1050 bc respectively). The earliest excavations, mainly of ec cemetery sites, were conducted by C. Tsountas in the late 19th century, his work being augmented by that of C. Doumas in the 1960s. The most important Bronze Age settlement, Grotta (the northern and north-western coastal area of modern Naxos town), as well as the neighbouring ...