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Margaret Cool Root

Name given to a people of Persian origin, who founded an empire that flourished c. 550–331 bc.

The Achaemenid Persian empire was founded c. 550 bc by Cyrus the Great. At its greatest extent under Darius the Great (reg 522–486 bc), it stretched from the Indus into northern Greece and across Egypt. The Macedonian Alexander the Great (reg 336–323 bc) was able to defeat the Achaemenids in 331 bc only after prolonged military campaigns.

This vast Persian hegemony was rich in legacies of administrative expertise and cultural heritage. Its dynastic name was derived from an 8th-century bc ancestor who ruled as a Persian vassal of the Iranian kingdom of the Medes, who were to inherit great power by conquering the Assyrians in the late 7th century bc. Both the Median overlords and Persian vassals enjoyed access to the Mesopotamian/Iranian artistic heritage. Annals of the Assyrian kings describe the Medes and the Persians living in fortified cities as early as the ...

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Marco Rendeli

[It.: ‘red water’]

Modern name of an Etruscan settlement near Viterbo, Italy. It is situated on a small tufa plateau bounded on three sides by streams, one of which runs red. Excavations conducted by the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies during the 1960s and 1970s uncovered the tufa foundations of buildings that comprised various sectors of an ancient town. These provide some of the most extensive archaeological evidence relating to Etruscan domestic architecture and urban organization. The site was already inhabited in the 8th century bc and grew considerably during the following two centuries. Its main economic activity was apparently agriculture. Throughout its history the settlement had close links both with the coastal Etruscan cities and with those inland, in particular Tarquinia and Volsinii Veteres (Orvieto). It was permanently abandoned at the beginning of the 5th century bc, and the absence of any overlay of Roman or later material contributes to its archaeological importance....

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David S. Brose

Prehistoric site in North America. It is the largest of several mounds along the Scioto River north of Chillicothe, OH. Although it is the eponym of the Early Woodland-period Adena culture of the Upper Ohio River Valley (c. 1000–c. 100 bc), the date of the mound itself is unknown. No stylized engraved palettes, characteristic of Adena culture, were found. The mound comprises a penannular earthwork built in several stages to a height of 8 m. A circular structure with sloping sides and double-set wooden post walls was constructed on a floor from which numerous fires had been cleared. Next, burials were placed centrally in rectangular tombs dug into the floor of the structure, a low mound was heaped over them and the funerary structure was burned. The entire area was then covered by layers of black sand incorporating several new cremations and burials outside the central tombs. For some considerable time after this, additional cremated human remains and extended burials were placed in further layers of sand and gravel. The cremation and inhumation burials, and occasionally clay-covered bundles of bones, were accompanied by annular and penannular copper bracelets and rings; cut river mussel shell animal effigies; cut mica headbands; expanded centre gorgets, ground, polished and drilled, of schist and chlorite; and a human effigy carved in the round on an Ohio pipestone tube....

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Aetion  

C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl late 4th century bc).

Greek painter. Pliny (Natural History, XXXV.78) placed Aetion in the 107th Olympiad (352–349 bc) and (XXXV.50) included him in a list of painters who used a palette restricted to four colours: white, yellow, red and black. Cicero (Brutus xviii.70), however, listed him among those painters who used a wider palette. It is likely that the four-colour palette was a restriction adopted occasionally by many artists who, in other works, used more than four colours. None of Aetion’s work survives, but Pliny ascribed to him pictures of Dionysos, Tragedy and Comedy, Semiramis Rising from Slavery to Royal Power and an Old Woman Carrying Lamps and Attending a Bride, whose modesty was apparent. His most famous painting depicted the Wedding of Alexander the Great and Roxane, and it was perhaps painted to celebrate it (327 bc). It was described by Lucian of Samosata (Aetion iv–vi), who saw it in Italy. Lucian added that when the painting was shown at Olympia, Proxenides, one of the chief judges of the games, was so impressed by it that he gave his daughter to Aetion in marriage. Alexander the Great stood best man. The painting included erotes playing with Alexander’s armour, a motif repeated in several Roman wall paintings with reference to Mars and Hercules. Another Aetion, also assigned to the 107th Olympiad, appears in a list of bronze sculptors drawn up by Pliny (XXXIV.50); this is probably an interpolation from XXXV.78....

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C. Hobey-Hamsher

(fl late 5th century bc).

Greek painter. He was the son of Eudemos and came originally from Samos, but worked in Athens; none of his work survives. He was said to be self-taught. Vitruvius (On Architecture VII.praef.11) claimed that Agatharchos was the first artist to paint a stage set on wooden panels. This was for a tragedy by Aeschylus (525/4–456 bc), although it may have been a revival presented later in the 5th century bc. Vitruvius added that he wrote a commentary discussing the theoretical basis of his painted scenery and that the philosophers Demokritos (late 5th century bc) and Anaxagoras (c. 500–428 bc) followed him in exploring theories of perspective. It is unlikely that Agatharchos organized his compositions around a single vanishing point. More probably, individual objects and buildings or groups of buildings were depicted receding towards separate vanishing points. If Agatharchos’ experiments in perspective were confined to stage scenery, they would have been limited to architectural backgrounds, before which the actor moved. Aristotle (...

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Charles M. Edwards

[Hageladas]

(fl c. 520–c. 450 bc).

Greek sculptor. Said to be the teacher of Polykleitos, Myron and Pheidias, he was a bronze sculptor from Argos, active in the Late Archaic and Early Classical periods. His early works were statues at Olympia for victors of 520 bc, 516 bc and 507 bc. His monument at Delphi depicting captive Massapian women and horses may belong to the second quarter of the 5th century bc. The Zeus Ithomatas for the Messenians at Naupaktos was probably made in the 450s bc. A problem is posed by the date of his Herakles Alexikakos in Athens, said to be a dedication after the plague in the 420s bc. That has led to speculation on the existence of a second Ageladas. The dates of his Zeus Pais and Youthful Herakles at Aigion are unknown. The statues for the Messenians and at Aigion seem to have been under life-size since they were easily transportable. A sense of their appearance is given by coins that show statues with stances like that of the ...

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Timothy Taylor

Iron Age burial mound in Dobrogea, Romania. It is important for a collection of figurally decorated, partly gilded silver objects that accompanied a Getic chieftain in death. The Getae had affinities to both Thracians and Scythians (see Thracian and Dacian art and Scythian and Sarmatian art). Imported Greek Red-figure pottery dates the burial to c. 350 bc, but the precious metalwork shows traces of wear and repair and was probably manufactured in the early 4th century bc.

The body armour recovered includes two sheet-silver greaves with knees in the form of human faces. Although their design is clearly adopted from Greek models with Medusa-head knees, the treatment is distinctively Thracian; one of the faces is covered with bands of gilding, probably representing the tattoos that both Thracians and Scythians are known to have had. One greave depicts a mounted huntsman holding aloft his bow and a seated huntsman drinking from a horn, with a hawk perched on his wrist, a motif clearly derived from representations of Zeus on Greek coinage. Hunting scenes also adorn the neck and cheek guards of an elaborate partly gilded silver helmet—one of only five known—which is remarkable for the dramatic representation of a pair of eyes, bordered by feathers, directly above the eyes of the wearer (...

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A. Delivorrias

(b Paros, fl c. 450–c. 420 bc).

Greek sculptor. He was a prominent member of the group of artists led by Pheidias that executed the Periclean building programme on the Athenian Acropolis. Ancient literary sources provide little information on his career, and even this takes the form of later anecdotes, such as the story of his rivalry with Alkamenes in a competition to produce a statue of Aphrodite (Pliny: Natural History, XXXVI.iv.17), or has been distorted by the legends surrounding Pheidias, to whom two of his works were wrongly attributed: his statue of the Enthroned Mother of the Gods in the metroon in the Athenian Agora (Pausanias: Guide to Greece, I.iii.5) and his cult statue of Nemesis (c. 420 bc; Pausanias: I.xxxiii.3) for the temple at Rhamnous. The Nemesis was allegedly carved out of a colossal block of Parian marble brought to Marathon in 490 bc by the Persians, who intended to use it for a trophy after defeating the Athenians (Pausanias: I.xxxiii.2). Agorakritos was also credited with bronze statues of ...

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Colin McEwan

[anc. Salangome]

Pre-Columbian site in Manabí Province, Ecuador, 8 km inland in the Buenavista River Valley. It was a principal town, controlled by a lord, of the powerful indigenous polity of Salangome, recorded in 1528 by the navigator of the Spanish explorer and conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Human occupation at Agua Blanca spanned at least 5000 years and included components of all the principal ceramic-using cultures identified along Ecuador’s coasts. The ceramic sequence began with Valdivia wares in the early 3rd millennium bc, and continued uninterrupted during the Manteño culture (c. ad 800–c. 1500) encountered by the Europeans in the 16th century.

The visible archaeological remains at Agua Blanca are of Manteño date. They comprise the wall foundations of several hundred domestic structures, storehouses, temples, and other public buildings, which together make the site the largest and best-preserved of all surviving Manteño towns. The orientations of some buildings were clearly governed by astronomical considerations. The long axis of the principal temple, for example, is directed towards the point of sunrise on the December solstice, and this alignment determined the east–west axis of many buildings at the site. A secondary or derived axis, at right angles to the first, determined the layout of other structures. In still other areas, buildings were arranged radially around a central mound, a practice resembling the principles of spatial organization expressed in the earlier dated ...

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Gregory L. Possehl

[Ahicchatra; Adhicchatrā]

Fortified site in Bareilly District, Uttar Pradesh, India. It flourished from c. 500 bc to ad 1100, and it was identified by Alexander Cunningham as the capital of North Panchala, an early kingdom mentioned in the Mahābhārata epic of the 1st millennium bc. The fortifications of the site measure 5.6 km in circuit, and the mounds within stand 23 m above the surrounding plain. Early visitors such as the 7th-century Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang noted a number of Buddhist stupas; although these can no longer be located, Cunningham’s excavations of 1862–5 produced a reliquary casket at one stupa site. Some years later A. Führer undertook the excavation of a temple without much result. However, the principal excavation of Ahichchhatra was carried out between 1940 and 1944 by the Archaeological Survey of India under the direction of Rao Bahadur K. N. Dikshit, assisted by Amalananda Ghosh. This yielded evidence of nine successive periods of occupation in the western sector of the city dating from ...

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Aigina  

Margaret Lyttleton, Stefan Hiller, R. A. Tomlinson, Reinhard Stupperich and Melita Emmanuel

[Aegina]

Greek island in the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea, mid-way between Athens to the north and Argos to the west. It is almost triangular, occupying c. 85 sq. km. The interior is mountainous, rising to a peak of 531 m, and the soil is largely infertile. Aigina is conspicuously visible from the Athenian port of Peiraeus, although Pericles’ description of it as ‘the eyesore of the Peiraeus’ (Plutarch: Pericles, viii) stemmed from political rivalry rather than its actual appearance. The main modern settlement (Aegina) is in the north-west of the island, occupying part of the site of the ancient town of Aigina, which it has entirely obliterated, apart from the remains of some tombs. Outside the town there are two important sanctuaries, that of Zeus and that of Aphaia, a local goddess. The city-state of Aigina was important in the 7th and 6th centuries bc, when it took part in many Greek trading ventures and developed the largest navy in Greece. Aigina was for a long time a rival of Athens and was finally defeated in a naval battle in ...

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J. D. Hawkins

[Ayin-Dara]

Site on the west bank of the River Afrin in Syria, about 5 km south of the town Afrin. Attention was drawn to the ancient site by surface finds of sculpture, and a large Neo-Hittite temple of the early 10th century bc was located below five levels of later occupation. Excavations here by the Syrian General Directorate of Antiquities in 1956, 1962 and 1964 have been reported, but more recent work has not been published. Finds are in situ or in the National Museum in Aleppo.

Parts of the north-west and south-west sides, with a fragment of a south-east façade, have been excavated and published. The remains suggest a structure of regular rectangular plan measuring in total not less than 38×32 m. An exterior terrace wall seems originally to have been faced with continuous slabs of fine black basalt on a dressed plinth; some of these were found in situ...

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V. Ya. Petrukhin

Pieces of jewellery dating to the 6th–4th centuries bc from a ruined burial site, discovered in 1908, at Sadzeguri, a ravine on the River Ksani in eastern Georgia. It includes numerous gold items: huge neck pendants, bracelets, necklaces, signet-rings, belts, earrings; silver and bronze vessels; and gold, silver and bronze items from horses’ harnesses. In its manufacture, its forging, chasing and filigree, and its ornament (e.g. rosettes and palmettes), the jewellery displays a combination of local, Ionic and Achaemenid traditions. Of particular note are the filigree or chased gold pendants in the form of teams of horses and the gold rosettes on which stamp decoration is soldered....

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Akhmim  

Janice W. Yellin

[anc. Egyp. Khent-Min; Gr. Chemmis; Lat. Panopolis]

Site of the capital of the 9th Upper Egyptian nome, 200 km north of Luxor, which flourished from Early Dynastic times to the Roman period (c. 2925 bcad 395). Apart from a few excavations during the 20th century, the ruins of the town, as well as temples and extensive cemeteries, have never been completely surveyed or excavated.

Only one of the temples—a rock-cut chapel with relief decoration, dedicated to Min, the principal local god—has survived even partially intact. It was built by a local priest of Min during the reign of the 18th Dynasty king Ay (reg c. 1323–c. 1319 bc) and restored by another priest of Min during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphos (reg 285–246 bc). Within the main city there were two large temples with pylons (ceremonial gateways), one in the north-west area built by Tuthmosis III (reg...

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Akragas  

Erik Østby

[Lat. Agrigentum; now Agrigento]

Greek colony on the southern coast of Sicily. Believed to have been founded c. 580 bc from Gela, a city further down the coast, it flourished as an independent state until 406 bc, when it was sacked by the Carthaginians. It maintained some degree of independence until the Roman conquest of Sicily in 210 bc. The extensive town, lying some 2 km from the sea, was enclosed by walls following natural precipices and includes a steep acropolis now occupied by the modern settlement. Only a small part of the residential area has been excavated, dating to the Hellenistic and Roman periods; it was organized in regular, rectangular blocks after the Hippodamian system (see Hippodamos).

An early column capital, probably made immediately after the foundation of Akragas, is the only remaining example of Doric architecture from the site before c. 500 bc. Small temple buildings without columns were constructed in several locations later occupied by monumental temples. A cluster of such buildings of different shapes, some of them probably unroofed, occupied a sanctuary to the fertility gods in the south-west corner of the town, with round and rectangular monumental altars. Near the east gate, on the edge of the acropolis, a small fountain sanctuary with sacred caves precedes and is associated with a large Temple of Demeter (...

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(b Pella, Macedonia, 356 bc; reg 336–323 bc; d Babylon, June 10, 323 bc).

Macedonian monarch and patron. Having inherited the kingdom from his assassinated father, Philip of Macedon (reg 359–336 bc), he invaded Asia in 334 bc and twice defeated the Persians. After invading Egypt, he founded Alexandria in 331 bc and was hailed by the oracle of Amun at Siwah as ‘Son of Zeus’. He then moved into Persia, crushed the main Persian army at Gaugamela, occupied Persepolis, Susa and Pasargadae and declared himself Great King. Advancing via Afghanistan into India, he founded en route several other Alexandrias. However, after his defeat of the Indian king Porus in 326 bc, his army mutinied, compelling his return to Babylon. Increasingly alcoholic and devastated by the death of his lover Hephaistion but still planning further conquests, he died of a fever in 323 bc. Alexander’s patronage of major artists and his conquest of the Near East were major catalysts for change in Greek art, so that within a generation of his death the parochial artistic styles of the Classical city states had given way to the cosmopolitan art of the Hellenistic world....