Above: Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778), engraving of various Roman Ionic capitals compared with Greek examples, from his Della Magnificenza e d'Architettura de'Romani (On the Grandeur and the Architecture of the Romans), 1761 CE. Source/creator: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. License: CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.
Articles from the
Oxford Classical Dictionary
architecture | architects | artisans & craftsmen | architectural orders | building materials | disease | heating | marble | orientation | quarries | sanitation | terracottas | urbanism | water | water supply | agora | baths | bridges | fortifications | gymnasium | houses | libraries | nymphaeum | odeum | palaces | stoa | temenos | temple | theatres
Seeking to expand both the geographical range and the diversity of sites considered in the study of ancient Greek housing, this book takes readers beyond well-established studies of the ideal classical house and now-famous structures of Athens and Olynthos. Bradley A. Ault and Lisa C. Nevett have brought together an international team of scholars who draw upon recent approaches to the study of households developed in the fields of classical archaeology, ancient history, and anthropology. The essays cover a broad range of chronological, geographical, and social contexts and address such topics as the structure and variety of households in ancient Greece, facets of domestic industry, regional diversity in domestic organization, and status distinctions as manifested within households. This work views both Greek houses and the archeological debris found within them as a means of investigating the basic unit of Greek society: the household. Through this approach, the essays successfully point the way toward a real integration between material and textual data, between archeology and history.
This is the first detailed and comprehensive study of the shipshed complexes which housed the great navies of the Greco-Roman world, including Athens and Carthage. These complexes represented some of the largest and most expensive building projects of antiquity, and the volume provides a comprehensive survey of the archaeological and literary evidence. It explains how the buildings were carefully designed to keep warships dry and out of reach of shipworm, whilst enabling them to be launched quickly, easily and safely when required. It also serves as a handbook for archaeologists who may excavate such buildings, which are often difficult to identify and interpret. The analytical chapters are complemented by a full and detailed catalogue of known sheds, with plans for all the major sites specially drawn for easy comparison. The book thus provides an indispensable guide for all those interested in these buildings and in the maritime infrastructure of the ancient world.
This definitive guide to the archaeological remains in the civic and commercial center of ancient Athens is an essential companion to the interested visitor, as well as to students of the topography of the classical city. A large-scale map provides an overview of the site, keyed to descriptions and plans of every monument still visible from the majestic Temple of Hephaistos to the utilitarian Great Drain. The fifth edition retains many of the elements that made the earlier editions so popular, but also takes full account of new discoveries and recent scholarship. It is intended for visitors touring the site, and is arranged topographically, monument by monument. Also included are an overview of the historical development of the site and a history of the excavations.
Taking an unusual approach to his subject, J.J. Coulton examines ancient Greek architecture from the point of view of the practicing architects. He discusses their ideas and technical achievements from the early seventh century B.C. to the first century B.C. Drawing on surviving written evidence from antiquity as well as on the evidence of the buildings themselves, Coulton provides answers to such questions as: What must it have been like to build a Greek temple? Who did the building? What training was required? How did the Greeks begin? What problems did they face? The first chapter considers the relations of architects to patrons and clients and the role of architects in ancient society generally. Subsequent chapters explore a series of architectural problems and their solutions. In his final chapter, Coulton assesses the architects' techniques and their contributions to structural design, evaluating their theoretical knowledge of mechanics and their practical understanding of structural concepts. Generously illustrated and lucidly written, this volume will appeal to all who are interested in architecture, architectural history, and archaeology.
Assuming no prior knowledge, this book introduces the reader to a selection of sites and temples, exploring them in detail and explaining all technical terms along the way. Intended for college-level students and the interested general reader, this book aims to equip the student of Greek architecture for further study, and can also serve as a handbook for visitors to the sanctuaries. The book covers many of the most popular sites, including Delphi, Olympia and the Athenian Acropolis. In this second edition there are new chapters on Western Greece, covering the site of Paestum in Magna Graecia (South Italy), and the unique temple of Olympian Zeus in Acragas, Sicily. The book also offers a concise account of the evolution of Greek architecture, explores aesthetic ideas underlying Greek architectural design, and gives consideration to specific buildings in their social and religious context. This second edition has expanded the discussion of the most important temples and lays emphasis on architectural sculpture as part of the meaning of the whole building.
“A lively popular history of an oft-overlooked element in the development of human society” (Library Journal)—walls—and a haunting and eye-opening saga that reveals a startling link between what we build and how we live. With esteemed historian David Frye as our raconteur-guide in Walls, which Publishers Weekly praises as “informative, relevant, and thought-provoking,” we journey back to a time before barriers of brick and stone even existed—to an era in which nomadic tribes vied for scarce resources, and each man was bred to a life of struggle. Ultimately, those same men would create edifices of mud, brick, and stone, and with them effectively divide humanity: on one side were those the walls protected; on the other, those the walls kept out. The stars of this narrative are the walls themselves—rising up in places as ancient and exotic as Mesopotamia, Babylon, Greece, China, Rome, Mongolia, Afghanistan, the lower Mississippi, and even Central America. As we journey across time and place, we discover a hidden, thousand-mile-long wall in Asia's steppes; learn of bizarre Spartan rituals; watch Mongol chieftains lead their miles-long hordes; witness the epic siege of Constantinople; chill at the fate of French explorers; marvel at the folly of the Maginot Line; tense at the gathering crisis in Cold War Berlin; gape at Hollywood’s gated royalty; and contemplate the wall mania of our own era. This book gradually reveals the startling ways that barriers have affected our psyches. The questions this book summons are both intriguing and profound: Did walls make civilization possible? And can we live without them? Find out in this masterpiece of historical recovery and preeminent storytelling.
This book opens a previously unexplored avenue into Presocratic philosophy--the technology of monumental architecture. The evidence, coming directly from sixth century b.c.e. building sites and bypassing Aristotle, shows how the architects and their projects supplied their Ionian communities with a sprouting vision of natural order governed by structural laws. Their technological innovations and design techniques formed the core of an experimental science and promoted a rational, not mythopoetical, discourse central to our understanding of the context in which early Greek philosophy emerged. Anaximander's prose book and his rationalizing mentality are illuminated in surprising ways by appeal to the ongoing, extraordinary projects of the archaic architects and their practical techniques.
Why do architects still use the classical orders? Why use forms derived from ancient Greek temples when ancient Greek religion has been dead for centuries and when the way of life they expressed is extinct? And why decorate a contemporary courthouse with the bones, eggs, darts, claws, and garlands that an ancient Greek would recognize as the trappings of animal sacrifice? With these provocative questions George Hersey begins his recovery of the meaning of classical architecture. For the last four centuries, he shows, philology and formalism have drained architecture of its poetry. By analyzing this poetry―the tropes founded on the Greek terms for ornamental detail―he reconstructs a classical theory about the origin and meaning of the orders, one that links them to ancient sacrificial ritual and myth. In doing so, Hersey reinterprets key tales and taboos that were part of the cultural memory of the ancient Greeks. His touchstone is Vitruvius, author of the only surviving classical treatise on architecture, whose stories about Dorus, Ion, and the Corinthian maiden, and about the Caryaean women and Persian soldiers, describe the orders as records or remembrances of sacrifice. Hersey finds revivals of this consciousness in the Italian Renaissance and throws new light on the works of the architectural theorists Francesco di Giorgio and Ceasare Cesariano, and also on Raphael's Disputá, Michelangelo's tomb of Julius 11 and Medici Chapel, and Hugues Sambin's handbook on termini.
This is a comprehensive study of the art, archaeology, myths, cults, and function of one of the most illustrious sites in the West. Providing an extensive treatment of the significance of the site during the 'Golden Age' of classical Greece, Jeffrey Hurwit discusses the development of the Acropolis throughout its long history, up to and including the recent discoveries of the Acropolis restoration project, which have prompted important re-evaluations of the site and its major buildings. Throughout, the author describes the role of the Acropolis in everyday life, always placing it within the context of Athenian cultural and intellectual history. Accompanied by 10 color plates, 172 halftones, and 70 line drawings, this is the most thorough book on the Acropolis to be published in English in nearly a century.
Ancient graffiti - hundreds of thousands of informal, ephemeral texts spanning millennia - offer a patchwork of fragmentary conversations in a variety of languages spread across the Mediterranean world. Cut, painted, inked or traced in charcoal, the surviving graffiti present a layer of lived experience in the ancient world unavailable from other sources. Graffiti in Antiquity reveals how and why the inhabitants of Greece and Rome - men and women and free and enslaved - formulated written and visual messages about themselves and the world around them as graffiti. The sources - drawn from 800 BCE to 600 CE - are examined both within their individual historical, cultural and archaeological contexts and thematically, allowing for an exploration of social identity in the urban society of the ancient world. An analysis of one of the most lively and engaged forms of personal communication and protest, Graffiti in Antiquity introduces a new way of reading sociocultural relationships among ordinary people living in the ancient world.
Most visitors to the Acropolis in Athens pause to wonder how the large marble pieces were hauled up the sacred mount. In fact, even with today's far more advanced construction equipment, it would be impossible to match the precision with which the ancient builders built the imposing structures of the Parthenon in just eight years. This book is a riveting investigation of the technological achievements of the ancient Greeks. This highly readable account explains how an 11-ton Doric column capital was quarried and transported to Athens. The author's intricate line drawings clearly illustrate the methods and tools employed in the accomplishment of this feat of ancient craftsmanship.
Julien-David Le Roy's Les ruines des plus beaux monuments de la Grece, initially issued in 1758, first revealed to European eyes the wonders of Greek classical architecture. Overnight, Greece became the rage, much to the chagrin of Giovanni Battista Piranesi and other defenders of the genius of Rome. The impact of the volume's splendid engravings of Athens's ancient ruins on contemporary aesthetics was heightened, particularly in the much-expanded edition of 1770, by its two highly provocative theoretical essays. In one, Le Roy set forth a compelling linear history of the conceptual forms of architecture that began in Egypt, moved to Greece, then Rome, and finally modern Europe. In the other, seeking to express the experience of architectural form and its effects, Le Roy gave new voice to feeling. Here the second edition of Les ruines is published in English for the first time, framed by Robin Middleton's sweeping exposition of both the intellectual milieu out of which Le Roy's work emerged and the controversies it generated.
In this book, Clemente Marconi provides a new interpretation for the use of figural decoration in Greek temples of the Archaic period, through a study of the Archaic metopes of Selinus. The study of figural decoration on Greek temples has traditionally been identified with the broader study of architectural sculpture. At the same time, the original, articulated appearance of Archaic temples has been fragmented into a discussion of individual types. Marconi argues against both the typological approach and the tendency to investigate style and iconography as two aspects unrelated to the cultural and social background within which temple decoration operated. He explores the relation between style and function and examines the function of figures on temples within the cultural and social context of the communities for which these images were created. Critical to this exploration are the reintegration of the figures into the fabric of buildings, the space of Archaic sanctuaries and cities, and the ritual dimension that represented the context for the reception of the figural decoration of Greek temples. Marconi argues for a closer interaction between art history and disciplines such as semiotics, anthropology, and hermeneutics.
Sanctuaries were at the heart of Greek religious, social, political, and cultural life; however, we have a limited understanding of how sanctuary spaces, politics, and rituals intersected in the Greek cities of the Hellenistic and Republican periods. This edited collection focuses on the archaeological material of this era and how it can elucidate the complex relationship between the various forces operating on, and changing the physical space of, sanctuaries. Material such as archaeological remains, sculptures, and inscriptions provides us with concrete evidence of how sanctuaries functioned as locations of memory in a social environment dominated by the written word, and gives us insight into political choices and decisions. It also reveals changes unrecorded in surviving local or political histories. Each case study explored by this volume's contributors employs archaeology as the primary means of investigation: from art-historical approaches, to surveys and fieldwork, to re-evaluation of archival material. This work represents a significant contribution to the study of ancient Greek religion, history, and archaeology, and provides new ways of thinking about politics, rituals, and sanctuary spaces.
Housing is shaped by culturally-specific expectations about the kinds of architecture and furnishings that are appropriate; about how and where different activities should be carried out; and by and with whom. It is those expectations, and the wider social and cultural systems of which they are a part, that are explored in this volume. At the same time, the book as a whole argues two larger points: first, that while houses, households and families have in recent years become increasingly important as objects of inquiry in Greek and Roman contexts, their potential as sources of information about broader social-historical issues has yet to be fully realised; and second, that greater weight and independence should be given to material culture as a source for studying ancient history. The book will be invaluable for upper-level undergraduates, graduate students and scholars.
In 508/7 B.C.E., after years of chaos and uncertainty, the city of Athens was rocked by a momentous occurrence: the passage of a series of reforms that resulted in what has come to be known as the world's first democracy. Exactly how the Athenians did this is still a fundamental question 2,500 years later. The results of the reforms transformed the very nature of what it meant to be Athenian and their far-reaching effects would come to leave their mark on nearly every aspect of society, including the structures at which they prayed and in which they debated legislation. By attending to the built environment broadly, and monumental architecture specifically, this book investigates the built environment of ancient Athens precisely during this time, the late Archaic period (ca. 514/13 - 480/79 B.C.E.). It was these decades, filled with transition and disorder, when the Athenians transformed their political system from a tyranny to a democracy. Concurrent with the socio-political changes, they altered the physical landscape and undertook the monumental articulation of the city and countryside. Interpreting the nature of the fledgling democracy from a material standpoint, this book approaches the questions and problems of the early political system through the lens of buildings. The focus on monumental structures erected during this particular time period demonstrates how the built environment worked to facilitate the functioning of the nascent political regime. While Athenian democracy--its institutions, ideology, and capabilities--has been intensively studied, little attention has been paid to the intersection between built structures and the political system during its earliest phases. This book draws attention to a pivotal period of Athenian political history through the built environment, thereby exposing the richness of the material record and illustrating how it participated in the creation of a new democratic Athenian identity.
This book explores the variety of ancient Greek sanctuaries--their settings, spaces, shapes, and structures--and the rituals associated with them, such as festivals and processions, sacrifice and libation, dining and drinking, prayer and offering, dance, initiation, consultation, and purification. Subsequent chapters trace the consequences of the Roman conquest, the triumph of Christianity, as well as the impact of Turks, travelers, archaeologists, and tourists on these sites. Featuring an exhaustive glossary and bibliography, the volume provides an accessible, authoritative introduction to ancient Greek sanctuaries and their ritual activities.
The meaning of architectural sculpture is essential to our understanding of ancient Greek culture. The embellishment of buildings was common for the ancient Greeks, and often provocative. Some ornamental sculpture was placed where, when the building was finished, no mortal eye could view it. And unlike much architectural ornamentation of other cultures, Greek sculpture was often integral to the building, not just as decoration, and could not be removed without affecting the integrity of the building structure. This book is the first comprehensive treatment of the significance of Greek architectural sculpture. Brunilde Sismondo Ridgway, a world-class authority on ancient Greek sculpture, provides a highly informative tour of many dimensions of Greek public buildings―especially temples, tombs, and treasuries―in a text that is at once lucid, accessible, and authoritative. Ridgway's pragmatism and common sense steer us tactfully and clearly through thickets of uncertainty and scholarly disagreement. She refers to a huge number of monuments, and documents her discussions with copious and up-to-date bibliographies. This book is sure to be acknowledged at once as the standard treatment of its important topic.
When this book first appeared in 1962, it was hailed by the critics for it erudition, historical imagination and boldness. Subsequently, this comprehensive study of Greek temples and site-planning has been widely accepted as a landmark of architectural history, for it offers an inspired and arresting insight into nature and function of Greek sacred architecture. Vincent Scully, one of America's most brilliant and articulate scholars, understands the temples as physical embodiment of the gods in landscapes that had for the Greeks divine attributes and sacred connotations. He explores the meanings inherent in the calculated interaction between man-made sculptural forces and the natural landscape, and he relates this interaction to our understanding of Greek culture from the pre-Greek Aegean to the Hellenistic period. Years of research and travel went into the preparation of this work; scores of sites were restudied on the spot, including many lesser-known sanctuaries throughout the Hellenic world. The study includes reconstruction drawings, plans, and maps along with its richly illustrated, detailed discussions of major sites.
This book examines the application of drawing in the design process of classical architecture, exploring how the tools and techniques of drawing developed for architecture subsequently shaped theories of vision and representations of the universe in science and philosophy. Building on recent scholarship that examines and reconstructs the design process of classical architecture, John R. Senseney focuses on technical drawing in the building trade as a model for the expression of visual order, showing that the techniques of ancient Greek drawing actively determined concepts about the world. He argues that the uniquely Greek innovations of graphic construction determined principles that shaped the massing, special qualities and refinements of buildings and the manner in which order itself was envisioned.
The Greek architectural orders―Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian―lie at the heart of the classical traditions of building, and yet satisfying accounts for their origins have proved elusive. In contrast with conventional theories that would see the orders originating over the course of a long evolution, this book stresses the suddenness of the phenomenon and its dependence on historical context, human agency, and artistic inspiration. Casting new light on a subject that has preoccupied architects since the Renaissance, Mark Wilson Jones shows how construction, influence, appearance, and meaning found expression in complex and multifaceted designs. New emphasis is placed on the relationship between the orders and the temples of worship that they were created to adorn. Temples were exquisitely made offerings to the divinity, and they also contained valuable offerings. In revealing affinities between certain offerings and the orders, the author explains how these gave architectural expression to sensibilities of intense social and religious significance.
Studies in Hellenistic Architecture is a detailed analysis of the development of the major building-types of the Hellenistic age – the mid-fourth century B.C. to the time of the Roman conquest of the Eastern Mediterranean. In this meticulous work, Frederick E. Winter reveals how the architects of the period went beyond anything achieved by their Classical Greek predecessors, and how these impressive skills prepared the way for many of Rome's later architectural achievements. Geographically, the monuments included in this volume extend from Spain to Afghanistan and from Provence to North Africa. Winter discusses the architectural achievements of the various regional styles of the Eastern Mediterranean, and takes a detailed look at Hellenistic developments west of the Adriatic. While the interrelationship of these regional developments is often unclear, especially in cases where there are no explicit criteria for dating, Winter makes excellent use of the advance in scholarship over the past fifty to sixty years, offering the first real attempt at a synthesis of this vast subject. Studies in Hellenistic Architecture is an invaluable resource, containing a wealth of illustrations of the various types of Hellenistic building and the most comprehensive scholarship to date on the topic.