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June 27    Scripture

Images & Art: Greece
Photos Design and Art

1 Bible History Online "Images From The Past" Coins, statues, busts, places, Reliefs and more
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ACROPOLIS Athens Second half 5th century B.C. The Acropolis means the highest city. Originally it was a fortress, a place of protection. During a peaceful period in the second half of the fifth century B.C., under the leadership of Pericles and the artistic supervision of Phidias,the Athenians built their sanctuary to Athena on the old acropolis site, high up on an isolated mountain cliff. In luminous Pentelic marble silhouetted against the sky, they created in a brief thirty-year period perhaps the greatest architectural achievement in the world.
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ALEXANDER SARCOPHAGUS From the necropolis at Sidion After 330 B.C. Archaeological Museum Istanbul Notice the classical Greek ornamentation surrounding this battle scene from the life of Alexander. The bright painted colors have faded.
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ANTEFIX, with some original paint Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. Acropolis Museum, Athens Antefixes are placed along the bottom edges of the roof. This example retains some of its original paint. Color was an important decorative element on the Parthenon and on Greek buildings in general. All the ornamentation, except the nude figures, was heavily painted.
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APPROACH TO THE ACROPOLIS Athens The Acropolis is approached from the west. High on the man-made bastion at the right sits the delicate Ionic temple of Athena Nike. The center columns are surviving elements of the Propylaea
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ATHENA TYING HER SANDAL Balustrade relief Temple of Athena Nike c. 410-407 B.C. Acropolis Museum, Athens This beautiful relief figure of Athena is from the balustrade surrounding three sides of the temple.
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ATHENIAN TREASURY ON THE SACRED WAY Sanctuary of Apollo Delphi c. 500-485 B.C. The sacred way leads up to the temple past statues of dedication and treasuries built by many city-states. Originally there were twenty-three treasuries. They housed the gifts donated in honor of Apollo. The Athenian treasury was re-erected in 1906.
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CARVED BASE From the theatre of Dionysus, Athens c. After 150 B.C. A round base carved with a satyr's mask and garlands.
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CARVED WOODEN TABLE Found at Luxor 2nd or 3rd century B.C. Musees Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels A Hellenistic three-legged table, one of the four pieces of Greek furniture to survive. It has carved antelope legs, ending with the heads of swans as they come out of acanthus leaves.
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CELLA Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. In spite of the heavy damage to the cella wall, it is still possible to imagine what the original marble looked like, with the carefully cut and polished blocks. The entire temple was polished to catch the light. Notice the large lintel block over the doorway. The statue of Athena stood on the platform on the bottom right.
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CELLA, From the east Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. The inner room of the temple is called the cella. It housed the great statue of Athena which was lit by the sun rising in the east. Behind the sanctuary wall was a much smaller room used as a treasury. Only the western portion of the cella wall has survived with two small segments of the north and south walls. The great west doorway is in the center.
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CHAIR AND SMALL TABLE Vase painting 475-450 B.C. Torno Collection, Milan In the klismos, the classic chair, the legs swing outward and the back swings upward in a continuous line. Early in the fifth century the leg has no foot. A broad horizontal slat is added to the top of the back which encircles the shoulders. The three legs of the small table curve in the same line as the chair.
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CHORAGIC MONUMENT Athens 334 B.C. The earliest surviving Greek building with Corinthian columns on the exterior, the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates was built in 334 B.C. Lysicrates, a choragus at the theatre, was someone who was chosen to have the honor of paying for a chorus. The building commemorated the winning of the prize for the best play.
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CORINTHIAN COLUMN: Tholos, Epidaurus 360 B.C. Museum, Epidaurus. A beautifully carved Corinthian column from the inner colonnade of the tholos. A portion of the entablature rests on the column.
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CORINTHIAN COLUMNS: Temple of Olympian Zeus Athens 170 B.C. The Corinthian column is similar to the Ionic column in its shaft and base. Only the capital differs, with its distinctive acanthus leaf, foliage, or flower carvings.
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COUCH AND TABLE Bilingual amphora Andokides Painter c. 525 B.C. Antikensammlungen, Munich Herakles greets Athena from his beautifully decorated couch, mattress, and pillows. The couch is higher on the sides of the pillow. The rectangular legs rest on bases. After the meal, tables were stored under the bed.
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COUCHES AND TABLES Corinthian column-krater End of 7th century B.C. Louvre, Paris The couch or kline serves as both bed and sofa and is commonly used during meals. These couches or beds from the archaic period have turned legs, mattresses, covers, and pillows. Next to the beds are simple serving tables with turned clawed feet and stretchers.
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Detail, APHRODITE AND EROTES White-ground cup Lyandros Painter c. 460 B.C. Museo Archeologico Florence The straight legs are decorated with volutes at the seat and smaller volutes near the floor. The angular back ends in volutes too. Probably the seat was woven.
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Detail, Bottom Drum of an IONIC COLUMN From the Temple of Artemis Ephesus c. 350 B.C. British Museum, London Figures are sculptured into the bottom drum of the shaft of the large Ionic columns from the temple of Artemis.
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Detail, CELLA WALL Erechtheum Mnesicles (?) Acropolis, Athens 421-405 B.C. This ornamental frieze runs along the cella wall. The pattern consists of stylized lotus blooms, palmettes, and finishing tendrils as well as egg-and-dart and leaf-and-dart carvings.
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Detail, COFFERED CEILING by Polyclitus the Younger Tholos, Epidaurus c. 360 B.C. Museum, Epidaurus Greek ceilings are typically coffered. Less common is this coffered ceiling from the tholos at Epidaurus which has delicate flowers growing out of the center of each panel.
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Detail, COLUMN Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. The workmanship in the carving of these Doric columns, like everything else, is at a very high level. There are twenty flutes, each brought to a precisely pointed line. This emphasizes the height and thrust of the columns.
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Detail, COLUMN Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. The Doric columns sits directly on the floor.
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Detail, COLUMNS AND ENTABLATURE Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. Notice how the marble blocks sit in perfect balance on the abacus of the Doric columns. The masonry throughout the temple is so refined that no mortar is required at all. In this case the frieze has been stripped of both the finely sculptured marble metopes as well as the triglyphs.
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Detail, EAST PEDIMENT Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 437-432 B.C. The pediments are the triangular areas above the architrave on the east and west ends of the temple. Devoted to Athena, the goddess of the temple, the east pediment represented her birth and the west pediment her peaceful contest with Poseidon over who would be god of Athens. A few magnificent parts of the pediment sculpture survive. In this southern corner of the east pediment are the reclining figure of Dionysus and the heads of horses that pulled the chariot of the sun-god Helios.
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Detail, ENTABLATURE Southwest corner of Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-440 B.C. The entablature covers the area above the capital up to the pediment. At the corner between the architrave and the cornice are the channeled blocks known as triglyphs. They alternate with ninety-two sculptured metopes around the entire building. The stone pegs under the triglyphs are remnants of earlier Greek temple constructions in wood.
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Detail, IONIC COLUMN BASE Mnesicles (?) Erechtheum Acropolis, Athens 421-405 B.C. Decoration throughout the Erechtheum is elaborate and formal. The carving is on a very high level. These are excellent examples of the bases of Ionic columns.
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Detail, ORNAMENT Erechtheum Mnesicles (?) Acropolis, Athens 421-405 B.C. A detail of above.
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DIONE AND APHRODITE Parthenon, East Pediment Acropolis, Athens 437-432 B.C. British Museum, London Two of the three so-called Fates. These breathtaking female figures are sometimes identified as Dione and Aphrodite, the goddesses.
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DISCUS THROWER by Myron 460-450 B.C. Museo Nazionale, Rome Created about a decade or so before work started on the Acropolis, Myron's Discus Thrower was revolutionary. The figure still retains an inner poise and an overall balance. But the energy has opened up, moving with a new sense of the world. This is a marble copy of the bronze original.
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DORIC COLUMNS: Temple of Apollo, Corinth 540 B.C. The column is the basic element in Greek architecture. It is both structural and sculptural. There are three types or orders of column. The oldest, dating to about 600 B.C., is the Doric. Normally standing right on the floor, the shaft is made of a series of drums which are rounded, doweled together, tapered up--ward and fluted, usually twenty times. On top of the shaft sits a two part capital carved in a single block. The bottom is the cushion or echinus and the top is a flat square slab called the abacus. There is a natural ring where the capital and shaft meet and this is emphasized by the addition of several carved rings. The column height is four to six and one half times the diameter at the base of the shaft. These seven Doric columns, the oldest to survive intact, are from the temple of Apollo at Corinth. Each shaft, over twenty feet high, is cut from a solid limestone block which was surfaced with a stucco made of marble dust. While the columns seem simple and stumpy, the sharp ridged fluting is evidence of a high degree of mastery of stone carving. Further they are bellied slightly at the center which keeps them from seeming too dumpy. What isn't evident today as a result of the action of wind, rain, and man-made destruction is that these temples were generally brightly painted in white, gold, reds and blues.
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DORIC COLUMNS: Temple of Apollo, Corinth 540 B.C. The column is the basic element in Greek architecture. It is both structural and sculptural. There are three types or orders of column. The oldest, dating to about 600 B.C., is the Doric. Normally standing right on the floor, the shaft is made of a series of drums which are rounded, doweled together, tapered up--ward and fluted, usually twenty times. On top of the shaft sits a two part capital carved in a single block. The bottom is the cushion or echinus and the top is a flat square slab called the abacus. There is a natural ring where the capital and shaft meet and this is emphasized by the addition of several carved rings. The column height is four to six and one half times the diameter at the base of the shaft. These seven Doric columns, the oldest to survive intact, are from the temple of Apollo at Corinth. Each shaft, over twenty feet high, is cut from a solid limestone block which was surfaced with a stucco made of marble dust. While the columns seem simple and stumpy, the sharp ridged fluting is evidence of a high degree of mastery of stone carving. Further they are bellied slightly at the center which keeps them from seeming too dumpy. What isn't evident today as a result of the action of wind, rain, and man-made destruction is that these temples were generally brightly painted in white, gold, reds and blues.
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ERECHTHEUM Mnesicles (?) From the southeast Acropolis, Athens 421-405 B.C. The Erechtheum is an irregularly shaped Ionic temple which was built to house several sacred objects. Standing opposite the north side of the Parthenon, it counterbalances the heavy weight of the Parthenon on the Acropolis. The Erechtheum sits on uneven ground. Very different porches on the north and south sides balance each other.
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ERECHTHEUM Mnesicles (?) From the southeast Acropolis, Athens 421-405 B.C. The cella floor was higher than the stylobate. Underneath was a basement. Notice the windows on the far wall which were originally covered with bronze lattices.
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EXAMPLES OF TEMPLE STYLES The basic model of the Greek temple is the four sided cella. To the simplest cella was added a porch or pronaos: the simple megarons shown at the right. The extension of the cella walls are the antae. As temples grew in size, columns were added between the antae to support the roof as illustrated in the drawing of a megaron with columns. In the prostyle temple the antae do not extend to the line of columns suppoting the roof over the pronaos. While there was only one entrance to the cella, the addition of a second porch with a double antis provided a more balanced and symetrical structure when view from the side. Temples like Athena Nike are amphiprostyle in they have no antae. Eventually, a colonnade was added to the sides of the temple. While the Parthenon is more sophisticated in structure. It is of this later, peripteral style temple.
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FOLDING STOOL Interior, White kylix c. 470 B.C. Museum, Delphi A folding stool or diphros okladias with crossed, turned-in lion's legs and paws. Seats are made of leather or cloth.
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FRAGMENT OF A MIXING BOWL From Tarentum Mid-4th century B.C. Martin von Wagner Museum Wurzberg Acroderia or ornamental figures adorn the roof above the center and the two ends of the pediment. Mask like faces cover the tile ends along the gutter of the roof. A dentil ornament is above the architrave. The porch ceiling is coffered. This shard of pottery gives a clear indication of the amount of painted decoration which was to be found on all of the buildings.
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FRIEZE Parthenon, west facade Acropolis, Athens 442-438 B.C. Inside the outer colonnade, at the top of the outside wall of the cella, is the great frieze, a unique sculptural procession 525 feet long which is a homage to the goddess Athena and a celebration in her name. This is the first Doric frieze to go around a building. Previously such friezes were limited to Ionic constructions. Starting in the southwest, the idealized figures of Athenian men, women, children, and animals travel east and west to meet Athena at the eastern front of the temple.
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FRIEZE Parthenon, west facade Acropolis, Athens 442-438 B.C. The frieze is in low relief, about one and one half inches deep and three feet four inches high.
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FUNERARY KOUROS OF VOLOMANDRA Mid-6th century B.C. National Archaeological Museum, Athens During the mid-sixth century the figure is erect, poised, and yet immobile, an image of energy at rest. One leg stands slightly in front of the other. The arms are attached to the body. The kouros often stood in a sanctuary or marked a grave. Like the Stele of Aristion it lacks motion.
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GODS OF OLYMPUS Parthenon frieze East side Acropolis, Athens 442-438 B.C. Acropolis Museum, Athens Perhaps also executed by Phidias or a close collaborator, the gods Poseidon, Apollo and Artemis sit on diphros, four-legged stools which originated in Egypt.
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HEAD OF SELENE'S LEADING HORSE Parthenon, East Pediment Acropolis, Athens 437-432 B.C. British Museum, London This intense head of the horse of the moon-god Selene is in the northern corner of the east pediment. It counterbalances the horse of Helios on the southern corner.
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HERMES AND THE INFANT DIONYSUS by Praxiteles From the temple of Hera, Olympia c. 330 B.C. Museum, Olympia This Hermes of Praxiteles captures the contained and thoughtful spirit of the fourth century.
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IONIC CAPITAL DRAWING Ionic Capital and Entablature.
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IONIC COLUMNS: Temple of Artemis, Sardis 330 B.C. The Ionic column is distinguished by its volute or scroll capital. More slender than the Doric column, its height is eight or nine times the diameter of the shaft. Normally the Ionic column has twenty-four flutes which are separated by fillets or soft edges; some examples have as many as forty-eight flutes. There is a column base, the most notable type consisting of a torus or convex molding above, a three part concave molding, and a torus below. All the carving is on a high level. These Ionic columns from the temple of Artemis were left unfluted when work on the temple stopped. Fluting ordinarily takes place after the column is assembled.
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IRIS Parthenon, West pediment Acropolis, Athens 437-432 B.C. British Museum, London The divine winged messenger Iris stood by Athena's side on the west pediment. Her wings gone, the wind still blows through and against the fabric of her tunic. Her energy, expansive yet in balance, typifies the classic Greek ideal and the standard maintained throughout the temple.
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KLISMOS Funerary Stele from the Eridanos cemetary, Hegeso c. 400 B.C. National Archaeological Museum, Athens A klismos of perfect proportions. Undecorated, it is simple, graceful, and elegant. Notice the low footstool.
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KLISMOS Detail, white lekythoi Achilles Painter c. 440 B.C. National Archaeological Museum, Athens On this klismos the back is fairly straight. There are many variations of the style.
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KRITIOS BOY by Kritios c. 485 B.C. Acropolis Museum, Athens By the 5th century B.C., sculpture moves into the classical age. With the slight bend in the right knee of the Kritios Boy, the figure is liberated from the formal, flat plane.
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LAPITH AND CENTAUR South Metope Southwest corner of Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-440 B.C. A Lapith is held in a headlock by a centaur. The action and energy of the metope contrast and form a harmonious balance with the surrounding triglyphs.
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LAPITH AND CENTAUR South Metope 30 Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-440 B.C. British Museum, London In this metope another centaur overcomes a fallen Lapith. Both figures are treated with deep respect by the sculptor. Originally the background of the metopes was painted bright red and the triglyphs on each side were painted bright blue.
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MARBLE SEATS OF HONOR Theatre of Dionysus Acropolis, Athens c. Beginning 1st century B.C. These marble seats of honor (proderia) were placed in the theatre between the third and the beginning of the first century B.C.
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NORTH PORCH DOOR Erechtheum Mnesicles (?) Acropolis, Athens 421-405 B.C. The large door in the north porch, sixteen feet high and eight feet wide, is richly ornamented throughout its frame and cornice.
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PARTHENON From the east Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. The principal temple entrance is at the east end.
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PARTHENON By Ictinus and Callicrates From the northwest Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. Dedicated to the virgin Athena Parthenos, the great Parthenon was designed by the architects Ictinus and Callicrates and built over the years 447-432 B.C. Basically it is a simple rectangular building, 237 feet long by 110 1/2 feet wide, with Doric columns around its four sides, supporting an architrave, frieze, and cornice. A pediment on each end rises to a slanting roof. With the exception of the roof frame and parts of the ceiling, the entire temple is constructed in marble. To this day the Parthenon remains the masterpiece of consummate proportions.
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PEDIMENT DECORATION Archaic Shrine Molino a Vento From L. Bernabo-Brea L'Athenaion de Gela Rome, 1952 Modern Reconstruction A reconstruction of terra-cotta pediment decoration on an archaic late sixth century shrine at Molino a Vento, Gela.
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PLAN VIEW OF THE ACROPOLIS A reconstruction according to Leo von Krenze. A: The Parthenon is the large structure in the center of the sacred area. B: The Propylaea, the entrance into the Sacred area. C: The Temple of Athena Nike, directly below the Propylaea in the drawing. D: Roman fortifications added later. E: Foundations of minor temples. F: Upper center of the sacred area, is the Erechtheion. G: Foundations of a temple predating the Persian Wars. H: Foundation of a house dating back to the Mycenaean. J: Askelpieon. K: Smaller theatre to the left of the drawing, The theatre of Herodes Atticus. L: Stoa of Eumenes. M: Larger theatre to the right, Theatre and Altar of Dionysus.
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PROPYLAEA Designed by Mnesicles Acropolis, Athens 437-432 B.C. The propylaea, a roofed entrance structure into the sacred precincts, was designed and built between 437 and 432 B.C. A Doric facade on the west is linked to a Doric facade on the east by a passageway lined with tall Ionic columns. It had five doors, one large center door and two smaller doors on each side.
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PROPYLAEA Designed by Mnesicles Acropolis, Athens 437-432 B.C. The eastern inner facade and porch of the propylaea. We are looking back toward Athens. A portion of the entablature and a small piece of the pediment survive. Notice that the metopes are unsculptured.
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REARING HORSE AND RIDER Parthenon frieze Southwest portion Acropolis, Athens 442-438 B.C. Acropolis Museum, Athens The frieze is in low relief, about one and one half inches deep and three feet four inches high. In the beginning of the procession at the west end of the south side, as some men mount their horses and prepare to move, one horse rears its legs in wild fear and a man tries to control it.
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SACRED WAY AND TEMPLE OF APOLLO Sanctuary of Apollo Delphi 6th century B.C. The sacred way passes by the supporting wall and ends at the temple entrance. The first temple was built around 600 B.C. This was replaced after a fire by a stone temple in 530-510 B.C. To the left of the picture is the theatre. Another temple was constructed on the same spot by Spintharos of Corinth about 320 B.C.
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SANCTUARY OF APOLLO: Delphi 6th century B.C. The sanctuary of the god Apollo is laid out on the slopes of Mount Parnassos, under the craggy Rocks of Phaedriades and the overlooking Pleistos Gorge. The temple is on the bottom left and diagonally above it are the theatre and stadium.
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SCHEMATIC OF DORIC: Entablature Resting on the slab like abacus, the Doric entablature is made up of three parts. The lowest portion, the architrave (A) is generally a stright cut supporting member composed of blocks of stone which meet over the abacus. Above the architrave is the frieze (B). In Doric entablatures, this frieze generally is a series of sculpted metopes, separated by a carved triglyphs. Some early temples have plain metopes between the triglyphs. Above the frieze is the cornice (C) which serves to join the entablature to the overhanging eave of the roof.
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SEAT OF HONOR Theatre of Dionysus Acropolis, Athens 1st century B.C. The carved marble seat or throne of the priest of Dionysus became a part of the theatre in the first century B.C. Notice the lion claw legs.
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SOUTH PORCH Erechtheum Mnesicles (?) Acropolis, Athens c. 413 B.C. The famous maidens or Caryatids support the entablature of the south porch. The slim rods between the Figures are modern structural additions.
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SPHINX OF THE NAXIANS From the sanctuary at Delphi c. 560 B.C. Museum, Delphi The sphinx of the Naxians, a wealthy Cyc1adic island people, sits on an elegant Ionic column which stood not far from the temple of Apollo at Delphi. This was the Naxians' gift to the sanctuary.
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STADIUM Sanctuary of Apollo Delphi c. 180 B.C. The stadium is higher up on the slopes above the sacred precinct. Built in Roman times, the site was used by the Greeks for games.
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STELE OF ARISTION by Aristokles c. 510 B.C. National Archaeological Museum, Athens A stele is a gravestone. This example is one of the finest from the archaic period. It is much more of a silhouette, shallow freize. Well defined but lacking the motion to be found in later sculpture.
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STOA OF ATTALOS II Athens 150 B.C. Modern Reconstruction This stoa was originally built along the Athenian Agora, a marketplace in 150 B.C., as a place of business and a shelter for well-to-do Athenians. The two-story colonnaded facade has a Doric order on the ground level and the Ionic order above. This stoa is a modern reconstruction.
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STOA OF ATTALOS II Athens 150 B.C. Modern Reconstruction Small shops along the right hand wall were rented by the state to businessmen. The large promenade offered space both for business and relaxation.
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STYLOBATE Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. The stylobate is the three-step base on which the Parthenon stands. In order to correct the distortions naturally made by the eye, the stylobate is curved upward toward the center of the colonnades on each side of the temple. The architrave also is similarly curved.
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SUBSTRUCTURE Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. The substructure is made of finely cut unpolished marble blocks.
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SUPPORTING TERRACE WALL Sanctuary of Apollo Delphi Third quarter 6th century B.C. Under the temple is a supporting terrace wall built in polygonal masonry.
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TABLES Campanian bell-krater C.A. Painter Symposion c. 350 B.C. Museo Nazionale, Naples The Greek table has a limited use, primarily holding food and dishes during meals. Consequently they are small and light. The circular table on the left has three plain legs with stretchers. The simple rectangular table on the right also has three legs.
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TEMPLE MODEL From Sabucina Early 6th century B.C. National Archaeological Museum, Gela An early sixth century clay model of an archaic temple.
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TEMPLE OF ATHENA NIKE Designed by Callicrates Acropolis, Athens c. 425 B.C. The temple of Athena Nike, the goddess of victory, is built on a small ledge outside the sacred precinct. Designed by Callicrates, it has Ionic porticos of four columns on the front and back of the cella. The entire building is surrounded with a frieze. You will note that the front columns are not engaged or in line with the walls of the cella. Also one can clearly see one of the rear columns of the rear porch. It is a wonderful example of a amphiprostyle temple.
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THE ACROPOLIS OF ATHENS As reconstructed according to Leo von Klenze This line drawing, from Architectual Styles by Herbert Pothorn, provides us with a more complete view of the Acropolis as it must have looked before the ravages of time and weather. The following drawing from the same source provides a plan of the major elements of the area.
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THE RIVER GOD ILISSOS From the West Pediment Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens 437-432 B.C. British Museum, London This supple figure from the northwest corner of the west pediment represents the god of the river Ilissos which flows through the Attica plains. These are all part of that fine collection of sculptured marbles referred to as the Elgin Marbles. They were "collected" by Lord Elgin to preserve them from the heathen. Although there have been years of negotiations between Greece and England, their return has still not been resolved.
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THE VARVAKEION STATUETTE Roman copy after Phidias' Athena Parthenos National Museum, Athens This is an inadequate Roman miniature of Phidias's immense and extravagantly rich statue of the goddess Athena. The cost of building the Parthenon, the propylaea and other buildings on the Acropolis was 2,012 talents. The statue of Athena alone cost 700 talents. About fifty feet tall, she was made out of ivory and gold. The statue was dedicated in 438 B.C.
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THEATRE by Polyclitus the Younger Epidaurus c. 350 B.C. The best preserved Greek theatre is at Epidaurus.
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THEATRE by Polyclitus the Younger Epidaurus c. 350 B.C. Stone benches and steps of the theatre.
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THEATRE AND TEMPLE OF APOLLO Sanctuary of Apollo Delphi 3rd century B.C. and 4th century B.C. The theatre is cut into the slope above the temple and overlooks the valley and the mountains beyond. The six temple columns were reconstructed.
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THEATRE OF DIONYSUS Acropolis, Athens The theatre of Dionysus was built into the natural hollow of the south slope of the Acropolis. Originally a place to honor the god Dionysus in dance and song, in the fifth century the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were performed on the orchestra floor for 30,000 Athenians. By the middle of the fifth century there was scenery in the background, usually in the form of a building. The theatre changed many times over the years and was largely rebuilt by the Romans.
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THOLOS AT DELPHI Sanctuary of Apollo Delphi Beginning 4th century B.C. The tholos on the Mamaria or marbleyard. Its purpose unknown, it is a Doric circular temple made of marble, standing in what formerly was the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia. Twenty Doric columns were on the outside and Corinthian half-columns surrounded the cella.
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THRONE Terra-cotta statue from Granmichele c. 470 B.C. Museum of Syracuse The dignified thrones are for gods, heroes, and important people. Influenced by the Egyptian throne, the Greek throne develops many variations over the years. They have animal legs, turned legs, and rectangular legs. This example has a straight back, an arm-rail with a knob, and lion-paw feet. (see also C. 52 and C.53 in the Theatre of Dionysus.)
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WEST FACADE Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. Battered and chipped over the centuries, these columns from the west facade still retain their strength and elegance.
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WEST PTEROMA From the southwest corner Parthenon Acropolis, Athens 447-432 B.C. The walk space between the exterior columns on the left and the walled-in columns on the right is called the pteroma.
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YOUNG MEN AND ANIMALS Parthenon frieze North side Acropolis, Athens 442-438 B.C. Acropolis Museum, Athens At a moment of great delicacy, young men dressed in full-length himatia walk beside these massive animals. Perhaps this relief was executed by Phidias himself.
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YOUNG WOMEN AND OFFICIALS Parthenon frieze East portion Acropolis, Athens 442-438 B.C. Louvre, Paris Near the end of the Parthenon on the east frieze, young women stand stately and quietly beside officials.
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ZEUS SEATED ON A CHAIR Vase painting 550-525 B.C. British Museum, London In this sixth century B.C. chair there is a slight curve in the legs and back. The back turns and ends in the head of a swan. The legs retain the earlier clawed feet. Between the seat and stretcher is an ornamental carved animal. There is a low arm-rail and a seat cushion.
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