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January 23    Scripture

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Ancient Greece: Monuments
Temples, buildings, and other structures from ancient Greece

Artemis Temple - Sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron The sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron (Ancient Greek Âñáõñþí; Modern Greek Âñáõñþíá - Vravrona or Vravronas) is an early sacred site on the eastern coast of Attica near the Aegean Sea in a small inlet. The inlet has silted up since ancient times, pushing the current shoreline farther from the site. A nearby hill, c. 24m high and 220m to the southeast, was inhabited during the Neolithic era, c. 2000 BCE, and flourished particularly from Middle Helladic to early Mycenaean times (2000-1600 BC) as a fortified site (acropolis) . Occupation ceased in the LHIIIb period, and the acropolis was never significantly resettled after this time. There is a gap in the occupation of the site from LHIIIb until the 8th century BCE.Brauron was one of the twelve ancient settlements of Attica prior to the synoikismos of Theseus, who unified them with Athens.

Asklepieion of Kos The Asklepieia were sacred hospitals where the methods of Asklepieios were used for the treatment of the patients. To understand this better, we'll take a detour into the origin, life and studies of Asklepieios. Asklepieios was the son of Apollo and Koronis. Koronis was later unfaithful to Apollo and he had her thrown into the flames in his anger. She was holding their son Asklepieios at the time and Apollo snatched him from her to save him and appointed the centaur Hiron to care for him. Hiron taught medicine to many people but Asklepieios was his favourite student. Together they studied the medical properties of herbs and discovered miraculous cures for various ailments. Asklepieios thus became the god of medicine and was worshipped as such as he was able to cure both men and gods. To honour Asklepieios, people built the Asklepieia which were originally places of worship. As people flocked to these centres in hope of a cure from the god, it was natural that they would gradually progress to centres of healing and treatment...

Cyclopean combae, Mykenae

Delos - Temple of Isis The reconstruction of the distyle Doric temple in antis was built by the Athenians in honor of Isis in 135 BC and still holds its cult statue of the goddess, which is unfortunately headless.

Erechtheum of Acropolis The Erechtheion, is a temple of Ionic style on the Acropolis in Athens, it was built between 420 to 406 BC . The design probably goes back to Pericles,who died atthe beginning of the construction . Builders of the temple was the architects Philokles and Archilochos under whose supervision the temple was completed around 406.

Gymnasium at Olympia The gymnasium at Olympia was constructed adjacent to the Palaistra in the 2nd century BC. The large rectangular building (120 x 222 m) was built around a courtyard, and surrounded on at least three sides by colonnades. Like the Palaistra, the building contained arenas for athletes to practice their sport. Under the eastern colonnade was a two-lane track for athletes to practice running events in hot or rainy weather: the track measured 192...28 meters: the exact length of the stadium. The dimensions of the courtyard were quite large, and provided space for javelin and discus practice (N. Yalouris). Nothing remains of the western half of the building, which was destroyed by flood. However, it is likely that the western gymnasium contained living quarters for the athletes during the games (E. Gardiner).

Leonidaion The Leonidaion, situated at the south-west corner of the sanctuary, outside the sacred precinct of the Altis, was a large and luxurious hostel for distinguished visitors to the Olympic Games. It was built in approximately 330 BC and was remodeled twice in Roman times.

Minoan Fountain, Delos A rectangular cistern situated between the stoa of Antigonos and the Agora of Italians. It was constructed in the third quarter of the 6th century BC. There is a stepped-access from one side. Now we can see only the fountain and the foundation, but it used to be a covered building. There was a passage go around three sides of the fountain.

North Gate of Acropolis, Mykenae

Official Entrance to the Stadium

Olympia Stadium The stadium of Olympia was built in the 4th c BCE to the East of the sanctuary. It is 212.54 meters (600 Olympic feet) long, and 28.50m wide. It was never lined with seats and the spectators watched the games from the embankments. Today the starting and finishing lines are visible, along with the stone seats of the Hellanodikes (the judges).

Palace of Mykenae The courtyard of the palace of Mykenae, with the palace in the background.

Palaestra Pompeii palaestra seen from the top of the stadium wall. The depression center left was filled with water and used for swimming practice and mock naval battles. To the right (partially obscured by a tree trunk) is a line of carbonized tree stumps, the remains of the trees (each one hundreds of years old) of the palaestra burned in the volcanic eruption of 79. Between them and the colonnade, a line of saplings recently planted as replacement.

Parthenon, Athens The Parthenon (Greek: Ðáñèåíùí) in Athens is the most famous surviving building of Ancient Greece and one of the most famous buildings in the world. The Parthenon has stood atop the Acropolis of Athens for nearly 2,500 years and was built to give thanks to Athena, the city's patron goddess, for the salvation of Athens and Greece in the Persian Wars. The building was officially called the Temple of Athena the Virgin; "Parthenon" comes from the Greek word parthenos, "virgin." Throughout its long life, the Parthenon has functioned most importantly as a Greek temple, but has also been a treasury, a fortress, a church, and a mosque. Today, it is one of the most recognizable icons and popular tourist attractions in the world.

Pheidias' Workshop at Olympia Pheidias' workshop was located to the west of the temple of Zeus, outside the boundary of the Altis. The workshop was 32.15 meters long and 14.5 meters wide. It is interesting to note that these are the approximate dimensions of the naos of the temple of Zeus. The thickness of the walls (over one meter wide) suggest that the workshop was also very tall (likely up to 14 meters in height). The studio was divided into two rooms, the smaller was likely used for storage, and the larger for the construction of the statue of Zeus (P. Valavanis). Inside the larger room was found evidence of scaffolding and pulleys, and the remains of two rows of four columns that mimicked the pillars in the temple naos. The general construction of the workshop suggests that it was built as a replica of the naos; the workshop would have given the artist a sense of the how the statue would look in the temple itself (E. Gardiner). Outside the workshop were found pits containing tools, bits of bronze, iron, lead, amber and ivory, and remnants of clay moulds (B. Ashmole). Although most of the remains date later than the statue of Zeus, they provide important evidence for the style of chryselephantine statues. One of the most interesting finds at the site was a clay drinking-cup with an inscription on the base that read "I belong to Pheidias." Although some have criticized the cup as a hoax, recent analysis of the encrustation within the inscription dates both the mug and writing to ancient times (J. Swaddling). Pheidias' workshop was later turned into a Christian church, which accounts for the building's remarkable preservation.

Philippeion The Philippeion was erected near the west wall of the Altis in 338 BC. The circular monument was commissioned by Philip II of Macedon in celebration of both athletic and military victories. Philip had already won several chariot races at Olympia, and his victory over the Thebans and Athenians at the battle of Chaeronea presented the opportunity for a lavish dedication at the Greek sanctuary. The Philippeion stood on a marble base 15.3 meters in diameter and was comprised of 18 ionic columns covered with a carved marble roof and topped with a bronze poppy head (E. Gardiner). Inside the Philippeon stood 8 Corinthian half columns and 5 statues of the Macedonian royal family that depicted Philip, his wife, his parents, and his son, Alexander. The statues were created by the sculptor Leochares, and composed of gold and ivory (J. Swaddling). Like his other dedications at Olympia, the Philippeon was constructed to portray Philip not as a conqueror, but as a champion of the panhellenic ideal (P. Valavanis). Philip lived only two years after the Philippeion was commissioned. Therefore it is likely the monument was completed by Alexander after the king's death (J. Swaddling).

Prytaneion Behind the basilica is the Prytaneion, where religious ceremonies , official receptions and banquets were held. The sacred flame symbolizing the heart of Ephesus was kept constantly alight in the Prytaneion. The construction of the building dates to the 3rd century B.C, during the reign of Lysimachos, but the ruins of the complex dates to the Augustan age. The four-cornered pit in which the sacred fire is burned is a relic from the reign of Lysimachos. The front of the building is four columns, beyond the columns is a courtyard surrounded by a portico, and on the north is the center of the building, the ceremonial hall, and its side rooms. The eternal flame was here in the center of the ceremonial hall, the red color on the floor determined the location of the flame. Towards the back, there was a large area with wooden roof, the base of an altar is still recognizable today.

Temple of Apollo Pythios, Acropolis Rhodes

Temple of Athena Nike The Temple of Athena Nike ("Victorious Athena") in Athens was the earliest Ionic building to be built on the Acropolis. The temple was begun around 427 BC and completed during the unrest of the Peloponnesian war. It was built over the remains of an earlier sixth century temple to Athena, demolished by the Persians in 480 BC. The decision to build Athena Nike was an expression of Athens' ambitions to be a world power as opposed to Sparta. Constructed from white marble, it was built in stages as wartime funding allowed. The temple's small size was compensated for in its position, resting on a rocky outcrop, positioned so the Athenian people could worship the goddess of victory in hope of prosperous outcomes in the war's endeavours. Once the temple was completed the Athenians added a protective parapet to express their determination and hope for final victory.

Temple of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus The Acropolis of Rhodes dominated the western and highest part of the city of Rhodes, Greece. It was not fortified like most ancient acropolis. It consisted of a monumental zone with Sanctuaries, large Temples, public buildings and underground cult places. The buildings were built on stepped terraces supported by strong retaining walls. It was full of fields and groves, in the words of the 2nd c. CE orator Ailios Aristides. The style of the Hellenistic architecture on the Acropolis of Rhodes was perfectly conveyed by the combination of natural beauty and artificial transformations. The buildings on the Acropolis date to the Hellenistic and Late Hellenistic periods (3rd-2nd c. BCE).

Temple of Zeus Visitors to Greece looking for the Temple of Zeus will find two different temples of significance built to honor the king of all Greek mythology gods. There are the ruins of the once great Temple of Zeus at Olympia, and the remnants of the Temple of the Olympian Zeus in Athens. The Temple of Zeus in Olympia was built between 470 BC and 456 BC, while the Temple of Zeus in Athens took much longer to finish, with construction beginning in the 6th century BC and lasting until the 2nd century AD. Although both of these temples are reduced to the parts more than the whole, they offer intriguing insight into the glory of ancient Athens architecture.

Terrace of the Lions The island of Delos, recognized as the birthplace of the god Apollo, has been a sacred area used for various reasons throughout history. Today it is one of the most important archaeological sights in Greece and is covered in excavations, one of which is the famous Terrace of the Lions. This terrace was erected and dedicated to Apollo by the people of Naxos just before 600 BCE. The terrace consisted of a row of nine to twelve marble carved lions that faced eastward towards the Sacred Lake of Delos along the Sacred Way from Skardana Bay to the temples. The lions, with their mouths open as if roaring or snarling, were both meant to guard the sanctuaries and to inspire a feeling of divine fear among the worshippers. The way in which they were positioned is similar to the way sphinxes were set up along avenues in ancient Egypt. Today, only five of the original lions remain with remnants of three others and the headless body of another has been transported and put over the main gate of a Venetian arsenal.

The Acropolis The Acropolis was both the fortified citadel and state sanctuary of the ancient city of Athens. Although the great building programs of the 5th century B.C. have disturbed or covered many of the earlier remains, there is still a great deal of archaeological evidence attesting to the importance of the Acropolis in all periods of time. In the Late Bronze Age, the Acropolis was surrounded by a massive fortification wall like those at Mycenae and Tiryns in southern Greece. This wall remained in use long after the collapse of Mycenaean civilization, and functioned as the fortifications of the Acropolis for several centuries.

The Acropolis - The Propylaea The Propylaea was (and still is) the formal entrance to the top of the Acropolis. Through this gateway, the Parthenon finally comes into full view. On the right side of the Propylaea is the Temple of Athena Nike. Both the Propylaea and the temple are currently undergoing significant renovation and repair. Both buildings are from the 5th century BC.

The Lion's Gate at Mykenae The Lions Gate at Mykenae. It was the main entrance to the Acropolis and its opening was closed by a double door with sheets of bronze. The relief consists of two confronting lions, their heads made from different material. The structure is dated to 1250 BC.

The Pandroseion at the Acropolis

The Remains of the Treasury of Sikyon One of the two best preserved Treasuries at Olympia is the Sikyonian Treasury. It was build by Orthagoras brother, Myron, in the 33rd Olympiad at 648 BC to commemorate his victory in the chariot race. Pausanias tell us that he saw two chambers, one Dorian and one Ionic, which were made out of bronze, and their weight was 500 talents, according to the inscription in the smaller chamber. Inside the chambers they were offerings, such as the sword of Pelops with its hilt of gold, the ivory horn of Amaltheia, a box-wood image of Apollo whose head was plated with gold, a bronze shield decorated with paintings, etc.

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia In ancient times the Greeks held one of their most important festivals, The Olympic Games, in honor of the King of their gods, Zeus. Like our modern Olympics, athletes traveled from distant lands, including Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt and Sicily, to compete in the games. The Olympics were first started in 776 B.C. and held at a shrine to Zeus located on the western coast of Greece in a region called Peloponnesus. The games, held every four years, helped to unify the Greek city-states. Sacred truce was declared during the games and wars were stopped. Safe passage was given to all traveling to the site, called Olympia, for the season of the games.

The Stoivadeion, Delos Greece A platform to the northwest of the Sanctuary, containing a statue of Dionysos flanked by two actors impersonating Paposilenoi (now in the Museum). On either side of the platform, a pillar supports a huge phallus, the symbol of Dionysos. The southern pillar, which is decorated with relief scenes from the Dionysiac circle, was erected in ca. 300 B.C. by a Delian named Karystios in order to celebrate a victorious theatrical performance sponsored by him.

The Temple of Epicurean Apollo at Vasses of Figaleia. In the region of Arcadia there are places of great beauty, equally charged with history, both classical and more recent. The most extraordinary monument of the area is the very well preserved temple of Epicurean Apollo, at Vasses of Figaleia. Figaleia, the ancient town of Arcadia, it was built, according to the tradition, by Figalos, the son of Lykaonas, near the banks of Neda river. The town flourished but it was also conquered by Spartans in 659 B.C., Aetolians in 220-217 B.C. and Philip V of Macedonia.

The Temple of Hera The temple of Hera, one of the oldest monumental temples in Greece, stands in the north-west corner of the sacred precinct of the Altis, on the south slopes of Kronios hill, protected by a powerful terrace wall. It was dedicated to the Olympian sanctuary by the inhabitants of Skillous, an ancient city of Eleia. Pausanias relates that the temple was built approximately eight years after Oxylos ascended to the throne of Elis, that is c. 1096 BC, but in reality it is much later. According to some scholars, the first Heraion, built around 650 BC, was a small Doric temple with only a cella and pronaos, to which the opisthodomos and ptero were added later, around 600 BC. However, the theory that the entire temple was built around 600 BC prevails today. The temple was refurbished on many occasions, and the Romans transformed it into a kind of museum for the sanctuary's choicest treasures, such as the famous Hermes by Praxiteles.

The Temple of Olympian Zeus The building of the Temple of Olympian Zeus actually began in the 6th Century by Peisistratos but work was stopped either because of a lack of money or because Pisistratus's son, Hippias, was overthrown in 510 BC. The temple was not finished until the Emperor Hadrian completed in 131 AD, seven hundred years later. There were other attempts to continue the building. The Classical Greeks (487-379)left it unfinished because they believed it was too big and symbolized the arrogance of people who believed they were equal to the Gods. During the Third Century when the Macedonians ruled Athens work was begun again by Antiochus the IV of Syria who wanted to build the world's largest temple and hired the Roman architect Cossotius to complete the job, but this ended when Antiochus died. In 86 BC, during Roman rule the general Sulla took two columns from the unfinished temple to Rome for the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill which influenced the development of the Corinthian style in Rome.

The Temple of the Delians The Temple of the Delians or Grand Temple is the latest and largest of the three temples dedicated to Apollo. It is a "peripteral" Doric temple with six columns on each of the narrow sides and thirteen on each of the long ones. Its construction began in 478 B.C. but stopped around the middle of the 5th century B.C., when the League' s treasury was transferred to Athens. Work was resumed later on, during the period of Delian independence, but was never actually finished.

The Treasury of Atreus, Mykenae Also known as Tomb of Agamemnon. It was constructed in 1250 BC.

Theater at Epidauros "Theatre, Epidaurus, built during the last quarter of the fourth century B.C....The harmony of its cavea, the way it 'sits' in the landscape with the semicircle hollowed out of the side of the hill, and the quality of its acoustics make the Epidaurus theatre one of the great architectural achievements of the fourth century. The circular orchestra provides the link with the stage buildings."

Theatre of Dionysus Located on the southeast slope of Athens' acropolis as part of the precinct of Dionysus, the Theatre of Dionysus Eleutheris is the oldest theatre in Greece. In addition to being the oldest, it was also the most prolific, for most tragedies were written for performance at the theatre at Athens. Due to additions and reconstructions to the theatre since its original building around 500 BC, though, not much is known about the theatre in its early years

Tomb of Klytaemnestra

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