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Article

The polychromy of Greek and Etrusco-Roman architecture comprises the chromatic effects and surface treatments of exterior façades and roofs, as well as interior floors, walls, and ceilings. Colour and/or contrasts of light and shadow are the basis for all architectural ornamentation. The practice is characterized by a large variety of materials and techniques, which draw from different genres of the visual arts such as stone, plaster and stucco working, toreutics, tessellation, sculpture, panel painting, terracotta, and glass making. The treatment of architectural surfaces is thus intimately connected to changes in both construction knowledge and building economies, while their visual effects depend on changing architectural forms and designs. Both texts and archaeological remains underline the importance of colour and material as an integral part of ancient architectural design; they play a key role for the sensory and atmospheric experience of architecture and could influence its symbolic meaning.Despite strong regional traditions and a general lack of standardization, a few overall developments can be pinpointed: a triple colour scheme of dark (black, blue), light (white, cream), and red hues dominated both Archaic Greek and Etrusco-Italic architectural polychromy; its chromatic polarity became fundamental for the Greek Doric order and, as a basic combination, it remained a recurring motif of architectural surfaces into the Roman Imperial periods. During the Greek Classical period, green, yellow, and increasingly, gilding joined the basic colour palette. Late Classical/Hellenistic innovations included illusionistic painting techniques, intermediality (the imitation of one material by means of another), as well as the increase of light and shadow effects. While variation (Greek poikilia) of both colours and materials was a guiding principle, it seems that there were also occasional reductions of polychrome accentuations on exteriors.

Article

Jan Stubbe Østergaard

The term “polychromy” has been in use since the early 19th century to denote the presence of any element of colour in Greek and Roman sculpture. The evidence for such polychromy is literary, epigraphical, archaeological, and archeometric; research on the subject therefore requires collaboration between the humanities, conservation science, and natural science. Such research should go hand in hand with the investigation of the polychromy of Greek and Roman architecture, since it is symbiotically related to sculpture, technically as well as visually.

Knowledge of Greek and Roman sculptural polychromy is still very uneven. Scholars have focused on stone sculpture, and most research has been directed towards the Archaic, Early Classical, Hellenistic, and Imperial Roman periods. For terracottas, the Hellenistic period has enjoyed the most research, while investigation of the polychromy of bronze sculpture has only recently begun.

The scientific research methodology applied concerns the materials and techniques employed. The main colouring agents are paints, metals, and coloured marbles. Pigments are based on inorganic and organic materials applied with proteins, wax, or plant gums as binding media. Metals used are bronze, copper, silver, and gold. A range of coloured marbles came into use in the Roman Imperial period, but in all periods, assorted materials such as semi-precious stones and metals were used for inlaid details and attached objects like jewelry and weapons.

Article

John R. Clarke

This article treats visual representations of sex between human beings, hypersexual humans and demigods, and phalli in terms of their meanings for ancient Greeks and Romans and their viewing contexts. Building on the research of scholars holding that contemporary concepts of sexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality have no bearing on ancient attitudes and can only lead to anachronistic judgements if applied to the ancient world, the aim is to combine the evidence of classical texts with that of visual representations to determine the meanings of so-called erotica for ancient viewers. Many portrayals deemed pornographic by modern standards constituted proper decoration, whether they appear in the frescoed interiors of Roman houses or on drinking vessels, mirrors, and gemstones. Artists also created hypersexual creatures such as pygmies, Priapus, and Hermaphroditus primarily as apotropaia; representations of the phallus and of phallic deities installed on the streets and in the shops of cities had a similar apotropaic function.

Article

H. Maehler

Books existed in *Egypt long before they came into use in Greece. Systems of writing had been invented and developed for administrative purposes in both Egypt and *Mesopotamia by c.3000 bce. While the Sumerians (see sumerian) and Babylonians used clay tablets for their *cuneiform scripts, the Egyptians used papyrus. A blank sheet of papyrus was found in the tomb of the vizier Hemaka in Saqqara of c.3000 bce. The oldest surviving inscribed papyrus texts are the temple accounts of Abusir of c.2450 bce. A number of fine statues of seated scribes of the same period suggests that this profession was already well established and that writing had been practised for centuries, long enough for the ‘hieratic’ script to develop through the adaptation of hieroglyphs to the use of reed-brush and papyrus. The hieroglyph for ‘book-roll’ is first attested in the first dynasty (c.

Article

court  

Antony Spawforth

Court, in mediaeval and early-modern times the ruler's household and retinue, its spatial and institutional setting, and, by extension, the ruling power as constituted by monarch and helpers in governance. Ancient Greek ‘aulē’, a domestic ‘hall’ or ‘courtyard’, acquired some, if not all, of this abstract sense of ‘court’: cf. ‘hoi peri tēn aulēn’, literally ‘the people about the courtyard’, to describe *Alexander (3) the Great's courtiers (Diod. Sic. 17.101.3). Having come to denote the courts of the Hellenistic monarchs, the word, Latinized as ‘aula’, was taken over by the Romans as the normal term for the imperial court.Courts are best understood as ‘universal social configurations’ (G. Herman) which arise in societies where power becomes the monopoly of a monarch. Modern court studies owe much to the sociologist Norbert Elias. In The Court Society, based on a German PhD first published in 1933, Elias used the Versailles of Louis XIV of France to construct a model of the court as a system of power.

Article

imagery  

Robin Osborne

The identification of scenes in sculpture, painting, and the minor arts has long been a major activity of classical *archaeology, although it has traditionally been accorded less emphasis than the identification of artists' hands. In all the figurative arts conventional schemes were developed, sometimes under the influence of near-eastern iconography, for portraying particular mythological figures and episodes, and the use and development of these schemes can now conveniently be studied through the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae ( = LIMC, 1981– ). Individual artists exploited conventional imagery not simply by replicating it, but by playing variations on a theme or by echoing the conventional scheme for one episode when portraying a different one. An extreme form of this is iconographic parody.The origins of particular iconographic schemes, and the reasons why the popularity of scenes changes over time, are rarely clear. Ceramic vessels may owe some of their imagery to lost gold or silver *plate, and some vases can reasonably be held to take over the imagery of lost wall-paintings or of famous sculptures, such as the Tyrannicides group (see aristogiton), although it is also possible in some cases that vase-painting influenced subsequent sculptural imagery.

Article

lamps  

Donald Michael Bailey and Michael Vickers

Were made of *gold, *silver, *iron, *lead, *bronze, and ceramic. Only the last two kinds survive in any quantity; the epigraphic record is concerned with metal lamps alone. Lamps were not only used for *lighting, but served as votive offerings in sanctuaries and as tomb-furniture. They might be placed on stands, or be suspended on chains or cords. *Olive oil was the usual fuel. Middle and late Minoan (see minoan civilization) clay and stone lamps are plentiful, usually having unbridged nozzles; otherwise, recognizable lamps of the early iron age only survive in the eastern Mediterranean. *Homer has but a single reference to a lamp (Od. 19. 34), of gold, but pottery ‘cocked-hat’ lamps of Athenian manufacture (akin to examples known in the Levant) are found from the 7th cent. bce. The more efficient bridged nozzle was introduced, probably in Asia Minor or the islands, soon afterwards. Thereafter Greek lamps have a tendency to become less open and shallow. Silver-rich *Athens would appear to be the main innovator of new forms; metal and ceramic versions were exported and copied over much of the Greek world.

Article

lead  

Oliver Davies and David William John Gill

Is mined in part for the extraction of *silver from its ores. Some of the major sources in the Greek world were located at *Laurium in *Attica, on *Siphnos, and in *Macedonia. There were extensive workings in Anatolia (see asia minor). In the western Mediterranean, lead was mined on *Sardinia and in Etruria (see etruscans). Roman extraction took place in *Spain, *Gaul, and *Britain. Stamped lead ‘pigs’ show that lead was being extracted from the Mendips shortly after the Roman invasion of Britain (CIL 7. 1201). In the late empire lead mines were operating in the Balkans. Lead isotope analysis has allowed different sources to be identified. Thus lead from Archaic deposits in Laconia, as well as traces identified in Roman skeletal material from Britain, can be traced back to Laurium.Buildings associated with the extraction of silver from the argentiferous lead ore have been excavated at Laurium. Litharge (the by-product of this process) has been found in protogeometric and even bronze age contexts. In the Greek world lead was used to form the core of bronze handles, to fix steles to their bases, and for small offerings (such as those found in the sanctuary of *Artemis Orthia at *Sparta).

Article

P. J. Parsons

By the end of the 5th cent. bce, books were in general circulation, even if some regarded them as a fad of intellectuals like *Euripides (Ar. Ran. 943, cf. fr. 506 KA); Athens had booksellers (Eup. fr. 327, Aristomenes (2) fr. 9, KA), and exports reached the Black Sea (Xen. An. 7. 5. 14), see euxine. Individuals collected the best-known poets and philosophers (Xen. Mem. 4. 2. 1); an imagined collection of the later 4th cent. bce includes *Orpheus, *Hesiod, *tragedies, *Choerilus (probably (2)), *Homer, *Epicharmus, and all kinds of prose, including Simus' Cookery (Alexis fr. 140 KA). Of famous collectors (Ath. 1. 3a), *Aristotle took first place (Strabo 13. 1. 54); but his library, like that of the other philosophic schools, remained private property (for its chequered history, see Strabo, ibid.; Plut. Sull. 26. 1–2).Institutional libraries begin with the Hellenistic monarchies; the ‘public’ library of *Pisistratus (Gell.

Article

Nicholas Purcell

Tall monuments which might function as navigational marks were an early feature of ancient harbour-architecture (Archaic examples are known on *Thasos). The idea became celebrated with the building of the 100-m. (328-ft.) tower on the Pharus island at *Alexandria (1), which gave its name to the architectural genre (c.300–280 bce, by Sostratus of *Cnidus (Strabo 17. 1. 6)), and the colossus of *Helios at *Rhodes (280 bce, by *Chares (4) of Lindus (Plin. HN 34. 41)): both so famous as to be reckoned among the *Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Beacon-fires made such monuments more visible by night as well as by day: but their function as signs of conquest and displays of prestige was as important. Claudius' lighthouse tower at *Portus, intended to rival the Pharus, became a symbol of Rome's port and its activities. The (partly preserved) lighthouse at Dover castle, and its opposite number at Boulogne (*Gesoriacum) suggested the taming of the Channel; another survives at La Coruña (*Brigantium) at the Atlantic extremity of Spain.