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Malcolm Bell, III

The bouleuterion housed the boule or council of a Greek polis in the form of a roofed meeting space. Most, if not all, cities had one; the remains of more than fifty buildings are extant. Although there were also bouleuteria in large sanctuaries and federal capitals, the major examples are urban. Bouleuteria were almost always located near a city’s agora. Over time their architects designed increasingly unobstructed interior spaces.Construction of dedicated bouleuteria began in the late archaic period; earlier councils may have met in porticoes or other buildings. Councils were generally composed of 100–500 bouletai and required a capacious meeting place; the bouleuterion became one of a city’s largest secular buildings. In the 5th and 4th centuries bce, the usual form was a hypostyle hall with symmetrically spaced interior columns, level floors, and seating on benches, as at Argos and Athens. Sloping stone seating was introduced early in the Hellenistic era and became standard; both rectilinear and curvilinear versions are known, the latter much more common. Secondary meeting spaces for committees of prytaneis or probouloi were sometimes adjacent.


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.


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.


Alexander Jones

The Antikythera Mechanism (National Archaeological Museum, Athens, inv. X 15087) was a Hellenistic gearwork device for displaying astronomical and chronological functions. Substantial but highly corroded remains of the instrument were recovered from an ancient shipwreck (see Figure 1).

The most complex scientific instrument to have survived from antiquity, it resembled the sphaerae or planetaria described by Cicero (1) and other Greco-Roman authors. The date of its construction is in dispute but must have been earlier than the middle of the 1st centurybce and can scarcely have been before the end of the 3rd centurybce. It is an invaluable witness for ancient mechanical technology at its most advanced level (see mechanics) as well as for Hellenistic astronomy.


Gregory S. Aldrete

Greek term for a type of body armour made of linen. Corselets made of linen and other textiles were employed by a wide variety of cultures across the Mediterranean basin, including the Greeks, Macedonians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Persians, Etruscans, Samnites, Lusitanians, and Romans, from at least the 7th centurybce through the first several centuries of the Roman Empire.In shape, the linothorax is a subcategory of a particular design of body armour that has been labeled Type IV armour (in the classification scheme proposed by E. Jarva, 1995), or more colloquially as a tube-and-yoke, or composite, corselet. In ancient art, this form of armour is usually depicted as being composed of two sections: a rectangular piece that wraps around the torso forming a tube shape whose two ends are then tied together on one side of the body, and a C-shaped shoulder piece whose two arms (epomides) are pulled down on either side of the head and then tied to attachments on the chest. Additionally, strips (pteruges) were affixed along the lower edge of the tubular piece, in either a single or a double row, to offer some protection to the groin and thighs.


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.


Vladimir F. Stolba

Panskoye I is one of the most prominent and best-studied settlements in the rural territory of Chersonesus on the Tarkhankut Peninsula (north-western Crimea). Founded in the late 5th century bce as a fortified outpost (tetrapyrgia) protecting the south-eastern frontiers of Olbian territory, around 360 bce it was subjugated to Tauric Chersonesus, a close relationship which it maintained until the settlement’s catastrophic destruction around 270 bce. In 1969–1994, a significant part of the settlement and associated necropolis were investigated by the Tarkhankut Archaeological Expedition of the Leningrad Institute of Archaeology, Academy of Sciences of the USSR (since 1991, Institute for the History of Material Culture, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg). The settlement’s stratigraphy and size, as well as its unique structure and layout, representing an agglomeration of compactly placed free-standing farmsteads, adjoining house blocks, and monumental buildings accommodating more than one household, distinguish it from other rural settlements in the area. Its rich and original material culture shows a remarkable intermingling of various cultural components, both Greek and non-Greek.


Brian Campbell

Crowns and wreaths (στέφανος, στεφάνη) were worn by Greeks for a variety of ceremonial purposes: by priests when *sacrificing, by members of dramatic choruses, orators and symposiasts (see symposium). They served as prizes at games and as awards of merit. Originally made from the branches of trees and plants, each having a specific connotation (e.g. olive/*Olympian victory, funerals; vine and ivy/*Dionysus; rose/*Aphrodite, symposium), crowns began to be made in gold and occasionally silver. Less solid examples were made for funerary use, and some are preserved in the archaeological record. Gold crowns occur frequently in the epigraphic sources relating to Athens and *Delos, where, however, the figures given represent their cost in silver drachmae rather than their weight in gold. The crown-making stage was often bypassed, and the recipient simply pocketed the money.


Kelly L. Wrenhaven

In ancient Greece and Rome, masturbation was viewed with good-humored disdain. Although it was not apparently subject to the same kinds of scathing attacks that Greek comedy makes on male same-sex activity, it was certainly connected with a lack of sophistication. In line with sexual subjects in general, references are found primarily in Greek comedy and sympotic art of the Archaic and Classical periods, where it is typically associated with barbarians, slaves, and satyrs, all of whom fall into the category of the “Other,” or the anti-ideal. All were deemed lacking in sophrosyne (“moderation”) and enkratia (“self-control”) and were associated with uncivilized behavior. The Greeks had a varied terminology for masturbation. The most commonly found verb is dephesthai (“to soften”), but several other words and euphemisms were used (e.g. cheirourgon, “self-stimulation”).1The comedies of Aristophanes (1) provide the majority of references to masturbation and largely associate it with slaves. The lengthiest reference is a joke that occurs near the beginning of Knights, when Slave B tells Slave A to masturbate in order to give himself courage.



Arthur Geoffrey Woodhead and R. J. A. Wilson

Was founded c.580 bce by the Geloans (see gela) in Sican territory in central southern Sicily. One of the most substantial Hellenic cities in size and affluence, it occupied a large bowl of land, rising to a lofty acropolis on the north and protected on the other by a ridge. Its early acquisition of power was owed to the tyrant *Phalaris. In 480*Theron was the ally of *Gelon in his victory at *Himera. After expelling Thrasydaeus, Theron's son, Acragas had a limited democratic government, in which *Empedocles, its most famous citizen, took part in his generation. Acragantine 6th- and 5th-cent. prosperity is attested by a remarkable series of temples, the remains of which are among the most impressive of any Greek city, and by its extensive, wealthy necropoleis. Sacked by the Carthaginians in 406, Acragas revived to some extent under *Timoleon and Phintias (286–280 bce), but suffered much in the Punic Wars.