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Article

Asine  

Richard Allan Tomlinson

Asine, a town in the Argolid, on the coast, south-east of Nauplion. Excavations by Swedish expeditions have revealed occupation extending from the early bronze age, succeeded by an important middle Helladic settlement.

Late bronze age remains centre on a promontory acropolis, whose *fortification, though much rebuilt in later times, was probably laid out in this period. Inhabited areas extend beyond this, particularly to the east, in the protogeometric and subsequent periods. There are substantial Hellenistic fortifications. Historically, Asine was subjugated by the Argives (see argos (1)), probably in the 8th cent. bce when the inhabitants are said to have been given a refuge by the Spartans in *Messenia. Occupation of the site, however, continued unbroken into the Classical period.

Article

Asisium  

Edward Togo Salmon and T. W. Potter

Asisium (mod. Assisi), birthplace (probably) of *Propertius, *municipium of *Umbria on the western slopes of the Apennines. It played little part in history until captured by Totila c. ce 545 (Procop. 7. 12). Its early imperial temple of ‘Minerva’ serves today as a church.

Article

Stephen Mitchell

Aspendus, a city in *Pamphylia whose inhabitants claimed kinship with the Argives (see hellenism; argos (1)). Linguistic evidence shows that most of the inhabitants were of Anatolian origin (see anatolian languages). The city issued coins in the 5th cent. bce which preserve its Anatolian name Estvediys, to be identified with the Asitawandas named on inscriptions of the second millennium bce from Karatepe. Although assessed as a member of the *Delian League, it preferred Persian rule, even resisting *Alexander (3) the Great. It was alternately under Ptolemaic and Seleucid rule until 189 bce, and later came under Roman control. Situated 13 km. (8 mi.) from the present mouth of the *Eurymedon, which was navigable as far as the city, it had an important harbour from which grain was exported. The remains include *market buildings and a council-house of the Hellenistic period, as well as many important Roman public buildings, above all the magnificently preserved *theatre and long stretches of *aqueduct.

Article

Assos  

Stephen Mitchell

An impregnable site in the southern Troad (*Troas), facing south towards *Lesbos (it was originally colonized from *Methymna) and controlling the coast road. The *harbour is artificial. The public buildings, including a council-house, market stoas, and temple grouped around the Hellenistic agora, rose in steep terraces up to the acropolis, where the remains of a peripteral Doric temple of the 6th cent. bce can be seen. The impressive fortifications date back to the 4th cent. bce, when the city housed an important philosophical school founded by the Platonist *Hermias (1). *Aristotle lived in Assos from 348 to 345 bce, when it was part of the Persian empire, and it was later the birthplace of the Stoic philosopher *Cleanthes.

Article

Atella  

H. Kathryn Lomas

Atella, *Campanian city, in the Clanis valley. The site was inhabited from the 7th cent. bce and urbanized in the 4th. Atella was a Roman ally (see socii) by 338 but defected in 211. It was flourishing in the empire, but abandoned in the 11th cent. There are remains of walls, street plan, republican and imperial baths and houses, and a Hellenistic/Roman cemetery.

Article

Ateste  

D. W. R. Ridgway

Ateste (mod. Este) has given its name to one of the principal iron age cultures of northern Italy, lasting from the 9th cent. bce until its peaceful annexation by Rome in 184 bce. Until ce 589 it stood on the Adige, now some miles south, and throughout its history thus combined natural advantages for sea-trade, presumably coming through *Atria, with easy access to the land routes round the gulf. Already by the late 7th–early 6th cents. its products were not only reaching *Felsina and the head of the Adriatic, but were also crossing the Alps to Carniola and the Tyrol. Noted for its production of sheet-bronze, particularly of situlae, Ateste was for 800 years the most important commercial and artistic centre of Venetia (see veneti (2)): its commercial position led to the incorporation of foreign (e.g. oriental) elements, via Greek and Etruscan intermediaries, into a distinctive indigenous art-style.

Article

Athos  

Max Cary and Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond

A headland on the easternmost of the Chalcidian promontories (see chalcidice), with a conspicuous pyramid-shaped peak rising sheer from the sea to 1,935 m. (6,350 feet). In 492 bce a Persian fleet was destroyed near it by a storm. To avoid the passage round Mt. Athos, *Xerxes dug a *canal through the neck of the promontory (483–481). This had a length of 2.4 km. (1 ½ mi.), a breadth of 20–30 m. (65–100 ft.), and a depth of 2–3 m. (6–10 ft.) (Hdt. 7. 22–24; Strabo 7. 331). Despite the doubts expressed by ancient and modern writers, the canal was completed; the cutting is visible in places. The mountain was sacred to Zeus (Aesch. Ag. 289) and cast its shadow on *Lemnos at sunset (Soph. fr. 709 Radt).

Article

Atina  

H. Kathryn Lomas

Atina (mod. Atene Lucana), in Italy, *Lucanian city in the Valle di Diano. *Oscan and Greek inscriptions indicate a Hellenized (see hellenism) Oscan settlement from the 5th cent. bce, but it was not prominent before the Roman period. It may have had either praefectural or municipal status (see municipium; praefectura).

Article

Duane W. Roller

The Atlantic Ocean (literally “the Ocean of Atlas”) was known to Greeks since the time of Homer, but the term did not come into use until the 5th century bce, because of mythological associations of the giant Atlas with the far western Mediterranean. Phoenicians were the first to sail on the ocean, perhaps as early as the beginning of the first millennium bce, and Greeks first went beyond the Pillars of Heracles into the Atlantic in the latter 7th century bce. Much of the early Greek exploration of the Atlantic was due to Massalians, who by 500 bce had gone south of the Pillars into the tropics, and north perhaps to the British Isles, primarily seeking trade connections. The Carthaginians also went beyond the Pillars, even farther than the Massalians, but their explorations were only vaguely known to the Graeco-Roman world until 146 bce. The greatest Greek explorer of the Atlantic was Pytheas of Massalia, who in the latter 4th century bce explored the British Isles and headed north into the Arctic, discovering Thule (probably Iceland), and reaching the Norwegian coast. After the fall of Carthage, the South Atlantic was open to Greeks (and eventually Romans). Polybius of Megalopolis went to the equatorial regions, and Eudoxus of Cyzicus attempted to perfect a route to India around the continent of Africa. The Atlantic islands were also explored, in part. There is evidence for contact with the Madeiras and Canaries, and less certain information about the Cape Verdes and Azores. There is, however, no reliable evidence that anyone from Graeco-Roman antiquity crossed the Atlantic and returned to report on it: casual finds of antiquities in the New World are generally dismissed. Yet exploration of the Atlantic led to the development of tidal theories—tides in the Mediterranean are minimal—first by Pytheas, and then later by Poseidonius and others. The Romans added little to ancient knowledge of the Atlantic, although they explored the region between the British Isles and Scandinavia, which they named the North Sea. But a series of maritime disasters in the early 1st century ce led the Romans to abandon travel on the ocean, and nothing more was discovered until medieval times.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose and Antony Spawforth

Atlantis, i.e. ‘(the island of) *Atlas’, ‘the island lying in the Atlantic’; the oldest surviving wonderland in Greek philosophy. *Plato (1) is the earliest and chief source for the story, said to have been told to *Solon by Egyptian priests, of a huge and wealthy island of this name outside the Pillars of Heracles which once ruled ‘Libya…as far as Egypt’ and ‘Europe as far as Tyrrhenia [ = Etruria]’ until, in an expedition to conquer the rest, its rulers were defeated by the Athenians, the island shortly after sinking overnight beneath the Atlantic after ‘violent earthquakes and floods’ (Ti. 24eff.); the unfinished Critias describes the island's constitution (similar to the ideal *polis of Plato's Republic) and layout of its chief city (a series of concentric circles of alternating land and water). *Crantor is said to have accepted the truth of the tale, an indicator of ancient controversy about Atlantis as early as c.

Article

R. J. A. Wilson

Atlas mountains, the great range which formed the backbone of Roman Africa. Its highest peaks are in the Great Atlas to the west, in present-day Morocco (the loftiest is Djebel Toubkal, 4,167 m. (13,671 ft.) above sea level), and Greek legend converted them into the bowed shoulders of the god who held up the heavens (see atlas). The chain slopes eastwards through the Middle Atlas (maximum altitude 3,290 m. (10,794 ft.)) and the Little Atlas (up to 2,531 m. (8,304 ft.)) to the Aurès. Strabo (17. 3. 2) makes it clear that the term Atlas referred to the whole chain of mountains and hills down to the Lesser *Syrtis. On the north the Atlas buttresses the Tell or fertile coastal plain, southwards the mountains slope down to the Saharan desert. Between Tell and Sahara are the High Plateaux with much good grazing land; in the centre and the east lie the shottes or salt lakes. The Atlas range was an important source of timber (‘the blessed woods, the gift of Atlas’: Mart. 14. 89); especially prized was the citrus-wood used for making *furniture (*Ptolemy (2) of Mauretania had a table four and a half feet wide (1.

Article

Atria  

D. W. R. Ridgway

Atria (mod. Adria), a coastal city in the north of the Po delta (see padus), now nearly 20 km. (12½ mi.) from the sea. From the late 6th cent. bce onwards it was an important entrepôt for Greek and *Etruscan trade with the Po valley and Europe. Epigraphy suggests that the city was an originally Aeginetan foundation that came under Etruscan control in the 5th cent. (cf. Livy 5. 33. 8). Varro (De Ling 5.

Article

Attica  

Robin Osborne

the territory of *Athens consisting in a triangular promontory some 2,400 sq. km. (930 sq. mi.) in area divided from the rest of the Greek mainland by the mountain range of *Parnes. Attic topography is extremely varied, with fertile upland valleys, waterlogged lowland valley-bottoms, more or less barren mountain slopes, and productive coastal and inland plains. Practically the whole peninsula falls below the 400 mm. (16 in.) isohyet, making agriculture a particularly precarious occupation. The rugged hills of southern Attica were a source of silver and lead, exploited from the bronze age (*Laurium), and the mountain ranges of *Hymettus and *Pentelicon were a source of fine quality *marble used from the 6th cent.The earliest human settlement belongs to the neolithic, when a considerable number of mainly coastal sites were occupied, and occupation seems to have extended to the whole area in the early bronze age. Attica has large numbers of toponyms of ‘pre-Greek’ form. It is not clear, even in the late bronze age, how Attica was organized politically and there has been much modern discussion about what period, if any, is reflected in the myths according to which *Theseus ‘synoecized’ Attica (see synoecism).

Article

Aufidus  

Edward Togo Salmon and D. W. R. Ridgway

Aufidus (mod. Ofanto), the most important river of southern Italy. A powerful stream in winter and sluggish creek in summer, it rises near the Tyrrhenian Sea but flows into the Adriatic, through the territories of Hirpini (see samnium) and Apuli (see apulia), past *Canusium and *Cannae.

Article

John Wilkes

Augusta Traiana or Beroe (mod. Stara Zagora, Bulgaria) was a Roman city of *Thrace founded by Trajan to replace the Thracian-Hellenistic Beroe in the north of the Thracian plain, controlling a huge territory extending from the Haemus range (Stara planina) in the north to the Rhodope mountains in the south. The 2nd-cent. walls enclose an area of 48.5 ha. (120 acres), within which several streets and public buildings have been excavated. In the late empire the city was again known as Beroe and is described by Ammianus (27. 4. 12) as one of the ‘spacious cities’ (amplae civitates) of Thrace. After being sacked by the *Huns, by the 6th cent. (according to Procop. Aed. 4. 11. 19) it was in need of repair and was fortified with a massive new double wall. It was again sacked, by the *Slavs or Avars, around 600.

Article

John Frederick Drinkwater

Augusta Treverorum (mod. Trier), *civitas-capital of the *Treveri, developed from a settlement around a fort established under Augustus to guard a crossing of the Moselle. In the early empire Trier became the seat of the imperial procurator of Belgica and the Germanies (see belgae; germania), and eventually also that of the governor of Belgica. It soon (probably under Claudius) gained colonial status. Later, the advantages of its position brought it even more success. *Postumus chose it as his capital; the *tetrarchs based the Gallic prefecture there; and throughout the 4th cent. ce it accommodated various emperors and usurpers. Its bishop enjoyed great influence with the resident rulers. From 395, however, emperors ceased to visit the German frontier and the Gallic prefect was transferred to Arles (*Arelate). Early in the 5th cent. Trier was frequently sacked by the *Franks, and went into decline.

Article

John Frederick Drinkwater

Augusta Vindelic(or)um (mod. Augsburg), probably originated in a civil settlement around an Augustan military base protecting an important crossroads-site, and was designated capital of *Raetia by *Tiberius. Its early prosperity was noted by Tacitus (Germ. 41). *Hadrian raised it to municipal status (see municipium), and after reorganization under *Diocletian it remained the civil capital of Raetia Secunda.

Article

John Frederick Drinkwater

Augustodunum (‘Augustusville’: mod. Autun), civitas-capital of the *Aedui, was founded c.12 bce in the plain of the Arroux to replace the hill-town of *Bibracte and demonstrate Roman cultural superiority. Its massive walls enclosed an unusually large (c.200-ha. (500-acre)) area. Though never completely built-up, the city was among the most populous in Gaul. It became a centre of higher education and, in the 4th cent. emerged as the seat of an important bishopric. Though it suffered for its resistance to the Gallic emperor *Victorinus (1), it was restored under Constantius I.

Article

Aulis  

John Buckler

Small Greek city near *Tanagra, on a rocky peninsula between two bays. Its most famous monument is the temple of Artemis and its neighbouring buildings. The best harbour in northern *Boeotia, Aulis is most famous as the point of assembly for the Achaean expedition against Troy. Here *Iphigenia was sent to be sacrificed for a safe voyage of the fleet, a theme developed by *Euripides. *Hesiod (Op. 651 ff.) sailed thence to *Euboea. Strabo (9. 2. 3) states that an Aeolian fleet sailed from it to Asia. *Agesilaus attempted to sacrifice there in 396 bce, before his expedition to Asia (Xen. Hell. 3. 4. 4), but the Boeotians interrupted the ceremony. It was the principal base for *Epaminondas' unsuccessful naval ambitions in 364 bce. In 312 bce*Antigonus (1)'s admiral Ptolemaeus docked 150 ships there in the conflict with *Cassander (Diod.

Article

H. Kathryn Lomas

A(u)sculum Satrianum, *Daunian city, 28 km. (17 mi.) SW of Foggia. It was an important city in the 4th–3rd cent. bce, but suffered after its revolt and consequent sack in 89 bce. Its territory was confiscated and allocated to Caesarian veterans. Traces of Gracchan and Caesarian *centuriation remain, and coinage and inscriptions attest Greek and *Oscan influence.