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Article

Morychus  

Herbert Jennings Rose

Lexicographers and *paroemiographers explain a saying ‘sillier (μωρότερος) than Morychus, who neglects inside affairs and sits outside’ as alluding to a statue of *Dionysus in Sicily, surnamed Morychus (Μόρυχος), which was outside his temple; their authority is *Polemon(3).

Article

mosaic, Greek  

Hallie Franks

“Greek” mosaics refers to mosaics that date from the 5th to 2nd centuries bce and appear in contexts associated with the Greek-speaking world in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean. These mosaics, popular primarily in domestic contexts, were exclusively floor decoration. From the 5th to 3rd centuries, mosaics were most often made of naturally shaped and coloured pebbles set into plaster; their designs and iconography vary. Experimentation with mosaic materials in the 3rd century included the development of tesserae, which are pieces of glass, stone, or ceramic cut into regular squares that can be set flush with one another. By the 2nd century, tessellated mosaic techniques that take advantage of the precision of tesserae were widespread throughout the eastern Mediterranean.For the purposes of this entry, “Greek” mosaics refers to mosaics that date from the 5th to 2nd centuries bce (i.e., prior to Roman hegemony in the Mediterranean) and appear in contexts associated with the Greek-speaking world in the eastern Mediterranean and Aegean. Like their Roman counterparts, Greek mosaics are exclusively floor decoration. Until the development of tesserae in the .

Article

Museum  

Theodore Johannes Haarhoff and Nigel Wilson

Museum (Μουσεῖον), originally a place connected with the *Muses or the arts inspired by them. *Euripides speaks of the μουσεῖα of birds, the places where they sing. When a religious meaning was attached an altar or a temple was built to mark the spot. But the predominant significance of the word was literary and educational. Thus Mt. *Helicon had a Museum containing the manuscripts of *Hesiod and statues of those who had upheld the arts (Ath. 14. 629a). Almost any school could be called ‘the place of the Muses’ (*Libanius). There was a Museum in *Plato(1)'s *Academy and in *Aristotle's Lyceum.By far the most famous Museum was that of *Alexandria (1), founded by *Ptolemy (1) I Soter probably on the advice of Aristotle's famous pupil, *Demetrius(3) of Phaleron. It was distinct from the *library.

Article

Myron (1), Greek sculptor  

Andrew F. Stewart

Myron (1), sculptor from Eleutherae (on the Boeotian-Attic border), active c.470–440 bce. Reputed pupil of Hageladas and rival of *Pythagoras(2) (Plin., HN 34. 57). He was the greatest representative of the post-Archaic period of experimentation in Greek bronze sculpture, and was much interested in proportion (Plin. HN 34. 58); his œuvre encompassed gods, heroes, athletes, and animals. A detailed description by *Lucian (Philops.18) has enabled the identification of copies of his Discobolus. Poised between the back- and fore-swings, it is a brilliant study in arrested movement. His group of *Athena and *Marsyas has also been recognized in copy. Composed like a temple metope, it represented a moment of high drama: Athena has just thrown down the flutes, and Marsyas tentatively advances to pick them up. His *Heracles and *Perseus have also been recognized in copy, several athlete types have been attributed to him, and his famous cow may be reproduced in Roman bronze statuettes and marbles. It was a frequent subject of *epigrams (AP 9.

Article

Nemea  

Kim Shelton

Nemea is a fertile upland valley in southern Corinthia where the Sanctuary of Zeus and its panhellenic festival with athletic games was founded in the 6th century bce. After a period of disruption in the Classical period, when the games were removed and celebrated in Argos, the later 4th century bce saw a renewal of the games at the site which underwent a substantial building program with a new temple, stadium, and facilities for athletes and festival participants. A hero shrine in the form of a tumulus was constructed in the southwestern part of the sanctuary in the Iron Age and was rebuilt with a stone perimeter wall in the late 4th century. The Nemea valley was occupied and farmed from prehistory through the medieval period when the pagan sanctuary was converted for Christian worship with the construction of a basilica from the spolia of the Temple of Zeus.Nemea (.

Article

Nemean Games  

Nicholas J. Richardson

These were held in the sanctuary of *Zeus at *Nemea (1). They were said to have been founded by *Adrastus (1) of *Argos (1), in memory of the child Opheltes, killed there by a snake during the expedition of the *Seven against Thebes, or by *Heracles after he had killed the Nemean lion. They were reorganized as a Panhellenic festival in 573 bce, held in July every second and fourth year in each Olympiad, and were at first managed by Cleonae, later by Argos. The prize was a crown of fresh celery.

Article

Nicias (2), Athenian painter, fl. c. 332 BCE  

Thomas Bertram Lonsdale Webster and Karim Arafat

Nicias (2), Athenian painter, pupil of Antidotus (pupil of *Euphranor). *Pliny(1) dates him 332 bce. He refused to sell a picture to *Ptolemy(1) I (after 306). He painted women with the greatest precision. His works included Nemea—signed as encaustic (see painting (techniques))—Necyomanteai (after *Homer, Od11), *Alexander(3) the Great, Io and Andromeda, who are reflected in versions in *Pompeii and Rome. He advocated large subjects such as cavalry and sea battles (contrast *Pausias). He explored light and shade. Pausanias, who saw his grave on the road from Athens, said he was the best painter of living figures. *Praxiteles (about 340) said his best sculptures were those Nicias painted. See painting, greek.

Article

odeum  

Richard Allan Tomlinson

Odeum (ᾠδεῖον), a small theatre or roofed hall for musical competitions and other assemblages.The Odeum of *Pericles(1) at Athens, an exceptional structure, placed in the area of the then undeveloped theatre, was a square hall having a pyramidal roof supported on rows of internal columns supposedly utilising the masts taken from the Persian fleet after the battle of *Salamis (Vitr. De Arch. 5. 9. 1). It was used for the choral elements in the competitions of the *Dionysia festival (see proagōn). There are no traces of the provision for the audience, but *Plutarch (Per.13) says it contained seats.Developed odea are generally smaller and, when roofed, avoid the need for supports intruding into the auditorium. They usually take the form of miniature theatres, with seats arranged in a semicircle, contained within a rectangular outer structure which often truncates the uppermost rows of seats. Since this form may also be used for *theatres (e.

Article

Olympia  

Catherine A. Morgan, Simon Hornblower, and Antony Spawforth

Olympia, *panhellenic sanctuary of *Zeus located in hill country beside the river *Alpheus in *Elis.

There is evidence of extensive prehistoric settlement in the vicinity including a large EH tumulus in the Altis which remained visible into the early iron age, MH houses, and Mycenaean tombs (see mycenaean civilization) in the vicinity of the archaeological museum.

Votives (tripods and figurines) in an ash layer in the Altis indicate cult activity at least from the late 10th cent. (perhaps with an early ash altar). The first Olympiad was traditionally dated 776 bce (see time-reckoning). According to *Pindar, *Heracles founded the *Olympian Games; an alternative tradition attributed the foundation to *Pelops after his victory over Oenomaus (see olympian games). A sequence of wells on the eastern side of the sanctuary beginning in the late 8th cent. served visitors.

Article

Olympian Games  

Nicholas J. Richardson

These were held in the precinct of *Zeus (the Altis) at *Olympia, once every four years in August or September. They were in honour of Zeus, and were said to commemorate the victory of *Pelops in his chariot-race with king Oenomaus of Pisa (cf. Pind., Ol. 1. 67–88), but also to have been founded by *Heracles (Pind. Ol. 10. 24–77). Lists of victors begin in 776 bce (see hippias(2); time-reckoning), and a catalogue of the winners down to ce 217 is preserved by *Eusebius. They were abolished in ce 393 by the emperor *Theodosius (2) I.The original contest was the stadion, a sprint of about 200 m. (See stadium). Other contests were added between the late 8th and 5th cents. bce, including races for chariots and single horses. Early victors were often from Sparta, but by the 6th cent. competitors were coming from all over the Greek world. In the 5th cent. the festival lasted five days. The main religious ceremony was the *sacrifice of a hecatomb on the great altar of Zeus (Paus.

Article

Olympieum  

Richard Allan Tomlinson

Olympieum, the temple of *Zeus Olympius at Athens; begun by Antistates, Callaeschrus, and Antimachides, architects employed by *Pisistratus, but abandoned after the latter's death, and the expulsion of his son, *Hippias(1), and not resumed until *Antiochus (4) IV Epiphanes employed the Roman architect Cossutius (see cossutii) to continue the work. It was completed for *Hadrian. The Pisistratean building was planned as a Doric temple. Cossutius changed the order to Corinthian, but in general seems to have adhered to the original plan, dipteral at the sides, tripteral at the ends (Vitr. De Arch. 3. 2). The stylobate measured 41. 11×107. 89 m. (135×355. 75 ft.), and the Corinthian columns were 4. 88 m. (16. 89 ft.) in height. The capitals are carved from two blocks of marble. *Vitruvius says the temple was open-roofed (hypaethral), which may have been true in its unfinished state at that time. It would have been roofed when completed by Hadrian to contain a gold and ivory cult-statue. Hadrian certainly is responsible for the impressive buttressed peribolos wall, decorated with Corinthian columns on its interior, and with a gateway of Hymettan *marble (see hymettus) on its north side.

Article

Olynthus  

Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond

Olynthus, a city north of *Potidaea on the mainland of the Chalcidic peninsula (see chalcidice). Originally Bottiaean, it became a Greek city after its capture by *Persia (479 bce) and repopulation from Chalcidice; its position and mixed population made it the natural centre of Greek Chalcidice against attacks from Athens, Macedonia, and Sparta. In 433 the city was strengthened by further migration and received territory from Macedon (Thuc. 1. 58), and it soon became the capital of a Chalcidian Confederacy issuing federal coinage (see federal states); by 382 the growth of the Confederacy aroused the enmity of Sparta, which reduced Olynthus after a two-year siege and disbanded the Confederacy (Xen.Hell. 5. 2. 11 f.). When Sparta collapsed, Olynthus re-formed the Confederacy and resisted Athenian attacks on Amphipolis; when that city fell to *Philip (1) II of Macedon Olynthus allied with him against Athens (Diod. Sic. 16. 8), expelled the Athenian *cleruchy from Potidaea, and received Anthemus from Philip (357–356).

Article

orders, architectural  

Richard Allan Tomlinson

The main Greek orders of architecture are Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The definitive form of Doric is established by the beginning of the 6th cent. bce. Earlier temples in stone (Apollo Corinth, perhaps Poseidon Isthmia) seem to have had plain cornices with no traces, yet, of the detailed Doric entablature. Developed entablatures, though, seem to represent the translation into stone of forms which originated in wooden construction, though not necessarily architectural. Ionic evolved at the same time, but took longer to reach definitive form; there are important local variations at least until the early-Hellenistic period.

The origin of these systems is uncertain. Wooden columns similar to Doric (but with no evidence for the entablature) had been used in Aegean late bronze age architecture, but these cannot have survived to the early evolution of Doric in the 7th cent. bce. The structural origin of elements in the entablature (e.g. the guttae which represent the wooden pegs fixing different elements together) is certain, but cannot be extended to all parts. The triglyph and metope frieze may be an adaptation of decorative patterns found in carpentry and the decorative arts, though a structural origin has been argued.

Article

orientation  

Nicholas Purcell

The patterning of the human environment according to generally accepted calibrations of ambient space took a number of forms in ancient Mediterranean cultures, and particularly in religious contexts, such as the laying out of *sanctuaries according to the cardinal points (that is to solar phenomena: there is little evidence of lunar or stellar orientations), or to face parts of ritually or mythically important landscapes (note the orientation of sanctuaries in Latium towards the *Albanus mons). A connection between the sunrise quarter and the right hand was found in Greek practice (cf. Il. 12. 237 f.), and an eastward orientation is common but not mandatory for *temples (e.g. the *Parthenon). Conversely the west was inauspicious and used in cursing (e.g. Lysias 6. 51), though many Anatolian goddess-temples faced west (see anatolian deities). Roman augury (see augures) was one of the most developed of such systems, with a complex division of the sky and the land beneath it from the observer's viewpoint, which was closely related to the cardinal points and to the practices of land division (augural sanctuary of *Bantia; orientation of the *centuriation of the ager Campanus; see campania).

Article

ostraca  

Walter Eric Harold Cockle

Ostraca are potsherds used for writing. Almost all found in Greece are incised; in Athens they were used particularly in voting in *ostracism. In Egypt the great majority are written with pen and ink. There the preferred fabric is the neck or shoulders of an *amphora. The discrepancy is probably due to humid conditions of survival in Europe. In Egypt the Ptolemaic ostraca from the Nile valley are mainly tax receipts written in abbreviated form; later, orders and lists are common. Letters, school exercises, and religious texts, pagan and Christian, increase. The military ostraca from *Mons Claudianus and the Wadi Fawakhir in the Eastern Desert are of a different character: documents and letters are more extensive, there is more Latin, and ostraca are used where papyrus would have been the norm in the Nile valley. The Greek-Demotic Archive of Hor from Saqqara provides important evidence for the chronology of Antiochus IV Epiphanes' invasion of Egypt.

Article

Oxyrhynchus  

Walter Eric Harold Cockle

Oxyrhynchus (Behnesa), a nome capital (see nomos(1)) beyond the Bahr Yusuf west of the Nile, was the richest source of papyri ever found in Egypt. Grenfell and Hunt excavated for papyri (1897–1906) and were succeeded by Pistelli and Breccia (1910–34). The finds came from rubbish mounds north-west and south-east of the town; they are now worked out. Most are Roman or Byzantine; the Ptolemaic levels lay beneath the water table. Over 70 per cent of surviving literary papyri come from Oxyrhynchus.

Sculptured funeral stelae of the 1st–3rd cents. ce from a cemetery west of the town came on the market in the 1970s.

Article

Paeonius  

Andrew F. Stewart

Paeonius, Greek sculptor from *Mende in *Thrace, active c.420bce. Known from an original work found at *Olympia in 1875—a marble statue of a flying *Nike (Victory), mounted on a high triangular base, and displayed just to the east of the temple of *Zeus. The inscription on the base states that the monument was erected by the Messenians and Naupactians (see messenia, History; naupactus), and that Paeonius both made it and won the competition for the acroteria for the temple (of Zeus). This latter statement clarifies *Pausanias (3)'s report (5. 10. 8) that he and *Alcamenes made the temple's east and west pediments, which is impossible on stylistic grounds.Pausanias (5. 26. 1) guessed that the Nike commemorated the battle of *Oeniadae in 452, but reported a Messenian tradition that it celebrated Sparta's defeat at Sphacteria in 425 (see pylos), and that they omitted to say so out of fear of the Spartans.

Article

painting, Greek  

Dimitris Plantzos

After a long hiatus following the collapse of the palatial civilizations of the Bronze Age, wall and panel painting was reintroduced to Greece during the Early Iron Age. The first archaeological finds date from the advanced 7th century bce and include mural fragments and clay plaques used to decorate temples. Early examples (down to the early 5th century bce) are polychrome, with strong outlines and flatly painted surfaces without any sense of volume or depth of field. Their themes are often taken from myth, contemporary warfare, and religious rituals; inscriptions are customarily used to name the figures or scenes depicted.A series of breakthroughs occurred in the 5th century bce. Composition became more sophisticated, an innovation attributed to Polygnotus of Thasos; shading and tonal contouring were introduced toward the end of the century, allegedly invented by Apollodorus of Athens. Painters often acquired high social status, as we may infer from stories about Zeuxis of Heraclea or Parrhasius of Ephesus. According to later authorities, the 4th century bce saw the greatest achievements of Greek painting and some works from this era, mostly from burial monuments, survive.

Article

painting techniques  

Roger Ling

For the technique of panel-pictures, most of which were executed on wood, we have little direct evidence, but *Pliny (1) divides his account of Greek painters (HN35) into those who worked with the brush (penicillo) and those who painted in encaustic. The distinction was probably between a tempera technique (in which pigments are mixed with an organic medium such as size to help them to adhere to the surface) and a method of applying colours with heated wax, using either a brush or a spatula. Encaustic was also suitable for painting on stone, and was evidently employed for colouring statues, which explains Pliny's statement that the technique was perfected by *Praxiteles. In wall-painting the famous murals of the 5th cent. bce by *Polygnotus and *Micon seem to have been on wooden panels attached to the walls, but the normal method was to paint on coats of plaster, using fresco. In this technique the pigments are applied while the plaster is still soft and are fixed by a chemical reaction between lime in the plaster and carbon dioxide in the air. That fresco was used in antiquity has often been doubted, but the account of *Vitruvius (De arch.

Article

palaestra  

Richard Allan Tomlinson

Palaestra (παλαίστρα) was a wrestling ground, a place for athletic exercise, whether public or private, which eventually took the conventional form of an enclosed courtyard surrounded by rooms for changing, washing, etc. The application of the term to actual buildings is often uncertain; conventionally it is used for structures significantly smaller in size than the developed gymnasia (see gymnasium) which are similar in arrangement. However the palaestra at *Olympia, distinguished as such from the gymnasium by *Pausanias (3) (6. 21. 1), measures altogether 66.35×66.75 m. (217½;×219 ft.), larger than gymnasia elsewhere (e.g. *Priene). It is, however, adjacent to a normal, larger colonnaded court, only partly preserved, which here constitutes the gymnasium. The distinction is one of usage, rather than form. See athletics; wrestling.