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archaeology, classical  

A. M. Snodgrass

Classical archaeology properly the study of the whole material culture of ancient Greece and Rome, is often understood in a somewhat narrower sense. *Epigraphy, the study of inscriptions on permanent materials, is today more widely seen as a branch of historical rather than of archaeological enquiry; while numismatics, the study of coins (see coinage), has become a largely independent discipline. The chronological limits are also open to debate. In the case of the Greek world, it has become common to distinguish ‘ancient’ from ‘prehistoric’, and to treat the archaeology of early Greece—at any rate down to the late bronze age—as lying outside the scope of classical archaeology. For Italy, the same is true down to a later date, after the beginning of the iron age. There is wider agreement in treating the collapse of pagan civilization as the terminus at the lower end.

No less important than these explicit divisions are the unwritten, yet widely accepted constraints on the range of material culture accepted as appropriate for study. These constraints, which have helped to maintain an intellectual distance between classical and other archaeologies, have privileged the study of works of representational art and monumental architecture as the core, sometimes almost the entirety, of the subject. A second prominent attitude, one which indeed inspired the study of the material remains of antiquity in the first place, has been attention to the surviving ancient texts, with the aim of matching them with material discoveries. These assumptions can be traced back to the earliest stages of the history of the discipline; topographical exploration, which also began very early, understandably shared the same deference to the texts. The collection of works of art, a prerogative of wealth rather than of learning, helped to confer on the subject in its early years a social prestige at least as prominent as its intellectual. From Renaissance times in Italy and France, from the early 17th cent. in England, and from somewhat later in other parts of northern Europe and North America, these forces propelled the subject forward. Such excavation as took place before the mid-19th cent. was usually explicitly directed towards the recovery of works of art, with the textual evidence serving as a guide or, where it was not directly applicable, as a kind of arbiter. Once the volume of available finds reached a certain critical mass, a further motive came into play: that of providing models for the better training of artists and architects.


archaeology, underwater  

A. J. Parker

The potential richness of the sea for salvage or accidental finding of sunken valuables was recognized from earliest times, but the possibility of defining meaningful groups of wrecked material or of interpreting submerged sites scarcely predates the widespread adoption of underwater breathing-apparatus in the 20th cent. Standard apparatus, supplied with compressed air from the surface, as used by sponge divers, enabled the discovery and partial excavation of rich 1st-cent. bce cargoes at Antikythera (1900–1) and Mahdia (1908–13), but the unwieldy equipment, reliance on untrained working divers, and exclusion of archaeological direction from involvement under water remained serious limitations on progress. Self-contained breathing-apparatus (the aqualung) came into widespread use after 1945, and resulted in the growth of diving for sport and pleasure; many ancient wrecks were discovered, especially in southern France, and the importance of this resource was recognized by F. Benoit. However, he did not direct operations under water, and his main underwater project, the excavation at the islet of Le Grand Congloué (1952–7), has subsequently been shown to have confused two superimposed Roman wrecks.



John R. Senseney

Modern distinctions between architecture and engineering do not readily apply to the work of architects throughout Greek and Roman history. In the design of buildings, architects’ roles and approaches changed over time. In the Classical period, Greek architects’ design specifications may have determined the forms of individual elements. According to an alternative view, the on-site nature of architects’ work may have coincided with a design process that overlapped with construction, in which masons contributed to design in a collaborative way. Beyond architects’ traditional responsibility for supplying full-scale plastic and graphic models, design by way of reduced-scale drawing was well established by the Hellenistic period. The Imperial era exploitation of Roman concrete gave architects a greater ability to project volumes through reduced-scale drawing.

Alongside career architects, amateur architects from the social elite oversaw projects in service to their communities or for their own leisure or use. In the Archaic period, architects of monumental Greek temples were responsible for the building phases and machines used in the construction process, with an increasing focus on formal design during the Classical period. Architects travelling in pursuit of commissions spread architectural ideas and influences throughout antiquity. Architects of Ionian works may have arrived in Italy as early as the Archaic period. In the Middle Republic, the presence of Greek architects in Roman environs is reflected in textual sources as well as in the use of Greek marble, building types, and spatial layouts. Similarly, the Roman architect Cossutius worked in Hellenistic contexts during this same period.


artisans and craftsmen  

Cameron Hawkins

The social worlds of artisans and craftsmen were structured around skill on both conceptual and practical levels. On a conceptual level, artisans employed skill (τέχνη / ars) as a crucial component of the identities they constructed for themselves—identities that differed distinctly from perceptions of artisans among the elite, who dismissed most craftsmen as “base” manual labourers. On a practical level, the importance of apprenticeship as a tool for the acquisition of skill had a profound impact on the social profile of artisans and craftsmen: while it ensured that skill could be acquired by both free and enslaved artisans, it limited opportunities for women and for children born into households of low economic status. From an economic perspective, the small workshop remained the backbone of artisanal production. The ubiquity of small workshops in the economy can be explained best as the product of artisans’ efforts to respond to the risks created by product markets in which demand was inherently seasonal and uncertain. With some exceptions, artisans sought to mitigate their exposure to risk by minimizing fixed costs, while nevertheless preserving the ability to expand their output in periods of elevated demand. This was true even in industries that fostered specialization in discrete and technically demanding stages of a vertical production process: in these industries, artisans typically coordinated their production not within integrated firms, but rather within subcontracting networks.


baths and bathing  

Fikret Yegül

In Homer’s world, bathing in warm water was a reward reserved for heroes. Ordinary Greeks bathed at home or in public baths characterized by circular chambers with hip-baths and rudimentary heating systems. Public bathing as a daily habit, a hygienic, medicinal, recreational, and luxurious experience belonged to the Romans. The origins of Roman baths can be traced in the simpler Greek baths and the bathing facilities of the Greek gymnasium and palaestra, as well as the farm traditions of rural Italy. The earliest Roman baths (balneae), which show the mastery of floor and wall heating, and a planning system based on controlled and graded heating of spaces, emerged in Latium and Campania by the early 2nd century bce. There is little doubt that bathing as an ultimate luxurious experience was epitomized by the imperial thermae first developed in Rome and spread to the provinces. These grand bathing palaces combined exercise, bathing, recreation, and quasi-intellectual activities in vast, park-like precincts, as best exemplified by the Thermae of Caracalla in Rome. The tradition of public bathing and baths passed on to Early Christian, Byzantine, and Medieval Islamic societies across Asia Minor and the eastern Mediterranean.


books, Greek and Roman  

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.



Ian Morris

The organization of a formal cemetery, as a space reserved exclusively for the disposal of the *dead, was an important dimension of the social definition of the ancient city. Burial within the settlement had been common in many parts of the Mediterranean world in the early iron age, but after the 8th cent. bce it was rare. Cemeteries normally lined the roads leading away from cities. They usually consisted of numerous small grave-plots, which were rarely used for more than two or three generations, although some cemeteries, such as the *Ceramicus at Athens, remained in use for over a millennium. Burial in a recognized cemetery was a primary symbol of *citizenship in Athens.The spatial distinction between city and cemetery held fast throughout pagan antiquity, only changing as part of the broader transformation associated with the Christian take-over of the western Roman empire. There were two parallel developments. Starting in the 3rd cent., Christians began building *basilicas over the shrines of saints, which were normally in extramural cemeteries.



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.


dead, disposal of  

Ian Morris

Correct disposal of the dead was always a crucial element in easing the *soul of the deceased into the next world. However, the forms of burial varied enormously. Great significance was attached to the choice of inhumation, cremation, or some other rite (e.g. Herodotus 3. 38; Lucretius 3. 888–93), but there is rarely any reason to see a direct correlation between specific methods and specific racial, class, or religious groups.In prehistory there was enormous variation. An inhumation burial is known from mesolithic times in the Franchthi cave (Argolid), while in Thessaly cremation cemeteries go back to early neolithic. In the early bronze age rich grave goods were sometimes used, particularly in the multiple inhumation tombs of the *Cyclades and *Crete. In the late bronze age, there was for the first time considerable uniformity on the mainland, with multiple inhumations in rock-cut chamber-tombs being the norm. In early .



Ludwig Alfred Moritz

Dicing with six-sided dice (κύβοι, tesserae) or four-sided knucklebones (ἀστράγαλοι, tali; natural or manufactured from e.g. ivory) was a popular amusement in both Greece and Rome, either by itself or in association with board-games. In Rome, where even emperors (esp. *Claudius) were keen players, high sums were often staked; and dicing was officially illegal except at the Saturnalia (see Saturnus). Tesserae may have been used in varying numbers, but tali were normally used in fours, the best (though statistically not the rarest) of the 35 possible throws being when each showed a different face (probably = Venus). Canis (‘dog’) was the worst throw with both tali and tesserae, but its precise nature is uncertain. Cheating, sometimes with loaded dice (μεμολυβδωμένοι), was not unknown, and to help prevent it the dice-box or ‘tower’ was soon introduced. Finds of ancient dice, which include an Etruscan pair, are not uncommon.



Nicholas Purcell

The table, chair, and couch are the central canon of ancient furnishings. Their principal characteristic (by contrast with early modern and modern furnishings) is portability, essential in the circumstances of ancient domestic life, with use of space, and even choice of house, at least among the élite, varying with season and occasion. Heavy desks and armoires, immovable dressers and cabinets had no place in a theory of habitation which revolved round the current location of the principal persons of the family; their environment had to be speedily arranged for them, if not around them, with screens, curtains, and equipment for the current activity, be it eating, drinking, sleeping, writing—and portable furniture to support small utensils, *lamps, containers. Furniture was also a form of capital accumulation (as its place in inventories from the Mycenaean period already shows), deriving value from rare materials, ebony in Greek usage, citrus (Gk. thyon, Callitris quadrivalvis, a North African tree) in Roman, see timber; or workmanship (lathe-turning is known in Assyria; fine figured representations, as on the chest of *Cypselus, were common, and best known to us from the wooden sarcophagi of the Crimea).



Frederick Norman Pryce, David Edward Eichholz, and Michael Vickers

Precious stones were valued in antiquity as possessing magical and medicinal virtues, as ornaments, and as seals when engraved with a device. Such engravings (intaglios) in soft media like steatite or *ivory are found in early Minoan days; the use of hard stones dates from the middle Minoan age. Late Minoan and Mycenaean gems have a rich repertory of human and animal designs; the favoured shapes are the lenticular (round) and amygdaloid (sling-stone) (see minoan and mycenaean civilization). In sub-Mycenaean and geometric times the art of working hard stones was largely lost. A revival in the 7th cent. bce is usually associated with the island of *Melos, and the commencement of Classical gem-engraving in the 6th cent. is marked by the introduction of the scarab (beetle) form of seal from Egypt. This was soon abandoned in Greece for the scaraboid, which omits the beetle-back. The late 5th and 4th cents. mark the high point of Greek gem engraving. In Hellenistic times the choice of subjects grows restricted, but excellent work was done in portraiture. In Italy the Etruscans used the scarab until the 3rd cent.; gems of the later Roman republic show a wide range of subjects, combined with clumsiness of execution. With Augustus begins the large series of ‘Graeco-Roman’ gems. A period of indifferent work in the middle empire is succeeded by a revival under Constantine I.



Jacqueline DiBiasie-Sammons

Graffiti are informal, unofficial writings or drawings on surfaces not first produced for writing purposes, such as walls, pavement stones, rocks, and ceramics. Graffiti elucidate a great deal about life in the ancient world including topics such as social history, literacy, linguistic variation, sexuality, religious practices, and the use of space in ancient cities. These texts were composed in a variety of media: typically, they were scratched into the physical support, but paint, charcoal, and chalk were used as well. Graffiti have been found in many cities of the Greco-Roman world and in a variety of spaces including houses, tombs, religious spaces, and public areas. Since the texts were often inscribed or written on delicate surfaces such as wall plaster, only a small portion of the thousands that were once inscribed survive to the present.Graffiti (singular graffito) are informal, unofficial writings or drawings on surfaces not first produced for writing purposes, such as walls, pavement stones, rocks, and ceramics. A narrow definition of the word from its Italian root meaning “to scratch” only includes texts or drawings scratched into a hard surface such as plaster, stone, or marble. Because informal writings made with materials such as charcoal and chalk served the same purposes and were written in the same locations, and, in some instances, by the same authors as their inscribed counterparts, they are also included in the genre. The term graffiti, now used in English for writing of this sort from any era, was coined by .


Greco-Roman architecture, reception of  

Elizabeth R. Macaulay

Since antiquity Greek and Roman architecture has been subject to diverse and complex receptions. Architectural forms have experienced different and wide-scale transformations across space and time, both in antiquity and in postantique contexts. These adapted forms have emerged because of the complex interactions between building traditions and contemporary needs.

At a fundamental level, architecture must be functional. It must work for the purpose for which it was designed, be it a temple, law court, or residence. Vitruvius endorses this view in De Architectura (I.2.5), the only surviving architectural treatise from Greco-Roman antiquity. At the same time, architecture has a unique ability to concretise ideas. Not only were there political, religious, economic, social, and ideological concepts associated with specific types of ancient buildings, but the architectural forms of the classical world have had a powerful range of resonances that postantique architects, patrons, and regimes have been only too keen to exploit. Classical architectural forms come with a lot of baggage.



Philip de Souza

The earliest man-made harbour facilities in the Mediterranean region were the riverside quays of Mesopotamia and Egypt, for which records go back to at least the second millennium bce. Maritime installations probably began to appear around the Levantine coast in the early iron age, but the earliest securely datable harbour-works are the late 6th-cent. breakwater and ship-sheds of *Polycrates (1), tyrant of *Samos (Hdt. 3. 60). The development of specialized naval and merchant vessels, and a gradual increase in overseas trade, meant that quays and docks of increasing size and complexity were required in the Classical and Hellenistic periods.Early construction techniques made the most of natural features such as sheltered bays and headlands, as at *Cnidus. Exposed shores were protected with breakwaters and moles, like that at Samos. The development in Roman times of concrete which could set underwater enabled ambitious offshore constructions to be attempted, notably *Caesarea (2) in Palestine.


horse- and chariot-races  

Sinclair W. Bell, Jean-Paul Thuillier, and Carolyn Willekes

From the Olympian Games to the modern film Ben-Hur , horse- and chariot-races have proven a potent and enduring symbol of the agonistic culture of Classical Antiquity. Similarities did exist between Greek, Etruscan, and Roman cultures: equestrianism of all forms, due to the expense involved, had aristocratic overtones. But in contrast to the Greeks’ equal passion for mounted horse races and chariot racing, Romans strongly favored the latter, which they developed under the primary influence of the Etruscans and expanded into an empire-wide, professionalized industry.The horse was a significant status symbol in the Greek world, as in the Etruscan and Roman worlds.1 This was due in large part to the cost of purchasing and maintaining equines (see horses), as few regions in the Greek peninsula were suitable for large-scale horse breeding, with regions such as Thessaly and Macedonia being notable exceptions.2 The importance of the horse and horse breeding in Thessaly is evident from the frequent use of equine and equestrian iconography on coinage, including images of mares and foals, as well as horses in naturalistic poses (.



John Kinloch Anderson

Epic heroes (see homer) hunt to fill their bellies or to rid the land of dangerous beasts (Hom. Od. 9. 154–48, 10. 157–63; Il. 9. 533–49). The boar is the most formidable antagonist; venison is highly valued; mentions of lions are problematic. Hunters go on foot, armed with spear or bow. In Greek Classical literature the educational value of hunting is emphasized (Pl. Leg. 822d; Xen.Cyn. 1), but hunting is still for the pot and the methods described in *Xenophon (1)'s Cynegeticus (Hunting Man) are often unsporting. These include the use of snares and foot-clogs and the beating of fawns so that their cries will draw their mothers within range. Hare-hunting receives special attention; the hunters, on foot, drive the hares into nets with the help of hounds. Hounds and nets are also used for boar-hunting; but the beast must ultimately be faced by men on foot armed with boar-spears. Opportunities for hunting on horseback are rare and generally to be found in the east (compare Xen. An.



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.



Anthony James Whitley

Knossos is an ancient city in North Central Crete. It was an important political community both in the Bronze Age (when it had a large courtyard structure normally called a palace at its centre) and in historical times (when it remained an important polis down to the Roman conquest). Major excavations of the site began in 1878 and have continued to this day. It retains strong associations both with its excavators (principally Arthur Evans), the ancient myths of Minos and the Minotaur and the idea that it was the centre of a lost ‘Minoan’ civilisation. The city was abandoned around 650 ce after which it lay in the shadow of its larger neighbour, Heraklion.Knossos (in Greek Κνώσος, latinized as Cnossus) was an ancient city in North Central Crete occupied continuously from the earliest Neolithic (c. 7000bce) throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages down to Late Antiquity. It was, in legend, the seat of King .



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.