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Antikythera Mechanism  

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.


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.



Robert Sallares

Honey (μέλι; mel), the chief sweetener known to the ancients, who understood apiculture (Arist.Hist. an. 623b5–627b22; Verg. G. bk. 4) and appreciated the different honey-producing qualities of flowers and localities. Thyme honey from *Hymettus in Attica was very famous, both for its pale colour and sweet flavour; Corsican, harsh and bitter; Pontic, poisonous and inducing madness (Dioscorides, Materia medica 2. 101–3). Honey was used in cooking, confectionery, and as a preservative. It was used in medicines, e.g. for coughs, ulcers, and intestinal parasites (Theophr. Hist. pl. 9. 11. 3, 18. 8). It had a very important role in religion, cult, and mythology. Its religious associations derive from the idea that it was a ros caelestis (‘heavenly dew’), which fell on to flowers from the upper air for bees to gather (Arist.Hist. an. 553b29–30). According to poets it dripped from trees in the *golden age (Ov.



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).



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.



Donald Emrys Strong and Hazel Dodge

Under μάρμαρος, marmor, the ancients included granites, porphyries, and all stones capable of taking a high polish. In the third millennium bce the white marbles of the Greek islands were used for Cycladic sculpture. The Minoans employed coloured marbles and breccias for vases and furniture and in architecture for facings and column bases. The Mycenaeans also used coloured marbles, including green porphyry and rosso antico, for furniture and architectural decoration. Neither used marble as a building stone or for sculpture.The fine white marbles of Greece and the Greek islands were widely used for architecture and sculpture from the 7th cent. bce onwards. Grey Naxian and white Parian, the best of the island marbles, were used for both sculpture and architecture; see naxos (1) and paros. The Pentelic quarries to the north-east of Athens (see Pentelicon) supplied a fine-grained marble for the *Parthenon and other 5th-cent. bce buildings in the city and its territory.


metallurgy, Greek  

Sandra Blakely

The story of metallurgy in ancient Greece spans five millennia and a geographic range reaching from the Greek colonies in the west to Anatolia and the Levant. An interdisciplinary effort, its study engages archaeological fieldwork, historical texts, and scientific analyses, and has moved from social evolutionary models through Marxist, processual, and post-processual frameworks. Metallurgical innovation and invention are productive loci for the investigation of historical change and emerging complexity. Three case studies—the transition from native ores to smelting, the emergence of bronze, and the spread of iron technology—foreground the entanglement of metallurgy with ecological strategies, maritime and overland mobility, the status of the crafter, and elite and non-elite control of production. Deterministic paradigms and models based on revolutionary innovations are yielding to more nuanced frameworks of gradual change, tempered by insights from ethnoarchaeology and from new excavations which shed fresh light on the cultural meanings of metallurgy among both metalworkers and patrons.



Robert Sallares

Fresh milk (γάλα, lac) was not very important in the Greek and Roman diet, for climatic reasons, and many people in southern Italy and Greece cannot digest lactose in milk. However, northern *barbarians, especially nomads like the *Scythians, were known to drink milk. The milk that was consumed, normally in the form of cheese or curds (ὀξύγαλα), was usually that of goats or sheep. Cows' milk found little favour. Butter (βούτυρον) was used only by barbarians, since the Greeks and Romans preferred *olive oil. Horses' milk was also known. Receptacles identified as feeding-bottles for infants have been found on archaeological sites, but breast-milk was much more important (see breast-feeding). Milk was highly valued in medicine. The physicians recommended the internal or external use of milk (both human and animal) or whey for numerous ailments. It was also used for *cosmetic purposes, and in religious ceremonies as a first-fruit offering (see aparchē), although its early use in this domain was often superseded by that of *wine.



Kevin Greene

Mills ‘Saddle-querns’, in which grain (see cereals) was rubbed between a fixed flat lower stone and a smaller hand-held upper stone, had been in general use for thousands of years before the ‘hopper-rubber’ mill appeared in Greece by the 5th cent. bce. Mechanized versions consisted of a rectangular upper stone, with a cavity that acted as a hopper for grain, pivoted at one end to allow a side-to-side action; grooves cut into the grinding surfaces improved the flow of grain and the removal of flour from the lower stone. Perhaps as early as the 3rd cent. bce, the introduction of a pair of round stones made a dramatic improvement, for a central (adjustable) pivot took the weight of the upper stone, which could be moved in a continuous rotary motion, assisted by its own momentum, and propelled by a crank-like vertical handle set into the upper surface. This development did not take place in Greece, for rotary mills did not appear there before the Roman period. Rotary mills were also scaled up into the hourglass-shaped ‘Pompeian’ form, powered by animals or slaves, in contexts such as commercial bakeries.


pastoralism, Greek  

Stephen Hodkinson

Although animals were ubiquitous throughout the Greek countryside, animal husbandry has until recently received little systematic attention; hence current interpretations are frequently embryonic. Zooarchaeological studies of animal bone assemblages from the historical period are particularly needed.Evidence of domesticated animals goes back to the 7th millennium bce. In the early neolithic modest flocks of ovicaprines (sheep and goats), kept primarily for meat, were integrated into small-scale gardening, grazing on fallow and stubble and supplying manure. More specialized stock-keeping arose in the late neolithic and bronze age, with increased exploitation of ‘secondary products’, especially ox traction and ovicaprine textile fibres, culminating in the large-scale wool production of the Minoan and Mycenaean palaces (see minoan and mycenaean civilization). Older views of the Dark Age as one of nomadic pastoralism (often associated with the ‘Dorian invasions’; see dorians; heraclidae) are now under challenge. ‘Homeric society’ rested upon arable production, with large herds as a store for surplus wealth. The period of independent poleis (discussed further below) witnessed smaller herd sizes; Hellenistic and Roman Greece a subsequent increase.


polychromy, architectural, Greek and Roman  

Stephan Zink

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.



Hazel Dodge

Stone was an important material in both the Greek and Roman periods, not only for building, but also for decoration, sculpture, and vases. Whatever the stone, its geology defines the quarrying methodology and its subsequent uses. The Greeks started to extract stone by quarrying from the 7th cent. bce. Blocks were isolated by trenches using a quarry hammer. Metal wedges were then used to split them from the parent rock. The natural cleaving planes of the stone were at all times exploited. Open quarrying was preferred on grounds of ease and expense. However, if the good-quality material ran out above ground, underground workings were often opened, for example in the marble quarries of *Paros and the limestone ‘La Pyramide’ quarries near *Glanum. The Romans continued to use the same quarrying methods, also adopting some Egyptian techniques—for example the use of wooden wedges. However, the major difference between Greek and Roman quarrying was the scale of exploitation. The building records from Athens and *Epidaurus clearly demonstrate the piecemeal nature of Greek quarrying.


siegecraft, Greek  

John F. Lazenby

The Greek national epics focused on the siege of a city, but it took ten years to capture *Troy, even if, in the end, the ‘wooden horse’ was some kind of sophisticated siege device. The inability to take walled towns other than by treachery or blockade persisted into the historical period, despite a growing awareness of such techniques as the Persian siege-mound (cf. Hdt. 1. 162. 2) and undermining (Hdt. 5. 115. 2). *Pericles (1) is said to have been the first to use ‘siege-engines’ (mēchanai) at *Samos in 440/39 bce—they included ‘rams’ and ‘tortoises’ (i.e. sheds to protect undermining parties: Diod. Sic. 12. 28. 2–3). But despite the Athenian reputation for siegecraft (cf. Thuc. 1. 102. 2), they took three years to capture *Potidaea (432–429), and mainly relied on blockade, though in 430 they made some use of ‘siege-engines’, perhaps towers (Thuc. 2. 58. 1). Similarly, though the Spartans and their allies used a mound, battering-rams and even fire against *Plataea (Thuc.



Michael MacKinnon

Zooarchaeology/archaeozoology focuses on the investigation of animals in the past through analysis of recovered faunal remains, largely teeth and bones, from archaeological sites. As such zooarchaeological analyses can disclose much about the animals themselves, the environmental and ecological parameters in which they existed, as well as the cultures that kept, herded, controlled, hunted, manipulated, killed, ate, valued, symbolized, treated, and exploited them. The historical development of zooarchaeological study within classical archaeology showcases its expansion from earlier studies (in the 1970s and 1980s) that concentrated on reconstructing the core economic and ecological roles of animals in antiquity to its current state, which emphasizes more diversified, multidimensional investigations of animals across all spectra and components of ancient life. Key topics of interest in the discipline include ancient husbandry operations; the interaction between animals and ecological settings; the input of meat and other animal foodstuffs in ancient diets; the exploitation of non-consumable animal products, such as bones, hides, and wool in antiquity; breeding regimes and their effects on animals during Greek and Roman times; and the roles and characteristics of work, pet, and sacrificial animals in the past.