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glass, Greek  

Katherine A. Larson

Glassmaking has traditionally not been considered a major accomplishment of Greek craft, but new research and archaeological discoveries have established Greek contributions to the history of glass. While there is no single ancient Greek term for glass, the term ὕαλος (hyalos) refers to a transparent, hard, luminous material, such as glass or rock crystal. In the 6th century bce, core-formed glass perfume and cosmetic containers began to appear throughout the Mediterranean, particularly in funerary contexts and dedicatory assemblages. Later, colourless glass, cast in moulds and sagged over forms and often decorated with gilding or cutting, appears as a major technical innovation in the late 5th to early 4th century bce. Although no workshops have been found, Rhodes and Macedonia were likely important producers of these products.The Hellenistic period saw a gradual diversification of forms, expansion of colours, and experimentation with new techniques. Always important luxury trade goods, glass drinking vessels and small objects such as beads and gaming pieces become more accessible to a wider segment of the population by the beginning of the 1st century bce, an important prelude to the spread of glassblowing under the Roman empire.


Macedonian vaulted tombs  

Olga Palagia

Macedonian vaulted tombs are underground chamber tombs usually covered by an artifical mound and accessible through a corridor. They are built of ashlar masonry and were provided with stone or wooden furniture and luxurious burial goods. They often served for family burials and there is some evidence that their façades remained visible. Their inception and origin are controversial; their dates range from approximately the 330s to the mid-2nd century bce.

Underground built chamber tombs covered with a barrel vault first appeared in Macedonia at some point in the 330s bce or after; they ceased to be erected after the Roman conquest of Macedonia in 168bce, though there are at least two Roman imitations built in Macedonia in the 1st century CE.1 They are characterized by their barrel vault (Figure 1a), artificial mound (tumulus), façade and dromos (built corridor leading to the entrance) and are called Macedonian tombs to distinguish them from cist tombs which are also underground chambers but have flat roofs and are accessible from above.


Derveni papyrus  

Valeria Piano

As one of the most ancient Greek papyri ever found (it dates back to the second half of the 4th century bce), and given the length of its extant part, the Derveni papyrus effectively represents the oldest “book” of Europe. It was found at Derveni, near Thessaloniki, in 1962, close to the rich tomb of a knight belonging to the army of Philip II or Alexander the Great. The volumen had been placed on the funeral pyre along with other offerings, and thanks to the process of semi-carbonisation it underwent, the upper half of the roll was preserved, maintaining a good degree of readability. The papyrus contains a philosophical-religious text, mostly in the form of an allegorical commentary on a theo-cosmogonical poem attributed to Orpheus. The first columns expound a religious and ritual discourse that deals with issues related to sacrifices, souls, daimones, retribution, cosmic justice, and divination. In the commentary (cols. VII–XXVI), the Orphic hexameters are systematically quoted and interpreted in terms of natural philosophy of a Presocratic brand. The mythical narrative of the succession of the gods, as well as of the origin of the cosmos, is thus matched by a cosmological and physical account, which is equally related to the origin and the functioning of the universe, and is sustained by a theologised conception of nature.



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.