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Article

David Whitehead

Athenaeus (2) Mechanicus is the named author of a surviving treatise On Machines; military ones, for use in siege-warfare. The work is addressed to a ‘Marcellus,’ and nowadays orthodoxy identifies him with M. Claudius Marcellus, the short-lived (42–23 bce) nephew & son-in-law of Augustus. That in turn makes it plausible that the writer himself is Athenaeus of Seleucia-on-the-Calycadnus, a Cilician Greek intellectual known to have been in Rome in the 20s, and a contemporary, in that milieu, of Vitruvius. There is indeed material common to A.’s treatise and to sections of Book 10 of Vitruvius' On Architecture—material that, it seems, they took from their teacher Agesistratus of (?)Rhodes.Short and not always coherent though it is, the On Machines has a two-fold importance. One is in the material mentioned already: Athenaeus and Vitruvius in tandem (together with a middle-Byzantine version of the same material) provide a succinct but useful summary history of military machinery from its beginnings to the early Hellenistic period, highlighting especially the mechanici who served Alexander the Great.

Article

Gla  

Michael F. Lane

Gla (Mod. Gr. Γλας, ancient name unknown) is a Late Helladic fortress and likely administrative centre built on a rocky outcropping (once an island) in the north-east quarter of former Lake Copais in northern Boeotia.Gla—also occasionally “Glas” in archaeological literature—is a fortified site built on an outcropping in the north-east quarter of former Lake Copais, about 1.5 km south-east of the modern village of Kastro, formerly Topolia, Boeotia. While Kastro/Topolia has been identified with the site of Greco-Roman Copae, the ancient name of Gla is unknown, though it has been the subject of much inconclusive speculation. The modern name is derived from Arvanitic goulas (γουλάς), also the name of a locale near Evangelistria above Haliartus on the south side of the Copaic Basin (cf. Albanian kullë from Turkish kulle “tower,” particularly “watchtower”). This appellation is reported to refer particularly to the extant ruins on Gla’s summit. The site has also been called Palaiokastro (“Oldcastle”) in modern times. The nearest village’s Slavic place name Topolia (“Poplar Place”) was officially abolished in the mid-.

Article

Richard Allan Tomlinson and Nicholas Purcell

In a Mediterranean climate, correcting the accidents of rainfall distribution through the management of water sources transforms *agriculture by extending the growing season through the dry summer by means of *irrigation, allows agglomerations of population beyond the resources of local springs or wells, eases waterlogging through drainage in the wetter zones, and protects against floods caused by violent winter rainfall. The societies of the semi-arid peripheries had long depended on water strategies such as irrigation drawn from perennial rivers, or the qanat (a tunnel for tapping groundwater resources).Hydraulic engineering was therefore both useful and prestigious. It was quickly adopted by the nascent cities of the Greek world and their leaders: ground-level aqueducts bringing water from extra-mural springs into Greek cities were at least as old as the 6th century bce: notable late Archaic examples are at Athens, using clay piping (see athens, topography), and on *Samos, where the water was channelled by rock-hewn tunnel through the acropolis—a remarkable engineering feat on which Herodotus (3.

Article

The inherent strengths, weaknesses, and availability of diverse Roman building materials governed the techniques used in construction and greatly influenced the final appearance of Roman architecture. Trace archaeological evidence exists of buildings and burials in Rome from the Italian Bronze Age (second millennium bce) or earlier, and substantial physical remains, in the form of Iron-Age huts and grave goods, roughly correspond to the Romans’ own belief of the foundation date of their city (traditionally 753 bce). Rome’s earliest builders sourced materials obtainable from the immediate environment and transformed them using practical knowledge. Within the span of a couple centuries, architectural design, implementation, and decoration reflect a broad interaction between Roman builders and their counterparts in the regions around central Italy (particularly Etruria to the north and Campania to the south) and also the wider Mediterranean world, particularly those areas where Greeks traditionally lived or had placed colonies. While southern Italy and Sicily represent the closest areas for the transmission of Greek ideas, Greek building practices on the Greek mainland and in Asia Minor also influenced Roman projects from the Archaic period onwards. As Rome grew wealthier and expanded abroad, patrons and builders imported marble to the capital from the Aegean, well before the discovery of more local, Italian sources. The importation of exotic stones grew exponentially over the period of the late Republic and the first two centuries of empire. The coloured marbles that embellished the buildings of Rome served as physical testimony to Rome’s control over the eastern Mediterranean. Nothing, however, was as transformative as the adoption of concrete in the late 3rd century bce, the mass production of fired brick, and the ensuing experimentation that resulted in the vaulted structures that have become the hallmark of Roman architecture.

Article

Courtney Ann Roby

Ancient Greek and Roman scientific and technical works, especially in the exact sciences, were much more commonly illustrated than texts in other genres. The images in those texts ranged from the relatively abstract diagrams in mathematical, astronomical, and harmonic texts to the more pictorial images of botanical, medical, and surveying texts. For the most part, the images that survive are found in medieval manuscript copies. Although there are often striking variations from one manuscript to another, and the parchment or paper codex offers very different possibilities for illustrations than the papyrus rolls on which the ancient texts would originally have been composed, the texts themselves often offer clues about the author’s intentions for the images that accompanied the text.

Illustrations ranging from schematic diagrams to veristic pictorial images are found in surviving copies of many Greek and Roman works on mechanics, harmonics, surveying, medicine, zoology, pharmacology, and other technical subjects.