Greek Travel Pages

Location information

Listed 21 sub titles with search on: Archaeological sites for wider area of: "MYKINES Municipality ARGOLIS" .

Archaeological sites (21)

Ancient tombs

MYCENAE (Mycenean palace) ARGOLIS

Treasure of Atreus

. . . The most celebrated of these are the so-called thesaurus of Atreus at Mycenae, and that of Minyas at Orchomenus (see Trophonius). The latter is only partly, the former wholly, preserved. The ground-plan of these structures is circular, and consists of one enclosed room with a domed roof, constructed of horizontal layers of massive stone blocks, projecting one over the other. This circular chamber was used probably for service in honour of the dead. The actual resting-place of the body was a square room adjoining. The large room at Mycenae is fifty feet in diameter, and about the same in height. It consists of thirteen courses, the uppermost of which was only a single stone. It was decorated with hundreds of bronze plates, the holes for the nails being still visible.

This extract is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Dec 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Tomb (Sepulcrum)

I. Greek.
Sepulchral chambers cut in the rock are found at all periods and in all parts of the Greek world. The so-called prison of Socrates at Athens is a well-known example of this kind of grave (Curtius, Atlas von Athen, vii. 4). The form and arrangement of these rock-cut tombs are very various. They consist sometimes of a single chamber, sometimes of an assemblage of chambers forming a small catacomb. Generally one or more shelves are cut in the rock, at the side of each chamber, for the reception of the bodies, and for the vases and other objects which are placed beside them. (Rock-cut graves found in Cyprus, at and near Paphos, at Rhodes, at Selinus in Sicily, in Karpathos)>
  In the greater part of the Hellenic world rock-tombs are rather the exception than the rule, and were probably a luxury of the rich; but in Asia Minor, and especially in Phrygia and Lycia, they are found in enormous numbers, and often of elaborate and ornate kinds.
(1) The commonest type of ornate rock-tomb in Lycia is a very close imitation of a wooden structure, in which a framework of beams, the intervening spaces being filled with wooden panels, supports a flat roof with projecting eaves. The minutest details of wood-construction are reproduced in stone. Sometimes the facade only of such a house is cut in a wall of rock; sometimes it stands cornerwise, with two sides free; sometimes it is attached to the rock at the back only; and sometimes it stands entirely free. The interior consists of a small low chamber, generally furnished with three stone couches upon which to place the bodies. In some cases a pointed arch is found above the flat roof, similar to that which forms the top of the sarcophagus tombs. In the later examples the whole facade is gradually assimilated to the typical facade of orthodox Greek architecture, with columns and architrave. The pointed arch then becomes converted into a pediment.
(2)The sarcophagus tombs are very numerous. Benndorf estimates that there are some two thousand of them in Lycia ...
(3)Tombs in the shape of a high square column or pedestal, with a projecting cornice at the top, are found at Xanthos and elsewhere. Benndorf enumerates eleven of them. The best known example is the Harpy Tomb --the sculptures from which are now in the British Museum...
  In Phrygia many rock-tombs are found. In some cases the facade is architectural in character, and ornamented with geometrical patterns.
  Large temple-tombs or hcroa are found in various parts of Asia Minor. A central chamber stands upon a high basis or podium, and is surrounded by a colonnade. The Nereid Monument at Xanthus was of this type, and was probably sepulchral... This type found its highest development in the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus in Caria, which was so widely celebrated in the ancient world that the word Mausoleum was used by the Romans in the meaning of a splendid tomb. Large stone or marble structures of this type are seldom found in Greece proper; perhaps to some extent on account of the sumptuary laws, which restrained expenditure upon monuments. Thus, at Athens, it was provided by one of Solon's laws that no one should erect a monument which could not be completed by ten men in the course of three days; and Demetrius Phalereus forbade the erection of any funeral monument more than three cubits in height (Cic. de Legg. ii. 2. 6, 66).
  An early and very remarkable form of tomb is that known as the bee-hive, or domed tomb. The best known example of this type is the socalled Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae (image in the link below). A large circular chamber is built of courses of stones, which gradually overlap until they meet at the apex, so as to form a dome-shaped building, but not a true dome. The space for this chamber is excavated in the side of a hill, so that the whole projects very little above the natural level of the ground. It is approached by a stone-lined passage or dromos cut into the slope of the hill. The lintel of the door to which the dromos leads is formed of a single enormous block of stone. A door at one side of the domed chamber leads into the small sepulchral chamber cut in the rock.
  Other graves of a similar type have been found at Mycenae, and at many other places on the eastern shores of Greece; for example, at Menidi (Acharnae), Spata in Attica, Orchomenos, Nauplia, near the Heraeon in the neighbourhood of Argos, and at Volo in Thessaly. It seems probable that these tombs represent a later stage of the same civilisation which produced the graves excavated by Dr. Schliemann upon the Acropolis at Mycenae; but it is impossible here to discuss the questions which arise in connexion with them.
  The normal form of Greek grave may be considered sidered to be a hole or trench in the ground, whether dug in earth or cut in rock. These are generally found in groups; forming, in fact, cemeteries. They are often marked with a monument; and they contain many objects besides the body. We have therefore to consider (1) the position in which graves were placed; (2) the form of the grave; (3) the monument placed above the grave; (4) the contents of the grave.
1. Place of Burial.
  In the earliest times it was the custom, in Attica at any rate, for the dead to be buried in their own houses (Plat. Minos, 315 D); and traces of graves inside houses have been found at Athens. At Mycenae the very early graves excavated by Dr. Schliemann are within the circuit of the citadel walls; and at certain places the burial of the dead within the city was not forbidden in historical times; as at Sparta (Plut. Lyc. 27:en tei polei thaptein tous nekrous kai pleoion echein ta mnemata ton hieron ouk ekoluse), Megara (Paus. i. 43 3), and Tarentum (Polyb. viii. 30). As a general rule, however, the places of burial were outside the city walls, and frequently by the side of roads and near the gates of the city. Thus at Athens the place of burial for those who had fallen in war was the outer Kerameikos, outside the Dipylon gate, on the road leading to the Academia (Thuc. ii. 34; Aristoph. Av. 395; Paus. i. 29, 4); and the common place of burial was outside the Itonian Gate, near the road leading to the Piraeus (Eriai pulai, Etym. Mag. and Harpocr; Theophr. Char. 14); while burial within the walls was strictly forbidden (Cic. ad Fam. iv. 1. 2, 3). At Tanagra the tombs are outside the ancient town; the three chief cemeteries being on the E., N., and S., and the groups of tombs chiefly cluster round the roads.
2. The Forms of Graves.
  At the Necropolis. of Myrina, far the commonest form of grave was an oblong trench cut in the tufa, corresponding in size with the body to be buried. This sometimes had a covering of stone plaques, but often was merely filled in with earth. This form of grave was also common at Tanagra; but when it was covered, tiles were used instead of stone plaques, and the trenches are for the most part dug in the earth, not cut in rock. At Tanagra round pits, 1 ft. 6 in. to 5 ft. in diameter, are also found. At both places the graves are sometimes lined with stone slabs. In Cyprus, in the neighbourhood of Paphos, the tombs consist almost entirely of vaulted chambers, cut in the rock or earth, sometimes with niches radiating from a central chamber. The cut below shows one of the more. elaborate rock-tombs.
  There are various statements in ancient authors as to the orientation of tombs (Plut. Solon, c. 10; Aelian, V. Hist. v. 14; Diog. Laert. i. 2, 48); but in cases in which careful observations have been made, no uniformity of direction has been found.
3. Outer Adornment or Monument.
  The earliest kind of mark placed over a grave was probably the simple tumulus. In later times a grave-stone of some kind was generally set up. The shapes of these grave-stones are extremely various. They are divided by Koumanoudes into the following classes: (1) kionisko. Small round columns, often with a simple moulding near the top, below which is the inscription. This is the commonest shape. (2) plakes, rectangular slabs, lying upon the ground. (3) stelai. (4) Aediculae or shrine-shaped stones. The top is generally of pedimental form, supported by pilasters or free columns. The space thus enclosed is filled by a sculptured representation, in very high relief in the later examples. (5) Mensae (a term used by Cicero, apparently for monuments of this class). Large rectangular blocks of stone, with architectural ornament at the base and on the cornice. (6) Hydriae. Large marble vases, in the shape of a lekythus, or of a tall amphora, of the kind used for funeral purposes (funus), were sometimes set up as funeral monuments. Eustathius (ad Il. xxiii. 141) says that tois pro gamou teleutosin he loutrophoros, phasin, epetitheto kalpis, eis endeixin tou hoti aloutos ta numphika kai agonos apeisi. Koumanoudes argues from this passage that these marble vases were loutrophoroi, and marked the graves of unmarried persons, and confirms his view by the fact that out of 171 cases in which the tombstone is a vase or bears a representation of one, all but five are certainly to be referred to unmarried persons. Other passages, however (Demosth. adv. Leoc. ยง 18; Pollux, viii. 66), seem to show that the loutrophoros was a figure bearing a vase: as, indeed, the formation of the word would indicate. (7) thekai, stone receptacles, for the ashes after cremation; round or square, with a lid. (8) Sarcophagi. The word stele is also used in a more general sense to include most kinds of funeral monuments; and a fuller discussion of the artistic ornament of funeral monuments will be found in... sarcophagus.
  This classification of Attic monuments will apply with little modification to other parts of Greece. Thus at Tanagra we find classes (1), (3), (4), and in addition tombstones in the shape of altars. Altar-tombs are also common in Delos.
4. The Contents of the Grave
  It was the universal custom, at all periods and in all parts of the Greek would to bury objects, of a great. variety of kinds and often in great numbers, with the corpse. Our knowledge of the minor Greek arts -pottery, vase-painting, jewellery, terra-cotta work, gem-engraving e.t.c.- is almost entirely due to this custom. The scores of thousands of vases and terra-cottas contained in the Museums of Europe were, with few exceptions, discovered in tombs.
  That the custom goes back to very early times is shown by the rich contents of the Mycenaean graves, now in the National Museum at Athens. These include gold and silver cups and ornaments; bronze caldrons and other vessels; bronze sword-blades and other weapons, sometimes decorated with inlaid work of gold or other metals; and other objects, too numerous to mention here.
  The objects usually placed in tombs may be thus classified (La Necropole de Myrina):
(a) The vase which contained the ashes, if the body had been burnt. This was most often of pottery, but sometimes of gold, silver, or other precious material. If the body had not been burnt, a coffin was often used. This was either of wood (as in some Greek graves in the Crimea, or of earthenware, or of stone.
(b) Objects which apparently belonged to the dead, and were used by him when alive: such as strigils, mirrors, perfume bottles, needles, &c.; rings, brooches, and other personal ornaments, including wreaths and diadems, which were often made of flimsy material for funeral purposes.
(c) Vessels intended to hold meat and drink for the dead. Sometimes remains of food are found in these vessels. The number of them is sometimes very large; in some tombs at Myrina as many as sixty or seventy earthenware bottles and vases were found.
(d) Small terracotta figures. The reason for placing these in the tomb has been much discussed. They are specially frequent in Boeotia, and are usually named after Tanagra, the place where they were first found in large numbers. They were sometimes intentionally broken before being placed in the tomb. Some connexion may be traced between the subject represented and the owner of the grave. Statuettes of women and of female divinities are more common in the graves of women; male divinities, as Dionysus, Heracles, Atys, in those of men; and toys in those of children (La Necropole de Myrina - terra-cotta).
(e) Charon's coin (see funus).
    To these must be added a variety of miscellaneous objects, such as engraved gems, earthenware lamps, small objects of bronze, glass bottles and cups, so far as they are not included under the first category.

II. Italian.
Among the nations of Italy the Etruscans are remarkable for the care which they gave to their graves. These graves are almost always subterranean. The more sumptuous tombs consist of chambers hewn in the rock; either beneath the surface of the ground, or penetrating horizontally into a cliff. A large number of such tombs are described and represented in Dennis's Etruria, and the accompanying woodcut of the Tomb of the Tarquins at Cervetri is taken from that work (i. 242).
  It will be observed that this tomb is hewn in imitation of wood-construction; and in fact the sepulchral chambers generally imitate the abodes of the living. For example, a tomb at Corneto has its roof cut in the form of a cavaedium displuviatum. In these tombs the bodies were generally placed upon stone couches, accompanied by numerous vases and other objects (see below). The walls also are frequently adorned with paintings, representing scenes of the cult of the dead, and of daily life, and, in some of the late examples, scenes from Greek mythology.
  But, as in Greece, so in Italy, rock-tombs are not the most common form. Extensive and careful excavations in the neighbourhood of Bologna, at Falerii, and in other places, have given us full knowledge of several Italian cemeteries. The objects found in graves at Bologna are admirably arranged in the Museo Civico at that place. The results obtained from comparison of them are, shortly, as follows. The graves may be divided into three classes.
(1) Umbrian. The graves are oblong, polygonal, or square holes lined with stone. In each tomb is a large earthenware vase, containing the ashes of the burnt body. In a few of the later tombs unburnt skeletons are found, but these are very rare. Arms, knives, and ornaments are found in great numbers; in the earlier tombs of bronze only, in the later of iron also. Vases, spindles. and whorls of pottery also occur in great numbers. In the later tombs a great advance is shown in the skill with which the potter varies the forms and adornment of the vases.
(2) Etruscan. The earliest Etruscan tombs appear to be of about the same date as the latest Umbrian: possibly of the 6th century B.C. They are distinguished from the Umbrian tombs partly by the method of burial,--two-thirds of the bodies are buried without burning, and one-third only are burnt,--partly by the tombstones, often bearing representations of Etruscan religious scenes, which are placed above the graves, and partly by the contents. The shapes of the bronze objects found are characteristic and varied; and the pottery is almost all of Greek workmanship, or imitated from Greek models. The Greek vases are for the most part red-figured; but vessels of the Corinthian style, and an amphora partly black-figured and partly red-figured, have been found in the earlier tombs.
(3) Gallic. A certain number of graves, of a rather late period, appear to be Gallic in character.
  The collection of objects found at Falerii is now displayed in the new museum at the Villa Giulia, outside the Porta del Popolo at Rome. The graves at Falerii consist for the most part of chambers furnished with a number of niches, and so capable of receiving the remains of a number of persons. This peculiarity makes the investigation of the chronological sequence of the graves difficult; for the interments in each chamber extend over a considerable period. It is impossible here to discuss in detail the questions involved. It must suffice to mention one remarkable method of burial. In several cases coffins have been found made of the trunk of a tree, cut in half and hollowed. A similar coffin has been found near Gabii; and at Rome, beneath the agger of Servius, a terra-cotta sarcophagus has been discovered, resembling in form the trunk of a tree. This form of treecoffin appears frequently in Northern Europe, especially in Westphalia.
  At Rome it has been shown by recent excavations that a large cemetery lay on the east side of the city, outside the Porta Viminalis, and that it was still in use in the latest times of the Republic. This was the place of burial for slaves and poor people (Hor. Sat. i. 8, 8). The graves are of various kinds; among others puticuli or well-graves; that is to say, pits which served as a common grave for the bodies of those who could not afford the expense of separate burial. (Varro, L. L. 5, 25: a puteis puticuli, quod ibi in puteis obruebantur homines, nisi potius, ut Aelius scribit, puticulae, quod putescebant ibi cadavera projecta. Qui locus publicus ultra Exquilias. Festus, Ep. p. 216; Com. Cruq. ad Hor. Sat. i. 8, 10, &c.) Here, too, the bodies of executed criminals were thrown unburied (Hor. Sat. i. 8, 17; Epod. 5, 99; Dionys. xx. 16). This cemetery was disused from the time of Augustus onwards, and was turned into gardens, to the great improvement of the sanitary condition of the district (Hor. Sat. i. 8, 14; Porphyrio and Com. Cruq. in loc.).
  Burial within the city was forbidden, from the time of the Twelve Tables; but exceptions might be made in the case of specially distinguished persons--as, for example, in the case of C. Fabricius (Cic. de Legg. ii. 2. 3, 58) and Valerius (Plut. Q. R. 79), and generally in the case of those who had celebrated a triumph (Plut. ib.). The Vestal Virgins and the emperors were buried in the city, according to Servius (ad Aen. xi. 205), because they were not bound by the laws, but Eutropius (8, 5) tells us that Trajan was the only emperor for whom the privilege was used. By a rescript of Hadrian, those who buried a person in the city were liable to a penalty of 40 aurei (Dig. 47, 12, 3, 5). The practice was also forbidden by Antoninus Pius (Capitol. Anton. Pius, 12) and Theodosius II. (Cod. Theod. 9, 17, 6). A similar prohibition was in force elsewhere (Lex Coloniae Genetivae, lxxiii.; Ephem. Ep. iii. p. 94).
  The customary place for the tombs of well to-do families was by the side of the roads leading out of the city. Many such tombs are still preserved by the side of the roads leading out of Rome, especially the Appian Way, and many more have been destroyed in comparatively recent times. A row of them also stands outside the Herculanean gate at Pompeii. Part of this Pompeian street of tombs is represented in the accompanying woodcut, taken from Mazois, Pompeiana, part i. pl. 18. These private tombs vary very widely in arrangement and architecture. In some cases we have underground chambers, similar to those found in Etruria; as, for instance, the tomb of the Scipios on the Via Appia. But generally the tomb consists of a building enclosing a chamber; and in this chamber are placed the urns containing the ashes of the dead. Some not uncommon forms are shown in the above representation of tombs at Pompeii. Other forms are the pyramid, as in the case of the tomb of C. Cestius, near the Porta Ostiensis; the round tower, as in the well-known tomb of Caecilia Metella; and the conical turret, as in the so-called tomb of Virgil near Naples, and the so-called tomb of Aruns or of the Horatii and Curiatii near Albano. This last shape seems to follow an Etruscan model, for conical turrets are the chief feature of the tomb of Porsenna, as described by Pliny (H. N. xxxvi 91-93). One of the most splendid sepulchral edifices was the Mausoleum of Hadrian.
  Another form of grave is the columbarium. This is found not unfrequently at Rome, but is hardly known elsewhere; probably because land; at Rome was much more valuable than at any other place. It consists of a building provided on the inside with a large number of niches, flat at the bottom, arched at the top. Each niche, as a rule, is intended to hold two urns, in which the ashes were placed. The name columbarium was given to such graves because of the resemblance which these niches bear to the holes of a pigeon-house. The general arrangement of a columbarium is shown in the above woodcut, which represents one found in the year 1822 at the Villa Rufini, about two miles beyond the Porta Pia. Columbaria were sometimes provided by great families as a burying-place for their slaves, freedmen, and dependents: e. g. by the Statilii Tauri, by the Volussi, and by Livia.. But most frequently they were erected by burial societies, formed by persons who were too poor to purchase a place of burial for themselves. Considerable light has been thrown upon the constitution and arrangement of these societies by inscriptions, and especially by those found in the year 1852 in a columbarium upon the Via Appia, not far from the tomb of the Scipios.
  An account of Roman tombs would not be complete without some mention of the Catacombs; but as they were almost exclusively used by the Christians, it must suffice here to refer to the Dictionary of Christian Antiquities and the authorities there cited.
Contents of Tombs.
  If the body was not burnt, it was placed in the tomb either enclosed in a coffin or sarcophagus, or unenclosed. In the latter case in Etruscan tombs it is generally placed upon a couch of stone, as is shown in the accompanying representation of a tomb at Veil (see in the URL below). If the body was burnt, the ashes were placed in an urn or pot (urna, olla). The urn takes many forms. The hut-urns found at Albanos (see cut under tugurium) are made of earthenware, and represent a primitive hut, with a peaked straw roof, similar apparently to the contemporary dwellings of the living. The urns also in the Bolognese cemeteries and in the columbaria are generally of earthenware. In Etruria a favourite form is a miniature sarcophagus of earthenware or stone, with a recumbent figure upon the lid. Marble, stone, and alabaster are commonly used; and the next woodcut (see in the URL below) represents a sepulchral urn of marble in the British Museum. The inscription shows that it contained the ashes of Cossutia Prima. It is of an upright rectangular form, richly ornamented with foliage and supported at the side. by pilasters. Its height is 21 inches, and its width about 15. Other materials used are glass, and various metals, -lead, bronze, silver, and even gold.
  A large number of other objects (of which some mention has been made above) were generally placed in the tomb, apparently with the intention of supplying the dead with the customary apparatus of life. Thus in the early tombs weapons and armour frequently occur. Later, agricultural implements and tools are often found; and in the case of women, articles of the toilet, scent-bottles, ornaments, and so forth. Clothes, money, food and drink, and vessels for containing them, were often added. The last purpose may explain to some extent the large number of vases which are often found in tombs. Several are to be seen in the picture of a tomb at Veii given above. In Etruria Greek vases and native imitations of Greek vases were used in very large numbers for this purpose; and it is from Etruscan tombs that the majority of extant Greek vases comes. With the exception of those which were found at Pompeii, nearly all the objects of daily use in our Museums have been taken from graves. We must add lastly altars, lamps and candelabra, intended for ritual purposes.

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Ancient towns


  Mycenae was the center of the Mycenaean Civilization during the period that Greece prospered, that is, the Bronze Age. Mycenae, with all its wild beauty, is located in the northern section of the Argolic Gulf and has been built at the top of a fortified hill. This location comprised a transport intersection. Homer refers to Mycenae as "polychryses" and "efktimenes", meaning well built with multiple gold. Perseus (son of Zeus and Danae) is said to have built Mycenae in 1500 B.C. Under the Atreides' Dynasty, Mycenae reached great prosperity. King Atreus was the leader of the Greeks in their crusade to Troy. In 468 B.C., the people of Argos destroyed Mycenae and Tiryns. Since then, the buildings' ruins were covered with dirt. The excavations within the Mycenaean site began in 1841. H. Schliemann began excavating Grave Circle A. The work of the Archaeology Service in conjunction with P. Stamatakis, Ch. Tsountas, J. Papadimitriou, N. Verdelis, G. Mylonas, S. Iakovides as well as the British School of Archaeology of Athens (A.J. B, Wace, W. Taylor) maintains great significance.
  Mycenae was comprised within a Citadel or an Acropolis during the period of prosperity, which could be accessed only through the renowned Lion Gate (it was named after the pictured sculpture) from the Lower City, which was also encased within the surrounding settlements that were found outside the walls. The Acropolis Wall was built between 1350 - 1300 B.C. and was comprised of a rectangular stone cube (Cyclopean Fortification wall). The Palace of Atreides as well as the framework of a Doric Temple that was built in place of a Mycenaean Palace were located at the Citadel's peak. The most noteworthy area is the Royal Cemetery, which was protected by a circular surrounding wall. Schliemann discovered five shaft graves (1876) and P. Stamatakis uncovered the sixth (1877). On the east side of the Citadel, remains of many Mycenaean buildings are found, the largest of which is the House with the columns. This comprises the central section of the Palace's east aisle, which was surrounded by warehouses, workshops, shops and the Residences of the Officials. The southeastern side of the hill was constructed in 1225 B.C., a tunnel of circular inner walls that led to an underground cistern fed by the Persian Spring (12 meters in depth) that was used for the purpose of ensuring water in the event of a siege.
  There was a series of houses in the Lower City of Mycenae, such as the House of Shields (Aspidon), the House of an olive-oil trader (13th century), which was found in 1950 upon which tile was used that illustrated linear graphics as well as the House of Sphinxes. Today, only their foundations have been preserved. The famous Tomb of Agamemnon or Treasury of Atreus is found in the Lower City. It was agreed that it would be referred to as such even though it was constructed in 1350 B.C. and belongs to a King that followed. A narrow path carved into a cliff leads to a colonnade and lintel that are formed by two massive blocs. The arched booth continues, which comprises a circular hall that is shaped like a beehive. The Tholos is comprised of 33 successive rings built in accordance with the bearing system, thus resulting in the fact that the peak can only be closed by one slab. A passage leads to a side hall (ossuary). The tomb walls are covered by bronze slabs and the entire structure is covered with dirt. To the right of the Treasury of Atreus is Clytmenestra's Tomb and the Aegisthus in addition to a fourth tomb, a little older and near the Lion Gate. Additional tombs were uncovered in 1902 by J. Papadimitriou. Numerous tombs are located on the west side of the hill with the Treasury of Atreus (Tomb of Spirits, the Hill of Panagia, Epano Phournos and Kato Phournos).

This text is cited May 2003 from the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs URL below.


Schliemann, Heinrich

PROSYMNA (Archaeological site) MYKINES

Swedish Institute at Athens

Berbati in the Argolid
  In 1934 Axel W. Persson initiated his archaeological investigations in the Berbati Valley east of Mycenae. In the ensuing years he worked in the valley together with among others: Ake Akerstrom, Gosta Saflund and Erik J. Holmberg. Each of them had his own excavation: Saflund the south slope of the Mastos Hill and the Western Necropolis, Holmberg a chamber tomb to the east and Akerstrom the Potter?s Quarter. Akerstrom continued working in that area after the War.
  The investigations in the 1930?s were concentrated in the western part of the valley, where Orestes from Mycenae, who had worked with Persson at Dendra, had pointed out the most promising site: that on the eastern slope of the Mastos Hill (i.e. the Potter?s Quarter). In 1935 Persson excavated the tholos tomb, which contained one burial. The Palace style and other pottery associated with it date the tomb to the LH II period or c. 1400 BC. Pottery of Late Geometric (late 8th century BC) and Late Roman date attest the fact that the tholos tomb was reused in later periods. The tholos tomb was published by Barbro Santillo Frizell in Opuscula Atheniensia 15, 1984. The chamber tombs were published much later by Saflund (1965) and Holmberg (1983).
  The most interesting excavations were the ones on the Mastos Hill, where Saflund and Akerstrom investigated each his settlement area: Saflund the Early Helladic (c. 2600-2000 BC) one on the south slope and Akerstrom the Late Helladic (c. 1600-1200 BC) on the east slope. Saflund published his results (together with the chamber tombs in the Western Necropolis) in 1965 in the Stockholm University Studies, while Akerstrom resumed work at the Mastos in 1953 and finished fieldwork in 1959. He published the pictorial pottery in the institute series in 1987. The large amounts of pottery that remain are now under study by Mats Johnson (Neolithic), Jeannette Forsen (Early Helladic), Michael Lindblom (Middle Helladic), Ann-Louise Schallin (Mycenaean) and Jenni Hjohlman (Medieval).
  The most spectacular structure in the Potter?s Quarter is the kiln, which Akerstrom dated stratigraphically to the transition LH II/LH IIIA1 or c. 1400 BC. He found a dump south of the kiln with pottery supporting the date. Production continued at the site and dumped material east of the kiln testifies to hundreds of years of pottery making. Akerstrom maintained that Berbati was the production center of the spectacular pictorial vases found on Cyprus and in the Levant. Not everybody has accepted his theory but most scholars now seem to agree that the northeast Peloponnese was the origin of these prestigious vessels. Analyses of the fabrics have shown that the clays are consistent with the clays in the general Berbati/Mycenae area. Schallin?s research into the Berbati production aims at studying the relationship of shape and decoration in the local Mycenaean repertoir employing statistical methods.
  In the late 1980?s Berit Wells initiated fieldwork on a large scale. A surface survey of the valley and of the mountainous area to the east around Limnes was carried out. The scope of the survey was to study the interaction of man and environment through time, from the Middle Palaeolithic 50,000 years ago until the 18th century AD. The publication, which appeared in 1996 in the institute series, changed the hitherto accepted view of the Berbati valley as an archaeological entity. The previous Bronze Age finds now could be put into a historical framework. Before the survey we knew nothing, or next to nothing, about the Neolithic (5th-4th mill. BC), the Early Hellenistic (3rd century BC) and the Late Roman (4-6th century AD) periods in the valley. Now we know that it flourished during those times. Regional and diachronic studies became almost the rule in Greece during the last two decades of the last century, but The Berbati-Limnes Survey is one of the few that has been completely published so far.
  From 1994 onwards several sites documented during the survey were investigated or underwent further documentation. These sites were included in a larger research project (the Berbati Valley Project) to investigate the agrarian economy of the valley. In 1994 the Late Geometric/Archaic cult place defined in the survey and associated with the tholos tomb was excavated. Gunnel Ekroth is studying the assemblage and published a preliminary report on the material in the Opuscula Atheniensia 21 for 1996. The same season a study of the Late Roman bath was carried out, also reported on in the same Opuscula. Kai Holmgren did a CAD model of the extant structure within the framework of a project designed jointly by the departments of Archaeology at Lund University: Swedish Prehistory, Medieval Archaeology and Classical Archaeology and the Swedish Institute at Athens.
  From 1995 onwards the project focused entirely on the agrarian economy of the valley. Although several targets had been chosen for excavation, only one at Pyrgouthi or the Hellenistic Tower could be realized. It turned out to represent a spectrum of chronological phases contrary to what the survey had shown: from the early Iron Age to the 6th century AD.
  Penttinen (diss. 2001) redefines the Berbati Valley as a typical border region, which sometimes is dominated by Corinth, sometimes by Argos. Most of the material comes from disturbed contexts, which, however, reflects migrant animal husbandry rather than sedentary agriculture thus defining a border zone. The most spectacular finds at Pyrgouthi date from the 6th century AD (Hjohlman diss. 2002). A farmstead with its press-house was destroyed in a conflagration. Whatever was in the press-house at the time was buried under the debris, presenting a frozen moment in the history of the site. Large storage jars, which could be mended, wine presses and agricultural tools were found.
  Kilns datable to the 5th century BC were found also at Pyrgouthi. At present we have a substantial amount of evidence of ceramic production in the valley with all in all four production sites: the previously well-known Early Mycenaean kiln from the Mastos Hill, the 5th century Pyrgouthi kilns, a Late Roman kiln found by our Greek colleagues west of the Roman bath, and the waste from a kiln built for the production of roof tiles after the German destruction of the village of Berbati in 1943. Obviously the manufacture of ceramics was a by-product of the agrarian economy during several periods of the history of the valley. Berit Wells together with Ian Whitbread and Matthew Ponting of the Fitch Laboratory at the British School at Athens are doing a comprehensive study of the Berbati clay beds and ceramics through time. Undoubtedly ceramic production was an added asset for people living in the valley.
  See Arto Penttinen, Berbati between Argos and Corinth (diss. University of Stockholm, Department of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History), 2001 and Jenni Hjohlman, Farming the land in Late Antiquity. The case of Berbati in the northeastern Peloponnese (diss. Stockholm University, Department of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History), 2002.
  These dissertations together with a number of specialist reports on botanical and faunal remains etc will be published in the institute series in early 2005.
  The Berbati Valley Project was brought to conclusion in 1999 with an intensive survey of the Mastos Hill, which had been excluded from our permit for the 1988-1990 survey. The aim of the 1999 survey was to test new methods of field sampling and digital processing of data. Terrace by terrace all artifacts were collected and analyzed in the field. Small samples were collected for further study in the laboratory. The artifact database was related to a digitized model of the hill creating distribution maps to illustrate artifact density on each terrace and thus activity on each terrace period by period. In this way we have gathered new information on the history of the hill. So far our knowledge of the medieval period was very scant. It is now obvious from the distribution map below that a small medieval habitation must be sought on the top of the Mastos Hill.
  The investigations in the Berbati Valley during the 1980?s and 1990?s have not produced artifacts comparable to the old excavations at Asine and Dendra. The objectives have been different. The importance of the investigations for Swedish Classical Archaeology lies in the fact that new methods have been tested and young scholars have been entrusted with the publication of material, sometimes for their dissertations, which has ensured quick publication. Therefore Berbati also became a training ground for a whole new generation of archaeologists. In this respect it can be compared only to Asine in the 1920?s and Acquarossa in Italy in the 1960?s and 1970?s.

Arto Penttinen, ed.
This text is cited Jun 2005 from The Swedish Institute at Athens URL below

Report on the investigations carried out at the Mastos, Berbati, in 1999
  The 1999 investigations at the Mastos hill in the western part of the Berbati Valley (Prosimni) had two objectives: a) to carry out a surface survey of the entire hill in order to learn how it was utilized in different periods and b) to create a computerized 3D map which would visualize human activity in relation to the landscape and such modern human activity as harrowing and grazing. All artifacts lying on the surface were classified in the field and entered into the computer together with information on landscape type and land use A small sample of material was brought to the museum, where it will be studied in detail in the summer of the year 2000.
  The excavations on the southern and eastern slopes of the Mastos in the 1930s and 1950s showed that habitation on the hill goes back to Middle Neolithic times and that there is continued activity until the Late Helladic IIIB period. Coins found in 1953 assert activities in the historical period as late as the 12th century AD but the excavators correctly saw Mastos primarily as a prehistoric site. Although this year's investigations corroborate this general picture we now have a more complete grasp of human utilization of the slopes through the period and can further modify the picture for the historical periods.
In the Neolithic period activity was almost exclusively documented on the southern and eastern slopes, although it should be noted that the top terrace of the hill yielded a number of sherds. Whether these originated there or were brought there through manuring or similar activities cannot be ascertained at this point.
  From the old excavations we know that there was an important Early Helladic settlement with preserved architecture in the south and that this continued towards the east into the southwestern part of the Potter's Quarter. Our survey now has registered a considerable density of EH material not only on all the terraces in the south but also on the terraces in the east and southeast.
  In the Middle Helladic period, if we are to judge by the numbers of sherds studied, activity at the Mastos increases. Although we see particularly dense concentrations on some of the terraces in the south and southeast, it is obvious that all slopes were utilized. Much of the transitional MH/LH pottery is notoriously difficult to define and this is especially true of survey material. Therefore some caution should be applied when studying the distribution maps of MH and LH I-II.
  Even with great caution applied it is quite evident from the map that Late Helladic I-II was a major phase at the Mastos. Now, this is of course may come as no surprise considering the production connected with the LH I-II kiln excavated in the 1930s. However, activity is not restricted to the kiln area but is very much in evidence in the west, a fact that heralds a major extension of habitation or other activities in LH III.
Studying every single sherd on the surface at the Mastos is, as everybody understands who has walked the area, very time consuming. For this reason we did not manage to survey all the fields neither in the south nor in the east. The carpet of material stretches some 20-30 meters south of the lowest terrace of the hill and in the east the fields below the road all the way to the rema would yield masses of material, predominately Late Mycenaean to judge from walking over the fields.
  Late Helladic III by far yielded the most sherds. Now, sherd counts can be vastly misleading, as Mycenaean pottery easily breaks into tiny fragments during cultivation or even walking over the surface. EH and MH pottery is preserved in large fragments on the same surface. However, in the case of the Mastos we can still safely conclude that activity in LH III superceded that in any other period as the numbers are overwhelming, which can be observed on the distribution map.
  In the Archaic to Hellenistic and Roman periods there is scattered evidence of human activity. For the earlier periods most of the artifacts are tiles and there is evidence that especially Corinthian tiles were reused in later walls. Thus they could well have been brought from a wider area around the Mastos. There is clearly a Late Roman presence but the nature of it is, as is the case also with the Archaic to Hellenistic, impossible to discern.
  The distribution of Medieval sherds (see design inside URL below) shows an interesting pattern. The main concentrations are on the top terrace of the Mastos and on the rather steep slopes immediately below. We interpret this as activity mainly on the top terrace and from there material has spilled over on the slopes. On the northern side this terrace still preserves a substantial fortification wall, clearly built in Byzantine times but utilizing a prehistoric wall as its foundation. Here lay a fort which ties in very nicely with the finds of Late Byzantine coins referred to at the beginning of this report.

Arto Penttinen, ed.
This text is cited Jun 2005 from The Swedish Institute at Athens URL below

Mycenaean acropolis

MYCENAE (Mycenean palace) ARGOLIS

Murus or Moenia (teichos). A wall surrounding an unroofed enclosure, as opposed to paries (toichos), the wall of a building. The word maceria denotes a boundary wall, fence-wall. Cities were enclosed by walls at a very early period of Greek history, as is shown by the epithet used by Homer "well-walled" of Tiryns, Mycenae, etc., and the massive remains of those cities have also demonstrated the fact So vast, in truth, are some of these structures as to have induced a belief among the ancients that they were the work of Cyclopes. (See Cyclopes.)
  The following principal species of city walls are to be distinguished: (a) those in which the masses of stone are of irregular shape and put together loosely, the interstices being filled by smaller stones, as in the wall at Tiryns; (b) those in which polygonal stones are carefully fitted together, and their faces cut so as to give the whole a comparatively smooth surface, as in the walls at Larissa and at Cenchreae; and (c) those in which the blocks are laid in horizontal courses more or less regular with the vertical joints either perpendicular or oblique, and are more or less accurately fitted together, as in the walls beside the "Lion Gate" at Mycenae.
  Brick was largely used in Egypt, Assyria, and Chaldaea, and also in Greece and Italy; but was often defended against the weather by an outer casing of stone, when the bricks were sun-dried instead of burned (See Fictile). After the first Persian War the Athenians began to use marble for their finest buildings, as in the Propylaea and the Parthenon. A century later marble was also used for facing walls of brick. Less important structures were made of smaller stones, rough or square, flints, or bricks.
  At Rome there were several kinds of masonry (See Caementum). (a) Blocks of stone were laid in alternate conrses, lengthwise in one course and crosswise in the next. (b) The stones in each course were laid alternately along and across. (c) The stones were laid all lengthwise. (d) The stones entirely crosswise. (e) The courses were alternately higher and lower than each other. The earliest walls at Rome, largely of Etruscan origin, were built of huge quadrangular stones, hewn, and placed together without cement. Such were the Carcer Mamertinus (see Carcer), the Cloaca Maxima (see Cloaca), and the Servian Walls (see Etruria). The Romans also used small rough stones, not laid in courses, but held together by mortar (opus incertum) and courses of flat tiles. Tiles were also introduced in the stone and brick walls. Brick covered with painted stucco was a very common material at Rome, and even columns were so constructed.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Porta (pyle, pule), the gate of a city, citadel, or other open space enclosed by a wall, in contradistinction to janua (=door) which was the door of a house or any covered edifice. The word pule is often found in the plural, even when applied to a single gate, because it consisted of two leaves (Thuc. ii. 4, &c.).
  In tracing out the walls of an Italian city with the ceremony described under pomerium the plough was lifted and carried across the openings to be left for the gates. The number and position of city gates in ancient Greece and Italy naturally varied according to circumstances. The old Etruscan custom was to give three gates to a walled city, dedicated to the three chief deities of the Etruscans: the same custom may possibly be seen in the three gates of Roma Quadrata (Plin. H. N. iii.66, where an alternative tradition of four gates is mentioned): two of these were the Porta Mugonia and Porta Romanula (Varro, L. L. v. 164). The ancient walls of Paestum, Sepianum, and Aosta enclose a square: in the centre of each of the four walls was a gate; the arrangement, however, was obviously affected by the nature of the ground, and the size of the city. Thus Megara had five gates; Thebes seven; others, as Rome, many more.
  The gates in ancient Greek walls were formed in various ways, showing progressive art in building. We may give, from Reber (Gesch. d. Baukunst, 231), four distinct methods:
1. The simple straight lintel, consisting of a long and massive block, as in the Lion Gate of Mycenae.
2. Stones projecting one beyond another in a step form from each side, and so gradually approaching till they can be topped by a flat lintel: an example is afforded by a gate at Phigalia.(see image in URL below)
3. A gable shape, formed by two massive stones meeting in an angle, as shown in a gate at Delos.(see image in URL below)
4. A refinement on No. 2, where the stones approach gradually, cut into shape, sometimes with a slight curve, till they join at the apex: they sometimes begin their slope from the ground, as in the gates of Missolonghi and Thoricos, or, in a more developed form, they are straight in their lower part, as the gate of Ephesus.(see image in URL below)
  When the arch was introduced (see arcus =arch), the construction of the gate itself varied only as regards its size: but there were many differences and improvements as regards its defence. From early days the importance of flanking bastions had been seen; these were at first simple projections of the wall at right angles, from the summit of which the defenders could shoot, and this developed into bastions formed by circular swellings of the wall on each side of the gate, and thence into regular flanking towers, round or square (see turris =tower), often with additional defences, such as are shown in the gate of Posidonia, or Paestum (see murus =wall). An additional security to the entrance was given by a double gateway, having an outer and inner gate with a space between. At Messene the space between was circular, so that the wall at that part had the shape of a round tower pierced by two opposite openings. This system of double gates was very early, as in the second and third gateways of the fortress at Tiryns; and it is instructive also in this early fortress to see how the besiegers were exposed to fire when they forced one gateway and passed round to the next. Care was taken here, and elsewhere, that the right or unshielded side should be towards the wall in their approach.
  At Como, Verona, and other ancient cities of Lombardy, the gate contains two passages close together, the one designed for carriages entering, and the other for carriages leaving the city. The same provision is observed in the magnificent ruin of a gate at Treves (see image in URL below). In other instances we find only one gate for carriages, but a smaller one on each side of it (parapulis, Heliodor. n viii) for foot-passengers. Each of the fine gates which remain at Autun has not only two carriage-ways, but exterior to them two sideways for pedestrians. Such sideways are well seen in the Porta d'Ercolano of Pompeii. When there were no sideways, one of the valves of the large gate sometimes contained a wicket (portula, pulis: rhinopule), large enough to admit a single person. The porter opened it when any one wished to go in or out by night (Polyb. viii. 20, 24; Liv. xxv. 9).
  The contrivances for fastening gates were in general the same as those used for doors, but larger in proportion. The wooden bar placed across them in the inside (mochlos) was kept in its position by the following method. A hole, passing through it perpendicularly (balanodoke, Aen. Tact. 18), admitted a cylindrical piece of iron, called balanos, which also entered a hole in the gate, so that, until it was taken out, the bar could not be removed either to the one side, or the other (Thuc. ii. 4; Aristoph. Vesp. 200; bebalanotai, Aves, 1159). Another piece of iron, fitted to the balanos and called balanagra, was used to extract it (Aen. Tact. l. c.). When the accomplices within, for want of this key, the balanagra, were unable to remove the bar, they cut it through with a hatchet (Thuc. iv. 111; Polyb. viii. 23, 24), or set it on fire (Aen. Tact. 19). (For the portcullis, see cataracta =katapakte)
  The gateway had commonly a chamber, either on one side or on both, which served as the residence of the porter or guard. It was called tulon (Polyb. viii. 20, 23, 24). Its situation is shown in the following plan.The Porta Ostiensis, the finest and best-preserved of the gates in the Aurelian wall, affords an instance of the more elaborate kind:--The central part of the gate with its arched doorway is of travertine, the outer arch is grooved, to receive a portcullis, and from the inner and higher arch two travertine corbels project, which received the upper pivots of the doors, the lower ones being let into holes in a massive travertine threshold. Above this stone archway is a battlemented wall of brickfaced concrete, pierced with a row of 7 arched windows, opening into a gate chamber with similar windows on the inside. On each side are two brick-faced towers with semicircular projections on the outside. In the gates of Como and Verona the gatehouse is three stories high. At Treves it was four stories high in the flanks, although the four stories remain standing in one of them only, as may be observed in the annexed woodcut. The length of this building is 115 feet; its depth 47 in the middle, 67 in the flanks; its greatest height, 92. All the four stories are ornamented in every direction with rows of Tuscan columns. The gateways are each 14 feet wide. The entrance of each appears to have been guarded, as at Pompeii, first by a portcullis, and then by gates of wood and iron. The barbican, between the double portcullis and the pair of gates, was no doubt open to the sky, as in the gates of Pompeii. The gate at Treves was probably erected by Constantine.

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Architectura (architektonia, architechtonike).
(I.) Greek
  Of the earliest efforts of the Greeks in architecture we have evidence in the so-called Cyclopean Walls surrounding the castles of kings in the Heroic Age of Tiryns, Argos, Mycenae, and elsewhere. They are of enormous thickness, some being constructed of rude, colossal blocks, whose gaps are filled up with smaller stones; while others are built of stones more or less carefully hewn, their interstices exactly fitting into each other. Gradually they begin to show an approximation to buildings with rectan gular blocks. The gates let into these walls are closed at the top either by the courses of stone jutting over from each side till they touch, or by a long straight block laid over the two leaning side-posts. Of the latter kind is the famous Lion Gate at Mycenae, so called from its two lions standing with their forefeet on the broad pedestal of a pillar, and remarkable as the oldest specimen of Greek sculpture.
  Among the most striking relics of this primitive age are the so-called thesauroi (treasuries, usually subterranean) of ancient dynasties, the most considerable being the treasure-house of Atreus at Mycenae. The usual form of these buildings is that of a circular chamber vaulted over by the horizontal courses approaching from all sides till they meet. Thus the vault is not a true arch. The interior seems originally to have been covered with metal plates, thus agreeing with Homer's descriptions of metal as a favourite ornament of princely houses (See Domus). An open-air building preserved from that age is the supposed Temple of Here on Mt. Ocha (now Hagios Elias ) in Euboea, a rectangle built of regular square blocks, with walls more than a yard thick, two small windows, and a door with leaning posts and a huge lintel in the southern side-wall. The sloping roof is of hewn flag-stones resting on the thickness of the wall and overlapping each other, but the centre is left open as in the hypaethral temples of a later time.
  From the simple shape of a rectangular house shut in by blank walls we gradually advance to finer and richer types, formed especially by the introduction of columns detached from the wall and serving to support the roof and ceiling. Even in Homer we find columns in the palaces to support the halls that surround the court-yard and the ceiling of the banqueting-room. The construction of columns (see Columna) received its artistic development first from the Dorians, after their migration into the Peloponnesus about B.C. 1000, next from the Ionians -and from each in a form suitable to their several characters. If the simple, serious character of the Dorians speaks in the Doric order, no less does the lighter, nimbler, and more showy genius of the Ionian race appear in the order named after them. By about B.C. 650, the Ionic style was flourishing side by side with the Doric.
  As it was in the construction of temples that architecture had developed her favourite forms, all other public buildings borrowed their artistic character from the temple (See Templum). The structure and furniture of private houses were, during the best days of Greece, kept down to the simplest forms. About B.C. 600, in the Greek islands and on the coast of Asia Minor, we come across the first architects known to us by name. It was then that Rhoecus and Theodorus of Samos, celebrated likewise as inventors of casting in bronze, built the great Temple of Here in that island, while Chersiphron of Cnosus in Crete, with his son Metagenes, began the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of the world, which was not finished till one hundred and twenty years after. In Greece Proper a vast temple to Zeus was begun at Athens in the sixth century B.C. (see Olympieum), and two more at Delphi and Olympia -one of the Corinthian Spintharus, the other by the Elean Libon. Here, and in the western colonies, the Doric style still predominated everywhere. Among the chief remains of this period, in addition to many ruined temples in Sicily, especially at Selinus and Agrigentum, should be mentioned the Temple of Poseidon at Paestum (Posidonia) in South Italy, one of the best preserved and most beautiful relics of antiquity. The patriotic fervour of the Persian Wars created a general expansion of Greek life, in which architecture and the sister art of sculpture were not slow to take a part. In these departments, as in the whole onward movement, a central position was taken by Athens, whose leading statesmen, Cimon and Pericles, lavished the great resources of the state at once in strengthening and beautifying the city. During this period arose a group of masterpieces that still astonish us in their ruins, some in the forms of a softened Doric, others in the Ionic style, which had now found its way into Attica, and was here developed into nobler shapes. The Doric order is represented by the Temple of Theseus; the Propylaea, built by Mnesicles; the Parthenon, a joint production of Ictinus and Callicrates -while the Erechtheum is the most brilliant creation of the Ionic order in Attica.
  The progress of the drama to its perfection in this period led to a corresponding improvement in the building of theatres. A stone theatre was begun at Athens even before the Persian Wars, and the Odeum of Pericles served similar purposes. How soon the highest results were achieved in this department, when once the fundamental forms had thus been laid down in outline at Athens, is shown by the theatre at Epidaurus, a work of Polyclitus, unsurpassed, as the ancients testify, by any later theatres in harmony and beauty. Another was built at Syracuse before B.C. 420. Nor is it only in the erection of single buildings that the great advance then made by architecture shows itself. In laying out new towns, or parts of towns, men began to proceed on artistic principles, an innovation due to Hippodamus of Miletus. (See Theatrum)
  In the fourth century B.C., owing to the change wrought in the Greek mind by the Peloponnesian War, in place of the pure and even tone of the preceding period, a desire for effect became more and more general, both in architecture and sculpture. The sober Doric style fell into abeyance and gave way to the Ionic, by the side of which a new order, the Corinthian, said to have been invented by the sculptor Callimachus, with its more gorgeous decorations, became increasingly fashionable. In the first half of the fourth century arose what the ancients considered the largest and grandest temple in the Peloponnesus, that of Athene at Tegea, a work of the sculptor and architect Scopas. During the middle of the century another of the "seven wonders", the splendid tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus, was constructed (See Mausoleum). Many magnificent temples arose in that time. In Asia Minor, the temple at Ephesus, burned down by Herostratus, was rebuilt by Alexander's bold architect Dinocrates. In the islands the ruins of the Temple of Athene at Priene, of Apollo at Miletus, of Dionysus at Teos, and others, even to this day offer a brilliant testimony to their former magnificence. Among Athenian buildings of that age the Monument of Lysicrates is conspicuous for its graceful elegance and elaborate development of the Corinthian style. In the succeeding age, Greek architecture shows its finest achievements in the building of theatres, especially those of Asiatic towns; in the gorgeous palaces of newly built royal capitals; and in general in the luxurious completeness of private buildings. As an important specimen of the last age of Attic architecture may also be mentioned the Tower of the Winds at Athens. (See Andronicus)

(II.) Etruscan and Roman.
  In architecture, as well as sculpture, the Romans were long under the influence of the Etruscans, who, though not possessing the gift of rising to the ideal, united wonderful activity and inventiveness with a passion for covering their buildings with rich ornamental carving. None of their temples have survived, for they built all the upper parts of wood; but many proofs of their activity in building remain, surviving from various ages, in the shape of tombs and walls. The latter clearly show how they progressed from piling up polygonal blocks in Cyclopean style to regular courses of squared stone. Here and there a building still shows that the Etruscans originally made vaultings by letting horizontal courses jut over, as in the ancient Greek thesauroi above mentioned: on the other hand, some very old gateways, as at Volterra and Perugia, exhibit the true arch of wedge-shaped stones, the introduction of which into Italy is probably due to Etruscan ingenuity, and from the introduction of which a new and magnificent development of architecture takes its rise. The most imposing of ancient Italian arch building is to be seen in the sewers of Rome constructed in the sixth century B.C. (See Cloaca =sewer, drain, hyponomos)
  When all other traces of Etruscan influence were being swept away at Rome by the intrusion of Greek forms of art, especially after the conquest of Greece in the middle of the second century B.C., the Roman architects kept alive in full vigour the Etruscan method of building the arch, which they developed and completed by the inventions of the cross-arch (or groined vault) and the dome. With the arch, which admits of a bolder and more varied management of spaces, the Romans combined, as a decorative element, the columns of the Greek orders. Among these their growing love of pomp gave the preference more and more to the Corinthian, adding to it afterwards a still more gorgeous embellishment in what is called the Roman or Composite capital. Another service rendered by the Romans was the introduction of building in brick. A more vigorous advance in Roman architecture dates from the opening of the third century B.C., when they began making great military roads and aqueducts. In the first half of the second century they built, on Greek models, the first basilica, which, besides its practical utility, served to embellish the Forum. Soon after the middle of the century appeared the first of their more ambitious temples in the Greek style. There is simple grandeur in the ruins of the Tabularium, or Record Office, built B.C. 78 on the slope of the Capitol next the Forum. These are among the few remains of Roman republican architecture; but in the last decades of the Republic simplicity gradually disappeared, and men were eager to display a princely pomp in public and private buildings; witness the first stone theatre erected by Pompey as early as B.C. 55. Then all that went before was eclipsed by the vast works undertaken by Caesar--the Theatre, Amphitheatre, Circus, Basilica Iulia, Forum Caesaris with its temple to Venus Genetrix. These were finished by Augustus, under whom Roman architecture seems to have reached its culminating-point. Augustus, aided by his son-in-law Agrippa, a man who understood building, not only completed his uncle's plans, but added many magnificent structures -the Forum Augusti with its temple to Mars Ultor, the Theatre of Marcellus with its Portico of Octavia, the Mausoleum, and others. Augustus could fairly boast that "having found Rome a city of brick, he left it a city of marble". The grandest monument of that age, and one of the loftiest creations of Roman art in general, is the Pantheon, built by Agrippa, adjacent to, but not connected with, his Thermae, the first of the many works of that kind in Rome. This structure is remarkable as being the only ancient building in Rome of which the walls and arches are now in a complete state of preservation. It was erected by Agrippa in B.C. 27, the original inscription being still retained upon the architrave of its porch. The Pantheon is a circular structure 146 feet and 6 inches in height and inner diameter, with a portico 103 feet long composed of sixteen Corinthian columns, 46 feet in height. Inside the portico at the entrance are two niches which once contained the colossal statues of Agrippa the builder, and of Augustus Caesar. The walls of the building, which are 19 feet thick, support a dome or cupola of vast dimensions, constructed of concrete. At the vertex of the cupola is an opening nearly 30 feet in diameter, lighting the interior.
  A still more splendid aspect was imparted to the city by the rebuilding of the old town burned down in Nero's fire, and by the "Golden House" of Nero, a gorgeous pile, the like of which was never seen before, but which was destroyed on the violent death of its creator. The immense and complicated structure, or rather mass of structures, known as the Palace of the Caesars, formed one of the most striking achievements of Roman architectural genius (See Palatium). It was, as Professor Lanciani puts it, a labyrinth of "endless suites of apartments, halls, terraces, porticoes, crypts, and cellars", having its main approach on the Via Sacra. At its arched entrance was a magnificent quadriga cut from a single block of white marble by Lysias. Beyond was a peristyle of fifty-two fluted columns adorned with a host of exquisite statues representing the Danaidae, and adjacent to a great library. The magnificence of the palace as a whole may be conjectured from a simple summary of the treasures which we know to have been lavished upon the mere vestibule--a hundred and twenty columns of marble and bronze, statuary, bas-reliefs by Bupalus and Anthermus, a quadriga in gilded bronze, exquisite ivory carvings, hundreds of medallions in gold, silver, and bronze, immense collections of gold and silver plate, gems and cameos, and a colossal bronze statue of Augustus, fifty feet in height.
  Of the luxurious grandeur of private buildings we have ocular proof in the dwelling-houses of Pompeii, a petty country town in comparison with Rome. The progress made under the Flavian emperors is evidenced by Vespasian's amphitheatre, known as the Colosseum, the mightiest Roman ruin in the world; by the ruined Thermae, or Baths, of Titus, and by his triumphal arch, the oldest specimen extant in Rome of this class of monument, itself a creation of the Roman mind. But all previous buildings were surpassed in size and splendour when Trajan's architect, Apollodorus of Damascus, raised the Forum Traianum with its huge Basilica Ulpia and the still surviving Column of Trajan, besides other magnificent structures, including libraries, a great temple, a two-storied gallery, and a triumphal arch. The Basilica had five halls, the central one being 27 yards long, and the whole structure 61 yards wide. It was paved with slabs of rare marble. Only a part of this Forum has yet been excavated, but enough has been brought to light to justify the vivid description of Ammianus Marcellinus (xvi. 10), whose account refers to the time of the emperor Constantine's visit to Rome in the year 356. No less extensive were the works of Hadrian, who, besides adorning Athens with many magnificent buildings, bequeathed to Rome a Temple of Venus and Roma, the most colossal of all Roman temples, and his own Mausoleum, the core of which is preserved in the Castle of St. Angelo. While the works of the Antonines already show a gradual decline in architectural feeling, the Triumphal Arch of Severus ushers in the period of decay that set in with the third century. In this closing period of Roman rule the buildings grow more and more gigantic -witness the Baths of Caracalla, those of Diocletian, with his palace at Salona (three miles from Spalatro) in Dalmatia, and the Basilica of Constantine, breathing the last feeble gasp of ancient life. But outside of Rome and Italy, in every part of the enormous Empire to its utmost barbarian borders, bridges, numberless remains of roads and aqueducts and viaducts, ramparts and gateways, palaces, villas, marketplaces and judgment-halls, baths, theatres, amphitheatres, and temples, attest the versatility, majesty, and solidity of Roman architecture, most of whose creations only the rudest shocks have been able to destroy.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited June 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Pseudisodomum: An early style of masonry used by the Greeks, in which the stones were regularly laid but were not of the same size. (See Isodomus.) An example is found in the wall of the Lion Gate at Mycenae

Perseus Building Catalog

Mycenae, Palace

Site: Mycenae
Type: Palace
Summary: The palace at Mycenae is on the summit of the citadel hill
Date: 1250 B.C. - 1200 B.C.
Period: Late Bronze Age

Built in different levels on the uneven ground, the main elements of the complex were the megaron with central hearth and anteroom and the central court. Two entrances led to the central court: the propylon and west passage at NW, and the Grand Staircase to the S. A long corridor separated the official room from the private apartments and bath located to the N, at the highest position on the summit. The House of Columns or Little Palace and artists' quarters to the E may have been a part of the palace complex. Other corridors, guard rooms and store rooms have also been identified.

Large scale levelling and terracing for the palace destroyed remains of an earlier, smaller palace. Construction in later Hellenistic times and erosion destroyed much of the palace, especially the private rooms and the area to SE.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 6 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Mycenae, Postern Gate

Site: Mycenae
Type: Gate
Summary: Postern Gate at Mycenae is located in the N wall ca. 250 m. E of the Lion Gate.
Date: 1250 B.C. - 1200 B.C.
Period: Late Bronze Age

A narrow gate for double wooden doors built with an enceinte or narrow passage before it and massive flanking walls. Same strategic construction as the Lion Gate, but on smaller scale.

Constructed at same time as Lion Gate, Northeastern Extension and other enlargements to the citadel at ca. 1250 BC.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 2 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Mycenae, Cult Center

Site: Mycenae
Type: Sanctuary
Summary: The Cult Center at Mycenae is a complex S of Grave Circle A and between the Great Ramp and the E citadel circuit wall
Date: 1250 B.C. - 1200 B.C.
Period: Late Bronze Age

A maze-like complex of structures that may, on the basis of layout and character of artifacts, be grouped into 4 zones: E group including "Tsountas' House" and Shrine with altar, N group with large open area, Central group including Room with the Idols, and W group including Room with the Fresco. Perhaps an indication of different cult deities. Also indications of temple industries in ivory and other materials.

The area, as Grave Circle A, was originally outside the citadel walls and the basic layout of the buildings date to just after the enlargement of the fortress walls at ca. 1250 B.C. There may have been earlier cult activity in the area before the citadel walls enclosed it.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 1 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Mycenae, Citadel

Site: Mycenae
Type: Fortification
Summary: Citadel walls of Mycenae protected the palace, administration buildings and some habitations.
Date: 1350 B.C. - 1200 B.C.
Period: Late Bronze Age

A roughly triangular fortress around a low hill (280 m. above sea level) with 1 main gate, a postern gate and 1 or 2 sally ports. A paved ramp-road winds from the main gate, past Grave Circle A, past buildings of lower citadel, and up to the palace.

3 stages of construction: 1) ca. 1350 BC, walls enclosed highest portion of hill; 2) ca. 1250 BC, area enlarged to S and W, enclosing Grave Circle A. Lion Gage and postern gate added: 3) ca. 1200 BC, NE Extension encloses access to water reservoir. SE section of citadel lost to later natural erosion.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 1 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Mycenae, Northeastern Extension

Site: Mycenae
Type: Fortification
Summary: Northeastern Extension is a small enlargement to the Mycenae citadel walls at the NE.
Date: 1250 B.C. - 1200 B.C.
Period: Late Bronze Age

Walls, 7 m. thick., enclose an area added to the circuit walls to provide access to an underground water reservoir and a sally port. A second opening in the wall gave access to a watch platform along the SE side of the citadel extension or served as a S sally port.

A major element in the strengthening of the citadel defenses at cat 1250 - 1200 BC.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 1 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Mycenae, Grave Circle A

Site: Mycenae
Type: Tomb
Summary: Grave Circle A is inside the citadel walls at Mycenae, S of the Lion Gate.
Date: 1550 B.C. - 1500 B.C.
Period: Middle Bronze Age

A circular area enclosed by a low wall with a wide entrance facing the Lion Gate. In circle were 10 grave stelai carved in low relief and 6 shaft graves containing 19 bodies.

Originally outside the citadel walls, Grave Circle A seems to have been established as a heroon and was enclosed within the enlargement of the fortress at ca. 1250 BC.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 9 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Mycenae, Treasury of Atreus

Site: Mycenae
Type: Tomb
Summary: One of 9 tholos tombs located outside the walls at Mycenae
Date: 1300 B.C. - 1250 B.C.
Period: Late Bronze Age

Subterranean circular chamber with a corbelled dome (hence also called "beehive tombs"), small adjacent rock-cut chamber and level dromos or access way leading to the side of the hill.

Largest and best preserved of the 9 tholos tombs at Mycenae. Believed to be one of the latest built. In Pausanias' time thought to have served originally as a treasury.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 19 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Mycenae, Lion Gate

Site: Mycenae
Type: Gate
Summary: The Lion Gate is main entrance to citadel of Mycenae, located in NW wall of the fortress.
Date: 1250 B.C. - 1200 B.C.
Period: Late Bronze Age

A gateway for double wooden doors set into the thick fortification walls. Approach to the gate is up a ramp and through an enceinte or confining passage. A second passage and guardroom are located inside the gate. From here the ramp-road circled through the lower citadel up to the palace.

The monumental gateway was erected when the citadel walls were enlarged and strengthened ca. 1250 BC.

This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 8 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

Perseus Site Catalog

IREON (Ancient sanctuary) ARGOS - MYKINES

Argive Heraion

Region: Argolid
Periods: Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman
Type: Sanctuary
Summary: The main sanctuary to Hera in the Argive territory.

Physical Description:
The Heraion is located approximately equidistant from Argos and Mycenae, in an area referred to by Pausanias as Prosymna. The sanctuary occupies 3 artificial terraces below Mt. Euboea and has a commanding view of the Argive plain. The upper terrace, supported by a retaining wall of possible late Geometric date, is a level paved area occupied by the Old Temple and an altar. The later, middle terrace supports the New Temple, where a chryselephantine statue of Hera by Polykleitos was housed. Other structures located on this terrace included one of the earliest examples of a building with a peristyle court, which may have served as a banquet hall. On the lowest terrace is a stoa and an Archaic step-like retaining wall. To the W are Roman baths and palaestra.
Although tradition states that Agamemnon was elected at the Heraion to lead the Trojan expedition, the earliest finds at the cult area date to the Geometric period. The sanctuary grew and expended during the Archaic and Classical period and most of the remains (with the exception of the Roman baths and palaestra) date to the 7th through 5th centuries B.C. The sanctuary continued in importance through the Roman period.
Discovered 1831 by T. Gordon. Minor excavations: Gordon (1836), Rangabe and Bursian (1854), Schliemann (1874), Stamatakis (1878) and Caskey and Amandry 1949. Major excavations: American School of Classical Studies; C. Waldstein 1892-1895, C. Blegen 1925-1928.

Donald R. Keller, ed.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 77 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

MYCENAE (Mycenean palace) ARGOLIS


Region: Argolid
Periods: Neolithic, Early Bronze Age, Middle Bronze Age, Late Bronze Age, Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic
Type: Fortified city
Summary: Center of the Mycenaean Empire and traditional palace of Agamemnon.

Physical Description:
Located ca. half-way between Corinth and Argos and controlling the natural pass from the Isthmus to the Peloponnese, Mycenae was a citadel palace that included extensive fortifications, granaries, guardrooms, shrines and a few private dwellings situated around the palace complex. The palace consisted of a central megaron meeting hall, throne room and courtyard with adjacent private quarters, storerooms, guard stations and administrative rooms. Outside the Lion Gate and massive walls of the citadel are found the private houses, workshops, public works and other features of the dispersed settlement and the tholos tombs of the ruling clans.
Mycenae, on a naturally defensible hill with a commanding view and plentiful nearby fresh water, was first occupied in the Neolithic period. Habitation continued throughout the Early and Middle Helladic periods and the first palace complex was probably built at the beginning of the Late Helladic period. In the Late Helladic IIIA period the fortifications probably followed the natural boundary of the hilltop. In Late Helladic IIIB the circuit was enlarged to the S and W, and toward the end of Late Helladic IIIB an E extension to the citadel was added with a sally port and access to an underground water supply. It was at this time that the great Lion Gate was also constructed. The citadel and palace of Mycenae were destroyed at the end of the Late Helladic IIIB, although some occupation continued at the site during the Late Helladic IIIC period. In the Geometric period only a few small houses occupied the summit of the hill. In the Archaic period a temple was built on the summit. During the Persian Wars Mycenae sent a small force to fight at Thermopylae and Plataea. In 468 B.C. Argos destroyed the acropolis at Mycenae and the city later came under direct Argive control. As a deme of Argos the acropolis was rebuilt and fortification walls were built around the lower town. The site continued to be inhabited until the end of the 3rd century A.D.
Lord Elgin explored the Treasury of Atreus in 1802 and Lord Sligo took the columns from it to London in 1910. Excavations: 1874-76, H. Schliemann; 1876-77, P. Stamatakis; 1884-1902, C. Tsountas; 1920-23, 1939, and 1950-57, A. Wace, British School of Archaeology; 1950s to present, J. Papadimitriou, G. Mylonas, D. Theocharis, N. Verdelis, A. Orlandos, E. Stikas, A. Keramopoullos, S. Marinatos, and S. Iakovidis of the Greek Archaeological Society and the Greek Archaeological Service and E. French and W. Taylour of the British School of Archaeology.

Donald R. Keller, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 54 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.

You are able to search for more information in greater and/or surrounding areas by choosing one of the titles below and clicking on "more".

Ferry Departures

Copyright 1999-2019 International Publications Ltd.