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Greek Architecture - Corinthian Examples

( Originally Published 1921 )



Temple of Apollo Epicurius, Bassae B.C. 430

The Tholos, Epidauros (Internal Order) B.C. 350

The Philippeion, Olympia B.C. 338

Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, Athens B.C. 335

Temple of Apollo Didymaus, Miletus B.C. 3334-320

The Olympieion, Athens B.C. 174 A.D.

Tower of the Winds, Athens B.C. 100-35

The Vestibule, Eleusis.

The Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, Athens (B.C.335) (pp.105 G, Io6, 116 E, 125 E) is a type of monument erected to support a tripod, as a prize for athletic exercises, or musical competitions in Greek festivals. There were many of these in the Street of Tripods. They are referred to in Virgil's IEneid (V, 140) :

" In view amid the spacious circle lay
The splendid gifts, the prizes of the day,
Arms on the ground, and sacred tripods glow
With wreaths of palms, to bind the Victor's brow." (Translation by Pitt.)

The rusticated podium or base of Piraeus stone, 9 ft. 6 ins. square, supports a circular structure of 6 ft. internal diameter, surrounded by Corinthian columns supporting an entablature crowned by a marble dome, ornamented with sculptured scrolls terminating in a floral ornament which formerly supported the bronze tripod, 34 ft. above the ground. Between the columns, which are complete in themselves (pp. 105 G, 116 E) are curved wall panels with the upper part ornamented with bas-reliefs. The interior was apparently never intended for use, as there was no provision for admitting light. The six Corinthian columns, 11 ft. 7 ins. high, project rather more than half their diameter beyond the panels, and rest on a secondary base encircling the monument. The flutings of the columns are peculiar, as they terminate in leaves and the channel above them may have had a bronze collar, though the Greeks used similar sinkings under Doric capitals. The capitals, 1 ft. 7 ins. high, somewhat resemble those of the half-columns of the naos in the Temple of Apollo Didymaeus, Miletus. The foliage is different from the later type in having a lower row of sixteen small lotus leaves, then a single row of beautiful acanthus leaves, and between them an eight-petalled flower resembling an Egyptian lotus. Inside, where they could not be seen, the capitals were left unfinished. The architrave bears an inscription indicating the purpose of the monument, the frieze is sculptured to represent the myth of Dionysos and the Tyrrhenian pirates, and the cornice is crowned with a peculiar honeysuckle scroll instead of a cyma recta moulding, probably an imitation of the antefix in Greek temples. The cupola is delicately carved with a covering of laurel leaves, and from the upper part branch out three scrolls, generally supposed to have supported dolphins or figures (p. 125 E). The central foliated stalk, branching in three directions, still has the cavities for the reception of the original tripod.

The Olympieion, Athens (B.C. 174) (pp. 76 H, 104 B, 124 A) stands on the site of an earlier Doric temple commenced by Pisistratus B.C. 530. It was begun by Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria, from designs by Cossutius, a Roman architect, and so is often regarded as a Roman building. It remained incomplete, and Pliny records that in B.C. 80 Sulla transported some of the columns to Rome for the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus (p. 138). The building was completed in A.D. 117 by Hadrian, but only fifteen columns of the original peristyle are standing. It was dipteral octastyle on plan (p. 76 H), and occupied an area of 362 ft. 6 ins. by 145 ft. 6 ins., somewhat larger than that of the Hypostyle Hall at Karnak, and was placed in the centre of a magnificent peribolus or enclosure measuring 68o ft. by 424 ft., part of the retaining wall of which still remains. It is described by Vitruvius as hypthral, but this is inconclusive, as in his time it was unfinished. The one hundred and four peristyle columns were 6 ft. 4 ins. in diameter and 56 ft. high, a proportion of about one to nine, and the fine Corinthian capitals appear to date from both periods of its construction (p. 124 A).

The Tower of the Winds, Athens (B.C. 100-35) (pp. 105 J, 106, 124 B, C), is also known as the Horologium of Andronikos Cyrrhestes, who erected it for measuring time by means of a clepsydra or water-clock internally, and by a sundial externally ; while it was also provided with a weather vane. The building, on a stylobate of three steps, is octagonal, and its eight sides face the more important points of the compass. It measures 22 ft. 4 ins. internally, and on the north-east and north-west sides are porticoes with fluted Corinthian columns 13 ft. 6 ins. high, which have no base, and the capitals are of a plain, unusual type, without volutes, the upper row of leaves resembling those of the palm. From the south side projects a circular chamber, probably used as a reservoir to supply the water-clock. The interior is 40 ft. 9 ins, high, and the upper part is encircled by small fluted Doric columns, standing on a circular band of stone. The external wall of the octagonal structure is plain for a height of 29 ft. with the exception of the incised lines forming the sundial, and above this, boldly sculptured figures on each face represent the eight principal winds (p. 124 B, C). The roof, formed of twenty-four blocks of marble, was once surmounted by a bronze Triton (Vitruvius, Bk. I, chap. vi).



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