Siphnian Treasury

Delphi, Greece

525 BCE

The Siphnian Treasury was a building at the Ancient Greek cult centre of Delphi, erected to host the offerings of the polis, or city-state, of Siphnos. It was one of a number of treasuries lining the “Sacred Way”, the processional route through the Sanctuary of Apollo, erected to win the favor of the gods and increase the prestige of the donor polis. It was one of the earlier surviving buildings of this type, and its date remains a matter for debate, with the most plausible date being around 525 BC. Until recently it was often confused or conflated with the neighbouring Cnidian Treasury, a similar but less elaborate building, as the remains of the two had become mixed together and earlier theoretical reconstructions used parts of both. That is the reason I struggled to find reconstructions of the Cnidian counter-part but to no sucsses.

Greek Terracotta Cosmetic Vase from the Archaic Period, 4th quarter of the 6th century B.C.

On one side of the upper frieze of this exquisite vase, a youth holds two winged horses and two youths drive a chariot. Real and imaginary animals circulate on the other frieze areas between carefully drawn geometric patterns. The ram’s-head cover may have served as a handle for a cosmetic applicator.


Arch of Augustus

Susa, Italy

1st century BCE

11.93 m long and 7.3 m wide

It was originally built at the end of the 1st century BC to record the renewed alliance between Emperor Augustus and Marcus Julius Cottius, a celto-ligurian ruler, made king and Roman prefect of the Cottian Alps. 

The arch has a unique arcade, in which the archivolt is supported by pilasters. The entablature rests on four Corinthian columns placed at the extremities of each corner, such that a quarter of each drum is embedded in the monument. The lowest architrave is composed of three bands of which the lowest band is thicker than the middle band, and this in turn is thicker than the top band. Above the architrave, a frieze composed of a bass relief stretches around all four sides. Above that is the cornice which has twenty-two corbels on each face and twelve on each side of the arch. The corbels’ panels are decorated with roses. On tob of that rests the attic, which displays an inscription on both faces.


Heroon of Trysa

Trysa, Lycia, Turkey

~380 BCE

The Heroon is a set of four walls, decorated with reliefs of Greek and Lycian heroic tales.  The walls originally stood on a mountain peak in southern Turkey, a bit northeast of the island of Rhodes, and enclosed the burial site of a Lycian hero prince-a hero being a leader capable of supernatural deeds

The walls average 9 feet in height, and 66 by 78 feet in length and are decorated with two rows of reliefs, one above the other.  Nearly 85 percent of the frieze reliefs survived the centuries.

The Heroon is one of the most important relief monuments of classical art.  Unique to this work and little known is that Lycian heroic episodes are intertwined with similar Greek stories in the depictions.  For example, the story of Bellerophon, the Corinthian hero, who refused the advances of the wife of King Proetus of Argos.  An angry Proetus (who questioned Bellerophon’s innocence) sent him to his father-in-law Iobates in Lycia who then gave him a dangerous mission-to kill the Chimera.