friezes

10

Temple  of Athena Nike

Athens’ Acropolis, Greece

420 BCE

Stylobate: 8.27 m x 5.64 m; height: ca. 4 m.

The Temple of Athena Nike was named after the Greek goddess, Athena Nike. The temple is the earliest fully Ionic temple on the Acropolis. It was a prominent position on a steep bastion at the south west corner of the Acropolis to the right of the entrance, the Propylaea. In contrast to the Acropolis proper, a walled sanctuary entered through the Propylaea, the Victory Sanctuary was open, entered from the Propylaea’s southwest wing and from a narrow stair on the north. The sheer walls of its bastion were protected on the north, west, and south by the Nike Parapet, named for its frieze of Nikai celebrating victory and sacrificing to their patroness, Athena Nike.

Nike means victory in Greek, and Athena was worshipped in this form, as goddess of victory in war and wisdom. The citizens worshipped the goddess in hope of a successful outcome in the long Peloponnesian War fought on land and sea against the Spartans and their allies.

7

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.

4

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.