Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/888

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

western entrance being the well-known Doric portico of Athena Archegetis with an inscription recording its erection from donations of Julius Caesar and Augustus. The whole conclave may be compared with the enclosed bazaars or khans of Oriental cities which are usually locked at night. The Agrippeum, a covered theatre, derived its name from Vipsanius Agrippa, whose statue was set up, about 27 B.C., beneath the north wing of the Acropolis propylaea, on the high rectangular base still remaining. At the eastern end of the Acropolis a little circular temple of white marble with a peristyle of 9 Ionic columns was dedicated to Rome and Augustus; its foundations were discovered during the excavations of 1885–1888. The conspicuous monument which crowns the Museum Hill was erected as the mausoleum of Antiochus Philopappus of Commagene, grandson of Antiochus Epiphanes, in A.D. 114–116. Excavations carried out in 1898–1899 showed that the structure was nearly square; the only portion remaining is the slightly curved front, with three niches between Corinthian pilasters; in the central niche is the statue of Philopappus.

The emperor Hadrian was the most lavish of all the benefactors of Athens. Besides completing the gigantic Olympieum he enlarged the circuit of the city walls to the east, enclosing the area now covered by the royal Novae Athenae: the build-
ings of
public gardens and the Constitution Square. This was the City of Hadrian (Hadrianapolis) or New Athens (Novae Athenae); a handsome suburb with numerous villas, baths and gardens; some traces remain of its walls, which, like those of Themistocles, were fortified with rectangular towers. An ornamental entrance near the Olympieum, the existing Arch of Hadrian, marked the boundary between the new and the old cities. The arch is surmounted by a triple attic with Corinthian columns; the frieze above the keystone bears, on the north-western side, the inscription αἴδ᾽ εἴσ᾽ Ἀθῆναι, Θησέως ἡ πρὶν πόλις and on the south-eastern, αἴδ᾽ εἴσ᾽ Ἁδριανοῦ καὶ οὐχὶ Θησέως πόλις. One of the principal monuments of Hadrian’s munificence was the sumptuous library, in all probability a vast rectangular enclosure, immediately north of the New Agora, the eastern side of which was explored in 1885–1886. A portion of its western front, adorned with monolith unfluted Corinthian columns, is still standing—the familiar “Stoa of Hadrian”; another well-preserved portion, with six pilasters, runs parallel to the west side of Aeolus Street. The interior consisted of a spacious court surrounded by a colonnade of 100 columns, into which five chambers opened at the eastern end. A portico of four fluted Corinthian columns on the western side formed the entrance to the quadrangle. This cloistered edifice may be identified with the library of Hadrian mentioned by Pausanias; the books were, perhaps, stored in a square building which occupied a portion of the central area. Strikingly similar in design and construction is a large quadrangular building, the foundations of which were discovered by the British School near the presumed Cynosarges; this may perhaps be the Gymnasium of Hadrian, which Pausanias tells us also possessed 100 columns. A Pantheon and temples of Hera and Zeus Panhellenius were likewise built by Hadrian; the aqueduct, which he began, was completed by Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138–161); it was repaired in 1861–1869 and is still in use.

The Stadium, in which the Panathenaic Games were held, was first laid out by the orator Lycurgus about 330 B.C. It was an oblong structure filling a natural depression near the left bank of the Ilissus beneath the eastern declivity The
Odeum of Herodes Atticus.
of the Ardettus hill, the parallel sides and semicircular end, or σφενδόνη around the arena being partially excavated from the adjoining slopes. The immense building, however, which was restored in 1896 and the following years, was that constructed in Pentelic marble about A.D. 143 by Tiberius Claudius Herodes Atticus, a wealthy Roman resident, whose benefactions to the city rivalled those of Hadrian. The seats, rising in tiers, as in a theatre, accommodated about 44,000 spectators; the arena was 670 ft. in length and 109 ft. in breadth. The Odeum, built beneath the south-west slope of the Acropolis after A.D. 161 by Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife Regilla, is comparatively well preserved; it was excavated in 1848 and in 1857–1858. The plan is that of the conventional Roman theatre; the semicircular auditorium, which seated some 5000 persons, is, like that of the Dionysiac theatre, partly hollowed from the rock. The orchestra is paved with marble squares. The façade, in Peiraic stone, displays three storeys of arched windows. The whole building was covered with a cedar roof. The Stadium had been already completed and the Odeum had not yet been built when Pausanias visited Athens; these buildings were the last important additions to the architectural monuments of the ancient city.  (J. D. B.) 

II. The Modern City

At the conclusion of the Greek War of Independence, Athens was little more than a village of the Turkish type, the poorly built houses clustering on the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis. The narrow crooked lanes of this quarter still contrast with the straight, regularly laid-out streets of the modern city, which extends to the north-west, north and east of the ancient citadel. The greater commercial advantages offered by Nauplia, Corinth and Patras were outweighed by the historic claims of Athens in the choice of a capital for the newly founded kingdom, and the seat of government was transferred hither from Nauplia in 1833. The new town was, for the most part, laid out by the German architect Schaubert. It contains several squares and boulevards, a large public garden, and many handsome public and private edifices. A great number of the public institutions owe their origin to the munificence of patriotic Greeks, among whom Andreas Syngros and George Averoff may be especially mentioned. The royal palace, designed by Friedrich von Gärtner (1792–1847), is a tasteless structure; attached to it is a beautiful garden laid out by Queen Amalia, which contains a well-preserved mosaic floor of the Roman period. On the south-east is the newly built palace of the crown prince. The Academy, from designs by Theophil Hansen (1813–1891), is constructed of Pentelic marble in the Ionic style: the colonnades and pediments are richly coloured and gilded, and may perhaps convey some idea of the ancient style of decoration. Close by is the university, with a colonnade adorned with paintings, and the Vallianean library with a handsome Doric portico of Pentelic marble. The observatory, which is connected with the university, stands on the summit of the Hill of the Nymphs; like the Academy, it was erected at the expense of a wealthy Greek, Baron Sina of Vienna. In the public garden is the Zappeion, a large building with a Corinthian portico, intended for the display of Greek industries; here also is a monument to Byron, erected in 1896. The Boulē, or parliament-house, possesses a considerable library. Other public buildings are the Polytechnic Institute, built by contributions from Greeks of Epirus, the theatre, the Arsakeion (a school for girls), the Varvakeion (a gymnasium), the military school (σχολὴ εὐελπίδων), and several hospitals and orphanages. The cathedral, a large, modern structure is devoid of architectural merit, but some of the smaller, ancient, Byzantine churches are singularly interesting and beautiful. Among private residences, the mansion built by Dr Schliemann, the discoverer of Troy, is the most noteworthy; its decorations are in the Pompeian style.

The museums of Athens have steadily grown in importance with the progress of excavation. They are admirably arranged, and the remnants of ancient art which they contain have fortunately escaped injudicious restoration. Museums. The National Museum, founded in 1866, is especially rich in archaic sculptures and in sepulchral and votive reliefs. A copy of the Diadumenos of Polyclitus from Delos, and temple sculptures from Epidaurus and the Argive Heraeum, are among the more notable of its recent acquisitions. It also possesses the famous collection of prehistoric antiquities found by Schliemann at Tiryns and Mycenae, other “Mycenaean” objects discovered at Nauplia and in Attica, as well as the still earlier remains excavated by Tsountas in the Cyclades and by the British School at Phylakopi in Melos; terra-cottas from Tanagra and Asia