front of this was built in late Greek or early Roman times a stage with a row of columns which intruded upon the orchestra space; a later and larger stage, dating from the time of Nero, advanced still farther into the orchestra, and this was finally faced (probably in the 3rd century A.D.) by the “bema” of Phaedrus, a platform-wall decorated with earlier reliefs, the slabs of which were cut down to suit their new position. The remains of two temples of Dionysus have been found adjoining the stoa of the theatre, and an altar of the same god adorned with masks and festoons; the smaller and earlier temple probably dates from the 6th century B.C., the larger from the end of the 5th or the beginning of the 4th century.
Immediately west of the theatre of Dionysus is the sacred precinct of Asclepius, which was excavated by the Archaeological Society in 1876–1878. Here were discovered the foundations of the celebrated Asclepieum, together with several inscriptions and a great number of votive reliefs offered by grateful invalids and valetudinarians to the god of healing. Many of the reliefs belong to the best period of Greek art. A Doric colonnade with a double row of columns was found to have extended along the base of the Acropolis for a distance of 54 yds.; behind it in a chamber hewn in the rock is the sacred well mentioned by Pausanias. The colonnade was a place of resort for the patients; a large building close beneath the rock was probably the abode of the priests.
The beautiful choragic monument of Lysicrates, dedicated in the archonship of Euaenetus (335–334 B.C.), is the only survivor of a number of such structures which stood in the “Street of the Tripods” to the east of the Dionysiac The choragic monument of Lysicrates. theatre, bearing the tripods given to the successful choragi at the Dionysiac festival. It owes its preservation to its former inclusion in a Capuchin convent. The monument consists of a small circular temple of Pentelic marble, 21½ ft. in height and 9 ft. in diameter, with six engaged Corinthian columns and a sculptured frieze, standing on a rectangular base of Peiraic stone. The delicately carved convex roof, composed of a single block, was surmounted by the tripod. The spirited reliefs of the frieze represent the punishment of the Tyrrhenian pirates by Dionysus and their transformation into dolphins. Another choragic monument was that of Thrasyllus, which faced a cave in the Acropolis rock above the Dionysiac theatre. A portion of another, that of Nicias, was used to make the late Roman gate of the Acropolis. In one of these monuments was the famous Satyr of Praxiteles.
The Cynosarges, from earliest times a sanctuary of Heracles, later a celebrated gymnasium and the school of Antisthenes the Cynic, has hitherto been generally supposed to have occupied the site of the Monastery of the Asomati The Cynosarges. on the eastern slope of Lycabettus; its situation, however, has been fixed by Dörpfeld at a point a little to the south of the Olympieum, on the left bank of the Ilissus. Here a series of excavations, carried out by the British School in 1896–1897 under the direction of Cecil Smith, revealed the foundations of an extensive Greek building, the outlines of which correspond with those of a gymnasium; it possessed a large bath or cistern, and was flanked on two sides by water-courses. An Ionic capital found here possibly belonged to the palaestra. The identification, however, cannot be regarded as certain in the absence of inscriptions.
With the loss of political liberty the age of creative genius in Athenian architecture came to a close. The era of decadence, of honorary statues and fulsome inscriptions, began. The embellishments which the city received during The Hellenistic period:
of Attalus. the Hellenistic and Roman periods were no longer the artistic expression of the religious and political life of a great commonwealth; they were the tribute paid to the intellectual renown of Athens by foreign potentates or dilettanti, who desired to add their names to the list of its illustrious citizens and patrons. Among the first of these benefactions was the great gymnasium of Ptolemy, built in the neighbourhood of the Agora about 250 B.C. Successive princes of the dynasty of Pergamum interested themselves in the adornment of the city: Attalus I. set up a number of bronze statues on the Acropolis; Eumenes II. built the long portico west of the Dionysiac theatre, which was excavated and identified in 1877; Attalus II. erected the magnificent Stoa near the Agora, the remains of which were completely laid bare in 1898–1902 and have been identified by an inscription. The Stoa consisted of a series of 21 chambers, probably shops, faced by a double colonnade, the outer columns being of the Doric order, the inner unfluted, with lotus-leaf capitals; it possessed an upper storey fronted with Ionic columns.
The greatest monument, however, of the Hellenistic period is the colossal Olympieum or temple of Olympian Zeus, “unum in terris inchoatum pro magnitudine dei” (Livy xli. 20), the remains of which stand by the Ilissus The Olympieum. to the south-east of the Acropolis. The foundations of a temple were laid on the site—probably that of an ancient sanctuary-by Peisistratus, but the building in its ultimate form was for the greater part constructed under the auspices of Antiochus IV. Epiphanes, king of Syria, by the Roman architect Cossutius in the interval between 174 B.C. and 164 B.C., the date of the death of Antiochus. The work was then suspended and its proposed resumption in the time of Augustus seems not to have been realized; finally, in A.D. 129, the temple was completed and dedicated by Hadrian, who set up a chryselephantine statue of Zeus in the cella. The substructure was excavated in 1883 by F. C. Penrose, who proved the correctness of Dörpfeld’s theory that the building was octostyle; its length was 318 ft., its breadth 132 ft. With the exception of the foundations and two lower steps of the stylobate, it was entirely of Pentelic marble, and possessed 104 Corinthian columns, 56 ft. 7 in. in height, of which 48 stood in triple rows under the pediments and 56 in double rows at the sides; of these, 16 remained standing in 1852, when one was blown down by a storm. Fragments of Doric columns and foundations were discovered, probably intended for the temple begun by Peisistratus, the orientation of which differed slightly from that of the later structure. The peribolos, a large artificial platform supported by a retaining wall of squared Peiraic blocks with buttresses, was excavated in 1898 without important results; it is to be hoped that the stability of the columns has not been affected by the operations.
The Roman Period.—After 146 B.C. Athens and its territory were included in the Roman province of Achaea. Among the earlier buildings of this period is the Horologium of Andronicus of Cyrrhus (the “Tower of the Winds”), The Horologium of Andronicus. still standing near the eastern end of the Roman Agora. The building may belong to the 2nd or 1st century B.C.; it is mentioned by Varro (De re rust. iii. 5. 17), and therefore cannot be of later date than 35 B.C. It is an octagonal marble structure, 42 ft. in height and 26 ft. in diameter; the eight sides, which face the points of the compass, are furnished with a frieze containing inartistic figures in relief representing the winds; below it, on the sides facing the sun, are the lines of a sun-dial. The building was surmounted by a weathercock in the form of a bronze Triton; it contained a water-clock to record the time when the sun was not shining.
The capture and sack of Athens by Sulla (March 1, 86 B.C.) seems to have involved no great injury to its architectural monuments beyond the burning of the Odeum of Pericles; a portion of the city wall was razed, the Monuments of the Roman period. groves of the Academy and Lyceum were cut down, and the Peiraeus, with its magnificent arsenal and other great buildings, burnt to the ground. After this catastrophe the benefactors of Athens were for the most part Romans; the influence of Greek literature and art had begun to affect the conquering race. The New, or Roman, Agora to the north of the Acropolis, perhaps mainly an oil market, was constructed after the year 27 B.C. Its dimensions were practically determined by excavation in 1890–1891. It consisted of a large open rectangular space surrounded by an Ionic colonnade into which opened a number of shops or storehouses. The eastern gate was adorned with four Ionic columns on the outside and two on the inside, the