January 15, 2014
Fah207 Greek and Roman Art
The (not so dark) Beginnings:
Geometric to Orientalizing Periods
Aegean Bronze Age: Crete and Cyclades 30001200 BCE
Thera big volcano erupts around 1500 so no longer have culture that comes from that region. In
Crete a lot of palace structures destroyed excluding Knossos. 1600BC mainland Greece in
Third Millennium (30002000 BCE)
These sculptures range from size of palm to life sized, human figures mostly female. Done with
island marble. Cycladic islands rich in marble. Early on in Bronze Age had these figurines don’t
know their function but extremely popular because of style. Influenced Picasso. Less than 60
70% are real. Extremely hard to date marble since don’t have organic materials associated with
marble itself. Small figurines go for around 300,000 dollars.
Cycladic figurines (Harpist and Flutist) EC II (28002300)
Rare have more non canonical forms. A lot of ppl think their all fakes. However later ppl realized
they had paint on them around the eyes. Exposed to elements parts that paint covered had a
protecting effect therefore after thousand of years these places are more elevated then other parts
that are corroded. A lot are in fact genuine.
“Palace of Minos” at Knossos, Crete (LM) North Entrance
Sir Arthur Evans excavated site. King Minos asked Poseidon for white bull to sacrifice but didn’t
sacrifice it so Poseidon got Aphrodite to make Minos’ wife fall in love with the bull then she has
a minotaur son after having sex with the bull her husband was embarrassed. Beautiful paintings,
hall of double axes and throne room with sphinx facing throne. A lot of stuff at Knossos is
restored wasn’t as vibrant before.
Bull Leaping Fresco (LM1)
Athletic exercise, maybe initiation of youth, leap over front of bull then summersault. Figurine
found among palace ruins made of ivory that represents same thing.
Linear B Tablets from Knossos and Pylos c 15 C BCE
Ancient Greek first written down 8C BC coincides with homer. Writing systems that predate
Greek as we know it. Early form of Greek 200 characters. Complicated system phonetic an
idiographic. Person who decoded tablets was Michael Ventris a 14yr old boy in audience by age
30 published article that decodes system. Each character meant the object and next to it was
Mainland Greece 15 century onwards (16501400) Grave Circles
LH 1 January 15, 2014
Characterized as shaft grave era. Hole in the ground were would place crunches up maner the
deceased. LH =late Helladic. Relative chronology can see relations between diff periods but no
real evidence of actual dates. Grave circle collection of shaft graves bottom right. Out of which
came bronze dagger inlayed with gold and silver, depicting a lion hunt, technique material and
content is very near eastern. Constant reminders of influence from near east. Death mask of
Mycenae, “Lion Gate” LH IIIB (13th C) “Cyclopean Wall”
Also see cyclopean wall in Athens
Trojan Wars? 1200BCE
Current site identified as Troy is modern day Turkey. Since identified found 6 diff cities on top of
each other number 6 being Troy during 1270 was eruption then later of ashes.
Hesiod’s Works and Days
Identifies 5 ages of man starts with Golden Age, where living side by side with the gods, then
Silver Age, Bronze Age, Heroic Age and lastly Iron Age (age of misery). Couldn’t get bronze
because didn’t have tin which used to be imported but wasn’t any more so that’s why it turned to
The Dark Ages and the Geometric Period
11 8 centuries
19 century term for middle ages.
Heroon Lefkandi – Toumba (Euboia) Axonometric reconstruction Dated 950 BCE
Horseshoe shaped structure. Foundation was in stone above that was mud brick, which does not
survive. 45m across. Largest to date structure found.
Found two burials inside, pits contained storage jars.
South burial shaft, Heroon, Lefkandi Toumba (Euboia), Human burials plan
South Burial one had ashes of most likely a man due to stuff around him indicating it’s a man.
Next to him is a woman, with ancient bustier and with earrings and pendants. Looks like her feet
and hands were bound lead ppl to think she was killed when the man died and placed next to
North burial shaft, Heroon, Lefkandi Toumba (Euboia), horse burials, Plan and drawing
date: 950 B.C.E.
Other little shaft contained horses that were of course most likely sacrificially slaughtered put
there and buried with the main character, most likely a local lord. Importations from near east
attests to prosperity of local lord and in general gives us a different picture of what dark ages
were about. Cremation is a lot of times associated with heroic burials. No clear distinction.
Heroon, Lefkandi Toumba (Euboia), Plan of "Heroon", cemetery and tumulus
10th C BCE January 15, 2014
Think this site was after the death of the lord, covered it and started using it as a burial ground
for local population. Heroon = house of a hero.
Early form of Peristyle. More simplified plan, post holes that run all the way around create a