Archaeological sites AKRAGAS (Ancient city) SICILY - GTP - Greek Travel Pages

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Listed 7 sub titles with search on: Archaeological sites for destination: "AKRAGAS Ancient city SICILY".


Archaeological sites (7)

Perseus Site Catalog

Akragas

Region: Sicily
Periods: Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman
Type: Fortified city
Summary: One of the most prosperous of the Greek cities of Sicily and a rival to Syracuse in power.

Physical Description:
    Akragas occupied the top of a ridge between the confluence of the Hypsas and Akragas rivers, ca. 5 km inland from the Sicilian SW coast. The slope of the ridge is abrupt in three dircetions, but more gentle to the S side which leads down to the Hypsas valley. The acropolis occupied the highest and narrowest part of the ridge at the NW. This was also the steepest area of the ridge and the acropolis was not walled. Southeast of the acropolis the ridge top broadens and slopes gently away to the S. This area of approximately 1 km square was enclosed by a strong fortification wall of ca. 10 km in length and contained the main part of the city. Recent excavations in the ancient residential area have shown that the Hellenistic and Roman city was laid out on a rectangular grid plan that seems to overlay an earlier grid system of the 5th century B.C. The regular grid system of the earlier city streets may have been established during the extensive building program carried out at the beginning of the 5th century B.C. and coincide with the design of aqueducts and underground water transfer and storage system built by the architect Phaiax. South of the main area of the city, the city wall runs along the southern edge of the ridge top. Just inside the city wall and also arranged along the southern edge of the ridge plateau are the major sanctuaries and temples of the city. The temples of Hera, Concord, Herakles, Olympian Zeus, and Hephaistos, as well as the sanctuary of Demeter and the Chthonic Deities and other religious shrines are arranged along the southern boundary of the city. The central city gate (Gate IV or the Golden Gate) opens near the center of the southern wall on the temple ridge. From this gate an ancient road continued down slope to the Hypsas valley, passing additional religious centers, including the sanctuary of Asklepios, and continued on to the city's harbor at Emporium.
Description:
   
Akragas claimed the legendary Daedalus as its founder, but in fact the city seems to have been established by a group of Rhodian and Cretan colonists from the city of Gela at ca. 582 B.C. The settlers named the city after the river along its eastern side. Under the tyrant Phalaris, ca. 570 B.C., the city began to expand its territory and by the end of the reign of Theron, a century later, the city state had reached the height of its military and political power. Theron had led the city to victory over the Carthaginians in 480 B.C. and initiated a major building program in Akragas which included an extensive water system designed by the architect Phaiax. The city continued to prosper until the end of the 5th century B.C. In 406, after a siege of eight months, Akragas was conquered and completely destroyed by Carthage. the city remained abandoned until ca. 340 B.C. when Timoleon, the Corinthian established at Syracuse, defeated the Carthaginians and restored independence to the Sicilian cities. Timoleon rebuilt Akragas and repopulated it with displaced Akragasians and immigrants from Elea. In 276 B.C. Akragas again fell under the control of Carthage, but after several sieges of the city, Rome gained control in 210 B.C. The Romans enslaved the inhabitants and repopulated the city which thereafter enjoyed peace and prosperity under Roman rule. Commerce and industry advanced and the port at Emporium flourished. During the early Christian period the city quickly declined and it was little more than a village by the time of the Arab invasion in A.D. 827.

Donald R. Keller, ed.
This text is cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 261 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Perseus Building Catalog

Akragas, Temple of Concord

Site: Akragas
Type: Temple
Summary: Temple; on the ridge marking the southern extent of the city, east of the Temple of Herakles.
Date: ca. 430 B.C.
Period: Classical

Plan:
6 x 13; peripteral; pronaos and opisthodomos each distyle in antis; stairwells on either side of the entrance to the cella leading to attic space.

History:
The temple was converted into a Christian church in the sixth century A.D., at which time the spaces between the columns were walled, the division between the cella and the opisthodomos was destroyed, and arches were cut into the cella walls. The blocks between the columns were removed in the 18th century. Due to its conversion, this temple is one of the best preserved Doric temples in existence. Its attribution to Concord is dubious.

Other Notes:
Double contraction on all four sides; subtle shifting to correct metope problem; openings above cella porches to relieve lintels; curvature of stylobate; entasis and slant of columns; uncarved metopes.

Carol A. Stein, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 48 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Akragas, Temple of Hephaistos

Site: Akragas
Type: Temple
Summary: Temple; in the southwestern corner of the city, east of the "Temple of the Dioskouroi."
Date: Unknown Period

Plan:
Fragmentary remains of a peristyle and cella, crepidoma, and shafts of two columns.

History:
Dated to 5th century B.C., but interior and foundations of an earlier temple are contained in antis of the 6th century B.C.

Lisa M. Cerrato, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 1 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Akragas, Temple of Hera

Site: Akragas
Type: Temple
Summary: Temple; on the ridge marking the southern extent of the city, east of the Temple of Concord.
Date: ca. 460 B.C. - 440 B.C.
Period: Classical

Plan:
6 x 13; peripteral; pronaos and opisthodomos each distyle in antis. No angle contraction

History:
Constructed in the prosperous period following the Battle of Himera (480 B.C.), the Temple of Hera exhibits a Classic Doric plan. The ramp visible today on the east end of the building is a Roman addition. Traces of burning on the surviving superstructure may be the result of the Carthaginian sack of the city in 406 B.C. Its attribution to Hera is probably erroneous.

Carol A. Stein, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 25 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Akragas, Temple of Herakles

Site: Akragas
Type: Temple
Summary: Temple; on the ridge marking the southern extent of the city, just east of the Temple of Zeus Olympios.
Date: ca. 510 B.C.
Period: Archaic

Plan:
6 x 15; peripteral; pronaos and opisthodomos each distyle in antis; stairwells on either side of the entrance to the cella leading to attic space. Angle contraction on the fronts but not on the sides of the temple.

History:
The earliest of the large temples at Akragas, construction on this temple was begun in the last decades of the sixth century (shortly before the nearby Temple of Zeus Olympios). The temple capitals exhibit a stiff-profiled echinus, appearing here for the first time in the west. Its attribution is uncertain, based solely on a comment by Cicero.

Other Notes:
In 1924, eight columns on the south side were re-erected.

Carol A. Stein, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 54 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Akragas, Temple of the Dioskouroi

Site: Akragas
Type: Temple
Summary: Doric temple, its superstructure reconstructed in the 19th c. from various fragments.
Date: Unknown

Plan:
Only the foundations remain, and, at the northwest corner, a group of four columns with entablature was incorrectly reconstructed.

History:
The 1836 reconstruction of the group of columns incorporated architectural elements of various periods and various buildings from this site.

Lisa M. Cerrato, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 9 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


Akragas, Temple of Zeus Olympios

Site: Akragas
Type: Temple
Summary: Monumental temple, built of ashlar blocks; the largest temple built in the Greek world.
Date: Unknown

Plan:
Over the foundations and the five-stepped crepidoma, in place of the traditional colonnade there extended a solid wall, strengthened at regular intervals by Doric half columns on the exterior and pilasters on the interior.

History:
Built after the victory of Himera 480 B.C., this temple was part of a grandiose building program undertaken at Akragas. It was unfinished at the time of the Carthaginian destruction in 406 B.C.

Other Notes:
Between the half columns, at mid height up against the solid wall, stood colossal statues of Telamons, 7.65 m high, with arms bent at head level as if supporting an architrave. The facades were decorated with sculptural representations of the Gigantomachy and the Fall of Troy.

Lisa M. Cerrato, ed.
This text is cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains 56 image(s), bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.


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