Ancient Mediterranean History

by Steven Sklifas

Sample selection of my images of Ancient History captured on my travels around the Mediterranean

Palmyra. Syria. View of the front of the Monumental Arch which was erected in the early third century AD under Septimius Severus in order to disguise the thirty degree a change of direction of the first and second sections of the Great Colonnade.
The reconstructed Library of Celsus which is the ancient city’s most famous building. Turkey. Ephesus. It was built in AD 114 – 117 by Consul Gaius Julius Aquila as a mausoleum for his father, Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, who is buried in a in a tomb under the apsidal wall on the right side of the back wall. The library was one of the wealthiest in the empire and at its peak had more than 12,000 scrolls. The statutes seen in the niches between the doors symbolized wisdom, Sophia, Knowledge (episteme), intelligence (ennoia) and virtue (arte) of Celsus.
Cyrene. Libya. Image of the Greek Doric Temple of Zeus which dates originally from the 5th century BC and its size is comparable to the Parthenon in Athens Greece.
Luxor. Egypt. Theatrical porticoed courtyard with Osiris columns in the Temple of Ramses III at the Temple of Amun in Karnak.
Selinunte. Sicily. Italy. View of the Greek Doric Temple E which dates from 460 – 450 BC and is dedicated to Greek Goddess Hera, wife of Zeus. The Peripteral hexastyle Temple was partially restored in the 1950’s and contains fragments of the original white finish which would have made it glow and visible from far off in ancient times.
Delphi. Greece. View of the circular elegant Tholos with its three restored columns at the Sanctuary of Athena at Delphi. Dating from 390-380 BC, the round temple originally had twenty slim and graceful pentelic marble columns in Doric order on the outside.
Rome. Italy. View of the well preserved Arch of Constantine (Arco di Constantino) which is a triumphal arch situated beside the Colosseum. It was erected in 315 AD to honour Constantine's victory over co-emperor Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312 AD. Most of the reliefs on the war memorial were taken from older buildings from previous centuries which were probably disused and demolished.
The Greek styled ancient Hellenistic theatre at the Lycian city of Arykanda, in the Antalya province of Southern Turkey.
Petra. Jordan. View of the majestic and breathless Hellenistic elegant facade of the world famous Treasury building at the Red Rose city of Petra. The Treasury dates to around the 1st century BC and is believed to be commissioned by the Nabatean king Aretas III. The King was a lover of all things Greek and he brought architects from the Greek Mediterranean world to Petra to help craft the building. Carved out of solid rock, the building rises 43 meters high and was used as a royal tomb and not as a treasury. The vast city of Petra is the ancient home of the Kingdom of Nabataeans who settled here there more than two thousand years ago. It is a UNSECO world heritage listed site.
The Temple of Zeus in the centre of the Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea Peloponnese Greece. Built in 330 BC on the site of earlier temple, the Temple of Zeus is a Doric peripteral temple consisting of 32 limestone outer columns (6 by 12 columns) and the temples construction is unusual as it included three Greek architectural forms, the Doric, the Corinthian, and the Ionic
Mycenae. Peloponnese. Greece. View of the monumental Lion Gate, the entrance to the citadel of Mycanae. The gate, built in 1250 BC, is named after the two lions carved into the triangular slab of grey limestone above the lintel. Mycenae, home to King Agamemnon and stated by Homer as ‘Rich in Gold’ and ‘Well built ‘was the capital of the Bronze-Age Mycenaean civilisation which dominated Greece from 1500 to 1200 BC.
Giza. Cairo. Egypt. View of the North and West faces of the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) at Giza which is the oldest and largest of the all Pyramids and was built as the mortuary temple for the 4th-Dynasty king Khufu (2589-66 BC). The Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur and Memphis and its Necropolis are together a designated Unesco World Heritage Site.
Tombs of the Kings Paphos Cyprus. This image was captured at the Tombs of the Kings, a vast ancient archaeological necropolis with impressive underground tombs located at the city of Paphos on the south west coast of Cyprus. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Segesta. Sicily. Italy. Panoramic view of the Greek Doric Temple of Segesta which stands glorious in magnificent isolation on a low hill in the midst of verdant country side and framed by mountains.
Delos. Greece. The grand row of five marble lion sculptures crafted and dedicated by the Naxians to the Sanctuary of Apollo in the 7th century BC. Situated on a natural terrace standing guard and overlooking the sacred lake, it is believed that there may have been between nine and nineteen lions. These are copies of the remaining five which are in the Delos museum. The small sacred island of Delos is the birthplace of the Greek God Apollo and his twin sister the Greek Goddess Artemis. Delos is one of most important ancient sites in the Mediterranean and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bulla Regia. Tunisia. View of the basement columned hallway at the Roman villa known as the House of Amphitrite. The highlight of the Roman city, the underground basement residence is intact with columns separating rooms adorned with magnificent exquisite mosaics throughout especially the one depicting Venus.
Miletus. Turkey. View of abandoned Ionic column drums in front of the partially restored Ionic Stoa which was built in 50 AD by Emperor Tiberius Claudius Sophanes. The Ionic Stoa originally had thirty five Ionic columns in front and nineteen shops at the rear.
The Hellenistic style Roman theatre which seated 9000 spectators and is built on the highest altitude in the world (for such a theatre).
Part view of the unique Teatro Marittimo or maritime Theatre, Villa Adriana. Tivoli. Italy. The theatre has a circular Ionic marble columned portico that rings an artificial lagoon that encloses a small island reached only by a means of two retractable wooden swing bridges. This island was a private retreat for Hadrian where he could escape the cares of the empire to write poetry and paint.
Knossos. Crete. Greece. View of the Throne Room located on the ground floor of the Palace of Knossos west wing. The room has the throne of Minos made of gypsum standing against the north wall flanked by guardian griffins frescoes and the original benches that seated sixteen noble counsellors. Opposite the throne are a row of wooden columns which provide a barrier to the small lustral basin which is reached by a number of steps and was used for sacred ablutions by the King and court.
Athens. Greece. View of the sacred rock of Athens, the Acropolis which rises 100 metres above the city as the undisputed symbol of the emergence of western civilization. Crowning its summit is the magnificent Parthenon Temple, dedicated to the goddess Athena.
Agrigento. Sicily. Italy. View of the front of the magnificent Greek Doric Temple of Concord or Tempio della Concordia at the Valley of the Temples. Dating from around 430 BC, the Temple has all of its original 34 local shell limestone columns still standing in a peripteral hexastyle plan of 6 by 13 columns, only the ceiling and roof are missing.
Abu Simbel. Egypt. Tourists surround and admire one of the most famous temples of the world – the 13th century BC Great Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel.
The ancient Greek theatre at the sanctuary of Asklepios (Asclepius). Epidaurus. Peloponnese. Greece. Dating from the 4th century BC, the theatre is perhaps the most outstanding from the ancient world due to its setting and harmonious design. The theatre’s multi-tiered sweep of limestone, seats 14,000 and has near-perfect natural acoustics. The theatre as part of the Sanctuary of Asclepius is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Apamea. Syria. View of the votive column and beautiful Prestige facade crowned by a triangular pediment from the majestic Colonnaded Street of the ancient city of Apamea. The grand colonnaded avenue or cardo maxims is lined with tall columns with Corinthian capitals is one of the longest and widest in the ancient world and runs nearly two kilometres long.
Bosra. Syria. Overview of the 2nd century AD Roman theatre which is one of the largest and best preserved Roman theatres in the Mediterranean.
Sabratha. Libya. View of the magnificent Roman theatre which originally dates from 175-200 AD and in its heyday could seat over 5000 spectators. One of the most graceful and impressive of the Roman world, the theatre’s imposing stage towers three storeys high and consists of 108 fluted Corinthian columns.
View of the East and North sides of the Temple of Aphaia or Afea, Aegina Greece.
Stone bases of the Zanes leading to the Olympic stadium entrance. Ancient Olympia, Peloponnese. Greece. The Zanes were bronze statues of Zeus erected and financed by the proceeds of the fines levied on athletes who broke the code of the ancient Olympic Games. The name of the offending athlete was inscribed on the base. The Zanes were placed in a visible place at the entrance to the stadium as an example to those competing in the Games. Olympia was the site of the ancient Olympic Games and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
View of the curved north end of the monumental mystical Canopus. Villa Adriana. Tivoli. Italy. The Canopus is a reflecting pool 228 metres long and lined and surrounded by columns and statues. It is believed to have been inspired by the canal that linked Alexandria in Egypt to ancient Canopus which was a sanctuary of the God Serapis. Another theory is that is actually representing the Mediterranean as it includes elements from the region including copies of the caryatids from the Erechtheion in Athens and two Amazons that adorned the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus sculpted by Phidias, the ancient Greek sculptor.
Metapontion. Basilicata. Italy. View along a pathway lined with colourful plants of the majestic Greek Doric Temple of Hera. Known as the Tavole Palatine, the elegant peripteral temple was built around the mid-6th century BC as a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Hera, 3 kilometres from the ancient Greek urban centre of Metapontum on the Ionic coast of Basilicata in southern Italy. It has 15 Doric fluted columns still upright from its original 32 (6 x 12) and is one of the best preserved monuments of Magna Graecia (Greater Greece).
Aphrodisias. Turkey. View of the Temple of Aphrodite, which dates from the 1st century BC. Built of marble, the temple of Ionic order has 14 columns standing of its original 38 (8 by 13). In the 2nd century AD the temple was enclosed by colonnaded court. The temple was converted into a Byzantine Christian basilica in the 5th century which has helped preserved the remains.
Rome. Italy. View of the exterior of the epic Colosseum exterior which is one of ancient Rome's greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering. Completed in A.D. 80, the monumental four storey building is the largest amphitheatre ever built by the Romans and endures as an emblem of past glories. The Colosseum at its peak accommodated 70,000 spectators to watch gladiatorial contests, animal hunts and the arena could be flooded for mock sea battles. The Colosseum is a UNESCO world Heritage Site as part of the Historical centre of Rome listing.
Part view of the Basilica with the elegant Hellenistic styled two-level Tribunal in the background at Pompeii Italy. Dating back to the 2nd century BC, the basilica is the oldest public building in the city. It was originally a covered market and then became the seat of the Law Courts at the beginning of the 1st century AD. It was then that the Tribunal was built at the west end of the building. The surrounding portico consisted of 28 fluted Corinthian column reaching 11 metres in height.
Rome. Italy. View of the Temple of Saturn dating from 42 BC with eight of its un-fluted granite columns dating at the Roman forum. The Roman Forum was the centre of political, commercial and judicial life in ancient Rome.
The 2nd century BC theatre. In the background is the red cliff which contains thousands of rocks cut tombs. Pinara. Turkey. The Greek styled theatre is situated at the base of the city and accommodated up to 3,200 spectators. The great red cliff which rises to a height of 500 metres and has thousands of rocks tombs and caves cut into the vertical cliff face.
Petra. Jordan. Sweeping view of the legendary Monastery which is the most awe inspiring monument at ancient rose red city of Petra. Dating from the third century BC, the Monastery is hidden above the hills and at least 60 minutes climb from the ancient city’s centre. Carved into the side of a mountain, the Monastery’s timeless Hellenistic facade is similar in design to that of the Treasury, although far larger at 45 meters high and 50 meters wide. The vast rock carved city of Petra is the ancient home of the Kingdom of Nabataeans who settled here there more than two thousand years ago. It is a UNSECO world heritage listed site.
Acropolis. Athens. Greece. View of the famous Caryatid porch on the south side of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis summit. The porch or balcony has six sculptured graceful figures of maidens supporting the entablature.
Palmyra. Syria. View of the 2nd century theatre which laid buried under sand up until the 1950’s and has since been largely excavated and restored back to its former glory. The magnificent sumptuous adorned stage has a large central door known as the Royal Gate, which is flanked by two smaller ones. Facing the stage is the semi-circle orchestra; 20 metre is diameter and beyond it rises the cavea with its nine rows of seats. It is though that originally the cavea was thirty rows of seats in three storeys.

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