The Hellenistic period—the nearly three centuries between the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 B.C., and the suicide of the Egyptian queen Kleopatra VII (the famous "Cleopatra"), in 30 B.C.—is one of the most complex and exciting epochs of ancient Greek art. The unprecedented geographic sweep of Alexander's conquests changed the face of the ancient world forever, forging diverse cultural connections and exposing Greek artists to a host of new influences and artistic styles. This beautifully illustrated volume examines the rich diversity of art forms that arose through the patronage of the royal courts of the Hellenistic kingdoms, placing special emphasis on Pergamon, capital of the Attalid dynasty, which ruled over large parts of Asia Minor. With its long history of German-led excavations, Pergamon provides a superb paradigm of a Hellenistic capital, appointed with important civic institutions—a great library, theater, gymnasium, temples, and healing center—that we recognize today as central features of modern urban life. The military triumphs of Alexander and his successors led to the expansion of Greek culture out from the traditional Greek heartland to the Indus River Valley in the east and as far west as the Strait of Gibraltar. These newly established Hellenistic kingdoms concentrated wealth and power, resulting in an unparalleled burst of creativity in all the arts, from architecture and sculpture to seal engraving and glass production. Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World brings together the insights of a team of internationally renowned scholars, who reveal how the art of Classical Greece was transformed during this period, melding with predominantly Eastern cultural traditions to yield new standards and conventions in taste and style.
Called by Plutarch "the oldest and greatest of Alexander's successors," Antigonos the One-Eyed (382-301 BC) was the dominant figure during the first half of the Diadoch period, ruling most of the Asian territory conquered by the Macedonians during his final twenty years. Billows provides the first detailed study of this great general and administrator, establishing him as a key contributor to the Hellenistic monarchy and state. After a successful career under Philip and Alexander, Antigonos rose to power over the Asian portion of Alexander's conquests. Embittered by the persistent hostility of those who controlled the European and Egyptian parts of the empire, he tried to eliminate these opponents, an ambition which led to his final defeat in 301. In a corrective to the standard explanations of his aims, Billows shows that Antigonos was scarcely influenced by Alexander, seeking to rule West Asia and the Aegean, rather than the whole of Alexander's Empire.
For the general public and specialists alike, the Hellenistic period (323–31 BC) and its diverse artistic legacy remain underexplored and not well understood. Yet it was a time when artists throughout the Mediterranean developed new forms, dynamic compositions, and graphic realism to meet new expressive goals, particularly in the realm of portraiture. Rare survivors from antiquity, large bronze statues are today often displayed in isolation, decontextualized as masterpieces of ancient art. Power and Pathos gathers together significant examples of bronze sculpture in order to highlight their varying styles, techniques, contexts, functions, and histories. As the first comprehensive volume on large-scale Hellenistic bronze statuary, this book includes groundbreaking archaeological, art-historical, and scientific essays offering new approaches to understanding ancient production and correctly identifying these remarkable pieces. Designed to become the standard reference for decades to come, the book emphasizes the unique role of bronze both as a medium of prestige and artistic innovation and as a material exceptionally suited for reproduction. Power and Pathos is published on the occasion of an exhibition on view at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence from March 14 to June 21, 2015; at the J. Paul Getty Museum from July 20 through November 1, 2015; and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, from December 6, 2015, through March 20, 2016.
Rising from humble origins as Turkish tribesmen, the powerful and culturally prolific Seljuqs—an empire whose reach extended from Central Asia to the eastern Mediterranean—dominated the Islamic world from the eleventh to the fourteenth century. Court and Cosmos: The Great Age of the Seljuqs examines the roots and impact of this formidable dynasty, featuring some 250 objects as evidence of the artistic and cultural flowering that occurred under Seljuq rule. Beginning with an historical overview of the empire, from its early advances into Iran and northern Iraq to the spread of its dominion into Anatolia and northern Syria, Court and Cosmos illuminates the splendor of Seljuq court life. This aura of luxury extended to a sophisticated new elite, as both sultans and city dwellers acquired dazzling glazed ceramics and metalwork lavishly inlaid with silver, copper, and gold. Advances in science and technology found parallels in a flourishing interest in the arts of the book, underscoring the importance the Seljuqs placed on the scholarly and literary life. At the same time, the unrest that accompanied warfare between the Seljuqs and their enemies as well as natural disasters and unexplainable celestial phenomena led people to seek solace in magic and astrology, which found expression in objects adorned with zodiacal and talismanic imagery. These popular beliefs existed alongside devout adherence to Islam, as exemplified by exquisitely calligraphed Qur’ans and an array of building inscriptions and tombstones bearing verses from the holy book. The great age of the Seljuqs was one that celebrated magnificence, be it of this world or in the celestial realm. By revealing the full breadth of their artistic achievement, Court and Cosmos provides an invaluable record of the Seljuqs’ contribution to the cultural heritage of the Islamic world.
Describes Hellenistic artistic developments that emerges in fourth-century Macedon, looking at the representations of royal and private individuals; the design, furnishing and appearances of cities, sanctuaries, houses and tombs; and the characteristic themes of Hellenistic iconography.
This book is the first full-length study to be dedicated to the political economy of the Attalid kingdom of Pergamon, focusing in particular on its financial administration, international relations, and the functioning of the state.
Bringing together the research of internationally renowned scholars, Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age contributes significantly to our understanding of the epoch-making artistic and cultural exchanges that took place across the Near East and Mediterranean in the early first millennium B.C. This was the world of Odysseus, in which seafaring Phoenician merchants charted new nautical trade routes and established prosperous trading posts and colonies on the shores of three continents; of kings Midas and Croesus, legendary for their wealth; and of the Hebrew Bible, whose stories are brought vividly to life by archaeological discoveries. Objects drawn from collections in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and the United States, reproduced here in sumptuous detail, reflect the cultural encounters of diverse populations interacting through trade, travel, and migration as well as war and displacement. Together, they tell a compelling story of the origins and development of Western artistic traditions that trace their roots to the ancient Near East and across the Mediterranean world. Among the masterpieces brought together in this volume are stone reliefs that adorned the majestic palaces of ancient Assyria; expertly crafted Phonecian and Syrian bronzes and worked ivories that were stored in the treasuries of Assyria and deposited in tombs and sanctuaries in regions far to the west; and lavish personal adornments and other luxury goods, some imported and others inspired by Near Eastern craftsmanship. Accompanying texts by leading scholars position each object in cultural and historical context, weaving a narrative of crisis and conquest, worship and warfare, and epic and empire that spans both continents and millennia. Writing another chapter in the story begun in Art of the First Cities (2003) and Beyond Babylon (2008), Assyria to Iberia offers a comprehensive overview of art, diplomacy, and cultural exchange in an age of imperial and mercantile expansion in the ancient Near East and across the Mediterranean in the first millennium B.C.—the dawn of the Classical age.
Assembled by the father of modern art history, this landmark 1767 publication features more than 200 fine engravings. Its fascinating panorama of images from classical civilizations includes informative text and captions.
This monumental book provides the first comprehensive history of Asia Minor from prehistory to the Roman imperial period. In this English-language edition of the critically acclaimed German book, Christian Marek masterfully employs ancient sources to illuminate civic institutions, urban and rural society, agriculture, trade and money, the influential Greek writers of the Second Sophistic, the notoriously bloody exhibitions of the gladiatorial arena, and more. In the Land of a Thousand Gods is truly panoramic in scope. Blending rich narrative with in-depth analyses of political, social, and economic history, the book traces Asia Minor's shifting orientation between East and West and examines its role as both a melting pot of nations and a bridge for cultural transmission. Marek takes readers from the earliest known Stone Age settlements to the end of antiquity. He covers the emergence of early Greek poetry and science, the invention of coinage, Persian domination, the prosperity of cities under the Hellenistic kings, and the establishment of Roman provinces. Marek draws on the latest research—in fields ranging from demography and economics to architecture and religion—to describe how Asia Minor became a center of culture and wealth in the Roman Empire. He shows how the advancement of Hellenic culture and civic autonomy was the irreversible legacy of the Pax Romana. A breathtaking work of scholarship, In the Land of a Thousand Gods will become the standard reference book on the subject in English.
The Middle Kingdom (ca. 2030–1650 B.C.) was a transformational period in ancient Egypt, during which older artistic conventions, cultural principles, religious beliefs, and political systems were revived and reimagined. Ancient Egypt Transformed presents a comprehensive picture of the art of the Middle Kingdom, arguably the least known of Egypt’s three kingdoms and yet one that saw the creation of powerful, compelling works rendered with great subtlety and sensitivity. The book brings together nearly 300 diverse works— including sculpture, relief decoration, stelae, jewelry, coffins, funerary objects, and personal possessions from the world’s leading collections of Egyptian art. Essays on architecture, statuary, tomb and temple relief decoration, and stele explore how Middle Kingdom artists adapted forms and iconography of the Old Kingdom, using existing conventions to create strikingly original works. Twelve lavishly illustrated chapters, each with a scholarly essay and entries on related objects, begin with discussions of the distinctive art that arose in the south during the early Middle Kingdom, the artistic developments that followed the return to Egypt’s traditional capital in the north, and the renewed construction of pyramid complexes. Thematic chapters devoted to the pharaoh, royal women, the court, and the vital role of family explore art created for different strata of Egyptian society, while others provide insight into Egypt’s expanding relations with foreign lands and the themes of Middle Kingdom literature. The era’s religious beliefs and practices, such as the pilgrimage to Abydos, are revealed through magnificent objects created for tombs, chapels, and temples. Finally, the book discusses Middle Kingdom archaeological sites, including excavations undertaken by the Metropolitan Museum over a number of decades. Written by an international team of respected Egyptologists and Middle Kingdom specialists, the text provides recent scholarship and fresh insights, making the book an authoritative resource.
The exhibition "Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age" (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2014) offered a comprehensive overview of art and cultural exchange in an era of vast imperial and mercantile expansion. The twenty-seven essays in this volume are based on the symposium and lectures that took place in conjunction with the exhibition. Written by an international group of scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, they include reports of new archaeological discoveries, illuminating interpretations of material culture, and innovative investigations of literary, historical, and political aspects of the interactions that shaped art and culture in the in the early first millennium B.C. Taken together, these essays explore the cultural encounters of diverse populations interacting through trade, travel, and migration, as well as war and displacement, in the ancient world. Assyria to Iberia: Art and Culture in the Iron Age contributes significantly to our understanding of the epoch-making exchanges that spanned the Near East and the Mediterranean and exerted immense influence in the centuries that followed.
Authored by internationally renowned scholars, the 20 essays written for this volume explore topics ranging from the influence of Hellenistic art in the ancient Roman world to the ongoing excavations at Pergamon. All aspects of Hellenistic art are discussed, including sculpture, wall paintings, mosaics, coins, vessels, faience, engraved gems, and glass--from monumental works to artifacts of daily life that provide a personal connection to ancient Greece. Together, these studies, which were inspired by the groundbreaking 2016 exhibition at The Met, shed new light on the spread of Greek art and culture over the course of one of the most influential periods of ancient history.
Medieval Jerusalem was a vibrant international center, home to multiple cultures, faiths, and languages. Harmonious and dissonant voices from many lands, including Persians, Turks, Greeks, Syrians, Armenians, Georgians, Copts, Ethiopians, Indians, and Europeans, passed in the narrow streets of a city not much larger than midtown Manhattan. Patrons, artists, pilgrims, poets, and scholars from Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions focused their attention on the Holy City, endowing and enriching its sacred buildings, creating luxury goods for its residents, and praising its merits. This artistic fertility was particularly in evidence between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries, notwithstanding often devastating circumstances—from the earthquake of 1033 to the fierce battles of the Crusades. So strong a magnet was Jerusalem that it drew out the creative imagination of even those separated from it by great distance, from as far north as Scandinavia to as far east as present-day China. This publication is the first to define these four centuries as a singularly creative moment in a singularly complex city. Through absorbing essays and incisive discussions of nearly 200 works of art, Jerusalem, 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven explores not only the meaning of the city to its many faiths and its importance as a destination for tourists and pilgrims but also the aesthetic strands that enhanced and enlivened the medieval city that served as the crossroads of the known world.
The Greek World After Alexander 323–30 BC examines social changes in the old and new cities of the Greek world and in the new post-Alexandrian kingdoms. An appraisal of the momentous military and political changes after the era of Alexander, this book considers developments in literature, religion, philosophy, and science, and establishes how far they are presented as radical departures from the culture of Classical Greece or were continuous developments from it. Graham Shipley explores the culture of the Hellenistic world in the context of the social divisions between an educated elite and a general population at once more mobile and less involved in the political life of the Greek city.
A Companion to Greek Architecture provides an expansive overview of the topic, including design, engineering, and construction as well as theory, reception, and lasting impact. Covers both sacred and secular structures and complexes, with particular attention to architectural decoration, such as sculpture, interior design, floor mosaics, and wall painting Makes use of new research from computer-driven technologies, the study of inscriptions and archaeological evidence, and recently excavated buildings Brings together original scholarship from an esteemed group of archaeologists and art historians Presents the most up-to-date English language coverage of Greek architecture in several decades while also sketching out important areas and structures in need of further research
In contrast to other histories of ancient art that typically privilege well-preserved works of ceramics or stone, Luxus offers an integrated contextual analysis of artifacts fashioned from a wide variety of luxury materials, which survive in far greater number than is typically supposed. These include gold and silver, semiprecious hard stones, and organic materials, such as ivory, fine woods, amber, pearl, coral, and textiles. Examining some of the finest surviving examples of ancient craftsmanship, renowned expert Kenneth Lapatin approaches objects in these diverse media from a variety of viewpoints, providing a valuable model for a more pluralistic approach to visual culture with the greater goal of reinvigorating the study of ancient art and society. As its title implies, Luxus is richly illustrated, containing over 200 images of superb works located in collections throughout the world. Each plate is accompanied by extensive documentation and discursive commentary. An introductory chapter explores the ideologies and uses of the luxury arts in ancient Greece and Rome, considers ancient debates about their value, and traces their decline in modern historiography. The book then goes on to address a broad range of luxury goods, such as intaglios, cameos, vessels, and statuettes, providing a full and multifaceted account of luxury in the ancient world.
What was Hellenistic art, and what were its contexts, aims, achievements, and impact? This textbook introduces students to these questions and offers a series of answers to them. Its twelve chapters and two 'focus' sections examine Hellenistic sculpture, painting, luxury arts, and architecture. Thematically organized, spanning the three centuries from Alexander to Augustus, and ranging geographically from Italy to India and the Black Sea to Nubia, the book examines key monuments of Hellenistic art in relation to the great political, social, cultural, and intellectual issues of the time. It is illustrated with 170 photographs (mostly in color, and many never before published) and contextualized through excerpts from Hellenistic literature and inscriptions. Helpful ancillary features include maps, appendices with background on Hellenistic artists and translations of key documents, a full glossary, a timeline, brief biographies of key figures, suggestions for further reading, and bibliographical references.

Best Books