Greece Architecture Part 8
The walls with their towers constitute the valid support of the cities; but, at times, more complicated defense systems are observed grafted into these walls. The most grandiose and most complex fortification is undoubtedly the Eurialo castle built by Dionysius of Syracuse between 402 and 397. There are three deep moats which constitute the advanced work of the entire defensive system; beyond the third moat rises a formidable bastion with five trapezoid-shaped towers, to which the city walls were connected with elbows and recesses; a complicated network of tunnels served to send reinforcements or to regulate retreat.
The cities inside the walls: a master plan for the cities was introduced, at the time of Pericles, by Hippodamus of Miletus; so with the new checkerboard system the plans of the cities of Piraeus and Turî were carried out. This regularity, in which the straight line absolutely predominates, appears to us as a clear example in Priene, now from the Hellenistic period, with leveling of the ground, with retaining walls and stairs, given the nature of the terrain; but previously it is also felt in Selinunte, as later in Cnidus, in Miletus, and elsewhere.
According to watchtutorials, the roads were not very wide even in the Hellenistic period; it seems that the normal size was 10 braccia (4.44 m) and not only for mountain towns. In Priene the two main roads measured m. 5.60 (the hinge) and m. 7 (the decumano), while the others ranged from m. 3.20 to m. 4.40. The main streets of Selinunte were wider (9m), and the widest was the main road of Piraeus (about 15m = 50 feet). In the Hellenistic period we have the following measures for the main roads: in Magnesia m. 8.20, in Alexandria a latitudinal road had a width of m. 19.85, while nothing is known about the width of the splendid longitudinal Canopian road. Paved streets can be seen in Greek settlements, from the Minoan city of Gourniá (Crete) to the Hellenistic city of Pergamum,
Simple, with few rooms and of modest proportions, were the houses in Greece; we have news of them above all in the Hellenistic period, and especially for Priene and Delos. For example, house no. 33 in Priene has a long side corridor, which leads inside into a courtyard without arcades; various environments are around; on the south side is an exedra, while on the north side is a vestibule (prostás), with two columns between two pillars, which precedes the main room of the house. In Delos appears the type of house provided with a courtyard surrounded by a portico, that is, with a peristyle; usually a corridor (thyrore ĩ on) leads directly into the peristyle, where the main hall opens up on the opposite side. In the peristyle there is the rhodian variety, when one of the four sides of the portico, the one towards noon, has greater height than the other three. The room facing the garden was called cizicena, Corinthian the hall with colonnade, Egyptian was called the hall with three naves, of which the median is higher than the other two.
But there is no shortage of palaces, which, as is natural, had greater development in the Hellenistic period. The great Greek palaces of Alexandria, Antioch and Syracuse are unknown, but luckily the excavations have brought to light the remains of the royal palace on the acropolis of Pergamum: here you can see an older and a more recent nucleus, much wider; in both is the beginning of the great peristyle, around which the various rooms are grouped, among which, in the most recent nucleus, is the imposing throne room; add various compartments for warehouses, for the residence of the servants, etc.
Next to the palaces there are some villas, at least in the Hellenistic period, among which the royal one of Daphni near Antioch of Syria is typical, rich in parks and buildings. Can give an idea of this sumptuousness, although in smaller proportions, the villa of the century. III a. C., found in Palatítsa (Southern Macedonia). In the Hellenistic period there was a wealth of decoration with materials of different shades (stone, terracotta, wood, metal).
In maritime cities, as in Rhodes (founded in 408 BC) and Halicarnassus, the system of the city built on the slopes of a hill in the form of a theater, with a semicircular basin at the base, was applied. Sometimes, however, as in Alexandria, designed by the architect Dinocrate, the usual reticulated system is maintained with a very large space near the place reserved for the royal palace. The constructions of these maritime cities were reconnected with those of the port. For port works, the primacy went to Alexandria, where famous were the heptastádion, an embankment that connected the city to the islet of Faro and that divided the military port from the commercial one, the work of Dexifane, and the Faro (v.), the work of his son Sostrato di Cnido.
Lavishness and grandeur in Hellenistic architecture, culminating in the crazy project either by Stasicrates or Diocles from Reggio, to transform the pyramid of Mount Athos into a statue of Alexander with a city of ten thousand residents on one hand.
The character of Greek architecture is essentially that of a straight line; the curved line is in a very subordinate position, and therefore the use of the vault is noticeable only in old age. In the second half of the century. It goes. C. date the first examples of construction of arched doors; such examples are provided to us by the city walls of Acarnania; likewise the door of the sacred road of Pálairos with an arch of wedge-shaped stones firmly connected, that of Paleomanina with the arch made up of two large protruding slabs. More recent is the Charmýlion of Kos, a burial chamber with a barrel vault; a passage with a barrel vault can be seen in the Didimeo. But more frequent, as is natural, are the vaults in Hellenistic architecture. Perspicuous examples are: the door of the market in Priene with a very daring semicircular arch, the drainage opening under the propylaea of Samothrace, the barrel vault area on the steps of the Gymnasium of Pergamum, the barrel vault in the apoditerium of the Stabian Baths of Pompeii. And that the use of the vault was anything but rare in Hellenistic architecture can also be deduced from the landscape paintings of Hellenistic-Roman art, with figurations of an Egyptian environment, where buildings with roofs in the form of a vault appear frequently barrel.