20 The Rebirth of Athens

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By Diana E E Kleiner | Roman Architecture Lecture 20 of 24

Lecture Description

Professor Kleiner discusses the rebirth of Athens under the Romans especially during the reigns of the two philhellenic emperors, Augustus and Hadrian. While some have dismissed the architecture of Roman Athens as derivative of its Classical and Hellenistic Greek past, Professor Kleiner demonstrates that the high quality of Greek marble and Greek stone carvers made these buildings consequential. In addition some structures provide evidence for the frequent and creative exchange of architectural ideas and motifs between Greece and Rome in Roman times. After a brief introduction to the history of the city of Athens, Professor Kleiner presents the monuments erected by Augustus and Agrippa on the Acropolis and in the Greek and Roman Agoras, for example the Odeion of Agrippa. Following with Hadrian's building program, she features an aqueduct and reservoir facade, the Library of Hadrian, and the vast Temple of Olympian Zeus, a project begun over six hundred years earlier. Professor Kleiner concludes the lecture with the Monument of Philopappos, a Trajanic tomb on the Mouseion Hill built for a man deprived of the kingship of Commagene by the Romans, but who made the best of the situation by becoming a suffect consul in Rome and then moving to Athens, where he died and was memorialized by his sister Balbilla.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire, with an emphasis on urban planning and individual monuments and their decoration, including mural painting. While architectural developments in Rome, Pompeii, and Central Italy are highlighted, the course also provides a survey of sites and structures in what are now North Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and North Africa. The lectures are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner's personal collection.

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