Arch and Library of Hadrian – Philopappos Monument

Library of Hadrian, Athens, Greece

 

Hadrian’s Library was created by Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD 132 on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens.
The building followed a typical Roman Forum architectural style, having only one entrance with a propylon of Corinthian order, a high surrounding wall with protruding niches at its long sides, an inner courtyard surrounded by columns and a decorative oblong pool in the middle. The library was on the eastern side where rolls of papyrus “books” were kept. Adjoining halls were used as reading rooms, and the corners served as lecture halls.

The library was seriously damaged by the Herulian invasion of 267 and repaired by the prefect Herculius in AD 407-412. During Byzantine times, three churches were built at the site, the remains of which are preserved:

  • a tetraconch (5th c. AD)
  • a three-aisled basilica (7th c. AD), and
  • a simple cathedral (12th c. AD), which was the first cathedral of the city, known as Megali Panagia.

Around the same period as the cathedral another church, Agios Asomatos sta Skalia, was built against the north facade, but it is not preserved.

Arch of Hadrian - The SE inscription

 

 

 

 

 

The Arch of Hadrian is a monumental gateway resembling – in some respects – a Roman triumphal arch. It spanned an ancient road from the center of Athens, Greece, to the complex of structures on the eastern side of the city that included the Temple of Olympian Zeus. It has been proposed that the arch was built to celebrate the adventus (arrival) of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and to honor him for his many benefactions to the city, on the occasion of the dedication of the nearby temple complex in 131 or 132 AD. It is not certain who commissioned the arch, although it is probable that the citizens of Athens or another Greek group were responsible for its construction and design. There were two inscriptions on the arch, facing in opposite directions, naming both Theseus and Hadrian as founders of Athens. While it is clear that the inscriptions honor Hadrian, it is uncertain whether they refer to the city as a whole or to the city in two parts: one old and one new. The early idea, however, that the arch marked the line of the ancient city wall, and thus the division between the old and the new regions of the city, has been shown to be false by further excavation. The arch is located 325m southeast of the Acropolis (further reading…)

A close-up view of the Philopappos Monument, Athens, GreeceThe Philopappos Monument is an ancient Greek mausoleum and monument dedicated to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes Philopappos, (65–116 AD), a prince from the Kingdom of Commagene. It is located on Mouseion Hill in Athens, Greece, southwest of the Acropolis.

Philopappos died in 116, and his death caused great grief to his sister Julia Balbilla, citizens of Athens and possibly to the imperial family. As a dedication to honor the memory of Philopappos, Balbilla with the citizens of Athens erected a tomb structure on Mouseion Hill near the Acropolis of Athens. His marble tomb monument is still known as the Philopappos Monument, and the hill is today known as Philopappos Hill.

The Greek geographer Pausanias (Description of Greece, I.25.8), describes Philopappos’ grand tomb as a monument built for a Syrian man. The monument was built on the same site where Musaios or Musaeus, a 6th century BC priestly poet and mystical seer, was held to have been buried. The location of this tomb, opposite the Acropolis and within formal boundaries of the city, shows the high position Philopappos had within Athenian society.

Philopappos’ monument is a two-storey structure, supported by a base. On the lower level there is a frieze representing Philopappos as a consul, riding on a chariot and led by lictors. The upper level shows statues of three men: of Antiochus IV on the left, of Philopappos in the centre and of Seleucus I Nicator, now lost, on the right (further reading…)

 

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