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Aegean Architecture

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Mag B

on 31 March 2016

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Transcript of Aegean Architecture

The development of
European Architecture relied on Greek
Architecture (Beyond criticism)
The Character of Mycenaean Architecture is very
different from the Hellenic
Architecture, consists of
rough walling of large blocks of stone, often unworked.
Most prominent elements:
corbel system
inclined blocks over openings
, and the true arch.
significant elements dominated our examination of Aegean architecture;
palaces, citadels and tombs
In both Crete and Mycenae,
architectural elements.
The organization and
form of
differs between the two civilizations
Crete, palaces
complex multifunctional, multi-story buildings
They were designed to be
colorful, relaxed and joyous in nature, reflecting the peaceful lifestyle
of the people, while in Mycenae,
palaces were single story, organized around a simple rectangular kingly residence, the megaron that is accessed through a series of courtyards
Gypsum, cut stone and Timber
were the principal building materials of the Aegean.
Gypsum was common in Crete
, while
limestone was common in Mycenaea
Timber was not very common
in both locations.
Crete, gypsum was preferred for wall and frescoed decoration,
timber is used for columns and roofs
Mycenae, cut stone
was the
most common
material which was
used with wooden frame for houses
or in cyclopean construction for
The Mycenaean generally tended to
adapt, rather than destroy
, Minoan culture, religion and art. They continued to operate the economic system and bureaucracy of the Minoans.
The Mycenaean people were
by race.
The Mycenaean kingdom was
small and lacked protection and buffer zones to protect the capital
The people of Mycenae were also more of a
society of warriors
than traders, which the Cretans were.
Their architecture
focused on defense
on a grand scale.
The Mycenaean people built
fortified kingly palaces located within Citadels
instead of the pleasure palaces of the Cretans.
were usually built along the edge of sharp change in elevation, on
to make them difficult for would-be-attackers.
citadels were organized royal living areas enclosed by huge cyclopean
walls or roughhewn immense stone blocks.
The highest degree of sophistication in citadel construction was achieved at Mycenae and Tiryns.
Of the two sites,
Tiryns is better preserved
The two citadels were essentially similar and might have been constructed by the
same workmen
Minoan Architecture
Domestic Architecture (Palaces)
Palace of king Minos
, and was the largest and most elaborate of the Minoan palaces.
First palace to be discovered and excavated by the British archeologist Sir Arthur Evans.
Only the ground floor
of a large palace of several stories has partially survived
site is complicated
and there are
controversies about its function
s as the upper floors have remained impossible to reconstruct with certainty.
It was
a residence, a religious and an administrative center
; The King was Crete’s
high priest
The plan suggests it
evolved organically around the central courtyard
The palace covered and area of
10 square kilometers
, and it was
at least two storeys
The various functions of the palace were not distributed in distinct areas.
Functions were gathered in chambers and apartments
spread around the central courtyard.
The palace had
two prominent entrances
, one on the
face and another on the
entrance appears to be the
main entrance
and is defended by a guardhouse
entrance was
indirect and organic
(dog-leg) in form.
Palace of Knossos
Maged Elsamny, PhD
Week 02
Mycenaean Architecture
palaces were located within fortified citadels
, pointing to the defensive orientation of the people.
Citadels and Tholos were
restricted to the Mycenaean
Citadels were
built on hilltops
to fortify and protect kingly residences. They also
provided a refuge
for the common people during periods of attack.
The citadels incorporated systems of defense and
access to water in case of siege
Infrastructure/Civil Buildings
were the outstanding tombs of the Mycenaean people.
The tholos were round beehive structures that were covered with a
dome roof
They were
accessed by
a long causeway called a
Once a person is buried, the tholos is sealed.
did not function as a funerary chapel
in contrast with practices that we examined during the Egyptian periods.
Funerary Architecture
most splendid
of the tholos in Mycenae is the so called Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon
It was built around between
1330 BCE
dromos is about 6m wide and 36m long
sidewalls rise to 13.7m high
chamber is 14.5m in diameter and 13.2m
It is made up of
34 circular courses of masonry
lateral chamber 8.2m square by 5.8m high was the actual place of burial
The treasury of Atreus exhibited the
best masonry and most careful and ambitious construction
to be found at Mycenae
Treasury of Atreus
Mycenae, inaccessible, easily defended, stands midway
between Corinth and Argos
on the eastern part of the Peloponnese.
The gate consists of
great upright stones 3.1 meter high supporting an immense lintel 4.9 meters long and 1.6 meters high
lintel defined a gate 2.4 meters deep with an opening of 3m wide.
Above the lintel is a
triangular shaped corbeled opening filed with a stone panel
bearing a carved relief depicting two rampant lions facing a central column of the downward tapering type
column was the sacred symbol of the earth that the lions supposedly protected
The triangular relief carving over the front is to herald the temple front of the Greek civilization
The Citadel at Mycenae
The Citadel of Tiryns
Central Court
Rooms of Different functions
Diagram of Typical Minoan Palace
Minoan civilization was the
first to flourish
among the Aegean civilizations, and named after
King Minos
Remains of this civilization are,
townhouses, and palaces
Minoans were traders and seafarers
The society can be thought of as being made up of near
divine kings
presiding over an administration largely concerned with
The Minoans were a
very rich and prosperous
The wealth of the society was reflected in the
building of palaces as the residences of the powerful rulers
controlled the town
in which they were built
Minoan cities did
not have city walls
, which suggest that they were a relaxed,
and easygoing society
Apart from palaces, Minoans also built many
small country houses scattered
over the countryside and several towns of which the one attached to the palace of Knossos achieved considerable size.
Buildings were aligned
with their surrounding topography, like
in relation to the sacred or ritual significance of the mountain
Three Types of Masonry Walls
1- Cyclopean
3- Polygonal
Photo Credits: Supernado
Photo Credits: Jastrow
masses of rock roughly quarried and piled on each other, without cramp-irons, but with clay mortar, the interstices between the larger being filled with smaller blocks.
Photo Credits: The Lovecraftsman
2700 - 1100 BCE
2700 - 1380 BCE
1600 - 1100 BCE
carefully hewn rectangular blocks arranged in regular courses, but the joints between stones in the same course are not always vertical.
many sided blocks accurately worked so as to fit together.
Archeological excavations essentially discovered how the buildings were arranged in plan at the
ground level with no concrete knowledge of how the upper floors
of the buildings are organized.
In design, the palaces
resemble each other but still preserve unique features
They were
multi-storey buildings
, with
interior and exterior staircases
light wells
massive columns, storage magazines, and courtyards
Function rather than form
appears to predominate in their organization.
The most striking feature of the palace is the
extraordinary number of rooms
they contain. There were rooms of
different types, sizes and functions
around a central courtyard
, they served as
centers of government, administrative offices, shrines, workshops, and storage spaces.
courtyards were aligned north-south
, the reason for which is not clear.
All the palaces have
multiple entrances,
most of which
led to the courtyard
The palaces do not also suggest i
nformal principles of planning
or design.
Their organization is more or less
organic in nature, suggesting gradually growth
Examples of palaces: Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, and Kato Zakros
The Minoan
were connected with
stone-paved roads
, formed from blocks cut with bronze saws.
Streets were drained and water and sewer facilities were available to the upper class
, through clay pipes.
Minoan buildings often had
flat tiled roofs; plaster, wood, or flagstone floors
, and stood
two to three storeys
high. Typically the
lower walls
were constructed of
stone and rubble
, and the
upper walls of mud brick
Ceiling timbers
held up the roofs.
The materials used in constructing the villas and palaces varied, and could include
sandstone, gypsum, or limestone
Greek mainland
import of papyrus
export of ceramics
architectural & artistic ideas
handicraft items
The Columns:
The columns of the Minoan architecture are unique because they are wider at the top than the bottom. The Minoan column was constructed from the
trunk of a cypress tree
, common in the Mediterranean. It is called an
'inverted' column
because most Greek columns are
wider at the bottom, creating an illusion of greater height
. The columns were also
made of wood
as opposed to stone, and were
generally painted red
. They were mounted on
a simple stone base and were topped with a pillow-like, round piece as a capital
The bulk of the northern part of the East wing was used for
industrial activity
Industrial activities included
jewelry and pottery making
, and other light industries.
Towards the southern part of the East wing is found the
Queen’s suit
The queen's suit boasted a
bathroom with a sophisticated drainage
system of earthenware pots fitted together.
staircase and a ramp
lead from the ground floor of the east wing to the upper floors.
Archeological evidence suggest that the
main living apartments were on the upper levels of the east wing
Most of the western wing was
devoted to storage
The storage rooms were in long and narrow shops found against the western wall.
The storage rooms were for
oil jars and probably granaries
throne room was dark and mysterious; the stone throne was against the north wall
, flanked by benches.
The walls were
decorated with paintings of sea animals
appear to have a
religious purpose rather than royal one
magnificent staircase
in the west wing
led to staterooms on the upper floors
Rooms were generally approached through
rows of double doors so that they could be opened, or totally or partially shut off.
Everything was designed to permit the
circulation of cool air, to counteract the intense heat
of the Cretan summer.
Staircases also designed to have light wells; these were
opening in the roof that admits light into the staircase.
General Characteristics:
The palace did
embody any idea of
monumentality or conceptual order
Rather it was
picturesque, colorful
with an atmosphere of comfort and informality
The building materials of the palace were rich;
Wood and gypsum
were extensively used to achieve
fine bright surfaces
was used to erect widely space
to support lightweight
wooden roof
columns taper upward
and had
round capitals
The perishable nature of the materials have made
materials not to survive
to the present
None of their columns has survived. All the information on it is derived from paintings on walls
loved color
and painted their walls and adorned them with relief, mostly of
sea animals
suggesting that they probably
worship nature
The stairways light wells, and colonnades of downward tapering wood columns were typically Minoan,
Elaborate and
developed sanitation and drainage
, example of which is found in the Queen’s suit
ca. 1700 BCE
West Entrance
Industrial Rooms
Staircases to upper level
Queen Suit
East Wing
West Wing
Throne Room
Storerooms & Shops
North Entrance
Reconstruction drawing showing the palace at Knossos.
The "Throne Room" with its gypsum throne and benches built to accommodate sixteen people
Photo Credits: eucharisto deo
West Wing
Staircases at Knossos Palace
Queen's suit
East Wing
West Wing
In Mycenae, the
location was open to attack
and architectural form responded by emphasizing defense
emphasis on defense meant that movement in the citadels is directed through a maze to the megaron
to ensure optimal protection
The focus on palaces stems from the power and authority of the king in both civilizations, which is expressed in palace construction
In Mycenae there is also evidence of some conscious application of
aesthetic principles in the design of the tholos (tombs)
The geometrical relationships between the diameter and height of the tholos points to some
conscious formal organization of form
Open Area
Store Rooms
Corbeled gallery in the walls of the citadel, Tiryns, Greece, ca. 1400–1200 BCE.
Photo Credits: willbarnes
Aerial view of the citadel at Tiryns, Greece, ca. 1400–1200 BCE.
Casemates, or c
overed galleries, protected and concealed troops
within the wall
There were also
within the walls that provided
access to water sources
beneath the hill
The tunnels were cunningly
where they extended beyond the area enclosed within the fortification walls
Tiryns citadel also had large galleries to the south and east that is used for storing a large quantity of agricultural produce
All the water and food arrangements ensured that the city can withstand attacks by its enemies for a long time without
running out of supplies
The fortification walls were constructed in the
irregular style of masonry
construction termed cyclopean
The citadel had a long narrow approach on the east side with two gates which could be barred.
The palace of Tyrins is located within the citadel to the south
Additional vacant land is enclosed on the north side
royal residence at Tiryns
is one of the best preserved Mycenaean fortifications
Tiryns was
located on the coast
and was in effect a castle, guarding the beachhead that served as the
of Mycenae
The citadel at Tiryns is located on a
low rocky citadel
It was guarded by an
immensely thick wall 11m thick
Although one royalty resided in the citadel
, in times of war the vacant land served as a refuge for the community living in the city
The living quarter and lifestyle of the ruler is not much different from that of the other feudal barons.
All the
principal apartments were located on a single floor,
they were made up of a
simple rectangular box with a single door called megaron
Rectangular house of the ruler is called the chief megaron
The chief megaron
consists of a veranda, entrance hall and throne room
throne room is entered from the entrance hall
, through a door placed axially
In the
center of the throne room is a large circular fire place
Four columns are arranged in a square around the fire place
throne is located against the middle of the right-hand wall in the throne room
floors and walls are all painted and decorated
A large court lies directly in front of the chief megaron.
The Megaron courtyard is entered from the citadel gate through a series of corridors, entrance portals and other courtyards.
ca. 1400 BCE
ca. 1350 -1250 BCE
Corbeled Arch
The Lion Gate
1330 BCE
Reconstruction of the Mycenaean capital, from the Treasury of Atreus in the British Museum
Sections of the tholos
3.1m high stones supporting 4.9m long lentil and 1.6m high
2.4m deep, and 3m wide opening
Entrance leading to the courtyard
Courtyards facing the North
The mythical creature (Minotaur) is believed to be in the middle of the courtyard
copyright Perseus Project 1989, drawn by M. W. Cutler based on BSA 25 1921-23 in A.W. Lawrence 1983 81 fig. 56
First circle of royal tombs
Plan of Citadel at Mycenae
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