Tyre

Tyre was built on an island. Before the beginning of the first millennium BC, Tyre comprised two parts. The main part was the city of Tyre and the smaller part was a temple dedicated to Baal. During the Early Bronze Age, permanent settlements appeared in Tyre but they were abandoned during the entire Middle Bronze Age. In the earliest Late Bronze Age, Tyre was only used for burial and storage purposes. The city was rebuilt in the late 15th century BC. A century later, Tyre became a client state of Egypt. During the 12th century BC, the Sea Peoples destroyed many cities on the Syrian coast, but the archaeological record of Tyre and other Phoenician sites shows no indication of destruction. Tyre continued to be a thriving centre. During the early Iron Age, its economy continued to develop freely while it was not under the control of any empire. Tyrian merchants continued to expand their trade westward and paid particular attention to the trade of metal. By the 8th century BC, Phoenician merchants had already developed a trade route for metal as far as Spain. Tyre maintained this trade route and established way stations in North Africa and Carthage was one of these centres. In addition to the western Mediterranean, Tyre expanded its trade eastward under King Hiram I. Tyrian expertise in crafts and architecture was famous. The Tyrian experts even helped out the construction of King David’s palace and Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. During the Assyrian domination, tribute and taxes were imposed on Tyre. The first Tyrian revolt against the Assyrian rule and the consequent destruction of the city dates to the reign of Sennacherib. Esarhaddon also suppressed a later revolt by King Baal of Tyre. A treaty was made afterwards, but the Assyrians had taken over the authority over the commerce of the city. The final Assyrian suppression on Baal of Tyre dates to the reign of Ashurbaniqal. After the Babylonians defeated the Assyrian Empire, Tyre was subsequently ruled by this new power. After 539BC, Tyre fell under the Persian dominance and became a part of the fifth satrapy of the empire. During the 4th century BC, frequent but unsuccessful revolts took place. In 332BC, it took seven months for Alexander the Great to successfully invade Tyre. Under the Seleucids, Tyre prospered and by the Roman period it had already become a major trade centre in the east. Except from the breakwaters and jetties of the ancient Phoenician port, most visible archaeological remains also date to this period. The Roman paved road along extensive necropoleis connected the mainland and the city of Tyre through a monumental archway. The burial ground contained a lot of Greek and Latin inscriptions. The city was laid out along a colonnaded street, which had a 2nd century AD mosaic pavement. An aqueduct was running parallel to the street and brought water from a mainland spring. A statue of Hadrian has been uncovered. There was also a palaestra where athletes were trained. A huge Roman bath and a hippodrome were built. The hippodrome was one of the largest in the Roman world. Later structures after the Roman period included an early Byzantine basilica and a crusader cathedral.

Athens

The Acropolis of Athens had already been occupied in the Neolithic period. During the Late Bronze Age, the settlement in Athens centred on a heavily fortified citadel, but the importance of the acropolis should not be overemphasized. A palace might have been located there, even though there are no convincing traces. The surviving Bronze Age structure is a shaft leading from the Acropolis to a spring beneath it. By 750BC, the acropolis had become a sacred precinct for Athena. The Old Temple of Athena was built in the 6th century BC and it contained an olive-wood statue of Athena Polias in the east cella. The temple was destroyed during the Persian invasion in 480BC. After the Athenian victory, the old Parthenon was replaced by a new one under the leadership of Perikle. On the façade of the new temple stood the famous Elgin Marble, which is now in the British Museum. The Propylaia, the formal entrance of the sanctuary, was constructed from 437 to 432BC. During the Peloponnesian War, The temple of Athena Nike and the Erectheion were built. A sculptured frieze ran around the temple of Athena Nike, with its eastern side showing an assembly of gods and a series of battles of Athens. The Erectheion replaced the Old Temple of Athena nut was located in a new area. Female statues called Caryatids were used as columns. Both Alexander the Great and Attalos I or II of Pergamon made dedications in the Parthenon. But in 295BC the Athenian tyrant Lachares stripped the gold off the statue of Athena to his men. During the Roman period, the Temple of Roma and Augustus was constructed and the Parthenon was subsequently subjected to the Romans. Due to the Herulian attack in 267AD, the Beuel Gate was built in front of the Propylaia. A fire subsequently destroyed the statue, cella and the roof of the Parthenon. Although the temple was repaired, its replacement statue was destroyed by Christians in 485AD and the temple was converted to a church of Virgin Mary in the late 6th century AD. The hill west of the Acropolis stood the Areiopagos. The Pnyx there was an assembly of male Athenian citizens in the 5th and 4th century BC. Dated to 330BC with three times of rearrangement, the present Pynx had a semi-circular wall and a speaker’s platform. In front of the Pnyx, there were long foundations which might have been either stoas or spectators overlooking a race-cross. At the south of the Acropolis, the Theatre of Dionysos was built in the late 4th century BC to replace its 6th century BC predecessor. It was used for gladiatorial contests in the 1st century AD. The Odeion of Perikes at the east of the theatre was used for concerts and musical contests. Built in the 4th century BC, the temple and altar of Asklepios were introduced and funded by Telemachos from Epidauros. An Ionic stoa stood at the west of the sanctuary. At the west of the stoa, there was a spring chamber sacred to Pan and the Nymphs; and in front of the spring chamber, there were temples dedicated to Themis and Isis. The Odeion of Herodes Atticus was built by Herodes in memory of his wife. The Stoa of Eumenes was a donation from Eumenes II, the Hellenistic ruler of Pergamon in the 1st half of the second century BC, but it was destroyed in the 3rd century AD. The agora in Athens was the best preserved amongst its counterparts in Greece. As the civic heart of the city till the 1st century AD, its importance was further enhanced by the street of the Panathenaia, which was a processional way and a main road running across the agora. The vicinity of the agora was already settled during the Neolithic period. The area started being used for communal purposes in the early 6th century BC with the construction of its first public building. After the Persian War, the stoas and the temple of the Hepaiseion were built. The stoas in the agora included the South Stoa I, the Painted Stoa, the Royal Stoa and the Stoa of Zeus of Freedom. The Tholos, built at 470-460BC, was a dinning hall for the members of the Athenian council. From 300BC onwards, the agora was filled with statues and paintings. Temple structures in the agora included the Hephaisteion, the temple of Triptolemos, the Metroon and the Temple of Ares. During the Hellenistic period, new stoas including the Middle Stoa and the Stoa of Attalos were added to the agora. But since the Roman period, the agora only served as a museum and a cultural centre. The Romans also replaced the Hellenistic kings as the donors. The Odeion, which was also called the Agrippeion, was probably named after its Roman benefactor. The South-east Temple was built at the time of Augustus. The area was damaged by the Heruli in AD267. A new city wall subsequently incorporated ruined buildings and the east side of the agora. The Alaric caused more damages in AD396. The construction of the Palace of the Giants revived the centre of the agora. The large Omega House was also occupied from the 4th to 6th century AD, but it was abandoned after the Slavs’ arrival in AD582/3. The old agora was linked by the Roman agora. An inscription on the Roman agora gateway claimed that the gate was dedicated to ‘Athena the Originator’ and was funded from ‘the gifts given by Gaius Julius Caesar the god and Emperor Caesar Augustus, son of a god’. A 68 seater public latrine was built. The Tower of the Windshad, as a weather station, had a wind-driven clock inside. There were also sun-dials on each face and on top of a weather-vane in the form of a bronze Triton or sea-monster. At the south of the tower, there was a public building dedicated to Athena and the divine Roman emperors. A public fountain was located at a large square for shops and market halls. The Library of Pantainos was a privately funded institution. The Library of Hadrian was a huge complex with an ornamental pool in front of it. Another Hadrianic structure was built at the southeast of the library.