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This September, the Department of Classics at McMaster University will be visited by Dr. Georgios Spyropoulos, Directorate General of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage at the Greek Ministry of Culture.

Dr. Spyropoulos will be presenting a 2-hour seminar titled “Sculpture and Architecture in Herodes Atticus’ Villa at Eva-Loukou Kynourias in Southern Peloponnese: Self-Advertisement or Monumentalization of the Greco-Roman World?”

Abstract:

In a place almost 5km from the town of Astros, at Eva/Loukou in southern Peloponnese, a large and magnificent Villa, the buildings of which provide a vast panorama of Roman architecture from the traditional to the breathtakingly unexpected, has been excavated by Prof. Dr Theodoros Spyropoulos(1979-2002) and Dr George Spyropoulos(1990-2002). Set against the silvery green of the surrounding olive trees, the Villa has been reasonably identified as belonging to Herodes Atticus, an intellectual and cultural leader whose affluence, eloquence, grieving and commemorative practices, put him in a league of his own.

Arranged on three levels and skillfully adapted to the landscape configurations the buildings of Herodes Atticus’ Villa are sufficiently preserved to be fruitful subject for analysis and at the same time create a powerful sensual dynamic as they reveal themselves one by one.

The architecture and sculptural decoration is best contemplated in the Central Core of the Villa, the Atrium, an open Garden complete with a deep channel-pool, as an image of a river and surrounded by a peristyle and buildings to resemble cities. The west side was occupied by a Nymphaion and an Exedra erected upon it, the sculptural program of which monumentalizes Herodes Atticus’ bicultural identity. Portrait galleries, statues of athletes, decorative, landscape reliefs and mosaic pavements completed the image of the architectural microcosm over which Herodes was a ruler.

Unlike other Roman Villas, Herodes Atticus’ Villa serves also as an introduction to his extreme emotionalism. In the years between 165-170 AD the Villa was transformed into a Mausoleum, as a result of Herodes’ propensity for extravagant grief, extended mourning and confession to a sense of utter dissolution due to the loss of his family members and beloved foster-sons.

The Villa of Herodes Atticus is a monument of singular importance. It was Herodes Atticus who managed to build a Villa so nicely and so richly decorated thus celebrating the invigorating vision of the Graeco-Roman world.

 

The seminar will take place on September 15th, 2016, from 4:00-6:00pm in TSH 701.

Space is limited. Please RSVP at classics@mcmaster.ca.