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UW / Art / ARCH 150 / where did the minoan civilization thrive

where did the minoan civilization thrive

where did the minoan civilization thrive


Arch 150 – Exam 2 Study Guide

What is a tholos?


Yellow Highlight = Important Lecture Notes

Green Highlight = Important Book Notes

(LXSX) – (ex: L2S4) = reference to image on lecture slides (ex: Lecture 2 Slide 4) Lecture 06 – Aegean Cities- Minoan/Mycenean 


Before the development of Greek civilization, the seafaring people who lived on the numerous  islands of the Aegean Sea learned how to make use of their local natural resources, and, thus, developed a sophisticated civilization. Historians recognize two separate civilizations in the  Aegean during the second millennium: that of the Minoans, based on Crete, and that of the  Mycenaeans, established at several sites on the mainland of Greece. They share some artistic  and cultural traits, including a reliance on trade with other communities in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Asia Minor.

Building Types:  

• Polis - a city state in ancient Greece 

What is mycenean civilization?

• Tholos - a circular structure, often a temple, of ancient Greece 

Key Terms:

• Column

o Base  

o Shaft – the main part of the column, may be smooth or carved

o Capital- top of the column, supports upper portion of building 

• Corbeled vault - arch-like construction method that uses the architectural technique  of corbeling to span a space or void in a structure, such as an entranceway in a wall.  A corbel vault uses this technique to support the superstructure of a building's roof. We also discuss several other topics like muse kahsay
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• Ashlar masonry- smooth stone construction where all stones are dressed or cut to a  uniform shape, size and surface appearance 

• Cyclopean masonry - architecture of unusually large blocks of stone, often for the  defense purposes 

Minoan Civilization:

The island landscape of Crete allowed them to thrive and develop sophisticated societies due to trade,  mild climate, fertile soil, abundant natural resources, and easily navigable bodies of waters.  

What is the treasury of atreus?

Palace, Knossos, Crete, Greece (1700-1380 BCE) (L06S05)

• Built over a long-time period. Was destroyed, only ground level of palace remained. Later  reconstructed by Sir Arthur Evans.  

• Looks labyrinthian and complex. No clear routes. Had four entrances

• Entrance had colonnades (columns on one side and a wall on the other). This served to open the  palace to the light and view of the natural landscape around it. Not a fortified entrance, but  rather an elaborate, decorative, open one. (L06S06)

• Palace organized around a long and open rectangular courtyard off which major receptions  rooms open. A place of air and light without a roof. Has access to surrounding residential  quarters. May have been oriented towards a mountain range. Contains corridors that have a  fresco of bull jumping. Implies strong connection between nature and Minoan culture. • Served three functions:

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o West side bank was a storage magazine- evidence of olive oil, grains, wine, other food  storage in giant ceramic jars for preservation. Drainage system with the help of the  slope of the land. The storage bank also served defensive purposes (L06S08)

o Had ceremonial and ritual spaces.

• First time the columns had a base, shaft, and capital (top), Minoan columns were also red and  tapered (narrower at bottom). (L06S07)

• Throne room inside palace. Had alabaster seat against the wall, which was covered with joyful  frescos and mythical creatures. Away from residential quarters. Has a stone basin that could  have been used for rituals. Has open walls. (L06S10)

• Palace had multi-storied complexes with remarkable staircases for upper stories. They have a  void in the middle that brings light and air into the palace. Lower levels were ashlar masonry (stone blocks of smooth surfaces). If you want to learn more check out a&p class meaning

• Queen Megaron – room in bottom right of palace. Evidence of wooden doors that could  close/open/slide. Frescos portray marine life, women, youth. Implies vitality and strong  connection with nature. (L06S14)

Mycenean Civilization:

Since Knossos was an island, the surrounding sea was enough protection for the Minoan civilization. The  Mycenae, clustered with multiple city-states on the Greek mainland, had to build a citadel for defense  and marking territory. 

Citadel, Mycenae, Greece, 1300 BC (L06S18)

• Fortified city-state.

• Had massive city walls built by Cyclopean masonry (L06S19)

• Showed power and might of Mycenae

Lion’s Gate

• Entrance to the citadel.

• Closer to ashlar masonry than the regular Cyclopean city walls.

• Used post and beam construction along with corbelling for the entrance. Single upright stones  support a lintel across the opening, above which is a corbeled arch. The space of the arch is filled  by a triangular stone with relief sculpture of two lions with a Minion column between them. (L06S22) If you want to learn more check out laura roden sjsu

• The Lion’s gate is positioned in a narrow passageway along the city’s walls to surround potential  attackers 

Treasury of Atreus

• Was a tomb not a treasury 

• Uses ashlar masonry 

• Built of stone and covered by an earthen mound, whose weight adds stability to the dry  masonry (L06S29)

• A corbeled stone chamber with a small chamber to the right of the entrance. The function of the  side chamber is unknown, but it may have been used for burials.  

• Post and lintel structure with corbelling on top

• Tomb had a corbelled beehive roof that is closed on the top with a single rock to create a huge  vaulted structure (L06S32)

• Had two main parts:

o a circular chamber (tholos)

o a passage/hallway into the tholos

• Filled with lush of great goods for the buried to stay with them for the next life

Lecture 07 – Week 4 - Greece 1 – Temple


In 479, Greeks ended the Persian invasion on the peninsula. A period of peace and prosperity  ensued when the Greek culture and arts started to rise with Athens emerging as the leading city  on the mainland. Huge efforts were made to rebuild the destroyed Athenian Acropolis which  had been a military, political, and religious sanctuary. The major influence of ancient Greece on  architecture was the temple, which was more a home for the gods rather than a place of  worship. Also, they developed architectural systems for columns and entablature called the  orders of architecture- Ionic order and Doric order.

General Terms:

• Classical Period -4th,5th century, height of Greek civilization

• Pericles – an Athenian military leader, patron of the arts. He supported the use of  wealth for the adornment of city.  

• Athena – goddess of wisdom/war. Patron of Athens (named after her). Helped Greek  defeat the Persians.  

Building types:

• Acropolis

• Temple

Key Terms

• Cella - the inner chamber of a temple 

• Frieze - a broad horizontal band above the columns (post and beam construction) • Entasis - a bulging out in the middle of a shaft of a column, used to fix the optical illusion  created if columns were straight

• Caryatid - a sculpted female figure serving as architectural support instead of a column • Doric Order characterized with: (L07S13)

o Triglyph- three vertical lines in the frieze of the Doric order columns

o Metope – rectangular space/panels between triglyphs in a Doric frieze, usually  filled with sculptures

• Ionic Order characterized with: (L07S14)

o Volute - spiral, scroll-like (or hairstyle-like) ornament that forms the basis of  the ionic order  

o Base – ionic columns have a distinguishing base that separates between the  shaft and the platform on which the column is erected

• These orders of architecture were derived from earlier wooden architecture.

Doric Order

Ionic Order



Simpler, plainer

More decorated

Has no base 

Has a base

Has a metope and a triglyph (L07S15)

Has volutes



Frieze has metopes and triglyphs

Continuous Frieze

Originated on the mainland of Greece

Developed on the islands of the Aegean and  the coast of Asia Minor


Acropolis (Acro-high place, Polis-city) (L07S03)

• Most fortified and high point of ancient Greece

• Rebuilt after Persian attacks as the leading center of Athena

• A plateau rising abruptly above the plain of the city below it.  

• Sacred place that was the center of ritual/religious worship

• Its temples constructed with Pentelic marble which was difficult to cut and carve but  very elegant and valuable

• Most important buildings: the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion and  the Temple of Athena Nike. 

Greeks not very interested in right angles and rectilinearity. Buildings not aligned. Temple of Athena Nike (where Nike got its name) (L07S08)

• Ashlar masonry of marble.  

• Sculpture of Athena

• Ionic building 

Propylaea (L07S05)

• The main monumental gateway onto the Acropolis which marked the boundaries  between the sacred and secular worlds (Acropolis and rest of the city)

• Looked like a temple

• Due to sloping ground, the propylaea’s site was neither symmetrical nor flat. Was never  finished. 

• Used both doric and ionic orders to hide the sloping ground

• Uses basic post-and-beam construction 

• Its northern wing was a megaron, perhaps used as a picture gallery

After going through propylaea, the two most important temples Parthenon on the right and  Erechtheion on the left.

Parthenon (L07S10)

• The largest and most famous temple of Ancient Greek, dedicated to goddess Athena • Unlike earlier Athenian temples, it was not a place of worship, but a home for the gods  and their statues. Worship happened at the altar in the open not the temple • Temples were offering to the gods, so perfection was necessary. A perfect symmetrical  box.

• Also contained treasury and the storage of goods 

• Doric temple, majority of columns in Doric order, but incorporates ionic attributes in its  interior rooms that housed treasury 

• The cella of the Parthenon had a high roof to house a huge Athena statue that was  oriented such that the sun would penetrate the cella interior on the morning of  Athena’s birthday to shine on it. Columns around the statue represent soldiers  protecting Athena and the treasury. (L07S19)

• Civic symbol of Athenian power and authority

• Temple constructed with post and beam construction on a 4:9 ratio. Shows advanced  Greek mathematical knowledge and their strife for perfection in their temples. • Had a lot of optical refinements to create the perfect look. If columns were perfectly  straight, eye would be fooled into thinking columns sagged in the center. Used entasis  to bulge the columns outward in the middle. Also curved the stylobate (platform where  columns stood). Titled columns in. Highlights advanced Greek knowledge of optics.  (L07S16)

• The Doric order, which is typically characterized by triglyphs placed above columns, with  metopes in between, didn’t work very well at corners. That is because sometimes at  corners two half-metopes would intersect. To fix this, the final metope before the  corner is usually elongated to allow the end triglyphs from both sides to meet at the  corner. Therefore, spacing between columns changes at the edge. (L07S18)

There were three types of sculpture. Those in the: (L07S20)

• Pediment (the triangular top of Greek architecture) – told the story of birth of Athena  and her war with Poseidon. Architecturally, the sculptures had to fit in the sloping top of  the pediment. (L07S21)

• Metopes – represented battles between half-horse, half-human creatures. Mostly  militaristic themes. (L07S22)

• Frieze – showed regular Athenians-boys, women, horsemen. Was an emblem of  democracy. (L07S23)

Elgin marbles controversy – Sir Elgin Marbles took sculpture from Parthenon to London to  display at the London Museum.

• British point of view: They had legal rights as Elgin acquired rights from authorities.  They protected marbles from destruction. Displayed it for free to the public. • Greek point of view: cultural treasures from ancient civilization belong in the places that  they come from.

Erechtheion (L07S28)

• a small multi-chambered and multi-levelled temple that was rebuilt on the ruins of the  temples destroyed by the Persians.

• Had very uneven topography, with a mammoth slope. Was not a perfect box like the  Parthenon.

• Mostly ionic temple built of ashlar masonry of marble

• Has holes due to sabotage and attempts of robbery

• Highly colored contrary to the pristine white typical image of most Greek architecture • Has the Caryatid Porch – six ionic columns that consist of female figures (caryatids).  Could’ve represented slaves. The female figures protect trident’s mark and they face the  Parthenon. (L07S33)

• The eastern section led to Athena's sanctuary, where an ancient wooden image of the  goddess was housed, while the northern gave access to Poseidon's shrine. • Unlike Parthenon dedicated to Athena, Erechtheion was dedicated to both Athena and  Poseidon, served 3 purposes:

o Housed ancient wooden sculpture of Athena 

o Contained a spot that was believed in Greek mythology to be the place where  Poseidon struck trident in stone to burst a spring for the Athenians 

o Has Athena’s olive tree

Lecture 8 - Greece 2 – Public Space


The peak of Athena’s architectural prowess, highlighted by the Acropolis, ended with the Peloponnesian  War. Greek city-stated quarreled among themselves and left the country vulnerable to external  invasions. During this time, democracy emerged as the leading form of government. The buildings that  were erected were a direct consequence of democracy, placing more value on public assembly and  meeting buildings such as the agora, stoa, and theater. 

General Terms:

• Hellenistic Period  

• Alexander the Great

• Greek Theater

Building Types (non-religious buildings for public debate, emerged from democratic system):  

• Agora – public marketplace

• Stoa - a small rectangular building with a colonnade and steps along the long side facing the  Agora,

• Bouleuterion – senate house

Key terms:

• Seating, orchestra, skene

• Colonnade

• Corinthian order

The city of Athena’s building was not in order and had no rectilinearity. However, the buildings  surrounded an open space called an agora.


• public civic commercial heart of the city (L08S06)

• architectural embodiment of democracy

• Public marketplace for shopping, government, public assembly and debate. • Unlike acropolis, which was the religious ritual center

• The open spaces of the Agora were used both as a racetrack and for theater • All the routes pass through it

• Paved with bricks. Has fountains/benches/ buildings for assembly purposes. Bouleuterion

• Meeting place for the senate (council of voted representatives)

• First institutions of self-government 

• Had stone seats inside. Placed around a podium/speaker. (L08S10)

• A columned porch led directly to the senate chamber. Seats are in rows along three sides of the  rectangular space.

• The roof was supported on the exterior walls and four intermediate columns. (L08S11) Stoa of Attalos in the Agora

• Two storied, long, narrow rectangular building used to give shape to agora (L08S14) • Post and lintel construction and built of Pentelic marble like temples 

• Elevates commerce, gives value to shops (1st level)/offices (2nd level) in the back of the stoa • Only the upper half of columns were fluted to avoid damage the design on the lower part of the  columns due to public use/vandalism (L08S16)

• Has a drainage system on the roof to drain water 

• Doric on the ground floor on the outside, while ionic on the inside in front of shops for elegance • Grouped together shops, office and workshops and provided a space for people to conduct  trade, exchange ideas and for public debate.

Corinthian – 3rd order of columns (L08S19)

• Most fancy of the orders 

• Slender fluted columns 

• Elaborate capitals with representations of acanthus leaves 

• Has a base

• Came after ionic and doric 

The Greek theater was the origin of comedy/tragedy. Greeks built monumental stone theaters. Polykleitos Theater (L08S27)

• Initially associated with a healing site, mystical sanctuary for god of healing • Tiered, curved seats to enable everyone to see

• Had an Orchestra where people would recite the story

• Stage (skene) – where scene comes from

• Too big to be roofed, open air – this distinguishes Greek theater 

• Built on two stages each with different angle – angle changed after 1st stage for acoustic  reasons.  

• Many isles between seats for moving in and out

• Some seats at the lower levels had backs on them for elite guests

• Represented a sense of equality and importance of entertainment in civic daily lives • Not just a place of entertainment, but the center of civic life: a place of public worship and a  setting for public activities.

Lecture 09 – Week 6 – India/Southeast Asia


Like the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia, India centered on a waterway, the Indus River that was  both a water source and a means of transportation. Religious buildings assume a prominent position in Indian architecture. During the sixth century, the Indian subcontinent witnessed the development of  two major religions- Buddhism and Hinduism- that helped shape Indian architecture. Buddhism became  the official state religion under the Emperor Ashoka and resulted in distinctive forms of the temple.

General Terms:

• South Asia

• Indus Valley

• Buddhism

• Hinduism

Building Types:

• Stupa - a monumental pile of earth or other material, in memory of Buddha or a Buddhist saint,  and commemorating some event or marking a sacred spot

• Chaitya Hall - a Buddhist shrine or prayer hall with a stupa at one end.

Key Terms:

• Buddhism

o Vedika – railing that surrounds a stupa

o Torana - free-standing ornamental or arched gateway

• Hinduism

o Garbhagriha - the innermost sanctum of a Hindu temple where resides the  primary deity of the temple

o Shikhara - tower above the sanctuary, most characteristic feature of the Hindu temple

Indian rulers brought in masons and stonecutters from Persia to construct monumental freestanding  pillars and build shrines.

Temples were the most important buildings, and, therefore, were built by durable materials like stone  and brick. Houses, on the other hand, were constructed of the less permanent wood. 


The first temples were created after Buddha’s death. His remains were divided to ten locations and  marked with simple mounds of earth known as stupas. Buddhist monks formed monasteries around  these stupas. In their rituals, they would walk around the stupa, and these processional paths would  remain central to Buddhist temple design.

Great Stupa, Sanchi, India, (250 BCE-250 CE)

• Human made sacred mountain, marker of presence of Buddha with his relics and remains inside • The stupas were paved over with brick or stone for stability

• The top has the harmika (fence) which surrounds a chatra (stylized tree/umbrella), symbolism of  the tree under which Buddha was enlightened (L09S06)

• Surrounded by a massive stone fence – Vedika. Vedika broken on four points, represent the 4  directions of the compass. Vedika high enough to hide outside world when you’re inside. Vedika  creates processional pathway of circumambulation around stupa. (L09S08) 

• Torana – elaborate entrance gates. All four gates are set in front of the encircling fence.  imitating wood construction (post and lintel structures), carved with vitality and life. Show life of  buddha. Animated with sculptures of native animals also. Very intricate. (L09S07) • Vedika mimics earlier wooden construction 

• Post and lintel construction

• Built out of stone

• Its base is encircled by a two-tiered aisle. Upper level restricted for elites/monks while lower  level for majority of people/pilgrims 

Rock Cut Caves, Karli, India

• Temple carved of massive rock in cliffs (L09S14)

• Hall of worship

• had a chaitya hall:

Chaitya Hall

• Building that enclosed a small stupa at the end of a rectangular hall (L09S18) • Ashoka columns

• Columns have capital, base, shaft. Have very elaborate tops. Male/female characters top  columns and lead us to the stupa (L09S19)

• has a semicircular arched ceiling 

• Replicate this form of wooden architecture 


Their temples are simultaneously dwellings of the god, places for worship, and objects of worship in  themselves. Aspects of the divine are incorporated into the temple using specific geometry, careful  orientation, and axial alignments.

Mandala and Hindu Temple

• Home for an image of the deity, house for the deity

• Garbhagriha – center shrine 

• Shikhara – tower on top 

• These two are the marks of Hindu temple

Lakshmana Temple (L09S23)

• Best-preserved temple

• Almost a sculptural mountain covered with stories of the gods

• Dwelling place for the gods that houses shrine rooms

• Windows to enable light, above eye-level to not allow view of the outside world • Raised on a base

• Roof rises with stairs

• Entry from the East.  

• Many sculptures of loving couples (Hinduism related) (L09S26)

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