HUM 111 THE HELLENISTIC AGE II: ART AND ARCHITECTURE
Hellenistic Era: 323 BC (death of Alexander) to late 1
The dominant influence of the Hellenistic era is realism, empiricism, Aristotle
The cities that Alexander created grew during the Hellenistic era. These were all new
cities, not old cities that had Persian roots. Alexander would lay out brand new cities that
became the centers of the new trade and activity in the east. They were usually laying on
the important trade routes. This is where the concept of urbanization came. He settled
them into one place, it is easier to organize and tax the citizens this way as well.
There were Macedonian concepts headed east, but eastern concepts headed west too (like
divine kingship and mystery religions)
During the Hellenistic era, Rome is rising over in the west at the same time, but we will
talk separately first about the east, then about Italy, and bringing both up to the battle of
Actium. This keeps them from getting confused with one another.
During the Hellenistic building the emphasis changes from religious buildings to secular
buildings: museums, houses, motels, etc.
Personal monuments were also created. The concepts of realism, empiricism,
individualism spread everywhere at this time.
Monument to Lysicrates, Athens
An individual who owned a chorus or the owner of the chariot would win the big
Lysicrates had a chorus, and in honor of himself, he built a monument for himself
in downtown Athens.
It has eight highways all the way around it.
It’s not a real
building, there are no rooms inside. It’s Hellenic, and it’s a round structure.
little half columns around that aren’t free-standing, but surround the circular structure.
In the Hellenistic times, people wanted everything bigger and fancier.
So it’s a building
to honor an ordinary man, commemorative to individualism.
Individualism is a big
component of the Hellenistic Era, and we are believed today to be just like the Hellenistic
The monument to Lysicrates is in Athens but is a Hellenistic work. It is a solid
monument, not a building. It is not a rectangular, Hellenic style building; it is new and
The emphasis during this time is on newness and novelty, we have moved away from the
idea that everything should get better and better and be perfect (Plato’s views). Instead,
Aristotle’s idea that everything should be real is more in place. Now the architects can
think about the here and now. They can break away from the form that they have had for