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December 11, 2007

Dinocrates

Dinocrates of Rhodes (also Deinocrates; Greek: Δεινοκράτης ο Ρόδιος, fl. last quarter of the 4th century BC) was a Greek architect and technical adviser for Alexander the Great. He is known for planning the city of Alexandria, the monumental funeral pyre for Hephaestion, the reconstruction of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, as well as other works.

City Proposal of Mount Athos

Prior to the building of Alexandria, when Alexander the Great was looking to build a city in his glory, Dinocrates proposed to build a city on Mount Athos in Greece. [1] Alexander dropped the proposal as Dinocrates reportedly did not consider the living conditions of the residents. The site of the current Alexandria was much more fertile and open then the harsh terrain of Mount Athos.

Plan of Alexandria

In 332 BC Alexander appointed him director of the surveying and urban planning work for the city of Alexandria, which was laid out on a grid plan that was influential in Hellenistic city planning. He was aided by Cleomenes of Naucratis and by Crates of Olynthus, an esteemed hydraulic engineer who built the waterworks for the city and the sewer system demanded by the low-lying site.

Pyre of Hephaestion

In Babylon he designed the funerary monument to Alexander's general Hephaestion (died in 324 BC), which was described by Diodorus Siculus, Arrian, Strabo, Plutarch and others. It was built of stone (unavailable locally) in imitation of a Babylonian temple, six stories tall, and entirely gilded.

Second Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

Dinocrates collaborated with Paeonius of Ephesus and Demetrius in reconstructing the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus — one of the seven wonders of the world — which had been destroyed by Herostratus in an act of arson on July 21, 356 BC, the same night, it was said, that Alexander was born.

Other works

Dinocrates is noted by Vitruvius, in the only surviving architectural treatise from Antiquity, for his plan to sculpt in the flank of Mount Athos a colossal image of Alexander, holding a small city in one hand and with the other, pouring from a gigantic pitcher a river into the sea.

He also worked on an incomplete funerary monument for Alexander's father, Philip II of Macedon.

Other works include several city plans and temples in Delphi, Delos and other Greek cities.

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