December 11, 2007


"Following the Fashion" a December 1794 caricature by James Gillray, which satirizes incipient neo-Classical trends in women's clothing styles, particularly the trend towards what was known at the time as "short-bodied gowns".
"Following the Fashion" a December 1794 caricature by James Gillray, which satirizes incipient neo-Classical trends in women's clothing styles, particularly the trend towards what was known at the time as "short-bodied gowns".

Fashion is a term that usually applies to a prevailing mode of expression, but quite often applies to a personal mode of expression that may or may not apply to all. Inherent in the term is the idea that the mode will change more quickly than the culture as a whole. The terms "fashionable" and "unfashionable" are employed to describe whether someone or something fits in with the current popular mode of expression. The term "fashion" is frequently used in a positive sense, as a synonym for glamour, beauty and style. In this sense, fashions are a sort of communal art, through which a culture examines its notions of beauty and goodness. The term "fashion" is also sometimes used in a negative sense, as a synonym for fads, trends, and materialism. Current global fashion centers are London, Milan, Paris, New York, and Los Angeles but other cities like Rome and Tokyo are also becoming well known.

Areas of fashion

Fashions are social phenomena common to many fields of human activity and thinking. The rise and fall of fashions has been especially documented and examined in the following fields:

Of these fields, costume especially has become so linked in the public eye with the term "fashion" that the more general term "costume" has mostly been relegated to only mean fancy dress or masquerade wear, while the term "fashion" means clothing generally, and the study of it. This linguistic switch is due to the so-called fashion plates which were produced during the Industrial Revolution, showing novel ways to use new textiles. For a broad cross-cultural look at clothing and its place in society, refer to the entries for clothing and costume. The remainder of this article deals with clothing fashions in the Western world.[1]


A woman wearing blue-denim shorts
A woman wearing blue-denim shorts

The habit of people continually changing the style of clothing worn, which is now worldwide, at least among urban populations, is a distinctively Western one. Though there are signs from earlier. In 8th century Cordoba (Spain), Ziryab, a famous musician and stylist migrant from Baghdad, introduced the first germ of fashion in Europe. He developed a sophisticated clothing fashion based on seasonal and daily timings. In winter, for example, costumes were made essentially from warm cotton or wool items usually in dark colours and summer garments were made of cool and light costumes involving materials such as cotton, silk and flax in light and bright colours. Brilliant colours for these clothes were produced in tanneries and dye works which the Muslim world perfected its production, for example, in 12th century Fez, there were more than 86 tanneries and 116 dye works.[2] In daily timing Ziryab suggested different clothing for mornings, afternoons and evenings. Henry Terrace, a French historian, commented on the fashion work of Ziryab “He introduced winter and summer dresses, setting exactly the dates when each fashion was to be worn. He also added dresses of half season for intervals between seasons. Through him, luxurious dresses of the Orient were introduced in Spain. Under his influence a fashion industry was set up, producing coloured striped fabric and coats of transparent fabric, which is still found in Morocco today.” [3]

It can be fairly clearly dated to the middle of the 14th century, to which historians including James Laver and Fernand Braudel date the start of Western fashion in clothing.[4][5] The most dramatic manifestation was a sudden drastic shortening and tightening of the male over-garment, from calf-length to barely covering the buttocks like the one in the pic on the right, sometimes accompanied with stuffing on the chest to look bigger. This created the distinctive Western male outline of a tailored top worn over leggings or trousers which is still with us today.

The pace of change accelerated considerably in the following century, and women's fashion, especially in the dressing and adorning of the hair, became equally complex and changing. Art historians are therefore able to use fashion in dating images with increasing confidence and precision, often within five years in the case of 15th century images. Initially changes in fashion led to a fragmentation of what had previously been very similar styles of dressing across the upper classes of Europe, and the development of distinctive national styles, which remained very different until a counter-movement in the 17th to 18th centuries imposed similar styles once again, finally those from Ancien regime France.[6] Though fashion was always led by the rich, the increasing affluence of Early Modern Europe led to the bourgeoisie and even peasants following trends at a distance sometimes uncomfortably close for the elites - a factor Braudel regards as one of the main motors of changing fashion.[7]

The fashions of the West are often believed to be unparalleled either in antiquity or in the other great civilizations of the world. Early Western travellers, whether to Persia, Turkey, Japan or China frequently remark on the absence of changes in fashion there, although they understood little of the cultures they were describing, and observers from these other cultures comment on the unseemly pace of Western fashion, which many felt suggested an instability and lack of order in Western culture. The Japanese Shogun's secretary boasted (not completely accurately) to a Spanish visitor in 1609 that Japanese clothing had not changed in over a thousand years.[8] However in Ming China, for example, there is considerable evidence for fastly changing fashions, see Timothy Brook's book "The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China" (University of California Press 1999), it has a whole section on fashion in particular.

Ten 16th century portraits of German or Italian gentlemen may show ten entirely different hats, and at this period national differences were at their most pronounced, as Albrecht Dürer recorded in his actual or composite contrast of Nuremberg and Venetian fashions at the close of the 15th century (illustration, right). The "Spanish style" of the end of the century began the move back to synchronicity among upper-class Europeans, and after a struggle in the mid 17th century, French styles decisively took over leadership, a process completed in the 18th century.[9]

Though colors and patterns of textiles changed from year to year,[10] the cut of a gentleman's coat and the length of his waistcoat, or the pattern to which a lady's dress was cut changed more slowly. Men's fashions largely derived from military models, and changes in a European male silhouette are galvanized in theatres of European war, where gentleman officers had opportunities to make notes of foreign styles: an example is the "Steinkirk" cravat or necktie.

The pace of change picked up in the 1780s with the increased publication of French engravings that showed the latest Paris styles; though there had been distribution of dressed dolls from France as patterns since the sixteenth century, and Abraham Bosse had produced engravings of fashion from the 1620s. By 1800, all Western Europeans were dressing alike (or thought they were): local variation became first a sign of provincial culture, and then a badge of the conservative peasant.[11]

Although tailors and dressmakers were no doubt responsible for many innovations before, and the textile industry certainly led many trends, the History of fashion design is normally taken to date from 1858, when the English-born Charles Frederick Worth opened the first true haute couture house in Paris. Since then the professional designer has become a progressively more dominant figure, despite the origins of many fashions in street fashion.

Fashion in clothes has allowed wearers to express emotion or solidarity with other people for millennia. Which is why its absurd to suggest it didn't exist outside of Europe. Modern Westerners have a wide choice available in the selection of their clothes. What a person chooses to wear can reflect that person's personality or likes. When people who have cultural status start to wear new or different clothes a fashion trend may start. People who like or respect them may start to wear clothes of a similar style.

Fashions may vary significantly within a society according to age, social class, generation, occupation and geography as well as over time. If, for example, an older person dresses according to the fashion of young people, he or she may look ridiculous in the eyes of both young and older people. The terms "fashionista" or "fashion victim" refer to someone who slavishly follows the current fashions

One can regard the system of sporting various fashions as a fashion language incorporating various fashion statements using a grammar of fashion. (Compare some of the work of Roland Barthes.)


Fashion, by definition, changes constantly. The changes may proceed more rapidly than in most other fields of human activity (language, thought, etc). For some, modern fast-paced changes in fashion embody many of the negative aspects of capitalism: it results in waste and encourages people qua consumers to buy things unnecessarily. Other people, especially young people, enjoy the diversity that changing fashion can apparently provide, seeing the constant change as a way to satisfy their desire to experience "new" and "interesting" things. Note too that fashion can change to enforce uniformity, as in the case where so-called Mao suits became the national uniform of mainland China.

At the same time there remains an equal or larger range designated (at least currently) 'out of fashion'. (These or similar fashions may cyclically come back 'into fashion' in due course, and remain 'in fashion' again for a while.)

Practically every aspect of appearance that can be changed has been changed at some time, for example skirt lengths ranging from ankle to mini to so short that it barely covers anything, etc. In the past, new discoveries and lesser-known parts of the world could provide an impetus to change fashions based on the exotic: Europe in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, for example, might favor things Turkish at one time, things Chinese at another, and things Japanese at a third. A modern version of exotic clothing includes club wear. Globalization has reduced the options of exotic novelty in more recent times, and has seen the introduction of non-Western wear into the Western world.

Fashion houses and their associated fashion designers, as well as high-status consumers (including celebrities), appear to have some role in determining the rates and directions of fashion change.


An important part of fashion is fashion journalism. Editorial critique and commentary can be found in magazines, newspapers, on television, fashion websites and in fashion blogs.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, fashion magazines began to include photographs and became even more influential than in the past. In cities throughout the world these magazines were greatly sought-after and had a profound effect on public taste. Talented illustrators drew exquisite fashion plates for the publications which covered the most recent developments in fashion and beauty. Perhaps the most famous of these magazines was La Gazette du bon ton which was founded in 1912 by Lucien Vogel and regularly published until 1925 (with the exception of the war years).

Vogue, founded in the US in 1902, has been the longest-lasting and most successful of the hundreds of fashion magazines that have come and gone. Increasing affluence after World War II and, most importantly, the advent of cheap colour printing in the 1960s led to a huge boost in its sales, and heavy coverage of fashion in mainstream women's magazines - followed by men's magazines from the 1990s. Haute Couture designers followed the trend by starting the ready-to-wear and perfume lines, heavily advertised in the magazines, that now dwarf their original couture businesses. Television coverage began in the 1950s with small fashion features. In the 1960s and 1970s, fashion segments on various entertainment shows became more frequent, and by the 1980s, dedicated fashion shows like FashionTelevision started to appear. Despite television and increasing internet coverage, including fashion blogs, press coverage remains the most important form of publicity in the eyes of the industry.

Intellectual property

Within the fashion industry, intellectual property is not enforced as it is within the film industry and music industry.[12] While brand names and logos are protected, designs are not.[13] Smaller, boutique, designers have lost revenue after their designs have been taken and marketed by bigger businesses with more resources.[14] Some observers have noted, however, that the relative freedom that fashion designers have to "take inspiration" from others' designs contributes to the fashion industry's ability to establish clothing trends. Tempting consumers to buy clothing by establishing new trends is, some have argued, a key component of the industry's success. Intellectual property rules that interfere with the process of trend-making would, on this view, be counter-productive.[15] In 2005, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held a conference calling for stricter intellectual property enforcement within the fashion industry to better protect small and medium businesses and promote competitiveness within the textile and clothing industries.[16][17]


"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." - Oscar Wilde [1]

"Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new." - Henry David Thoreau [2]

See also

Theodorus of Samos

Theodorus of Samos (sometimes spelt Theodoras) was a Ancient Greek sculptor and architect of the sixth century BC who along with Rhoecus, is often credited with the invention of ore smelting and, according to Pausanias, the craft of casting. He is also credited with inventing a water level, a carpenter's square, and, according to Pliny, a lock and key and the turning lathe.

According to Vitruvius (vii, introduction) Theodorus is the architect of the Doric order temple of Juno which is in Samos.

In some texts he is described, above all, as a great artist and in some statues he is depicted as a great inventor.

Sostratus of Cnidus

Sostratus of Cnidus (born 3rd century BC), was a Greek architect and engineer. He designed the lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the World (ca.280 BC), on the island of Pharos off Alexandria, Egypt.


Satyros or Satyrus was an Ancient Greek architect of the 4th century BC. Along with Pythis (Pytheos), he designed the Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. After Mausolus, satrap of Caria in southwest Anatolia died, at 353 BC, his widow, Artemisia II of Caria, built a huge marble tomb – completed about 350 BC – in his memory at Halicarnassus (now Bodrum, Turkey). Its name, the Mausoleum, came to be the generic term for monumental tombs. It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and was eventually destroyed by an earthquake.


Pythis, also known as Pytheos or Pythius, was one of the most noted Greek architects of the later age. He cultivated the Ionic order, in which he constructed the temple of Athena at Priene. The dedicatory inscription, which is in the British Museum, records that the founder was Alexander the Great. Pythis also made a great marble quadriga which surmounted the Mausoleum of Maussollos.

Pythis and Satyros (sometimes spelled Satyrus) were Greek architects of the 4th century BC, noted for being co-designers of the great Mausoleum located at Halicarnassus on the Aegean Sea opposite Greece.


Philon, Athenian architect of the 4th century BC, is known as the planner of two important works: the portico of the great Hall of the Mysteries at Eleusis and an arsenal at Athens. Of the last we have exact knowledge from an inscription. E. A. Gardner (Ancient Athens, p. 557) observes that it "is perhaps known to us more in detail than any other lost monument of antiquity." It was to hold the rigging of the galleys; and was so contrived that all its contents were visible from a central hall, and so liable to the inspection of the Athenian democracy. He is known to have written books on the Athenian arsenal and on the proportions of temple buildings, but these are now lost.

Vitruvius (vii, introduction) notes Philo on the proportions of temples, and on the naval arsenal which was at the port of Peiraeus


Headline text

Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends (1868) by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends (1868) by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

'Phidias'''Italic text (or Pheidias) (in ancient Greek, Φειδίας) (c.480 BC - c.430 BC), son of Charmides, (not to be mistaken for the Charmides who participated in the tyranny at Athens) , was an ancient Greek sculptor, painter and architect, universally regarded as the greatest of all Classical sculptors.

Phidias designed the statues of the goddess Athena on the Athenian Acropolis (Athena Parthenos inside the Parthenon and the Athena Promachos) and the colossal seated Statue of Zeus at Olympia in the 5th century BC. The Athenian works were apparently commissioned by Pericles in 447 BC. Pericles used the money from the maritime League of Delos to pay Phidias for his work.


Free copy of the Athena Parthenos signed by Antiochos, 1st century BC (Palazzo Altieri, Rome)
Free copy of the Athena Parthenos signed by Antiochos, 1st century BC (Palazzo Altieri, Rome)

We have varying accounts of his training. Hegias of Athens, Ageladas of Argos, and the Thasian painter Polygnotus, have all been regarded as his teachers. In favour of Ageladas it may be said that the influence of the many Dorian schools is certainly to be traced in some of his work.

Of his life we know little apart from his works. Pausanias, however, mentions two of his students, who also were his eromenoi. One is Agoracritus who is also known for his sculpture of Nemesis at Rhamnus.[1] Another beloved, even more closely associated with the sculptor, is Pantarkes, an Elian youth and winner of the boy's wrestling match at the 86th Olympics in 436 BC. Pausanias[2] reports a tradition that the boy was the model for one of the figures sculpted in the throne of the Olympian Zeus. Another tradition, reported by Clement of Alexandria, has Phidias carving "Kalos Pantarkes" ("Pantarkes is handsome") into the god's little finger.[3]

Of his death we have two discrepant accounts. According to Plutarch he was made an object of attack by the political enemies of Pericles, and died in prison at Athens, but according to Philochorus, as quoted by a scholiast on Aristophanes, he fled to Elis, where he made the great statue of Zeus for the Eleans, but was afterwards put to death by them. For several reasons the first of these tales is preferable: it would not have been possible for him to have died in prison immediately after the creation of the Athena Parthenos on the Acropolis, as he made the Zeus of Olympia after his involvement with the Parthenon.


Plutarch gives in his Life of Pericles an account of the vast artistic activity which went on at Athens while that statesman was in power. He used for the decoration of his own city the money furnished by the Athenian allies for defence against Persia: it is very fortunate that after the time of Xerxes Persia made no deliberate attempt against Greece. "In all these works," says Plutarch, "Phidias was the adviser and overseer of Pericles." Phidias introduced his own portrait and that of Pericles on the shield of his Athena Parthenos statue. And it was through Phidias that the political enemies of Pericles struck at him. It thus abundantly appears that Phidias was closely connected with Pericles, and a dominant spirit in the Athenian art of the period. But it is not easy to go beyond this general assertion into details.

It is important to observe that in resting the fame of Phidias upon the sculptures of the Parthenon we proceed with little evidence. No ancient writer ascribes them to him, and he seldom, if ever, executed works in marble. In antiquity he was celebrated for his statues in bronze, and his chryselephantine works (statues made of gold and ivory). Plutarch tells us that he superintended the great works of Pericles on the Acropolis, but this phrase is vague; inscriptions prove that the marble blocks intended for the pedimental statues of the Parthenon were not brought to Athens until 434 BC, which was probably after the death of Phidias. And there is a marked contrast in style between these statues and the certain works of Phidias. It is therefore probable that most if not all of the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon was the work of pupils of Phidias, such as Alcamenes and Agoracritus, rather than his own.

The earliest of the great works of Phidias were dedications in memory of Marathon, from the spoils of the victory. At Delphi he erected a great group in bronze including the figures of Apollo and Athena, several Attic heroes, and Miltiades the general. On the acropolis of Athens he set up a colossal bronze statue of Athena, the Athena Promachos, which was visible far out at sea. At Pellene in Achaea, and at Plataea he made two other statues of Athena, as well as a statue of Aphrodite in ivory and gold for the people of Elis.

Among the ancient Greeks themselves two works of Phidias far outshone all others, and were the basis of his fame; the colossal chryselephantine figures in gold and ivory of Zeus at Olympia and of Athena Parthenos at Athens, both of which belong to about the middle of the 5th century BC. Of the Zeus we have unfortunately lost all trace save small copies on coins of Elis, which give us but a general notion of the pose, and the character of the head. The god was seated on a throne, every part of which was used as a ground for sculptural decoration. His body was of ivory, his robe of gold. His head was of somewhat archaic type: the Otricoli mask which used to be regarded as a copy of the head of the Olympian statue is certainly more than a century later in style. A number of ancient writers document a story regarding the love of the sculptor for an Elian boy, Pantarkes. It was said that to honor his eromenos Phidias carved the boy's name on the little finger of the Olympian Zeus, and his portrait in the figure of a victorious athlete at the foot of the statue. (Plutarch, Erotikos; Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus, 53, 4) Of the Athena Parthenos two small copies in marble have been found at Athens which have no excellence of workmanship, but have a certain evidential value as to the treatment of their original.

Our actual knowledge of the works of Phidias is very small. There are many stately figures in the Roman and other museums which clearly belong to the same school as the Parthenos; but they are copies of the Roman age, and not to be trusted in point of style. Adolf Furtwangler proposed to find in a statue of which the head is at Bologna, and the body at Dresden, a copy of the Lemnian Athena of Phidias; but his arguments (Masterpieces, at the beginning) are anything but conclusive. Much more satisfactory as evidence are some 5th century torsos of Athena found at Athens. The very fine torso of Athena in the École des Beaux-Arts at Paris, which has unfortunately lost its head, may perhaps best serve to help our imagination in reconstructing the original statue.

Ancient critics take a very high view of the merits of Phidias. What they especially praise is the ethos or permanent moral level of his works as compared with those of the later "pathetic" school. Demetrius calls his statues sublime, and at the same time precise. That he rode on the crest of a splendid wave of art is not to be questioned: but it is to be regretted that we have no morsel of work extant for which we can definitely hold him responsible except for one.

In 1958 archaeologists found the workshop at Olympia where Phidias assembled the gold and ivory Zeus. There were still some shards of ivory at the site, moulds and other casting equipment, and the base of a black glaze drinking cup[4] engraved "I belong to Phidias."[5]

Aeulius Nicon

Aeulius Nicon was a wealthy architect and builder in 2nd century Pergamon. Nicon is known chiefly as the father of the ancient anatomist and philosopher, Galen.

Nicon was a mathematician, architect, astronomer, philosopher, and devotee of Greek literature. Nicon closely supervised Galen's education and tutored him at home, intending his son to study philosophy or politics. However according to Galen, Nicon was visited in a dream by Asclepius, Greek god of healing, who told to him to allow his son to study medicine. Galen soon began his studies at the major sanctuary of Asclepius located in Pergamon.

In his book, On the Passions and Errors of the Soul, Galen described his father as "the least irascible, the most just, the most devoted of fathers." Nicon's Stoic virtue in Galen's accounts contrasts vividly with his hot-tempered and argumentative description of his mother.

Nicon died in 148 or 149.


Mnesikles (Latin transliteration: Mnesicles) was an Ancient Athenian architect active in the mid 5th century BCE, the age of Pericles. Plutarch (Pericles, 13) identifies him as architect of the Propylaea, the Periclean gateway to the Athenian Acropolis.


Metagenes(Greek:Μεταγένης) son of the Cretan architect Chersiphron, also was an architect. He was co-author, along with his father, of the construction of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.


Kallikrates (also spelled Callicrates) was an ancient Greek architect active in the middle of the fifth century BCE. He and Iktinos were architects of the Parthenon (Plutarch, Pericles, 13) [1]. An inscription identifies him as the architect of "the Temple of Nike" in the Sanctuary of Athena Nike on the Acropolis (IG I3 35). The temple in question is either the amphiprostyle Temple of Athena Nike now visible on the site [2] or a small-scale predecessor (naiskos) whose remains were found in the later temple's foundations.[3]. An inscription identifies Kallikrates as one of the architects of the Classical circuit wall of the Acropolis (IG I3 45), and Plutarch further states (loc cit) that he contracted to build the Middle of three amazing walls linking Athens and Piraeus.


Iktinos (or Ictinus) was an architect active in the mid 5th century BC.[1] Ancient sources identify Iktinos and Kallikrates as co-architects of the Parthenon.

Pausanias identifies Iktinos as architect of the Temple of Apollo at Bassae. That temple was Doric on the exterior, Ionic on the interior, and incorporated a Corinthian column, the earliest known, at the center rear of the cella. Sources also identify Iktinos as architect of the Telesterion at Eleusis, a gigantic hall used in the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres painted a scene showing Iktinos together with the lyric poet Pindar - the painting is known as Pindar and Ictinus and is exhibited at the National Gallery, London.


Eupalinus of Megara,a Greek architect, constructed for the tyrant Polycrates of Samos a remarkable 1,036 meters (about 4,000 feet) long tunnel to bring water to the city, passing through limestone at the base of a hill. This aqueduct still exists, and is one of the most remarkable constructions in Greece, due to its two-way construction.

The tunnel is described by Herodotus as follows: I have dwelt rather long on the history of the Samians because theirs are the three greatest works (ergasmata) of all the Greeks. One is a tunnel (orygma amphistomon) through the base of a nine hundred foot high mountain. The tunnel's length is seven stades, its height and length (width) both eight feet. Throughout its length another cutting (orygma) has been dug (ororyktai) three feet wide and three feet deep, through which the water flowing in pipes is led into the city from an abundant spring. The builder (architekton) of the tunnel was the Megarian Eupalinus, son of Maustrophus.


Eupalinos of Megara was an ancient Greek engineer who built the Tunnel of Samos in the 6th century BC. The tunnel, presumably completed between 550 and 530 BC,[1] is the second known tunnel in history which was excavated from both ends and the first with a methodical approach in doing so.[2] Being also the longest tunnel of its time, the Tunnel of Eupalinos is regarded as a major feat of ancient engineering.

The Greek historian Herodot describes the tunnel briefly in his Histories (3.60) and calls Eupalinos of Megara its architect. Eupalinos is supposed to be the first hydraulic engineer in history whose name has been passed down.[3] Apart from that, though, nothing more is known about him.

A large road tunnel, named after Eupalinos has been recently built under the Geraneia mountains in Corinthia, to facilitate the new expressway connection between Athens and Corinth. Eupalinos tunnel is the longest of three subsequent tunnels of the same width at this expressway.


Chersiphron (6th century BC), an architect of Knossos in Crete, was the builder of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, on the Ionian coast. The temple had been begun about 600 BC, and was completed by other architects. Chersiphron and his son Metagenes were co-authors of its building. The Artemision was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in each of its three manifestations: it was destroyed in 550 BC, rebuilt, burned by Herostratus in 356 BC and rebuilt again. The architect's name is recalled in Vitruvius, and in a passage of Pliny, as Ctesiphon, perhaps in confusion with the great Parthian city of that name on the Tigris.

Callimachus (sculptor)

The Venus Genetrix, sometimes attributed to him.
The Venus Genetrix, sometimes attributed to him.
For the Alexandrian poet and keeper of the Museum, see Callimachus of Cyrene.

Callimachus (Greek: Καλλίμαχος) was an architect and sculptor working in the second half of the 5th century BC in the manner established by Polyclitus. He was credited with work in both Athens and Corinth and was probably from one of the two cities. According to Vitruvius (iv.1), for his great ingenuity and taste the Athenians dubbed Callimachus katatêxitechnos (literally, 'finding fault with one's own craftmanship': perfectionist). His reputation in the 2nd century CE was reported in an aside by Pausanias, as one "although not of the first rank of artists, was yet of unparalleled cleverness, so that he was the first to drill holes through stones"— that is, in order to enhance surface effects of light and shade in locks of hair, foliage and other details. Thus it is reported that Callimachus was known for his penchant for elaborately detailed sculptures or drapery, though few securely attributed works by him survive.



Callimachus is credited with the sculptures of Nikes on the frieze of the Temple of Athena Nike ("Athena, Bringer of Victory") on the Propylaea of the Acropolis of Athens. The small temple was commissioned by Pericles shortly before his death in 429, and built ca 427– 410. Pliny mentions his Laconian Dancers. Six ecstatic Maenads attributed to him exist in Roman copies.

The clinging draperies of the above works has led to the original of the Venus Genetrix type (whose draperies are similarly clinging) being also attributed to him.


Callimachus is credited with inventing the Corinthian capital, which Roman architects erected into one of the Classical orders. The attribution comes from Vitruvius's On Architecture (book IV) (here in Morris Hicky Morgan's translation):

It is related that the original discovery of this form of capital was as follows. A freeborn maiden of Corinth, just of marriageable age, was attacked by an illness and passed away. After her burial, her nurse, collecting a few little things which used to give the girl pleasure while she was alive, put them in a basket, carried it to the tomb, and laid it on top thereof, covering it with a roof-tile so that the things might last longer in the open air. This basket happened to be placed just above the root of an acanthus. The acanthus root, pressed down meanwhile though it was by the weight, when springtime came round put forth leaves and stalks in the middle, and the stalks, growing up along the sides of the basket, and pressed out by the corners of the tile through the compulsion of its weight, were forced to bend into volutes at the outer edges.
Just then Callimachus, whom the Athenians called katatêxitechnos for the refinement and delicacy of his artistic work, passed by this tomb and observed the basket with the tender young leaves growing round it. Delighted with the novel style and form, he built some columns after that pattern for the Corinthians, determined their symmetrical proportions, and established from that time forth the rules to be followed in finished works of the Corinthian order.

There is no way to corroborate Vitruvius's account, but since the elaborate design of the Corinthian column resembles other works attributed to Callimachus, the attribution seems reasonable to modern architectural historians. The complex and difficult design of the column's capital often required drilling to undercut the leaf edges.

In the cella of the Erechtheion hung an ingenious golden lamp invented by Callimachus, according to Pausanias' Description of Greece: it needed to be refilled with oil only once a year. Above it hung a bronze palm branch which trapped any rising smoke.

Hippodamus of Miletus

Hippodamus of Miletus (sometimes also called Hippodamos, Greek: Ἱππόδαμος), was a Greek town planner of the 5th century BC. He created plans of Hellenic colony cities that featured order and regularity, in contrast to the more common intricacy and confusion common to cities such as Athens, and he is seen as the originator of the idea that a town plan might formally embody and clarify a rational social order. According to Aristotle (in Politics), he originated the art of Town Planning, and devised an ideal city to be inhabited by 10,000 citizens, divided into three classess (soldiers, artisans and 'husbandmen'), with the land also divided into three (sacred, public and private). He also evidently had a reputation as a lover of attention. According to Aristotle's description in Politics, "Some people thought he carried things too far, indeed, with his long hair, expensive ornaments, and the same cheap warm clothing worn winter and summer."

For Pericles he planned the arrangement of the harbour-town Peiraeus at Athens in the middle of the fifth century BC. When the Athenians founded Thurii in Italy in 443 BC he accompanied the colony as architect - although he was not actually an architect in the sense of a building designer. He is credited with, in 408 BC, the building of the new city of Rhodes, however as he was involved in 479 BC with helping the reconstruction of Miletus he would have been very old when this project took place.

His grid plans consisted of series of broad, straight streets, cutting one another at forty-five and one hundred thirty-five degree angles.

From Hippodamus came the earliest notions of patent law. Hippodamus proposed that society should reward those individuals who create things useful for society. Artistotle criticized the practical utilitarian approach of Hippodamus and implicated the inherent tension in rewarding individuals for doing good; i.e. that by rewarding individuals for doing good, the individuals will do good for the reward over the benefit of the state. The state could actually suffer because of the allure of individual rewards, since individuals may propose notions that weaken the state. Aristotle essentially foreshadowed the inherent tension between private rewards for social benefits--the potential diversion between individual and societal interests.


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.

Tunnel of Eupalinos

The Tunnel of Eupalinos or Eupalinian aqueduct (in Greek: Efpalinion orygma, Ευπαλίνιον όρυγμα) is a tunnel of 1,036 m length in Samos, Greece, built in the sixth century BC to serve as an aqueduct. It took water from an inland spring, which was roofed over and thus concealed from enemies. A buried channel, with periodic inspection shafts, winds along the hillside to the northern tunnel mouth. A similar hidden channel, buried just below the surface of the ground, leads from the southern exit eastwards to the town of Pythagoreion.

In the mountain itself, the water used to flow in pipes in a separate channel several metres below the human access channel, connected to it by shafts or by a trench.

Inside the Eupalinian aqueduct, Samos, in one of the most spacious parts of it
Inside the Eupalinian aqueduct, Samos, in one of the most spacious parts of it

The southern half of the tunnel was dug to a larger dimensions than the northern half, which in places is only just wide enough for one person to squeeze through, and has a pointed roof of stone slabs to prevent rockfalls. The southern half, by contrast, benefits from being dug through a stabler rock stratum.

The two headings meet at a dogs-leg, a technique which was used to avoid the two tunnels missing each other, as explained in the paragraph "Surveying techniques".

The tunnel is the second known tunnel in history which was excavated from both ends (amfistomon, αμφίστομον, 'having two openings'), and the first with a methodical approach in doing so.[1] The Eupalinos tunnel was also the longest tunnel of its time. Today it is a popular tourist attraction.

Historical data

In the sixth century BC, Samos was ruled by the famous tyrant Polycrates.

During his reign, two groups working under the direction of the engineer Eupalinos from Megara dug a tunnel through Mount Kastro to build an aqueduct to supply the ancient capital of Samos, (which today is called Pythagoreion), with fresh water. This was of utmost defensive importance, as the aqueduct ran underground it was not easily found by an enemy who could otherwise cut off the water supply.

The Eupalinian aqueduct was used for a thousand years, as proved from archaeological findings. It was rediscovered in 1882-1884 and today is open to visitors.

The sign at the end of the part of the Eupalinian aqueduct that is open to the public
The sign at the end of the part of the Eupalinian aqueduct that is open to the public

The text of Herodotus

The Eupalinian aqueduct or ditch, is cited by Herodotus (Histories 3.60), without whom it would not have been discovered:

And about the Samians I have spoken at greater length, because they have three works which are greater than any others that have been made by Hellenes: first a passage beginning from below and open at both ends, dug through a mountain not less than a hundred and fifty fathoms [200 m] in height; the length of the passage is seven furlongs and the height and breadth each eight feet, and throughout the whole of it another passage has been dug twenty cubits in depth and three feet in breadth, through which the water is conducted and comes by the pipes to the city, brought from an abundant spring: and the designer of this work was a Megarian, Eupalinos the son of Naustrophos. This is one of the three;...

Surveying techniques

The method Eupalinos employed to make the two groups meet in the middle of the mountain, is documented by Hermann J. Kienast and other researchers. With a length of 1,036 metres, the Eupalinian subterranean aqueduct is famous today as one of the masterpieces of ancient engineering.

Eupalinos was aware that mistakes in measurement could make him miss the meeting point of the two teams, either horizontally or vertically. He therefore employed the following techniques:

In the horizontal plane

Since two parallel lines never meet, Eupalinos recognized that a mistake of more than two metres horizontally (approximate cross section was 1.8 by 1.8 m), would make him miss the meeting point. Having calculated the expected position of the meeting point, he changed the direction of both tunnels, as shown in the picture (one to the left and the other to the right), so that a crossing point would be guaranteed, even if the tunnels were previously parallel and far away.

Horizontal cross section of Eupalinos' design of the aqueduct

In the vertical plane

Similarly, there was a possibility of deviations in the vertical sense, even though his measurements were quite accurate; Kienast reports a vertical difference in the opening of the tunnels of only four centimetres. However, Eupalinos could not take a chance. He increased the possibility of the two tunnels meeting each other, by increasing the height of both tunnels. In the north tunnel he kept the floor horizontal and increased the height of the roof, while in the south tunnel, he kept the roof horizontal and increased the height by changing the level of the floor. His precautions in the vertical sense proved unnecessary, since measurements show that there was practically no mistake.

Vertical cross section of Eupalinos' design of the aqueduct

Treasury of Atreus

Entrance, Treasury of Atreus
Entrance, Treasury of Atreus

The Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon is an impressive "tholos" tomb at Mycenae, Greece (on the Panagitsa Hill) constructed around 1250 BCE. The lintel stone above the doorway weighs 120 tons. The tomb was used for an unknown period of time. Cited by Pausanias, it was still visible in 1879 when the archeologist German Heinrich Schliemann discovered the other graves under the agora in the Acropolis at Mycenae.

It was built around the half of the 13th century BC (400 years before the alleged time of the Trojan War) and perhaps held the remains of the sovereign who completed the reconstruction of the fortress or one of his successors. The grave repeats the shape of other tholoi of the eastern Mediterranean, also present in the environs of Mycenae (about twelve), but in its monumental shape and grandiosity it is one of the impressivest monuments surviving from the archaic period in Greece.

Section of the tomb
Section of the tomb

It is formed of a semi-subterranean room of circular plan, with a covering that is ogival in section, brought about by progressively piling up boulders (false vault). With an interior height of 13.5m and a diameter of 14.5m,[1] it was the tallest and widest dome in the world for over a thousand years until construction of the Temple of Mercury in Baiae and the Pantheon in Rome. (See List of world's largest domes.) Great care was taken in the positioning of the enormous stones, to guarantee the vault's stability over time in bearing the force of compression from its own weight. This obtained a perfectly smoothed internal surface, onto which could be placed gold, silver and bronze decoration.

The tholos was entered from an inclined uncovered hall or dromos, 36 meters long and with dry-stone walls. A short passage led from the tholos to the actual burial chamber, which was dug out in a nearly cubical shape.

The entrance portal to the tumulus was richly decorated: half-columns in green limestone with zig-zag motifs on the trunk[2], a frieze with rosettes above the architrave of the door, and spiral decoration in bands of red marble that closed the triangular aperture above an architrave. The capitals are influenced by ancient Egyptian examples, and one is in the Pergamon Museum as part of the Antikensammlung Berlin. Other decorative elements were inlaid with red porphyry and green alabaster, a surprising luxury for the Bronze Age.