The Classical World

Part of the Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics book series (ULNP)


The classical world, or classical antiquity, is a traditional all-embracing definition describing the cultures of the Mediterranean area from the Ancient Greek civilisation (eighth century BC) to the end of the Roman Empire. It thus includes Classical Greece, Hellenism, and Rome. This chapter is devoted to this broad historical period, and will present some examples of applications of archaeoastronomical ideas and techniques, beginning with the Greek temples of Sicily.


Winter Solstice Divine Nature Autumn Equinox Roman Emperor Meridian Line 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aveni, A. F. and G. Romano. 2000. Temple Orientation in Magna Grecia and Sicily. Journal for the History of Astronomy 31: 52–57.Google Scholar
  2. Bagnall, R.S. 1979. The date of the foundation of Alexandria. American Journal of Ancient History IV: 46–9.Google Scholar
  3. Barton, T. 1995 Augustus and Capricorn: Astrological Polyvalency and Imperial Rhetoric. The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 85, pp. 33–51.Google Scholar
  4. Bauval, R. and Hancock, G. (2005) Talisman. Anchor Canada, Toronto.Google Scholar
  5. Belmonte, J.A., and Gonzalez Garcia, C. 2010. Antiochos’s hierothesion at Nemrud Dag revisited: adjusting the date in the light of astronomical evidence. Journal for the History of Astronomy 41, 469-481.Google Scholar
  6. Bertarione, S. 2013 Indagini archeologiche alla Torre dei Balivi. Si svela la sanctitas murorum. BSBAC, 9.Google Scholar
  7. Bertarione S, Magli G (2015). Augustus’ Power from the Stars and the Foundation of Augusta Praetoria Salassorum. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 25, 2015, pp 1–15.Google Scholar
  8. Boutsikas E (2009) Placing Greek temples: an archaeoastronomical study of the orientation of ancient Greek religious structures. Archaeoastronomy 21:4–19.Google Scholar
  9. Boutsikas E, Ruggles CLN (2011) Temples, stars, and ritual landscapes: the potential for archaeoastronomy in ancient Greece. Am J Archaeol 115(1):55–68.Google Scholar
  10. Buchner, E. 1982. Die Sonnenuhr des Augustus. Mainz am Rhein: von Zabern.Google Scholar
  11. Castagnoli, F. 1971. Orthogonal Town Planning in Antiquity. Cambridge, MA: MIT press.Google Scholar
  12. Del Monte, C. and N. Lanciano. 1990. L’occhio di luce: il Pantheon. Il Manifesto, 22 July.Google Scholar
  13. Dinsmoor WB (1939) Archaeology and Astronomy. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 80 (1): 95–173.Google Scholar
  14. Ferro, L. and Magli, G. 2012: The Astronomical Orientation of the Urban Plan of Alexandria. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 31, 381–389.Google Scholar
  15. Ferro, L. and Magli, G. 2013 Astronomy and Perspective in the Cities founded by Alexander the Great. Aplimat 5, 523–532.Google Scholar
  16. Galinsky K. 2005 The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Augustus. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  17. González García C.; Rodríguez Antón A. and Belmonte J.A. On the orientation of Roman cities in Hispania: preliminary results. Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 14 (2014), 3, 107–19.Google Scholar
  18. Hannah, R. 2005. Greek and Roman Calendars: Constructions of Time in the Classical World. Duckworth: London.Google Scholar
  19. Hannah, R. (2009) Time in Antiquity Routledge: London.Google Scholar
  20. Hannah, R. (2013) Greek Temple Orientation: The Case of the Older Parthenon in Athens. Nexus Network Journal 15, pp 423–443.Google Scholar
  21. Hannah R, Magli G (2011) The role of the sun in the Pantheon design and meaning. Numen 58:486–513.Google Scholar
  22. Hannah R, Magli G, Palmieri A 2015 Nero’s “solar” kingship and the architecture of Domus Aurea Numen - Archive for the History of Religion, at press.Google Scholar
  23. Heslin, P. 2007. Augustus, Domitian and the So-called Horologium Augusti. Journal of Roman Studies 97: 1–20.Google Scholar
  24. Lane Fox, R (2004) Alexander the Great Penguin, London.Google Scholar
  25. Laurence, R., Cleary, S.E, Sears, G. (2011) The city in the Roman West, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  26. Lawrence AW (1996) Greek Architecture Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Liritzis, I and Castro, B. (2013) Delphi and cosmovision: Apollo’s absence at the land of the hyperboreans and the time for consulting the oracle. Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 16, 184–206 (2013).Google Scholar
  28. Liritzis, I., & Vassiliou, H. (2003). Archaeoastronomical Orientation of Seven Significant Ancient Hellenic Temples. Archaeoastronomy: the journal of Astronomy in Culture , 17, 94–100.Google Scholar
  29. Magli, G. (2008) On the orientation of Roman towns in Italy, Oxford Journal of Archaeology 27 (1), 63–71Google Scholar
  30. Magli, G., Sampietro, D., Realini, E., Reguzzoni, M (2014) Uncovering a masterpiece of Roman architecture: the project of Via Appia between Collepardo and Terracina Journal of Cultural Heritage, Volume 15, 2014, Pages 665–669.Google Scholar
  31. McCluskey SC (1998) Astronomies and Cultures in Early Medieval Europe Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. McCluskey SC (2006) The orientations of medieval churches: a methodological case study. In: Bostwick TW, Bates B (eds) Viewing the sky through past and present cultures. Pueblo Grande Museum Anthropological papers no 15. City of Phoenix, Phoenix, pp 409–420.Google Scholar
  33. Mumford, L. (1961) The City in History, Secker and Warburg, London.Google Scholar
  34. Neugebauer o. and Van Hoessen, H. (1959) Greek horoscopes. Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society 48, 14–16.Google Scholar
  35. Nissen, H. (1873) Über Tempel-orientierung. Rheinsiches Museum für Philologie 28: 513–57.Google Scholar
  36. Oudet, J-F. (1992) Le Panthéon de Rome à la lumière de l’equinoxe in Readings in Archaeoastronomy: papers presented at the international conference: Current Problems and Future of Archaeoastronomy held at the State Archaeological Museum in Warsaw, 15–16 November 1990. Warsaw: State Archaeological Museum, 25–52.Google Scholar
  37. Penrose FC (1897) On the Orientation of Greek Temples and the Dates of their Foundation Derived from Astronomical Considerations, Being a Supplement to a Paper Published in the ‘Transactions of the Royal Society,’ in 1893. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 61: 76–78. Protzen, J.P. (1985). Inca Quarrying and Stonecutting Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 44, No. 2 pp. 161–182.Google Scholar
  38. Ramsey, J. T. and A. Lewis Licht (1997) The Comet of 44 B.C. and Caesar’s Funeral Games. Atlanta: Scholars Press.Google Scholar
  39. Rehak, P and J. C. Younger. 2006. Imperium and Cosmos: Augustus and the Northern Campus Martius. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
  40. Retallack G (2008) Rocks, Views, Soils and Plants at the Temples of Ancient Greece. Antiquity 82 (317): 640–657.Google Scholar
  41. Rykwert, J. (1999) The Idea of a Town: The Anthropology of Urban Form in Rome, Italy, and The Ancient World. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  42. Salt, A. (2009). The Astronomical Orientation of Ancient Greek Temples. PLoS ONE , 4 (11), e7903.Google Scholar
  43. Salt AM, Boutsikas E (2005) Knowing When to Consult the Oracle at Delphi. Antiquity 79 (305): 564–572.Google Scholar
  44. Scully, V.J., (1962) The earth, the temple, and the gods: Greek sacred architecture. Yale university press, New Haven.Google Scholar
  45. Voisin, J-L. 1987 Exoriente Sole (Suétone, Ner. 6). D’Alexandrie à la Domus Aurea In L’Urbs: Espace urbain et Histoire. Rome: École française de Rome, 509–41.Google Scholar
  46. Wilson Jones, M. 2003. Principles of Roman Architecture. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Zanker, P. 1990: The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus. The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil ArchitecturePolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations