What Ancient Greece Really Looked Like: See Reconstructions of the Temple of Hadrian, Curetes Street & the Fountain of Trajan

Ancient Greeks did not live among ruins. This is, of course, an obvi­ous truth, but one we run the risk of for­get­ting if we watch too many his­tor­i­cal fan­tasies set in their time and place as pop­u­lar­ly imag­ined. That West­ern civ­i­liza­tion as we know it today came to know Ancient Greece through the rav­aged built envi­ron­ments left behind has col­ored its mod­ern-day per­cep­tion — or, rather drained it of col­or. In recent years, a big deal has been made about the find­ing that Ancient Greek stat­ues weren’t orig­i­nal­ly pure white, but paint­ed in bright hues that fad­ed away over the cen­turies. What does that imply for the rest of the place?

We don’t have a time machine in which to trav­el back to Ancient Greece and have a look around. We do, how­ev­er, have the dig­i­tal recon­struc­tions of artist Ádám Németh. “My archae­o­log­i­cal ren­der­ings are accu­rate to the time peri­od, due to exten­sive research on ref­er­ences and reviews of sources found online, in libraries and in muse­ums, and also ongo­ing dis­cus­sions with archae­ol­o­gists,” he writes.

“My main goal, through recon­struc­tions, is to make his­to­ry inter­est­ing and acces­si­ble for every­body.” Even those more or less igno­rant of the ancient world can take a glance at his images of an intact and col­or­ful Tem­ple of Hadri­anCuretes Street, and Foun­tain of Tra­jan.

All of these sites were locat­ed in the Ancient Greek city of Eph­esus, now a part of Turkey. Though it does­n’t draw quite the num­bers of, say, Hagia Sophia, Eph­esus stands nev­er­the­less as a pil­lar of Turk­ish tourism. Indeed, you can go there and exam­ine its actu­al pil­lars, none of which have come through the ages stand­ing any­thing like as might­i­ly Németh depicts them. Com­par­isons post­ed by Mari­na Ama­r­al on Twit­ter put for­mer glo­ry along­side cur­rent ruin, though even the Tem­ple of Hadri­an, Curetes Street, and the Foun­tain of Tra­jan as they are today have been pieced togeth­er into a some­what more com­plete state than that in which they were redis­cov­ered. Even real antiq­ui­ty, in oth­er words, is to some degree a recon­struc­tion. See more of Németh’s recon­struc­tions here.

via Mari­na Ama­r­al

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Explore Ancient Athens 3D, a Dig­i­tal Recon­struc­tion of the Greek City-State at the Height of Its Influ­ence

How Ancient Greek Stat­ues Real­ly Looked: Research Reveals Their Bold, Bright Col­ors and Pat­terns

Watch an Accu­rate Recon­struc­tion of the World’s Old­est Com­put­er, the 2,200 Year-Old Antikythera Mech­a­nism, from Start to Fin­ish

Watch Art on Ancient Greek Vas­es Come to Life with 21st Cen­tu­ry Ani­ma­tion

What Did Ancient Greek Music Sound Like?: Lis­ten to a Recon­struc­tion That’s ‘100% Accu­rate’

Watch Ancient Ruins Get Restored to their Glo­ri­ous Orig­i­nal State with Ani­mat­ed GIFs: The Tem­ple of Jupiter, Lux­or Tem­ple & More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Comments (6)
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  • Ayun says:

    This pairs nice­ly with the open­ing cred­its to ROME. https://youtu.be/6BZmK3_IIZg

  • Afif says:

    1. Eph­esus was orig­i­nal­ly part of Ionia not Greece.
    2. The time frame of the build­ings and struc­tures ren­dered in this work were not of Ion­ian peri­od but Roman Era, as emper­ors Tra­janus and Hadri­anus were all Roman, not Ion­ian or Greek.

    So the title should have said how an ancient Roman city looked like…

  • Erebos says:

    1) Ionia was a league of Greek set­tle­ments (and orig­i­nal­ly a Greek sub-clan of peo­ple the ίωνες)
    2) While you are cor­rect Roman archi­tec­ture is more or less just adap­ta­tions of Greek and espe­cial­ly with all the colonies chang­ing hands all the time its almost impos­si­ble to tell when ones polit­i­cal and artis­tic influ­ence starts and ends. So the title still works cause there were cities like that in main­land Greece (pos­si­ble even more colour­ful though)

  • Zeus says:

    Ioni­ans were Greeks…Ephesus was a city in Ancient Greece on the coast of Ionia which is now part of Turkey.
    It was built in the 10th cen­tu­ry BC by Attic and Ion­ian Greek colonists. Dur­ing the Clas­si­cal Greek era, it was one of twelve cities that were mem­bers of the Ion­ian League. The city came under the con­trol of the Roman Repub­lic in 129 BC.

  • Bulent Karadeniz says:

    All mon­u­ments you men­tionned is from the Roman peri­ode not grec. And it is not Grece it isa a Ana­to­lia.

  • BlarryG says:

    Well, after the Indi­an tribe of Myce­naeans wiped out the Minoans (who had also been expand­ing and crush­ing small­er peo­ple’s) ush­er­ing in a dark age, the Ioni­ans fol­lowed the Dori­ans down mix­ing and dis­plac­ing the Myce­naeans … and so we know those 2 (actu­al­ly 4) groups now as “Greeks”.

    It’s true that Rome found/conquered the Greeks all along the Mediter­ranean coast and adopt­ed most of the artis­tic and intel­lec­tu­al lay­er of their civ­i­liza­tion from Greece. Those poor and dimin­ished Greeks were lat­er dri­ven or killed out of what is now Turkey, much to Turkey’s loss of poten­tial cre­ative diver­si­ty.

    The Ana­to­lian Greek/Roman cities were, IMHO, the peak of human archi­tec­ture world­wide. Some of the insti­tu­tions of phi­los­o­phy, nat­u­ral­ism, democ­ra­cy were also among the best insi­ti­tu­ions pro­duced by human­i­ty.

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