Stuart, James ; Revett, Nicholas
The antiquities of Athens (Band 4): The antiquities of Athens and other places in Greece, Sicily etc.: supplementary to the antiquities of Athens — London, 1830

Page: IV_23
Citation link:
License: Public Domain Mark Use / Order
1 cm


Fig. 1. Section of the tower, the plan of which is given in the former plate fig. 7. It appears
to have been composed of two stories, and as there are no indications of a staircase, it is probable that
they mounted from one story to another by means of a moveable ladder : the flatness of the roof
enabled the combatants to annoy their enemies from the top of the tower. On each side of the upper
windows are square holes perforated through the wall, which probably received some iron work to
defend the opening—the lower openings were splayed to admit light, and to allow of a greater range
for the archers from the chamber. At certain distances there were flights of steps, which led on to
the walls from the interior of the city, and again from the walls some few steps ascended or descended
to the level of the floor of the towers. These steps and the battlements are here restored.

Figs. 2, 3, 4, and 5, are from sketches by Mr. Allason, and represent the plans and views of
two others of the towers, one of which, from its circular front, is a curious specimen of military archi-
tecture. On these views some of the battlements still remain.


The subject of the preceding plate and part of this being illustrative of the military architec-
ture of the Greeks, we haye thought it interesting to the reader to give the remains of one of the
watch-towers termed by them (pgvzTugia, from ipgvtcros, a " torch" or " beacon", as in them guards were
placed to observe and announce the approach of the enemy, or any other circumstance, and to com-
municate notice of the event to the nearest station by fires. By day the ascent of the smoke conveyed
the intelligence, and the glare of the flame by night. When Lynceus had escaped the fate destined
for him by Danaus, he retired to Lyrcea, and there elevated a torch in the air as a signal of his safe
arrival ; and Ilypermnestra also, agreeably to the understanding between them, held up one from the
heights of Larissa, to assure him of her own safety : from this event the Argians derived their annual
fete of torches. And not to multiply examples, we shall merely quote the authority of iEschylus,
who represents one of Agamemnon's guards as looking from the summit of a tower in the direction of
Troy, and descrying the preconcerted signal that announced the successful termination of the Trojan

The position of this tower commands from a great distance a view of the defile that led from
the territories of Tegea and Mantinea to that of Argos. The peculiarity of the plan renders the
lower chamber most dangerous of approach and difficult of access to assailants. It appears most pro-
bable that there was one, or perhaps more than one other story above. This is one of the few ancient
examples to be found of a wall whose external face diverges from the perpendicular so rapidly towards
the foundation : a tower near the Grove of iEsculapius, and part of the citadel of CheronEea, have
a similar peculiarity of construction.

T. L. D.
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