CHAPTER 3 - GREECE
It is to the Romans that we have to give recognition for the introduction of Greek cipollino marble in Greece. For their temples and public buildings the Greeks preferred the white to the coloured marbles which were loved by the Romans. White Pendelic marble was the choice for the Parthenon in Athens, white marble from Agrileza (a quarry 4 kms. north of the promontory) for the temple of Poseidon in Sounion, white poros with some marble imported from Paros, for the Sanctuary of Afaia on the island of Aegina and much more. It was often coloured by painting or gilding, not a desirable use for coloured or variegated marble, and possibly an added reason for the preference for plain marbles.
So it is to the Roman sites in Greece that we have to look for the evidence of cipollino. In Athens it is to be found in Hadrian’s Library, and also said to be in the Roman Agora, in the Acropolis, in the temple of Zeus Olympus and the floor of the theatre of Herodus Atticus. I have found it only in Hadrian’s Library. John Travlos, in his Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens, mentions the large slabs of marble which veneered the walls in the Theatre (Odeion) of Herod Atticus and that the seats were of white marble but there is no reference to cipollino. Similarly, he talks of rectangular blocks of Piraeus poros, column drums of grey blue Hymettus marble and white Pendelic marble in the Roman Agora and that the Temple of Olympian Zeus was built of Acropolis and Kara limestone;1 but again there is no mention of cipollino and I have not found it.
1 Travlos, J., Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens, Thames & Hudson, London, 1971, p. 407.
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