CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: The corridor-like entrance passage leading into Minoan-Mycenaean tholos and chamber tombs. It is from the Greek word meaning 'course' or 'avenue'. Also, the term refers to an avenue leading to the entrances of Egyptian temples; that leading to the great temple of Karnac contained 660 colossal sphinxes, all of which were monoliths.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: tholos CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: An architectural structure of the Mycenaean civilization, a pointed dome built up of overhanging (corbeled) blocks of conglomerate masonry cut and polished, often with an alley or approach and a great door. The rich or noble of the Bronze Age were buried in these sometimes enormous, perfectly proportioned vaults though they were built in the Shaft Grave Period as well, perhaps first in Messenia in the 16th century and then in Greece by the middle of the 15th century. The tholostomb has three parts: a narrow entranceway, or dromos, often lined with fieldstones and later with cut stones; a deep doorway, or stomion, covered over with one to three lintel blocks; and a circular chamber with a high vaulted or corbeled roof, the thalamos. Most tholos tombs have collapsed, often when the lintel cracked and gave way, and their contents have largely been looted
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: chambered tomb CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A prehistorictomb, often megalithic in construction, that contained a large burial chamber. Such a vault was usually used for successive burials over a long period of time. The term is also used for a rock-cut tomb, especially the shaft-and-chamber tomb, with a similar burial rite. Chamber tombs were built in many parts of the world and at many different times. The European varieties were called court cairn, dolmen, entrance grave, gallery grave, giants' grave, hunebed, passage grave, portal dolmen, tholos, transepted gallery grave, and wedge-shaped gallery grave. Many were rectangular chambers cut into the side of a hill and approached by a long entrance passage (dromos), especially in the Aegean.
CATEGORY: deity DEFINITION: A Persian demigod who achieved independence and importance during the Roman empire, and best known as the savior deity of the Roman mystery cult of Mithraism. Especially in military circles, his worship challenged early Christianity. He is portrayed as a young man in a Phrygian cap, usually in the act of kneeling on the back of a bull to dispatch it by a sword thrust in the neck. A Mithraeum is a building, often semi-subterranean, containing a passage between broad shelves on which the worshippers reclined during the ceremonies. The end wall may hold a fresco or relief of Mithras himself. From the 1st century BC onwards, he begins to appear in the Roman world as the god of a mystery cult. His disciples, who were exclusively men and often limited to the ranks of soldiers and businessmen, were promised life and happiness after death. As in other mystery cults, the rites were kept secret, and truth and benefits came only to initiated believers, who had to pass through a sequence of seven grades of initiation. These were the stages of the Raven (Corax), Bride (Nymphus), Soldier (Miles), Lion (Leo), Persian (Perses), Runner of the Sun (Heliodromos), and Fater (Pater). The disciple also underwent baptism, took part in the reenacting of the sacredmeal, and bore the seal of his discipleship on his body. Mithraism expanded rapidly from the second half of the 1st century AD.
CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A chamber tomb cut into solid rock. In Egypt, this method was used during Middle Kingdom (c 1938-1600 BC); examples are found in cliffs along the Nile, burials in the Valley of the Kings, and tombs of the nobles at Luxor. In the New Kingdom (1539-1075 BC) the kings were buried in rock-cut tombs, but separate mortuary temples continued to be built nearby. Rock-cut tombs are either made directly from a cliff face, by cutting a vertical shaft from the surface, or by a sloping or stepped passage (dromos). Rock-cut tombs are particularly common in the Mediterranean region, where they occur from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. They may be used either for single or collective burial.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: pl. tholoi; tholos tomb; beehive tombs CATEGORY: structure DEFINITION: A beehive-shaped tomb built of stone and roofed by corbelling, sometimes royal, characteristic of the Mycenaean civilization. In Greek architecture, the term is generally used for the burial chambers of certain passage graves of similar plan and construction. The round chamber had an attached rectilinear entrance passage, the most famous examples being the Treasury of Atreus and Tomb of Clytemnestra at Mycenae. The corbelling is trimmed to form a smooth surface, and the ornamental doorway is approached by a masonry-lined, horizontal passage or dromos. Such a tomb is set partly underground or sometimes built into the side of a hill. In classical archaeology the term can be applied to either temples or tombs.
CATEGORY: site DEFINITION: Early Cypriotcemetery in northern Cyprus of the late 3rd millennium BC. the tombs are oval rock-cut chambers entered through a short dromos. Grave goods include terra-cotta models.