Herodes Atticus and the Greco-Roman World: Imperial Cosmos, Cosmic Allusions, Art and Culture in his Estate in Southern Peloponnese

Dr. Georgios Spyropoulos

Directorate General of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, Athens



Cosmic imagery was particularly popular in Roman architecture, as seen at the Pantheon and Hadrian’s sprawling residence at Tivoli. And nowhere was there a better opportunity for cosmic expression than in imperial, and especially residential, architecture. 

Almost 5km from the town of Astros, opposite the Monastery of Loukou in southern Peloponnese, a large and magnificent Villa of the early roman imperial period (2nd C A.D) has been reasonably identified as belonging to Herodes Atticus, an intellectual and cultural leader in Athens and arguably in the Roman world at large. The Villa, though just a shadow of its former splendor, still comprises monumental architectural remains and exquisite sculptural finds. 

In a recent study of Herodes Atticus’s Villa, Dr. Spyropoulos took a different approach to examining the villa in order to consider a pattern of cosmic allusions that emerges when Roman monuments are seen as a cohesive group. Sometimes these allusions are explicit, though at other times they are less obvious, only emerging through contextual reading. Using Atticus’ Villa as a point of departure, Dr. Spyropoulos will examine the presence and influence of the cosmos in the architectural design and decorative details of Greco-Roman residential architecture. 

Dr. Theodoros Spyropoulos and Dr. George Spyropoulos excavated the Villa from 1979-2002 and 1990-2002 respectively. Dr. George Spyropoulos now serves in the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport under the Directorate General of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage.

Admission to lecture closes 10 minutes after scheduled start time.

Reception to follow.


Gretchen Kodanaz, gkodanaz@nyu.edu, 212-992-7859.