The block where from the 5th c. an early-byzantine basilica complex developed (Fig. II.2.1) is located in the western district of the city founded in the mid-fourth century BC (see. § I.1.1, and Fig. I.1.1.1). The area slightly slopes from east to west: the highest level, to the east, is represented by the top of the hill of the acropolis, site of the archaic settlement of Kos Meropis. The western slopes were relatively steep, so much so that a little further north, from the earliest stages of the urban layout and using just the natural slope, the stands for a stadium were placed, which influenced the orientation of the entire western district, divergent from the direction generally north-south of the southern and eastern districts. To the south of the stadium, along the slopes of the acropolis, several buildings were built in the 4th or 3rd c., including a monumental Doric stoa, the so-called Tufa Stoa (Fig. II.2.2). Further south, other rooms leaned against the retaining wall of the hill; even if much reworked in the imperial age and beyond, they are identifiable as rooms for commercial use (Fig. II.2.3). In front of these buildings, the Hellenistic road, corresponding to the Roman cardo, equipped with an efficient drainage system, had a width of approximately 5.90 m, corresponding to 20 feet. Within the framework of the newly founded city, designed according to the Hippodamian system in which it is possible to identify a tendency to create hierarchies between the main thoroughfares, there was a road of some importance, because wider than a normal stenopos (4.44 m). This road is not straight, but follows the general orientation of the neighbourhoods that crosses, surrounding the acropolis hill and running parallel to a sector of the west fortification walls. Along the road the excavations have brought to light dwellings of the Hellenistic period, some of them very remarkable indeed, to the west of which, during the 2nd c. BC, a huge porticoed square (approximately 100 x 200 m) was built, expansion of a previous and smaller gymnasium located to the north and parallel to the stadium. The new extension, therefore, inevitably generated a conflict with the adjacent blocks to the east, which were partly cut by the east portico of the new building. This discrepancy in the orientations is therefore the origin of the trapezoidal shape of the residential blocks as early as the 2nd c. BC. In this irregular space since the second half of the 1st c. AD, a thermal building settled occupying part of the ancient dwellings (cfr. § II.3). After the earthquake of 142 A.D. also in this area of the town important changes took place: south of the first bath building another one was in fact created, smaller in size; on the opposite side of the road, between the Tufa Stoa and the row of shops to the south, a monumental latrine-nymphaeum was built (cfr. § II.4.1.1) and the entire water supply system of the district was increased. Further changes are recorded in the first half of the 3rd c., when the ancient Hellenistic plateia was monumentalised by building long Corinthian porches, with rooms on the rear (Fig. II.2.6). The construction of the long stoa had substantial effects on the road system in the neighbourhood, because it interrupted the southern outlet of the cardo, which was a vehicular road; for this reason, it became necessary to open a branch that, leading beyond the western limit of the porch, could restore the vehicular circulation (see Fig. II.1.4). This new road, with a south-west / north-east direction, however, caused the destruction of the southeast corner of the block south of the Baths, whose front had to be profoundly transformed, assuming the oblique shape that will be repeated in subsequent phases. After the earthquake of 469 AD and the destruction of the main buildings, the western district was greatly transformed. For example, the eastern portico of the gymnasium had collapsed and on the rubble a considerable layer of debris had formed; in it, later, the walls of a series of rooms of uncertain function were founded, facing west to what was now a street or a public square. The Baths themselves were irreparably damaged and, hereafter, their spaces were gradually converted into a Christian complex, which, in fact, reused building material from the ancient buildings collapsed.
|Titolo del libro:||Archeologia protobizantina a Kos. La città e il complesso episcopale|
|Editore:||Bononia University Press|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|