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LordGood

Hellenizing the Ptolemies

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5 minutes ago, Sundiata said:

The obelisks aren't the problem, it's the civic center itself. It looks like a serious misinterpretation of a temple's pylon.

I don't think the design of the CC is a problem from that standpoint. It just represents some generic civic building near the center of town. Nothing specific. The only problem really is just the same problem as the whole set.

The set itself is so gorgeous that it would be a shame to remove it completely from the game. Perhaps they can be renamed and used in a Jebel Barkal-esque skirmish or random map set in Egypt.

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16 minutes ago, Nescio said:

Those Ptolemaic obelisks are a lot smaller (the one in the Met is under 2 m; the Philae obelisk is under 4 m); functionally they were similar to other Ptolemaic steles such as the Rosetta stone.

 

25 minutes ago, Sundiata said:

In the Ptolemaic Dynasty, obelisks continued to be made, and old ones re-used, both large and small. 

 

You argued to remove the obelisks from Ptolemaic buildings, so I illustrated that obelisks were still being made. So do you agree not to remove them? Just to scale them down? The base you see with the Phillae obelisk is original, by the way, putting it's total size at more than 5 meters, not taking into account any other pedestals or steps that might further increase the height.

_78466313_obelisk2.jpg.4f980e7325952c94875759a984e4f4ee.jpg

Not huge, but not exactly small either...

 

Also, according to Pliny, Ptolemy II went to great lengths to transport an obelisk of Nectanebo to Alexandria... So there's no reason to believe that they only decorated their cities with "small" newly carved obelisks, but were using old, larger ones as well.

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23 minutes ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

I don't think the design of the CC is a problem from that standpoint. It just represents some generic civic building near the center of town. Nothing specific. The only problem really is just the same problem as the whole set.

The set itself is so gorgeous that it would be a shame to remove it completely from the game. Perhaps they can be renamed and used in a Jebel Barkal-esque skirmish or random map set in Egypt.

The set is really not good from a historic perspective. The temple of Edfu is perfect, and the Light House, Library and mercenary camp are heading in the right direction, but the rest is really not good. I would suggest to use the models for an Egyptian faction in the new Mythology mod @Rolf Dew is working on. Because more than anything, those structures are based on Age of Mythology, not history. Inward slanting walls really weren't a thing. Only pyramids, mastabas and temple pylons had those...

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10 minutes ago, Sundiata said:

You argued to remove the obelisks from Ptolemaic buildings, so I illustrated that obelisks were still being made. So do you agree not to remove them? Just to scale them down? The base you see with the Phillae obelisk is original, by the way, putting it's total size at more than 5 meters, not taking into account any other pedestals or steps that might further increase the height.

Not huge, but not exactly small either...

Also, according to Pliny, Ptolemy II went to great lengths to transport an obelisk of Nectanebo to Alexandria... So there's no reason to believe that they only decorated their cities with "small" newly carved obelisks, but were using old, larger ones as well.

To clarify, I'm not saying obelisks didn't exist in Ptolemaic Egypt. My point is they were rare, certainly not something you would see in every Ptolemaic settlement. The fact that Pliny and others mention them illustrates how uncommon they were.

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Like with the carpets, @Nescio is technically right that obelisks do not belong to the period. However Egyptian artworks, statues, obelisks, sphinxes, of course were around and as @Sundiata noted were also manufactured for decorative purposes, in both smaller and larger sizes. Existing models of Obelisks etc. can then be retained for the Ptolemies as "Ancient Egyptian Statues" and placed in front of the Hellenistic-Ptolemaic palaces at the leisure of the map / city designers.

Here for @LordGood a bit of textural evidence with my comments regarding the basileion at Alexandria (Polybios, Histories 15.25.3):

"... gathering takes place in the palace complex in one of the largest courts ( μεγίστῳ περιστύλῳ τῆς αὐλῆς) which he describes as having a peristyle. Palace at Pella had several such peristyle courtyards. Pella inspired Alexander doubtlessly when he commissioned the palace. Palace complex MANY DIFF CONNECTED BUILDINGS. ἀνέβαινεν εἰτὴν σύριγγα τὴν μεταξὺ τοῦ Μαιάνδρου καὶ τῆς παλαίστραςκειμένην καὶ φέρουσαν ἐπὶ τὴν τοῦ θεάτρου πάροδον (Polybios, 15.30.6 .) connected were temples and a theatre, one must pass palaestrae, open athletic facilities or architectural constructions resembling such facilities. The theatre and the temple forecourt were open to public, parts of the palaces staged art exhibitions during important festivals, such as that of Adonis, open to the public on specific days in grand halls with hanged tapestries inside the rooms on the walls (Poseidippos Idyll 15). Also part of the palace were the private docks, and what would likely have been the "gardens" of the Maiandros riverWaterworks, water elements would have been prominent in Hellenistic palaces. Most structures had a monumental gateway. Lucan: "place itself was equal to a temple; the roofs adorned with fretted ceilings displayed riches, solid gold concealed the rafters. Not encrusted with marble on the surface and in sections, but the agate and the purple stone stood of themselves; throughout the whole court onyx was trodden upon; Ebony from Meroe stood as though common oak, the support and not ornament of the palace. Ivory covers the halls, and backs of Indian tortoises, gems, furniture of jasper, coverlets steeped in deepest Tyrian purple, shines, embroidered with gold; a part, fiery with scarlet; mixture of the threads."

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1 hour ago, Nescio said:

To clarify, I'm not saying obelisks didn't exist in Ptolemaic Egypt. My point is they were rare, certainly not something you would see in every Ptolemaic settlement. The fact that Pliny and others mention them illustrates how uncommon they were.

To clarify myself as well, I'm also not saying that the Ptolemies were spamming obelisks all over the place. They might have been relatively rare, but so were Ptolemaic settlements themselves... The account by Piny is only one account from 2000 years ago. The fact that we still have Ptolemaic era obelisks today also suggests there were more than 3 of them... 

The thing is that the Ptolemies in 0AD need to be Hellenized, yes. But they shouldn't look like a generic Hellenic civ either. They should have a (historically accurate) Egyptian veneer, and what screams Egyptian more than a pair of (slightly downscaled) obelisks, sphinxes, and other Ancient Egyptian statues that were in fact used by the Ptolemies in their Greek settlements as decoration (and legitimization)? 

Edited by Sundiata
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1 hour ago, Sundiata said:

The set is really not good from a historic perspective. The temple of Edfu is perfect, and the Light House, Library and mercenary camp are heading in the right direction, but the rest is really not good. I would suggest to use the models for an Egyptian faction in the new Mythology mod @Rolf Dew is working on. Because more than anything, those structures are based on Age of Mythology, not history. Inward slanting walls really weren't a thing. Only pyramids, mastabas and temple pylons had those...

I thought the temple was pretty good too. 

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32 minutes ago, Sundiata said:

To clarify myself as well, I'm also not saying that the Ptolemies were spamming obelisks all over the place. They might have been relatively rare, but so were Ptolemaic settlements themselves... The account by Piny is only one account from 2000 years ago. The fact that we still have Ptolemaic era obelisks today also suggests there were more than 3 of them... 

The thing is that the Ptolemies in 0AD need to be Hellenized, yes. But they shouldn't look like a generic Hellenic civ either. They should have a (historically accurate) Egyptian veneer, and what screams Egyptian more than a pair of (slightly downscaled) obelisks, sphinxes, and other Ancient Egyptian statues that were in fact used by the Ptolemies in their Greek settlements as decoration (and legitimization)? 

With Ptolemaic settlement I meant any settlement controlled by the Ptolemies, which means hundreds of cities and thousands of villages. Ideally the Ptolemies could use a new architecture set that blends Greek and Egyptian influences (I'm quite fond of the Seleucid structures), but I realize that's a lot of work. Removing the obelisks from the civic centre and military colony can be done in minutes, which would improve historical accuracy. I'm not opposed to the obelisk per se, but I think it's inappropiate and unrealistic to have it included in these central structures. If map makers want an obelisk, they can use the existing other/obelisk.xml template.

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I want the Thalamegos!!!

Spoiler

image.png.f87ab8c7abb957e85110ba978c998170.pngimage.png.ee081fa7368a1ce4847bef6dc0810291.png

image.thumb.png.f9b2290ed4d43b825888d59e20b71abd.png

Joke aside, if it can help you :

THE LOST PALACE: Hellenistic Palace of Alexandria

https://www.academia.edu/6703691/THE_LOST_PALACE_Hellenistic_Palace_of_Alexandria_Julia_Gruhot_ARTH_302

reconstruction of the palace area in Alexandria
https://www.academia.edu/4662183/reconstruction_of_the_palace_area_in_Alexandria

 

image.png.c0fe7b84b65274ba6616535a8615426b.png
image.png.ec6f5db5701b957c6b8b3703cb2e195e.png

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1 hour ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

I thought the temple was pretty good too. 

I forgot.. The temple looks really great! Except it's not really a temple but a kiosk (and was part of a larger whole)... Also, I'm pretty sure it's modeled after Trajan's Kiosk at Philae. Roman... I'm not opposed to the structure though, because it's in-line with the Ptolemaic Egyptian style architecture (like Kom Ombo). 

 

1 hour ago, Nescio said:

With Ptolemaic settlement I meant any settlement controlled by the Ptolemies, which means hundreds of cities and thousands of villages. Ideally the Ptolemies could use a new architecture set that blends Greek and Egyptian influences (I'm quite fond of the Seleucid structures), but I realize that's a lot of work. Removing the obelisks from the civic centre and military colony can be done in minutes, which would improve historical accuracy. I'm not opposed to the obelisk per se, but I think it's inappropiate and unrealistic to have it included in these central structures. If map makers want an obelisk, they can use the existing other/obelisk.xml template.

I don't understand this line of reasoning. We already established that (smaller) obelisks were still produced in the Ptolemaic period and that older obelisks were being repurposed. So how could there be anything inappropriate or unrealistic about a pair of obelisks adorning a Ptolemaic civic center?

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2 hours ago, Nescio said:

With Ptolemaic settlement I meant any settlement controlled by the Ptolemies, which means hundreds of cities and thousands of villages. Ideally the Ptolemies could use a new architecture set that blends Greek and Egyptian influences (I'm quite fond of the Seleucid structures), but I realize that's a lot of work. Removing the obelisks from the civic centre and military colony can be done in minutes, which would improve historical accuracy. I'm not opposed to the obelisk per se, but I think it's inappropiate and unrealistic to have it included in these central structures. If map makers want an obelisk, they can use the existing other/obelisk.xml template.

The Seleucid structures are definitely much much much better than the Ptolemaic (save the blasted carpets) - I mean, the Ptolemaic are much cooler looking because of the Egyptian style, but are fantasy buildings. Add those great structure-models to a real Egyptian faction elsewhere as suggested here, and you have JACKPOT. Retain elements of Egyptian architecture for Ptolemies but make at least 4-5 new Hellenized structures with a bit whiter walls and with peristyle courtyards.

 @Genava55 A PITY I CAN ONLY GIVE ONE LIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Arsinoeion is VERY CLOSE to what we want! Walls too white, though.
I also cannot help feeling that the "large reconstructions of Alexandria" by Mr. Bengtson which you referenced, are making very poor use of space. I see too little "roof" and too much "open space". Also the theatre is a Roman theatre, not a hellenistic Greek theatre!!

HIS BUILDING FOR "23. MUSEUM & LIBRARY" IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! THAT SHOULD BE THE PTOLEMAIC WONDER! Too much park and gardens though, just make the mixture 1/3 park and 2/3 building and you are good to go! Gardens would be mostly inside peristyle courtyards, square, after the Asian paradeisos garden model.

 

The first Thalamegos "floating wonder" would be cool - but a [[female dog censured??]] to defend, don't you think?

@LordGood There is gold in this thread for your work on the Ptolemies, check out Genava55's references! Amazing.

Nothing seems more important to me than fixing:

1. Walls (simplify facade, same applies to almost all factions, except Athenians and Mauryans, which are good. Large blocks of stone, battlements, DONE.)
2. Taller Pharos (see reconstruction provided here for accuracy - flame is in the wrong place like in "Assasin's creed", should be on upper platform and top should be statue of Zeus)
3. Theatre (please use mosaics exclusively on floors of courtyards or rooms for increased accuracy <3

Pharos realheight better ramp.png

Edited by Anaxandridas ho Skandiates
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@everyone: I am still working very hard and doing a lot of studies and 3d models, but it will take some more time to get it all ready. Perhaps I might need to just supply my high-polygon models to you guys of structures, and have the best of you remodel them quickly. I realize we cannot have all details, but I have definitely done my best when we reach that point, and I fully trust the talented guys here!

@LordGood

Have you had time to think about the walls and pharos height extension? (As said I already have a theatre, but still modelling stage building. Terrible lot of polygons, let us solve that later when I am done.)

Concerning wonder for the Ptolemies, we all agreed that a lighthouse in non-coastal maps would not be reasonable. My extensive studies have now yielded a true gem: Pliny the elder has a golden passage regarding a temple commenced under the architect Timochares at Alexandria, at the orders of Ptolemaios Philadelphos, which had an iron statue of the king's beloved sister Arsinoe suspended in magnetic levitation:

"De magnete lapide suo loco dicemus concordiaque, quam @#&#036;% ferro habet. sola haec materia virus ab eo lapide accipit retinetque longo tempore, aliud adprehendas ferrum, ut anulorum catena spectetur interdum. quod volgus imperitum appellat ferrum vivum, vulneraque talia asperiora fiunt. Hic lapis et in Cantabria nascitur, non ut ille magnes verus caute continua, sed sparsa bulbatione — ita appellant —, nescio an vitro fundendo perinde utilis, nondum enim expertus est quisquam; ferrum utique inficit eadem vi. — Magnete lapide architectus Timochares Alexandriae Arsinoes templum concamarare incohaverat, ut in eo simulacrum e ferro pendere in aëre videretur. intercessit ipsius mors et Ptolemaei regis, qui id sorori suae iusserat fieri."

(From Rackham transl: "The architect Timochares had begun to use lodestone for constructing the vaulting in the Temple of Arsinoe at Alexandria, so that the iron statue contained in it might have the appearance of being suspended in mid air; but the project was interrupted by his own death and that of King Ptolemy who had ordered the work to be done in honour of his sister.")

Can we even begin to realize what an awesome passage this is? What a fusion of art and science was achieved in this true wonder! THAT is a wonder, its plans were drawn out, the vaulting was being erected in the temple of Arsinoe at Alexandria, and only the death of both prevented its completion. BUT there is more! :

II, 23 Serapis apud Alexandriam templum auditum quidem omnibus puto, plerisque vero etiam notum. Locus est non natura, sed manu et constructione per centum, aut eo amplius gradus, in sublime suspensus, quadratis et ingentibus spatiis omni ex parte distentus : cuncta vero, quo ad summum pavimentorum evadatur, opere forniceo constructa, qua immensis desuper limunaribus, et occultis aditibus invicem in semet distinctis, usum diversis ministeriis et clandestinis officiis exhibebant. Iam vero in superioribus extrema totius ambitus spatia occupant exedrae et pastophoria (tabernacula), domusque in excelsum porrectae, in quibus vel aeditui, vel hi quos appellabant « agneuontes », id est, qui se castificant commanere soliti erant. Porticus quoque post haec omnem ambitum quadratis ordinibus distinctae intrinsecus circumibant. In medio totius spatii aedes erat, pretiosis edita columnis et marmoris saxo ex trinsecus ample magnificeque constructa. In haec simulachrum Serapis ita erat vastum, ut dextra unum parietem, alterum leva perstringeret : quod monstrum ex omnibus generibus metallorum lignorumque compositum ferebature. Interiores delubri parietes laminis primo aureis habebanture, quae munimento pretiosioribus metallis forent. Erant etiam quaedam ad stuporem admirationemque videntiam, dolis et arte composita. Fenestra perexiqua ab ortu solis ita erat aptata, ut die qua fuerat institutum simulachrum Sotis ad Serapio salutandum introferri, diligenter temporibus observatis, ingrediente simulachro radius solis per eandem fenestram directus, os et labra Serapis illustraret, ita uta inspectante populo, osculo salutatus Serapis videretur a Sole. Erat et aliud fraudis genus iniusmodi : Natura lapidis Magnetis huius virtutis esse perhibetur, ut ad se rapiat et attrabat ferrum. Signum Solis ad hoc ispum ex ferro subtilissimo manu arti(?) fuerat fabricatum, ut lapis, cuius naturam ferrum ad se trahere diximus, desuper in laquearibus fixus, @#&#036;% temperate sub ipso radio ad libram fuisset positum simulachrum, et vi naturali ad se raperet ferrum, assurexisse populo simulachrum, et in aere pendere videretur. Et ne hoc lapsu propero proderetur, ministri fallaciae, surrexit, aiebant, Sol, ut validiceus Serapi, discedat ad propria. Sed et multa alia decipiendi caussa a veteribus in loco fuerant constructa, quae nunc longum est enumerare per singula. (From Rufinus "Historia", I could also look to the Greek text it is translated from and several other sources, but this Latin will suffice for our purpose I think (right?)).

(Translation of above II, 23: The temple of Serapis in Alexandria all have heard of, I think, and many even know it. The sanctuary is raised a hundred or even more feet, not by nature but by a manmade structure, and extends on every side over a huge rectangular space. The whole edifice is built of arches with enormous windows above each arch. The hidden inner chambers are separate from one another and provide for the enactment of various ritual acts and secret observances. Sitting courts and small chapels with images of the gods occupy the edge of the highest level. Lofty houses rise up there in which the priests, or those which they call agneuontas, that is, those who purify themselves, are accustomed to live. Behind these buildings is a freestanding portico raised on columns and facing inward runs around the periphery. In the middle stands the temple, built on a large and magnificent scale with an exterior of marble and precious columns. Inside there was a statue of Serapis so vast that the right hand touched one wall and the left the other. They say this monstrosity was built of every kind of metal and wood. The interior walls of the chapels are covered in gold laminate at the lower level, in silver above the first, and finally in bronze, which was to provide protection for the more precious metals. Some parts of the temple were even designed by art and deception to evoke the astonishment and admiration of visitors. A very narrow window had been laid out on the side towards the rising sun in such a way that at dawn the Sun was brought in to salute Serapis -- for the moment had been rigorously calculated -- a captive sun's ray lights up through this opening, as though approaching the statue, the mouth and the lips of Serapis, so that to the eyes of the crowd, Serapis appears to be saluted by a kiss from the Sun. There was yet another illusion of the same kind. As is commonly known, it is the nature of a magnetic stone to have the property of attracting and repelling iron. A craftsman had fashioned a likeness of the Sun out of very pure iron for the following purpose: a stone which had, as we have already said, the property of attracting iron, was fixed above in the ceiling plaster, and when the statue was put into its place below it, the stone attracted the iron to it by a natural force. The worshipper believed that the statue had been raised up and rested suspended in the air. But after this fake had been exposed by an unexpected fall, the ministers of the lie said, "The Sun has bid farewell to Serapis and has gone up to be with him." Many other such deceptions were constructed long ago in that place, but there is no need to go on and enumerate each one.)

 

I say, such a temple wonder that truly expresses the technological power and legendary wealth that was Ptolemaic Egypt, should be our faction wonder. Incredible, simply incredible - and even today desks all over the world feature magnetic suspension devices large and small for stupendous effect. Ammianus Marcellinus and several other ancient authors speak of this temple and its wondrous technical contraptions and huge statue in similarly grand descriptions which have come down to us; Heron also used magnetism to make two iron figures move and "embrace" each other, but to quote Rufinus, there is no need to go on and enumerate all of these and spam Latin and Greek texts. This should suffice to make it clear that we can safely create a gold-and-silver temple with gilt and silvered iron solar globes and statues suspended in mid-air by magnetic forces.

Edited by Anaxandridas ho Skandiates
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@Anaxandridas ho Skandiates I'm curious as to what you think of the swept corners on the towers in the Palestrina Nile mosaic, I do believe they were suggested and prototyped for the Ptolemies architecture set, wall towers specifically,  but were deemed a bit too fanciful for the set. I cant find the sketches or prototype itself but I'm wondering if this was misread or fancifully exaggerated.

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