An acroterion, acroterium, or akroteria is an architectural ornament placed on a flat pedestal called the acroter or plinth, and mounted at the apex or corner of the pediment of a building in the classical style. An acroterion placed at the outer angles of the pediment is an acroterion angularium (angulārium means ‘at the corners’).
The acroterion may take a wide variety of forms, such as a statue, tripod, disc, urn, palmette or some other sculpted feature. Acroteria are also found in Gothic architecture. They are sometimes incorporated into furniture designs.
The word comes from the Greek akrōtḗrion (ἀκρωτήριον 'summit, extremity'), from the comparative form of the adjective akros (ἄκρος, 'extreme, endmost'). It was Latinized by the Romans as acroterium. Acroteria is the plural of both the original Greek and the Latin form.
According to Webb, during the Hellenistic period the winged victory or Nike figure was considered to be "the most appropriate motif for figured akroteria.”
Greek akroterion, 350–325 BC, marble, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Acroterion on the Gordon Monument in Waterloo
- ^ a b Webb, Pamela A. (1996). Hellenistic Architectural Sculpture: Figural motifs in western Anatolia and the Aegean islands. Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press. p. 26.
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- ^ Harris, Cyril M. (1983). Illustrated Dictionary of Historic Architecture. Courier Corporation. p. 5. ISBN 9780486244440.
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- ^ "acroter". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
- ^ McCarver (ed.). "Glossary of architectural terms". McArver Ancient History. Greek Architecture. Porter-Gaud School. Archived from the original on 8 September 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
- ^ Smith, Philip (1875). "Acroterium". In Thayer, Bill (ed.). A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. University of Chicago. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
- "Acroterion". Encyclopædia Britannica. article 9003592.