List of ancient Greek and Roman monoliths
It contains monoliths
- quarried, but not moved
- quarried and moved
- quarried, moved and lifted clear off the ground into their position (architraves etc.)
- quarried, moved and erected in an upright position (columns etc.)
Transporting was done by land or water (or a combination of both), in the later case often by special-built ships such as obelisk carriers. For lifting operations, ancient cranes were employed since ca. 515 BC, such as in the construction of Trajan's Column.
It should be stressed that all numbers are estimations since only in the rarest cases have monoliths been actually weighed. Rather, weight is calculated by multiplying volume by density. The main source, J. J. Coulton, assumes 2.75 t/m³ for marble and 2.25 t/m³ for other stone. For an explanation of the large margin of error, which often leads to widely differing numbers, see these introductory remarks.
Below a selection of Greek monoliths sorted by their date.
Below a selection of Roman monoliths sorted by their date; the list also includes work on Greek temples which was continued into the Roman era.
Nikandre Dedication (0.25 t) Sounion Kouros (~2 t)
Colossos of Apollona (~69 t)
Column drum(s) in Cave di Cusa (73 t)
Huge doric capital, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Agrigento
- If in two blocks.
- If monolithic.
- If monolithic.
- In case of Egyptian obelisks, date of ship transport to Rome.
- Although the mausoleum reflects Ostrogothic style, the method for moving the monolithic roof slab and positioning it on top of the building relied on the continuity of Roman techniques into the reign of Theoderic.
- Wirsching 2000
- Coulton 1974, pp. 7, 16
- Lancaster 1999, pp. 419–439
- Coulton 1974, p. 14
- Coulton 1974, pp. 17–19 (appendix); remaining data taken from text
- Coulton 1974, p. 16
- Vitruvius: De Architectura, Book 10
- Wirsching 2000, p. 271 (table 1)
- Lancaster 1999, p. 428
- Ruprechtsberger 1999, p. 15
- Ruprechtsberger 1999, p. 17
- Adam 1977, p. 52
- Coulton 1974, pp. 16, 19
- Maxfield 2001, p. 158
- Lancaster 1999, p. 430
- Lancaster 1999, p. 426
- Jones 1993, p. 32
- Adam 1977, pp. 50f.
- Heidenreich & Johannes 1971, p. 63
- Coulton 1974, p. 7
- Adam, Jean-Pierre (1977), "À propos du trilithon de Baalbek: Le transport et la mise en oeuvre des mégalithes", Syria, 54 (1/2): 31–63, doi:10.3406/syria.1977.6623
- Coulton, J. J. (1974), "Lifting in Early Greek Architecture", The Journal of Hellenic Studies, 94: 1–19, doi:10.2307/630416
- Heidenreich, Robert; Johannes, Heinz (1971), Das Grabmal Theoderichs zu Ravenna, Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag
- Jones, Mark Wilson (1993), "One Hundred Feet and a Spiral Stair: The Problem of Designing Trajan's Column", Journal of Roman Archaeology, 6: 23–38
- Lancaster, Lynne (1999), "Building Trajan's Column", American Journal of Archaeology, 103 (3): 419–439, doi:10.2307/506969
- Maxfield, Valerie A. (2001), "Stone Quarrying in the Eastern Desert with Particular Reference to Mons Claudianus and Mons Porphyrites", in Mattingly, David J.; Salmon, John (eds.), Economies Beyond Agriculture in the Classical World, Leicester-Nottingham Studies in Ancient Society, 9, London: Routledge, pp. 143–170, ISBN 0-415-21253-7
- Ruprechtsberger, Erwin M. (1999), "Vom Steinbruch zum Jupitertempel von Heliopolis/Baalbek (Libanon)", Linzer Archäologische Forschungen, 30: 7–56
- Lewis, M. J. T. (1984–5), "Roman Methods of Transporting and Erecting Obelisks", Transactions of the Newcomen Society, 56: 87–110, doi:10.1179/tns.1984.005 Check date values in:
- Wirsching, Armin (2000), "How the Obelisks Reached Rome: Evidence of Roman Double-Ships", The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 29 (2): 273–283, doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2000.tb01456.x
- Wirsching, Armin (2003), "Supplementary Remarks on the Roman Obelisk-Ships", The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 32 (1): 121–123, doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2003.tb01438.x
- Traianus – Technical investigation of Roman public works