Memory and presence of thólos in architecture

Antonino Margagliotta, Paolo De Marco

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The stones, with theirtestimony, document the roleplayed by some men in the large scenario of events. The thóloi, stonearchitectures, probably from the Greek-archaic, Etruscan and then Roman origins, are widespreadthroughout the Mediterraneanbasin, even in distantterritories (Greece, Armenia, Cappadocia, Iran, Tunisia, Italy) and Sicilyretains more of anyother (the Gurfa, in the countryside of Alia, is the largestthólos in the Mediterranean), evidence of mythicaltimesthattell of the presence of Daedalus. Thesearchitectures, oftenduginto the mountains (places in themselvessacred), initiallyintended for ritual and sepulchralfunctions, express the spirit of sacrifice (asRuskinwouldsay) and valuesthathavehadcontinuity in the history of architecture. The thóloirepresentuniversalconcepts and archetypalprinciples: the idea of refuge, of excavation, of light, of sacredness. Otherrelatedthemesconcern the idea of materiality and duration expressed by the presence and use of lithicmaterials, the sense of decor, the tensionbetweenearth and sky, the relationshipbetween human and divine. Otherquestionsalsoconcernimportantspatialprinciples: the central plan, the bell-shapedstructure and the dome, the verticality and the zenithal light (whichmaterialize the axis mundi), the excavatedspace. Theseconcepts, present in contemporaryarchitecture, update the memory and the poetics of the thólos.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWORLD HERITAGE and LEGACY. Culture | Creativity | Contamination
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Margagliotta, A., & De Marco, P. (2019). Memory and presence of thólos in architecture. In WORLD HERITAGE and LEGACY. Culture | Creativity | Contamination (pp. 460-469). (ARCHITECTURE HERITAGE AND DESIGN).