Peristyl und Polis
Peristyle buildings fulfilled a range of public functions in Greek cities, serving as religious sites, banquet halls, gymnasiums, government offices, and markets. Yet all peristyle buildings are united in their spatial organization around a central courtyard. As a result, they are open toward the center but closed off to the outside. This observation forms the basis for the author's thesis that peristyle structures served in general to generate closed off spaces only accessible to exclusive groups. The investigation of this thesis is founded on a number of individual studies. These studies present us with the picture of a carefully planned system that allowed for the structures to appear hermetically closed from the outside while at the same time open to multiple rooms from a central courtyard on the inside. The author locates this design scheme within the broader scope of Classical architectural and social history. He shows that the development and rapid spread of the peristyle structures in the 4th century B.C. was closely related to a simultaneous process in which urban structures in Greek cities became more monumental and diverse. The work thus addresses a phenomenon of wide-reaching significance with detailed investigations of specific structures.