) is a
building of which the roof is supported at least on one side by columns; it
is thus open to the air, but protected from sun and rain. The simplest form
of portico has one row of columns on the outside, and a wall at the back; in
this form στοαὶ
frequently surround temples
or enclose an open space, such as an ἀγορά
: especially in Ionia these porticoes surrounding the
were erected with great
magnificence. A στοὰ
might also have one or
two interior rows of columns, dividing it into two or three aisles, and thus
an extensive covered space was provided; in this case it was usual for the
intervals between the interior columns to be double that between the
exterior ones. Another form was divided by a wall instead of a row of
columns, and thus two single porticoes were produced, set back to back
were frequently adorned with paintings, either on the
back wall or affixed to it; hence the name ποικίλη
is applied to one at Athens, and another at Olympia:
this last, as well as one at Hermione, had also the name of the Echo-stoa
from its acoustic properties (Paus. 5.21
). Statues were frequently placed in front of
porticoes, and sometimes were placed, to adorn the portico itself, above the
columns; so figures of Persians at Sparta (Paus.
). Greek stoae were named from their character, ποικίλη, μακρά, Περσική,
or from their
where the archon
basileus held his court, ἀλφιτόπωλις,
probably at the Piraeus (Schol. Ar. Ach.
547); later also
from those who erected them, as those of Eumenes and Attalus in Athens.
Beside their official or commercial uses, στοαὶ
in Athens also served as covered resorts for meeting and
conversation; thus Zeno frequented the Stoa Poecile, after which his
followers were called the Stoics. Porticoes were also attached to gymnasia
and to baths.
The numerous porticoes in Rome were erected in imitation of the Greek, and
served similar purposes, both public and private. Some were already erected
during the later centuries of the Republic (e. g. Octavia, 168 B.C.; Metelli, 146 B.C.). But especially in
imperial times they were constructed of extraordinary extent and richness.
They were also a favourite addition to the private houses of rich Romans.
Porticoes in Rome were usually named after their founder, the temples or
other buildings they were near, their use (e.g. argentaria
) or their decoration (argonautarum
). When they surrounded a forum, Vitruvius observes
(5.1) that the intercolumniation should be wider than in Greek examples, for
facility in seeing spectacula. [See AGORA; DOMUS.]