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Examples of acroteria.
Daniel Chester French's acroterion Justice.
A modern acroterion, in the Art Deco style. Approximately 2m tall, removed.

An acroterion or acroterium or akroteria[1] is an architectural ornament placed on a flat base called the acroter or plinth, and mounted at the apex of the pediment of a building in the classical style. It may also be placed at the outer angles of the pediment; such acroteria are referred to as acroteria angularia (angulāria 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.[citation needed] They are sometimes incorporated into the design of furniture.[2]

The word comes from the Greek akrōtḗrion (ἀκρωτήριον ‘summit, extremity’), from the superlative form of the adjective akros (ἄκρος, ‘extreme, endmost’). It was Latinized by the Romans as acroterium.[3] Acroteria is the plural of both the original Greek[4] and the Latin form.[5]

According to Webb, during the Hellenistic period the winged victory or Nike figure was considered to be "the most appropriate motif for figured akroteria."[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ p. 26-27
  2. ^
  3. ^ "acroter". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ Greek Architecture glossary Archived September 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Acroterium at A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 1875.
  6. ^ Webb, Pamela A., Hellenistic Architectural Sculpture: Figural Motifs in Western Anatolia and the Aegean Islands, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison Wisconsin, 1996 p.26

External links[edit]