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An acroterion, acroterium, or akroteria[1] is an architectural ornament placed on a flat pedestal called the acroter or plinth, and mounted at the apex or corner of the pediment of a building in the classical style.[2] An acroterion placed at the outer angles of the pediment is an acroterion angularium (angulārium means ‘at the corners’).

Examples of acroteria

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.[3] They are sometimes incorporated into furniture designs.[4]


The word comes from the Greek akrōtḗrion (ἀκρωτήριον 'summit, extremity'), from the comparative form of the adjective akros (ἄκρος, 'extreme, endmost'). It was Latinized by the Romans as acroterium.[5] Acroteria is the plural of both the original Greek[6] and the Latin form.[7]

According to Webb, during the Hellenistic period the winged victory or Nike figure was considered to be "the most appropriate motif for figured akroteria.”[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Webb, Pamela A. (1996). Hellenistic Architectural Sculpture: Figural motifs in western Anatolia and the Aegean islands. Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press. p. 26.
  2. ^ "Acroterian". Merriam Webster.
  3. ^ Harris, Cyril M. (1983). Illustrated Dictionary of Historic Architecture. Courier Corporation. p. 5. ISBN 9780486244440.
  4. ^ "acroterion - architecture".
  5. ^ "acroter". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  6. ^ McCarver (ed.). "Glossary of architectural terms". McArver Ancient History. Greek Architecture. Porter-Gaud School. Archived from the original on 8 September 2006. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  7. ^ Smith, Philip (1875). "Acroterium". In Thayer, Bill (ed.). A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. University of Chicago. Retrieved 26 January 2021.

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