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Scheme of an aedicula
Tomb for Barthold Georg Niebuhr in the old cemetery in Bonn based on a design by Schinkel
Renaissance portal with aedicule attachment, 1571 in the Palais Niederösterreich

An aedicule (plural Ädikulä ; from Latin aedicula , plural aediculae ) is a small ancient building or component .

History and description

Originally aedicula is a diminutive of aedes , which denotes a house or a temple in particular, accordingly aedicula is a small house or "little temple". Aedicula are especially the small replicas of temples that were used to decorate a sacellum , an enclosed sanctuary, as is typical of the oldest Roman cults. These aediculae were then mostly small structures with a niche in which the cult image of the deity was located.

In this reduced form, aedicules appear as an architectural element: a small wall structure that looked like a temple front and in which a statue was located. Later, each column structure , which consisted of columns , pillars or pilasters and a triangular or segmented arch gable and framed a niche , was called aedicula. This style element can be found in the Hellenistic and Roman architectural styles as well as in the architectural styles linked to antiquity, Renaissance , Baroque and Classicism . The aedicula was mostly used to structure large wall surfaces. It can often be found on large gates , city ​​gates or triumphal arches and on large buildings such as thermal baths and palaces . In the Middle Ages , a small private chapel (usually a burial chapel) was also called this.

The following possible meanings of aedicula are to be distinguished:

  • Shrine in the sense of a lararium
  • Tomb or part of a tomb with the urn or a portrait of the deceased.
  • small ancient temple
  • small structure to preserve a still image
  • Framing of niches or of windows with columns or with a small roof and gable (house motif - triangular gable).

The latter two meanings are often used in connection with an apse or facade .

There are forms of the aedicula that are not directly based on ancient models. These occur in modern architecture, including in public areas.

In Roman wall painting , especially Antonine wall painting , the aedicule is a frequent motif for creating an illusionistic architecture. This motif with the same purpose already exists in the second style of Pompeiian wall painting .

In the Greek cultural area the aedicula corresponds to the naiskos .


Web links

Commons : Aediculae  - collection of images, videos and audio files