An acroterion or acroterium or akroteria 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. An acroterion placed at the outer angles of the pediment is an acroterion angularium (angulārium 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. They are sometimes incorporated into the design of furniture.
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. Acroteria is the plural of both the original Greek and the Latin form.
- 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
- "Acroterian". Merriam Webster.
- Harris, Cyril M. (1983). Illustrated Dictionary of Historic Architecture. Courier Corporation. p. 5. ISBN 9780486244440.
- "acroterion - architecture".
- "acroter". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Greek Architecture glossary Archived September 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
- Acroterium at A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 1875.