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Antefix is an architectural ornament that was commonly used in ancient Greek and Roman buildings. It is a vertical, often decorative element that is placed at the end of a roof tile or at the edge of a roof to conceal the joining of the roof tiles and to provide a visually pleasing finish. Antefixes were typically made of terracotta or marble and were designed to protect the roof from water damage while also serving an aesthetic purpose. The design of antefixes varied widely, ranging from simple, geometric shapes to elaborate, sculptural forms depicting mythological creatures, deities, or floral motifs. These ornamental elements were not only functional but also contributed to the overall architectural style and character of the building. Antefixes were particularly prominent in ancient Greek temples, where they were used to decorate the eaves of the roof and to create a rhythmic pattern along the roofline. The use of antefixes spread throughout the Mediterranean region and beyond, with examples found in various ancient cultures, including Etruscan, Roman, and Near Eastern architecture. The study of antefixes provides valuable insights into the artistic traditions, religious beliefs, and architectural practices of these ancient civilizations.

terracotta, marble, roof, ornament, decoration, architecture, ancient, Greek, Roman

John Armstrong


An Antefix is a decorative block which is placed at the eaves of a tiled roof. It is typically used in the classical style of architecture, and is prominently found in ancient Greek and Roman architecture. It is an ornamental detail which typically takes the form of a terra-cotta slab, which is placed at the edge of the roof, usually in a vertical position. The Antefix can be shaped in a variety of ways and often features a decorative pattern or design, such as a human or animal figure, or a symbol. The purpose of the Antefix is to conceal the joints between the tiles of the roof, and to provide a decorative element for the building.

Ornamentation, Architecture, Roof, Tiles, Terra-cotta

Michael Adams


Masonry architecture is a distinct style of construction, with a long and varied history. An antefix is an architectural element commonly found in classical Greek, Roman and Renaissance architecture. It is typically a decorative board or plaque, often made of terracotta, and placed at the corners of a tiled roof. The antefix serves to cover the gap left between the tiles, while also providing a decorative touch to the roof. The antefix is also often ornamentally carved, with figures or symbols representing gods, goddesses and animals typically featured.

Antefix, Masonry, Architecture, Roof, Terracotta, Ornamentation

Shelly Stone


Antefix is a noun and can be defined as a decorative covering that is placed at the edge of a roof in classical architecture. Synonyms for this word are roof tile, roof finial, roof capping, roof cresting, and roof cornice. Antonyms for the word antefix include roof gable, roof ridge, roof eaves, and roof rafter. Cognates for antefix include, tegula, pan tiles, and acroterion. Variants for the antefix include antefixa, antefixae, antefixes, and antefixum.

Etymological study, derivation, origin, lexicology, orthography, lexicon, lexeme, lemma, morphemes.

George Adrian Postea


The word ‘Antefix’ is rooted in Ancient Greek, originally derived from the two Greek words ‘anti’, which means ‘in front of’ and ‘fix’, meaning ‘to fasten’, indicating an object which is fastened in front of something. These objects were typically used in architecture, usually on the roof of ancient temples, and could be decorative or functional in nature, such as offering protection against water. Morphologically, the word breaks down into the prefix ‘anti’, a nominal root ‘-fix’, and the suffix ‘-ion’ which denotes an object or action. Historically the term ‘Antefix’ can be traced back to the Classical Greek period, used in architecture, particularly around temple and palace structures. Pragmatically this term is still used to describe the same types of objects in modern contexts, typically in archaeology, architecture and art history.

Etymology, Morphology, Ancient Greek, Antefix, Pragmatics, Architecture.

Henry Fontaine


Antefixes are decorative elements commonly found in classical architecture. They are typically used as a finishing piece on the edges of the roof tiles and are often composed of terracotta or marble. They are also known by several other names, such as antefixes, antefices, antefissa, antefissae, and antafix. In French, they are called antefixes, in Spanish, antifijos, in Greek, αντεφίκτια, and in Latin, antefixa. In Italian, they are called antefisse, in Portuguese, antifícios, and in German, antifix. In Chinese, they are known as jiaoxie, in Japanese, noukain, and in Korean, antefikseu.

Antefix, Antefices, Antefissa, Antefissae, Antafix, Antifijos, Antefisse, Antifícios, Antifix, Jiaoxie, Noukain, Antefikseu, French, Spanish, Greek, Latin, Italian, Portuguese, German, Chinese, Japanese, Korean.

Harris Awan


Antefixes refer to ornamented vertical blocks that line the eaves of a roof and are located at the end of the roof tiles or along the gutter-like elements of a roof. They typically consist of a molded terracotta block with decorative motifs, such as acanthus leaves, heads of gods, animals or humans. Often, the head of a satyr, or an animal mask is used to project water away from the building, as well as to create a decorative effect. Antefixes can also be found on Greek and Roman temples, as well as on other types of architectures. They are used to cover the joints between tiled roofs and have been used in classical architecture since ancient times.

Antefix, Roof Design, Ornaments, Terracotta Blocks.

Ji-Soo Park

CITATION : "Ji-Soo Park. 'Antefix.' Design+Encyclopedia. (Accessed on July 24, 2024)"


Antefix is an architectural feature used for design and decoration on the roofs of ancient Greek and Roman temples. It is typically made from terracotta and often ornately decorated. Antefixes most commonly feature a grotesque mask, resembling a combination of a human and animal face, which was usually placed at the edge of the roof tiles. This type of ornamentation is believed to have been derived from the ancient Egyptians and used to ward off evil spirits. The masks were sometimes painted with bright colors, and the terracotta often had patterns and shapes, such as waves or figures, molded into it. Antefixes were also used to cover the ends of the roof tiles, much like a capstone, in order to prevent rainwater from seeping inside.

Architecture, design, decoration, terracotta, mask, grotesque, ornamentation, Egypt, pattern, wave, figure, capstone, roof tile, rainwater.

Lauren Moore

Antefix Definition
Antefix on Design+Encyclopedia

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