Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Slice 4 Volume 2

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Slice 4 Volume 2

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Excerpt: ... on the overthrow of the Parthian dynasty in A.D. 226, the monarchs of the Sassanian dynasty succeeded to the immense Parthian empire, the earliest building found, according to Fergusson, is that at Serbistan, to which he ascribes the date A.D. 380. The palace (fig. 21), which measures 130 ft. frontage and 143 ft. deep, with an internal court, shows so great an advance in the arrangements of its plan as to suggest considerable acquaintance with Roman work. The fine ashlar work of el-Hadr is no longer adhered to, and in its place we find rubble masonry with thick mortar joints, the walls being covered afterwards, both externally and internally, with stucco. While the barrel vault is still retained for the chief entrance porches, it is of elliptical section, and the central hall is covered with a dome, a feature probably handed down from the Assyrians, such as is shown in the bas-relief (fig. 10) from Kuyunjik, now in the British Museum. In order to carry a dome, circular on plan, over a square hall, it was necessary to arch across the angles, and here to a certain extent the Sassanians were at fault, as they did not know how to build pendentives, and the construction of these are of the most irregular kind. As, however, their mortar had excellent tenacious properties, these pendentives still remain in situ (fig. 22), and their defects were probably hidden under the stucco. In the halls which flank the building on either side, however, they displayed considerable knowledge of construction. Instead of having enormously thick walls to resist the thrust of their vaults, to which we have already drawn attention in the Assyrian work and at el Hadr, they built piers at intervals, covering over the spaces between them, with semi-domes on which the walls carrying the vaults are supported, so that they lessened the span of the vault and brought the thrust well within the wall. This, however, lessened the width of the hall, so they replaced the lower portions...show more

Product details

  • Paperback
  • 189 x 246 x 10mm | 354g
  • Rarebooksclub.com
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236715640
  • 9781236715647