The Ancient Library
 

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On this page: Architecture (continued)

ARCHITECTURE,

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with smaller stones; while others are built of stones more or less carefully hewn, their

(3)*

A wall of entrance-passage (drfimtfs), 30 ft. long. B entrance, 1(H ft. high. C large chamber, 50 ft. high. D entrance (9 ft. high) to small chamber.

(1) WALL OF POLYGONAL STONES, MiCEN/E.

interstices exactly fitting into each other. Gradually they begin to show an approxi-

THE LION-GATE, MYCEN.E.

mation to buildings with rectangular blocks. The gates let into these walls are closed at the top either by the courses of stone jutting over from each side till they touch, or by a long straight block laid over the two leaning side-posts. Of the latter kind is the famous Lion-gate at Mycence, so-called from the group of two lions standing with their forefeet on the broad pedestal of a pillar that tapers rapidly downwards, and remarkable as the oldest specimen of Greek sculpture. The sculpture is carved on a large triangular slab that fills an opening left in the wall to lighten the weight on the lintel (fig. 2).

Among the most striking relics of this primitive age are the so-called Thesauroi, or treasuries (now re­garded as tombs) of ancient dynasties the most considerable being the Trea-

sure-house of Atreus at Mycenae. The usual form of these buildings is that of a circular chamber vaulted over by the hori­zontal courses approaching from all sides till they meet. Thus the vault is not a true arch (fig. 3). The interior seems originally to have been covered with metal plates, thus agreeing with Homer's descrip­tions of metal as a favourite ornament of princely houses. An open-air building pre­served from that age is the supposed Temple of Hera on Mount Ocha (now Hagios Elias) in Eubcea, a rectangle built of regular square blocks, with walls more than a yard thick, two small windows, and a door with leaning posts and a huge lintel in the southern side-wall. The sloping roof is of hewn flagstones resting on the thickness of the wall and overlapping each other; but the centre is left open as in the hypsethral temples of a later time.

''TREASURE HOUSE1 OF ATREUS, MYCEN*.

From the simple shape of a rectangular house shut in by blank walls we gradu­ally advance to finer and richer forms, formed especially by the introduction of columns detached from the wall and serv­ing to support the roof and ceiling. Eve^ in Homer we find columns in the palaces to support the halls that surround the court­yard, and the ceiling of the banqueting-room. The construction of columns (see architec­ture, orders of) received its artistic de­velopment first from the Dorians after their migration into the Peloponnesus about 1000 b.c., next from the lonians, and from each in a form suitable to their several characters. If the simple serious character of the Dorians speaks in the Doric Order, no less does the lighter, nimbler, and more

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