1902 Encyclopedia > Architecture > Achievements of Ancient Persian Architecture. Later Periods.

(Part 34)

Persian Architecture (cont'd.)

Achievements of Ancient Persian Architecture. Later Periods.

To sum up as to our knowledge of Persian art, the greater part of the remains are columnar, not an edifice is built on the Assyrian plan, and there is little to remind us of Assyria except the human headed bull. The doors and windows somewhat resemble those of Egypt. They have the same plain architrave, the large roll, cavetto, and fillet at top. But the sides of the portals are straight; there are no massive pylons, and the whole character of the columns, bases, and capitals is utterly unlike any known remains of Egyptian or Assyrian art. By what stages the Persian architects arrived at the singular work at Persepolis and Susa we cannot now judge. All we know is that Persian art was developed contemporaneously with that of Greece, though with utterly different results. The elegant form of the Greek temples, the curve of the Assyrian arch, would seem to have been unknown to the Persian, whom it appears likely, worked out their latest forms by gradual stages, from the early structures of wood, and thus originated style, grand, picturesque, and in its ruins beautiful, but well-nigh isolated in the history of art, there being nothing from which it was quite copied, and nothing which seems quite to have sprung from it.

The few remains which exist of a later date are separated from the above as widely in architectural forms as in chronology. Neither the Greek Seleucidae nor the Parthian Arsacidae have left any buildings (of importance at least) which can be identified; and the well-known edifices at Serbistan, Firouzabad, and Ctesiphon, are late in the time of the Sassanidae. The two former edifices have domes rising from square bases and lighted by small apertures, as Victor Place suggests was the case at Khorsabad, and each is approached, as was the Khorsabad palace, through a deep vaulted entrance. At Ctesiphon this vault is 115 feet, 72 wide, and 85 high. Of the famous palace at Dastageod (Artemita), 60 miles north of Ctesiphon, described by the Byzantine writer, Theophanies, no remains are known to exist; but Dr. Tristram has discovered at Mashita, in the land of Moab, a palace with its enclosing walls, richly decorated with carving, &c., which Mr. Fergusson considers to have been built by Chosroes shortly before the Arab invasion. The edifice is minutely described and illustrated in Tristram’s Land of Moab.

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