A History of Art in Chaldaea & Assyria Part 15

14. This exact and penetrating critic shares our belief in these relations between the Chaldaean east and Roman Asia.

[209] _Note sur la Construction des Voutes sans cintrage_, p. 12.

[210] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. pp. 266-267.

[211] As M. CHOISY remarks (_L'Art de batir chez les Romains_, p. 80), each horizontal course, being in the form of a ring, would have no tendency to collapse inwards, and a dome circular on plan would demand some means for keeping its shape true rather than a resisting skeleton.

[212] _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 131.

[213] In both the examples here reproduced the sculptor has indicated the cords by which the canvas walls were kept in place. We find almost the same profile in a bas-relief at Khorsabad (BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, pl.

146), but there it is cut with less decision and there are no cords.

Between the two semi-domes the figure of a man rises above the wall to his middle, suggesting the existence of a barbette within. Here the artist may have been figuring a house rather than a tent.

[214] STRABO, xv. 3, 10.

[215] STRABO, xvi. 1, 5.

[216] Keramoi d' ou chrontai, says Strabo. These words, as Letronne remarked _a propos_ of this passage, combine the ideas of a tiled roof and of one with a ridge. The one notion must be taken with the other; hence we may infer that the Babylonian houses were flat-roofed.

[217] STRABO, ii. 5, 11.

[218] See M. AMeDeE TARDIEU'S reflections upon Strabo's method of work, in his _Geographie de Strabon_ (Hachette, 3 vols, 12mo.), vol. iii. p. 286, note 2.

[219] As to this singular people and their religious beliefs, the information contained in the two works of Sir H. LAYARD (_Nineveh_, vol. 1.

pp. 270-305, and _Discoveries_, pp. 40-92) will be read with interest.

Thanks to special circumstances Sir H. Layard was able to become more intimately acquainted than any other traveller with this much-abused and cruelly persecuted sect. He collected much valuable information upon doctrines which, even after his relation, are not a little obscure and confused. The Yezidis have a peculiar veneration for the evil principle, or Satan; they also seem to worship the sun. Their religion is in fact a conglomeration of various survivals from the different systems that have successively obtained in that part of Asia. They themselves have no clear idea of it as a whole. It would repay study by an archaeologist of religions.

[220] BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, vol. v. p. 70.

[221] See above, page 118, note 1.

[222] Some rooms are as much as thirty feet wide. They would require joists at least thirty-three feet long, a length that can hardly be admitted in view of the very mediocre quality of the wood in common use.

[223] _Gailhabaud, Monuments anciens et modernes_, vol. i.; plate entitled _Tombeaux superposes a Corneto_.

[224] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 309. In this passage M. Place affirms that Mr. Layard discovered in a room of one of the Ninevite palaces, several openings cut at less than four feet above the floor level. It is, moreover, certain that these openings were included in the original plan of the building, because the reliefs are interrupted so as to leave room for the window without injury to the scenes sculptured upon them; but, adds M.

Place, this example is unique, one of those exceptions that help to confirm a rule. We have in vain searched through the two works of Sir Henry Layard for the statement alluded to by M. Place. The English explorer only once mentions windows, and then he says: "Even in the rooms bounded by the outer walls there is not the slightest trace of windows" (_Nineveh_, vol. ii. p.


[225] BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, vol. v. p. 73.

[226] FLANDIN et COSTE, _Voyage en Perse; Perse ancienne_, plates 28 and 29; and, in the text, page 25. These openings occur in the great Sassanide palace at Ctesiphon, the _Takht-i-Khosrou_ (_ibid._ pl. 216, and text, p.

175). Here the terra-cotta pipes are about eight inches in diameter.

According to these writers similar contrivances are still in use in Persia.

[227] In the cupola of the palace at Sarbistan (Fig. 54), a window may be perceived in the upper part of the vertical wall, between the pendentives of the dome. Such openings may well have been pierced under Assyrian domes.

From many of the illustrations we have given, it will be seen that the Ninevite architects had no objection to windows, provided they could be placed in the upper part of the wall. It is of windows like ours, pierced at a foot or two above the ground, that no examples have been found.

[228] PLACE. _Ninive_, vol. i. pp. 312-314.

[229] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 313.

[230] _Ibid._ p. 310

[231] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 311.

[232] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 307.

[233] See BOTTA, _Monument de Ninive_, vol. v. p. 53; _Place_, _Ninive_, vol. i. pp. 306, 307.

[234] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 15.

[235] TAYLOR, _Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society_, vol. xv. p. 409.

[236] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 260.

[237] LAYARD, _Discoveries_, pp. 645-6.

[238] LAYARD, _Monuments_, &c., first series, plate 19. This relief is reproduced in PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. iii. plate 40, fig. 6.

[239] British Museum; Kouyundjik Gallery, Nos. 34-43. See also LAYARD'S _Monuments_, plates 8 and 9.--ED.

[240] A second inclined gallery of the same kind was found by LAYARD in another of the Kouyundjik palaces (_Discoveries_, p. 650).

[241] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. pp. 306, 307.

[242] PLACE, _Ninive_, vol. i. p. 140.

[243] As to the great size sometimes reached by the tents of the Arab chiefs, and the means employed to divide them into several apartments, see LAYARD, _Discoveries_, p. 313, and the sketch on page 321.

[244] There is a photographic reproduction of these interesting reliefs in the fine publication undertaken by the Society of Biblical Archaeology. This work, which is not yet (1883) complete, is entitled _The Bronze Ornaments of the Gates of Balawat_, _Shalmaneser_ II. 859-825, edited, with an introduction, by Samuel BIRCH, with descriptions and translations by Theophilus G. PINCHES, folio, London. The three first parts are before us.

The motive reproduced above belongs to the plate marked F, 5.

[245] They are to be found on the sheet provisionally numbered B, 1, in the publication above referred to.

[246] This cylinder, which is now in the British Museum, was perhaps the actual signet of the king.

[247] LAYARD, _Nineveh_, vol. ii. p. 272.

[248] LAYARD, _Monuments of Nineveh_, first series, plate 77; second series, plates 24 and 36.

[249] _Genesis_, xiii. 12.

[250] _Genesis_, xix.

-- 4.--_The Column._

As Chaldaea, speaking broadly, made no use of stone in its buildings, the stone column or shaft was unknown to its architects; at least not a single fragment of such a thing has been found among the ruins. Here and there cylindrical piers built up of small units seem to have been employed. These are sometimes of specially moulded bricks,[251] sometimes of sandstone fragments supported by a coat of masonry. Time has separated the stones of the latter, and it is now only represented by fragments whose shape betrays their original destination. Taylor, indeed, found one of these piers still in place during his excavations at Abou-Sharein, but his sketch and description are so confused that it is quite useless to reproduce them.[252]

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