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PARTHIAN

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Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 381 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PARTHIAN ARCHITECTURE The architecture of the Parthian dynasty, who from 250 B.C. to A.D. 226 occupied the greater part of Mesopotamia, their empire in 16o B.C. extending over 480,000 sq. m., was quite unknown until Sir A. H. Layard, following in the steps of Ross and Ainsworth, visited and measured the plan of the palace at Hatra (el Hadr) about 30 M. south of Mosul; the architecture of this palace shows that, on the one hand, the Parthians carried on the traditions of the barrel vault of the Assyrian palace, and on the other, from their contact with Hellenistic methods of building, had acquired considerable knowledge in the working of ashlar masonry. El Hadr is first mentioned in history as having been unsuccessfully besieged by Trajan in A.D. 116, and it is recorded to have been a walled town containing a temple of the sun, celebrated for the value of its offerings. The temple referred to is probably the large square building at the back of the palace, as above the door-way is a rich frieze carved with griffins, similar to those found at Warka by Loftus, together with large quantities of Parthian coins. The remains (fig. 18) consist of a block of 38o ft. frontage, facing east, and 128 ft. deep, subdivided by walls of great thickness, running at right angles to the main front, and built in an immense court, divided down the centre by a FIG. 18.–Plan of Palace of wall, separating that portion on el Hadr. the south side, where the temple A, Throne or reception room. was situated, from that on the B, Large hall, or north side, which constituted C, Entrance hall of temple. the king's palace. The seven D, Temple. subdivisions of the different widths were all covered with semi-circular barrel vaults which, being built side by side, mutually resisted the thrust, the outer walls being of greater thickness, with the same object. In the centre of the south block was an immense hall 44 ft. wide and 98 ft. deep, which formed the vestibule to the temple in the rear; this vestibule was flanked by a series of three smaller halls on either side, over which there was probably a second floor. On the palace or north side were l-~`A Iillllll il ~ t,~ ~6! P;IIflIIiIP I I!llI lIilI!IlI ~IIIIIiII III r two great aiwans or reception halls. The main front (fig. 19) was built in finely jointed ashlar masonry with semicircular attached shafts between the entrance doorways, which had semicircular heads, every third voussoir of the three larger doors being decorated by busts in strong relief with a headgear similar to that shown on Parthian coins; other carvings, with the acanthus leaf, belonged to that type of Syrio-Greek work, of which Loftus found so many wtlt^01^^^ IN^=^=^^^^Mml'1^^^^^^ou II= St IN •11111W • MN MINN 111111= •11111•11MIlle A a= as li I 11^.^.0 IIII O%-••C111p~~.~min mImmmmom 1., ~ ..•• 111111111111Y1.^^MIMP Oa' ,^^vIIBN. ^ ^^~i^i 111 11^1'OI1 Wlli^!^1^I is^,,ICI^•^^^YI1U 1311 trmjl .11X11.. !oils ,.lM 11l 71.I11I11..~11111'.I=? ==11.111 !~^~~^~ItlI 11 Wn II ~Y~IHI~" ~ ~II~II II~ ~' 11~ A..Illt~ .Ill l.. III l~!Iz` 1111 mum !~.1 tll. 11.1.1' IIIII ..Lil.Is tlIII_ 1 um same ii.!R HIM IIUUR .11.E -I. •1.11 AA ^! lI 1/11.1lI1.11 'MIN IIIII. I.1!I 9uuI., U ul..a1 am lmpp.R!IUIIn ^I.0 . I/M I. Iy Yr ili'.e lul I~~lii Scale of Peer Io 5 o ro ao 31, 4? 50 examples at Warka (Loftus, Chaldaea, Susiana, p. 225). In the great mosque of Diarbekr are two wings at the north and south ends respectively, which are said to have been Parthian palaces built by Tigranes, 74 B.C.; they have evidently been rearranged or rebuilt at various times, the columns with their capitals and the entablature having been utilized again. The shafts of the columns of the upper storey are richly carved with geometrical patterns similar to those found by Loftus at Warka. The American researches at Nippur have resulted in the discovery on the top of the mounds of the remains of a Parthian palace; and the disposition of its plan (fig. 20), and the style of the columns of From Prof. H. V. Hilprecht's Exploration in Bible Lands, by permission of A. J. Holman & Co. and T. & T. Clark. the peristylar court, show so strong a resemblance to Greek work as to suggest the same Hellenistic influence as in the palace of el Hadr. Having no stone, however, they were obliged to build up these columns at Nippur with sections in brick, covered afterwards with stucco. The columns diminished at the top to about one-fifth of the lower diameter, and would seem to have had an entasis, as the lower portion up to one-third of the height is nearly vertical. A similar palace was discovered at Tello by the French archaeologists, and the bases of some of the brick columns are in the Louvre. (R. P. S.)
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