architecture for general students

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER II. BABYLONIAN AND ASSYRIAN ARCHITECTURE. J|O trace the progress of Art in Eastern, Western, and Central Asia, would far exceed the limits proposed in this little work;, and, therefore, we will only instapce some of the distinguishing features of Babylonian and Assyrian architecture. Of the magnificence of Babylon, as made known to us by ancient writers, nothing remains ; and only shapeless heaps of rubbish, half buried in the sand, and covered with vegetation., mark the site of the ancient city. This complete destruction is to be attributed to the perishable material employed in building, — bricks baked in the sun and bound together with asphaltum, wells of which were everywhere scattered over the vast plain where the city stood. Stone was nowhere to be found, save in the distant mountains of the North, and therefore the ornamental features were formed of baked tiles, upon which tapestry-like patterns had been glazed in various colors. Thus we see the architect borrowing his form of decoration, from the handicraft, in which his nation most excelled. The efforts of Botta and Layard in uncovering what are believed to have been the ruins of Nineveh, give to us a far better idea of the general design of building among these nations than we could ever gather from the study of ancient historians and travellers. Yet we can never read the descriptions of Herodotus and Diodorus, or those passages of the Old Testament, which give such vivid glimpses of the strength of Babylon, without being impressed by the colossal extent as well as the grand simplicity, which characterized the architecture of these ancient cities ; and also the fact that the brilliant metals were extensively employed, to add richness and beauty to structures of various kinds. Thus we are told tha...
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