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A History of Art for Beginners and Students

The palaces are those of Darius



In a conspicuous position on this ornamental staircase there are three slabs; on two there is no design of any sort; on the third an inscription says that this was the work of "Xerxes, the Great King, the King of Kings, the son of King Darius, the Achaemenian." This inscription is in the Persian tongue, and it is probable that it was the intention to repeat it on the slabs which are left plain in some other languages, so that it could easily be read by those of different nations; it was customary with the ancients to repeat inscriptions in this way.

The other staircases of this great platform are all more or less decorated with sculptures and resemble that described; they lead to the different palaces, of which there are three. The palaces are those of Darius, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes Ochus, and besides these there are two great pillared halls; one of these is called the "Hall of One Hundred Columns," and the other _Chehl Minar_, or the "Great Hall of Audience."

This view of the palace of Darius gives an idea of the appearance of all these buildings. A description of them would be only a wordy repetition of the characteristics of one apartment and hall after another, and I shall leave them to speak of the magnificent halls which are the glory of the ruins of Persepolis, and the wonders of the world to those who are

acquainted with the architectural monuments of the Turkish, Greek, Roman, Moorish, and Christian nations. (See Fig. 26.)


The Hall of a Hundred Columns was very splendid, as one may judge from this picture of its gateway (Fig. 27); but the _Chehl Minar_, or Great Hall of Audience, which is also called the Hall of Xerxes, was the most remarkable of all these edifices. Its ruins occupy a space of almost three hundred and fifty feet in length and two hundred and forty-six feet in width, and consist principally of four different kinds of columns. One portion of this hall was arranged in a square, in which there were six rows of six pillars each, and on three sides of this square there were magnificent porches, in each of which there were twelve columns; so that the number of pillars in the square was thirty-six, and that of those in the three porches was the same. These porches stood out boldly from the main building and were grand in their effect.


The columns which remain in various parts of this hall are so high that it is thought that they must originally have measured sixty-four feet throughout the whole building. The capitals of the pillars were of three kinds: the double Horned Lion capital (Fig. 28) was used in the eastern porch, and was very simple; in the western porch was the double Bull capital, which corresponded to the first in size and general form, the difference being only in the shape of the animal.


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