A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Architecture

By Gwendolyn Leick | Go to book overview

A

abacus

In a TRABEATED building the flat square stone tablet between the vertical support and the horizontal element. It is documented only in Egyptian stone-architecture. In Achaemenian columns, the abacus was replaced by zoomorph IMPOSTS. There was no structural distinction between shaft and abacus as they were sometimes both carved from a single block. The width is generally the same as the largest diameter of the shaft, the height a third or half its length. The abacus could be decorated with hieroglyphic inscriptions, but remained generally unobtrusive.

Abu Ghurob

Egypt, see map p. xvi. On this site in the vicinity of ancient Memphis, German archaeologists discovered in 1898/99 the remains of the largest and best-known SUN TEMPLE. Dating from the V Dynasty (c. 2565-2420 BC), it was built by Niuserre (c. 2456-2425 BC). The whole complex consisted of a valley-building beside the canal, a 100m-long, covered CAUSEWAY leading up to the actual sanctuary and, outside the girdle-wall, a brick sun-boat.

The sanctuary was reached through a gate-building abutting against the narrow side of the rectangular enclosure which contained treasure-chambers, magazines and slaughter-houses. The central feature of the site was a huge OBELISK of limestone raised on a platform 20m high which could be reached by an internal passage. The squat shape of the obelisk has been reconstructed on the basis of hieroglyphic signs occurring in a list of names of V Dynasty sun temples. In front of it was a large court with an alabaster altar, presumably intended for blood sacrifices as it was equipped with drainage spouts on four sides. Next to the obelisk was a small chapel decorated with relief representations of sacred rituals.

Bissing, F.von, Das Re-Heiligtum des Königs Ne-woser-re I (Berlin 1905)

Abacus and papyri-form column from mortuary temple at Medinet-Habu (XIX Dynasty)

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A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Architecture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • A 1
  • B 26
  • C 41
  • D 59
  • E 68
  • F 75
  • G 82
  • H 92
  • I 102
  • J 105
  • K 108
  • L 121
  • M 127
  • N 145
  • O 152
  • P 155
  • Q 172
  • R 173
  • S 181
  • T 199
  • U 229
  • V 238
  • W 241
  • Y 245
  • Z 246
  • Alphabetical List of Entries 249
  • Index 253
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