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Ancient and Egyptian
Architecture
Architectural History
ACT 322
Doris Kemp
Topics
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Mesopotamia
Sumer
Babylon
Ancient Israel
Crete
Mycenae
Ancient Near East:
Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia
Coexists with same time period as the Egyptians
 Centered around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers
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Modern day Iraq
Signs of civilization begin to appear around 4500
B.C.
 Peak of civilization is around 3300 B.C.
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Ancient Near East:
Mesopotamia - Sumer
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Sumer
Great kingdom located in Mesopotamia
 Building materials were scarce
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Mud was used to create bricks
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Timber was completely absent and stone was very scarce
Highly soluble in water
Most structures have been destroyed due to rain and
time
Ancient Near East:
Mesopotamia - Sumer

Sumer
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Architectural characteristics include:
Heavy walls made of mud bricks
 Great massings of earth
 Tombs were very rare
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Temples of interest:
Temple VIII at Eridu
 White Temple at Uruk
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Ancient Near East:
Mesopotamia - Sumer
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Sumer
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Temple VIII at Eridu
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Ancient site near Ur
Thick walls of mud bricks
Set atop a primitive mudbrick platform
Featured stairs leading up
to an entrance on the long
side of the temple
Photo: Sullivan
Ancient Near East:
Mesopotamia - Sumer

Sumer

White Temple at Uruk
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3500 – 3000 B.C.
Placed upon a huge mass
of earth called a ziggurat
Photo: Sullivan
Ancient Near East:
Mesopotamia - Babylon

Babylon
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Neo-Babylonian Revival
Culture was revived in 612 B.C.
 Many new temples and palaces were built
 Thick walls surrounded the city with a distance of some
11 miles
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Key locations:
Ishtar Gate
 Tower of Babel
 Palace of Nebuchadnezzar
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Ancient Near East:
Mesopotamia – Babylon
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Babylon
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Ishtar Gate
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Most impressive remnant
of the great city
Dominated the wide
processional avenue and
led to the inner city
Partly reconstructed in the
State Museum, Berlin ,
Germany
Photo: Sullivan
Ancient Near East:
Mesopotamia – Babylon

Tower of Babel
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Most famous of all the
ziggurats of ancient
Mesopotamia
Has been restored many times
throughout the centuries
No one really knows how it
actually looked
Photo: Sullivan
Ancient Near East:
Mesopotamia - Babylon

Babylon
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Palace of Nebuchadnezzar
The most grandiose palace in Babylon
 Featured the Hanging Gardens
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One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Approximately 900 by 600 ft. in size
 Has been praised by many historians for its many splendid
features

Ancient Near East:
Mesopotamia - Babylon
Photo: Sullivan
Ancient Near East:
Ancient Israel

Ancient Israel
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King Solomon’s Temple
Built around the 10th century B.C.
 Located atop Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem
 Rectangular structure surrounded by open courtyards
 Rebuilt two times due to invaders
 The third temple is associated with the Christian New
Testament
 Destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans
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Ancient Near East:
Ancient Israel
Photo: Sullivan
Ancient Near East:
Ancient Israel
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Ancient Israel
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Wailing Wall in Jerusalem is
believed to be the last
remnants of Solomon’s third
temple
Photo: Sullivan
Ancient Near East:
Crete
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Crete
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Key locations:
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City of Troy
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Was thought to be a mythical location until the 1870’s A.D.
Discovered by Heinrich Schliemann
Palace at Knossos
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c. 1700 – 1400 B.C.
Possibly built for King Midas
Only the ground floor has survived the centuries
Ancient Near East:
Crete
Photo: Sullivan
Ancient Near East:
Crete
Photo: Sullivan
Ancient Near East:
Mycenae

Mycenae
Modern day Greece
 A great society of warriors
 More interested architecturally in citadels rather than
pleasure palaces
 Recognized the importance of geometry and
proportions in architecture

Ancient Near East:
Mycenae

Mycenae
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Two important structures:

Citadel at Tyrins
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Best preserved citadel of
Mycenae
Up to 36 ft. thick walls
Lined with galleries that
featured massive
corbelled ceilings
Treasury of Atreus

Large dome shaped
tomb dating back to
1300 B.C.
Photo: Sullivan
Ancient Near East:
Mycenae
Photo: Sullivan
Ancient Near East:
Mycenae
Photo: Sullivan
References
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Sullivan, Mary; http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/
http://www.brynmawr.edu/Acads/Cities/wld/wdpt1.html
Trachtenburg/Hyman; Architecture: From Prehistory to
Postmodernity
Wodehouse/Moffett; A History of Western Architecture
Ancient and Egyptian
Architecture
Architectural History
ACT 322
Doris Kemp