Free Online Bible Library | Architecture

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ARCHITECTURE. This may be defined as the art or science of building. As a form of art, architecture is the effort to make a building aesthetically pleasing as well as useful. It must be classified as an abstract art, for it is the least representational of all the arts. For example, an artist who wished to portray the Madonna and Child could hardly use architecture as his medium; modern architects do indeed attempt to use symbolism in order to make it representational, but even this is greatly limited. Architecture could further be described as the most social of the arts, since a building is usually designed for more than one person, whether it is a church, a railroad station, or a home. The sole exception probably would be the monument or tomb that is intended simply to contain the remains of a single individual.

The materials of architecture in antiquity were wood, clay, brick (formed of clay, whether sun-baked or kiln-fired), and stone—in general, local availability determined the material used. It is well-known that wooden beams were exported from Lebanon (the famed “cedars of Lebanon”) to practically all parts of the ancient Middle East; likewise the beautiful and distinctive rose granite was exported from the quarries at Aswan in Upper Egypt to many lands to be used for columns and statues, but these are notable exceptions.

One of the earliest materials for building is known as “wattle and daub,” formed by driving stakes into the ground and interlacing reeds or flexible twigs to form the framework, and then covering both sides with clay. When the clay had dried in the sun it was quite permanent and required only a periodic coat of plaster to preserve it. Wattle-and-daub walls have been found dating back to the earliest period of building, namely the late Neolithic period. Buildings of this material can be included under the subject of architecture only in the broadest sense of the word, however, for they give little indication of any aesthetic quality.

Clay bricks seem to have been invented by the Obeid people in Persia before they descended to the Mesopotamian plain early in the fourth millennium b.c. The temple of Abu Shahrein (known in ancient times as Eridu) in southern Mesopotamia and that at Tepe Gawra in northern Mesopotamia (both from the early part of the fourth millennium) can clearly be described as architectural buildings, incorporating several features that became characteristic of Mesopotamian architecture. We mention here only the use of the buttress, designed not so much to strengthen the construction as to break up the monotonous expanse of a clay-brick wall.

In Egypt early builders experimented not only with clay and brick but also with wood, and then they made a remarkable transition to stone masonry. The genius traditionally connected with this new building technique was Imhotep, the designer and builder of the Step Pyramid at Saqqara in the time of Zoser (or Djoser) of the Third Dynasty (c. 2780 b.c.). From an examination of the remains at Saqqara there seems to be little doubt that the builders were seeking to imitate wood through the medium of stone. We find simulated hinges, boards carved in stone doors that obviously could not function, and other features that would be useful in wood but only ornamental in stone.

In the same building compound at Saqqara are found such remarkable features as the Proto-Doric column (which seems to have been formed in stone after the pattern of papyrus bundles), the cornice, corner posts, and other architectural elements. The columns, it should be added, are not freestanding but are an integral part of the stone building; yet they cannot properly be identified as pilasters, since they have all of the other features of the column. Fluting is not only concave in the customary Doric manner but also convex, and the capitals appear to be papyrus and palm leaves, which compare to the acanthus leaves of the Corinthian columns of Greek architecture of a much later period. If the columns were freestanding, the fluting would number from fourteen to twenty around the circumference of the column, which compares to twenty flutes in the classical Doric order.

One of the early problems to be faced in building was the construction of the roof, and the solutions led to two main forms of architecture: trabeated and arcuated. The trabeated form is designed and constructed using horizontal beams supported by vertical posts, commonly called “post and lintel.” The arcuated form makes use of various modifications of the arch. In the trabeated form the length of span between vertical supports is limited by the strength of the material used for the lintel. If, for example, the lintels were constructed of stone, as in ancient Egypt, it was only by using stone of great thickness that a span of any reasonable length could be obtained; as a result the space between columns in Egyptian temples is not much greater than the diameter of the columns. Wooden beams, on the other hand, permitted more useful space between the uprights. With the modern invention of structural steel and reinforced concrete, the span reaches probably its greatest limit.

An attempt to solve this problem resulted in the development of the arch. The first step was probably the corbelled vault, which is formed by stepping out successive courses of brick or stone beyond the supporting wall or column to meet similar corbelling from the adjacent vertical support. Corbelled vaults can be found at Ur in Mesopotamia as early as the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3000-2340 b.c.) and in Egypt as early as the tombs of the Third Dynasty (c. 2780-2680) at Reqaqnah and Beit Khallaf. To judge from predynastic drawings from Egypt, the true arch may have developed from the practice of bending reeds, which had been erected vertically to form side walls, so they would join overhead to form a roof. The arch, which is but a refinement of corbelling to effect a curved line rather than a steplike appearance, is found also in some of the buildings of Ur. However, the arch does not seem to have been used successfully in large buildings until the Roman period and is generally attributed to the Etruscans. A modification of the corbelled vault, in which the stones form the sides of a triangle coming to an apex overhead, is found in Mycenaean tombs at Mycenae and Ugarit, dating from the fifteenth or fourteenth century b.c.

Unusual styles of architecture include the pyramid-shaped building. The ziggurat in Mesopotamia is generally believed to be the representative of a mountain; it was built of clay brick with exterior staircases or a sloping ramp and probably a shrine at the top. One of the best preserved has recently been excavated at Choga Zambil, twenty miles (thirty-three kms.) SE of Susa in Iran. The pyramids in Egypt were built as tombs and were constructed of stone, having an inner room or rooms. The Egyptians developed great precision in squaring and orienting their pyramids.

The Levant (the lands on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean) exhibited very poor architecture in the early second millennium b.c., and what little there is of quality can be traced to external origins. Original architecture does, however, seem to have developed in northern Syria, the most characteristic being the bit hilani, a temple or palace compound that incorporates a portico and a throne room with their long axis parallel to the façade, behind which are small rooms, probably bedrooms and a storeroom. This pattern was developed in the second millennium but became characteristic of the early first millennium b.c. One feature of north Syrian architecture that should be mentioned is the use of a zoomorphic (animal form) base to support a column and often a human figure for the column itself.

Among the Israelites architecture does not seem to have been developed as an art or a skill; rather, Phoenician craftsmen were brought in to build Solomon’s palace and temple. Phoenician elements appear to be present also in the buildings of subsequent Israelite periods; it is difficult to classify these, however, for the Phoenicians made use of many techniques and styles, some of which can be traced to Cyprus and Egypt. Their use of metal work in architecture (e.g., the columns in front of Solomon’s temple) was possibly derived from Asia Minor.

The Hittites made use of stone foundations, often using large stones, at first rough but later dressed; characteristically the first course was set with the long dimension vertical. The upper portions of their buildings were frequently built of sun-dried brick strengthened by wooden beams, a type of architecture that can be found in the same areas of Asia Minor to the present time.

Late Assyrian architecture is perhaps best understood through the excavations of the palace of Sargon II at Khorsabad (720-704 b.c.). Regularity and a notable use of symmetry in the buildings are chracteristic. Much of the work was still of clay brick, with the use of glazed bricks (a technique that had been imported by the Mitanni from Crete) to protect the exterior or exposed surfaces, as well as to lend a decorative element.

Persian architecture seems to have developed the use of the cyclopean foundation, which may have come from the Urartians in the region of Lake Van. This use of huge stones, sometimes with drafting around the edges, is comparable to the well-known Herodian use of large stones; particularly true of Taht-i-Sulayman north of Pasargadae in Iran, the foundation stones there could easily be mistaken for those at Ramat el-Khalil near Hebron, a town built by Herod several centuries later. The Persians apparently brought in the Ionic column from the Greek world and developed and used it widely. The base of Persian columns is characteristically Ionic with fluting; the double volute or spiral at the capital is likewise Ionic; the columns, however, are more slender and graceful. Some idea of the gracefulness of Persian columns may be gained from the fact that the ratio of the height to the diameter, which in Egyptian columns is rarely more than six to one and which attained a maximum of ten to one in the Corinthian order, is twelve to one in the Hall of Xerxes at Persepolis. Likewise the distance between the columns, which in Egypt is rarely much more than one diameter and in Greek architecture from one to slightly less than three diameters, in Persian buildings is between three and one-half and seven diameters. This gave the halls a sense of spaciousness not found in other large buildings of antiquity. One feature of the capital of the Persian column is unique, namely the use of a stylized bull with a head at either end, the heads serving to support the longitudinal beams, while the hollow of the back supported the transverse beams.

The supreme achievement in architecture is admittedly the Periclean architecture of Greece (460-400 b.c.). This is the Doric order characterized by simplicity and symmetry. There are certain optical refinements, among which may be mentioned the use of entasis (a slight convexity in columns to avoid the impression of hollowness that straight lines would give), similarly a slight convexity of long horizontal lines (to avoid the appearance of sagging), deviation from perpendicular at the corners of the building and from exact intervals of spacing between the columns (to avoid the appearance that the end columns are leaning outward and the central columns are too close together). We can clearly see the developments of the Doric order if we consult first of all the Temple of Apollo at Corinth (about the sixth century), then the great temple of Poseidon at Paestum in Italy (early fifth century). The Ionic order achieved its classical form during this same period, having originated along the Asiatic coast of the Aegean Sea. The Corinthian order developed toward the end of the fifth and the beginning of the fourth century and reached its zenith in the Greco-Roman period a few centuries later.

Roman architecture owed much to the Greeks but adopted some elements from the Etruscans; among the latter is principally the arch. In general we may say that Roman is not as subtle as Greek architecture, but at the same time it is more utilitarian. The Greeks had developed the skill of masonry to a high degree of perfection and fit marble blocks together with remarkable accuracy without mortar or cement. The Romans, on the other hand, developed the use of pozzolana, a volcanic earth that was mixed with lime to make a hydraulic cement. Using this as mortar, they were able to bond courses of stone without exact precision in masonry, increase the span in arches, and build two-story structures. Roman architecture, even more than Greek, included memorial arches and columns, amphitheaters, theaters, forums (or marketplaces), and many other forms familiar to us from the numerous remains of the Roman world to be found all over the Middle East.

Bibliography: A. W. Lawrence, Greek Architecture, 1937; H. Frankfort, The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient, 1955; W. S. Smith, The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt, 1958; Seaton Lloyd, The Art of the Ancient Near East, 1961; V. Scully, The Earth, The Temple, and the Gods: Greek Sacred Architecture, 1979.——WSLS

The South Theater in Jerash (Gerasa), which held 5,000 people.
The massive 12th-century architecture of the Crusaders was designed for defense and transplanted European architecture to the Near East. This is the gate of Rhodes.
The colonnaded street in Jerash (Gerasa). This type of street (called cardo) was found in all major cities of the Roman era. In Jerash it ran from the forum to the temple of Artemis.
The stepped pyramid of Saqqara in Egypt, with the wall of cobras, the protectors of the pharaoh.
The East Gate and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, seen from the Mount of Olives.

ARCHITECTURE, the human process through the ages by which mankind has sought to enclose space to be both habitable and an artistic expression of his endeavors. This survey concerns only the Bible world down to the NT period.

The development of architecture.

Architecture has constantly reflected the basic character of its structural materials, as in the ubiquitous mud brick of Mesopotamia’s alluvial plain. But certain forms also indicate inability to rise above imaginative limitations or to control completely the basic structural materials. Notwithstanding this, their artistic use does occur in the decorative motifs of the more permanent stone and brick.

The enclosure of space appeared first in the provision of shelter for the family by means of the round plan. When rectangular framing was learned, rectangular plans prevailed in the seventh millennium b.c. at Budur, Anatolia, placing the center of beginnings of architecture in Asia Minor (A. Badawy, Architecture in Ancient Egypt and the Near East [1966], 128; hereafter BAAE). After urban groups arose, the palace was developed when the king figure arose, c. 3000 b.c. (K. Kenyon, Archaeology in the Holy Land [1960], 41, 42; hereafter KAHL).

Architecture obviously requires peace and political stability for its development, both secured through the peaceful medium of a settled community undisturbed by the vicissitudes of contemporary times.

Architecture was also affected by cultural and religious influences, by infiltration of style through trade and migration, and by new rulers who felt free to adapt the local culture to their own tastes.

Anatolia and the West.

Archeology indicates that the architectural process had its earliest observable beginning in Anatolia at Hafilar near Budur in the seventh millennium b.c. (J. Mellaart, “Two Thousand Years of Hafilar,” The Illustrated London News [Apr 8, 1961]; BAAE, 205). Already the rectangular plan showed an early solution of roof framing by tree pole beams. Foundation problems were solved by the use of larger stones as base courses for upper walls.

Enlargement of the house was evident in the sixth millennium with the appearance of two-story houses, using a post system of supports for the second floor (BAAE, 128), and by the appearance of the plano-convex brick, a more versatile construction material than rubble stone. A regression in the next millennium was seen in houses consisting frequently only of one room and an anteroom.

Incipient urban development emerged also at Hafilar in the sixth millennium b.c. in the grouping of houses around a rectangular open space (BAAE, 122, 123), occurring also earlier at Jericho. True towns, however, arose only in later times.

Plan types show the usual contrasts between the poor and affluent: the one-room-anteroom versus the multi-roomed homes of the latter. Other Old Hitt. houses featured two rooms for larger houses, achieved by repeating these two rooms in groups of two or more.

This two-room plan persisted into the second millennium, still using the posts of earlier times for roof supports. Thicker brick walls of later houses indicate longer ceiling spans. The entrance vestibule disappeared.

About 1500 b.c. a new plan appeared consisting of smaller rooms located back of a larger room, repeated as series to provide a larger house (BAAE, 130; R. Naumann, Architektur Kleinasiens [1955], Fig. 421). Models showed awnings, porticoes, and windows.

Troy (IIc) produced the earliest known palace in western Anatolia, the megaron style of a large, central room approached through an entry to the SW. Mid-second millennium Bogazkoy provided a splendid example of a defensive palace constructed on the highest point within its own walls with subsidiary buildings for royal, governmental and defensive functions.

Slightly earlier Yarimlim’s palace at Tel Atchana (17th cent. b.c.) revealed a “zoned” arrangement of ceremonial, residential, and dependency rooms arranged about a central court with an access corridor on the E side. Niqmepa’s plan (15th-14th cent. b.c.) was the same, but in several stories. Prominent was the use of a monumental hilani flanked by side towers. As the earliest known example, it may indicate the area of its origin. Doubled halls occurred back of the hilani and a movable hearth on rails provided heat in winter.

Carchemish and Sam’al were the more important towns of the first millennium, the former an oval with the inner citadel forming the NE quarter on its hill overlooking the Euphrates. Sam’al (Zingirli) was round with an oval-shaped citadel, the outer wall having three equidistant gates. The citadel had four “quarters” on different levels. (Anatolian towns were generally oval, while Syrian towns were round.) The two palaces at Sam’al had the usual hilani and the usual summer and winter quarters.

Sanctuaries in earlier Anatolia were a “nature” type, dedicated primarily to the weather god, reflecting the harsher Anatolian climate. Eflatun Punar had an altar platform at the northern end of an artificial lake (BAAE, 134), its face bearing carved representations of Hitt. deities. At Yazililkaya a converted cleft became a roofless grotto, with propylea (entrance gate complex) and secondary rooms.

Similar to the Hitt. palace, a remarkable example of palace influence on temple construction is seen in Temple I of Bogazkoy (14th cent. b.c.), the temple lying within a court formed by ranks of long, narrow storage rooms on all sides.

At Tel Tayinat occurred the plan reminiscent of Solomon’s Temple, of porch, antecella, and cella (8th cent. b.c.) which formed the basic elements of later Gr. temples.


About 4700 saw the spread of village culture through upper Mesopotamia and toward the W (cf. KAHL, 58, 59), but true urban culture appearing near the Pers. Gulf (BAAE, 80, 81) was characterized by streets radiating from a central plaza, though ovalpattern walls were the natural enclosures of irregular urban plans. City orientation was thereafter NW-SE with the temple in the northerly quarter facing NE to use the NE breezes for cooling. Its encircling wall served defensive purposes as well. An improved axial layout occurred in cities of later eras: Ur III, Nippur (Dyn III), and Larsa (20th-17th centuries b.c.) exhibited irregular plans while Borsippa (pre-18th cent. b.c.), Khorsabad (8th cent. b.c.), and Babylon (6th cent. b.c.) illustrated axial plans developed to facilitate religious festivals (BAAE, 83).

Houses in Mesopotamia were constructed first of reeds, as can be seen in the terra cotta offering stand of Ur (c. 2000 b.c.) found at Assur, showing a two-storied structure, the second set at the back of the roof terrace. Soon wattle-and-daub technique appeared (BAAE, 85). From one-room plans of earliest times, plans with several rooms developed, arranged around an open, inner court notable for frequent drains, usually of stone.

The historical period (c. 3000 b.c. onward) provided at Tepe Gawra a plan, largely symmetrical, of liwan (recessed covered area, open on one side) flanked by smaller rooms accessible from inside and to the left, a rectangular hall, roofed with a brick vault, fronting on an open, enclosed court. The symmetry extended into later times. Tel Asmar (25th cent. b.c.) formulated a non-symmetrical plan of entrance hall and vestibule to the left, observable by kitchen peepholes, and a living room beyond having a hearth and mud bench, with reception hall and a suite of bedrooms and service rooms arranged clockwise around the living room. Generally, roofs seemed to be gabled.

The Ur III Period (c. 2110-2000 b.c.) introduced the inner court about which rooms were arranged, frequently in two stories, the second served by a wood balcony on wood posts. This plan had become “centered” by 1970-1698 b.c. and chapels frequently were included.

In later eras house plans became irregular in size and layout, the streets being the irregular, open traffic ways in front of houses. Wall profiles became “sawtooth” in order to “straighten up” the exterior line. In the time of the Neo-Babylonian kingdoms larger houses had a more formal symmetry with subtle arrangement of reception area and private quarters.

Palaces. One of the earliest is that of King Mesilim (c. 2600 b.c.), a challenge to the theocracy (cf. 2 Sam 8:6ff.; Rev 17:9-18). Cf. also N. Bailkey, “Early Mesopotamian Constitutional Development,” Am. Hist. Rev., LXXII, 4 [July, 1967], 1219, 1220. The place consisted of the residence and an annex, the former having a passageway all around, consisting of a square courtyard with shallow rooms on three sides and a block of rooms on the E or fourth side. Urnammu’s palace (c. 2100 b.c.) used the same court layout with shallow rooms grouped about it, coupled with a series of smaller courts and rooms. Mari (c. 2000 b.c.) provided a huge palace complex which is significant for the introduction of a large square court with a shallow, broad throne room or reception room on the S side, which arrangement became characteristic of later Babylonian palaces.

The Cassites used a court system connected to a central transverse hall surrounded in turn by rooms, as at Dur Kurigalzu (Taha Baqir, “Iraq Excavations at Aqar Quf,” Iraq, Supp. 1943-1944, Fig. 52).

Sargon’s palace at Khorsabad was a citadel with palace, the latter with rooms grouped about courts according to function, making for a more random appearance.

Nebuchadnezzar built his palace by the river near the Ishtar gate on a terrace twelve meters high. It was a series of courts surrounded by smaller sized subsidiary rooms. The main court fronted the throne room on the S which was backed up by smaller rooms. This whole block was surrounded by a continuous corridor on three sides. At the N end of an eastern court group was a series of massive walls which some have suggested were foundations of Nebuchadnezzar’s hanging gardens described by Josephus and Diodorus (BAAE, 96).

Temples in Mesopotamia, derived from pre-Sumer. times from quite small cellae, became in later times elaborate, well-planned, sophisticated structures. Two types occurred: a symmetrical, T-shaped plan with an open court containing the altar and surrounding rooms, as in Temple D at Uruk (29th cent. b.c.) The second type showed a plan with cella at the side of a raised court, having a side doorway at one end, with the altar and niche for the idol at the opposite end, as in the “White Temple” (28th cent. b.c.); cf. BAAE, 100. Later Kafajah (c. 2300 b.c.) with a rectangular plan featured an outer wall, another oval wall within at a higher level, and within this at the rear a temple set on an elevated platform.

In the Neo-Sumer. era (Ur III) the ziggurat came prominently into use with the “high” temple on top where the god was said to alight. Access was by the monumental stair. The “lower” temple, at the base of the ziggurat, where the god was believed to dwell between advents featured a court and a broad shallow room at its back, the so-called “Hurrian” cella, also occurring in the Innana temple at Nippur (18th cent. b.c.). The ziggurat of Urnammu at Ur is the largest and most impressive for ascent.

In the later eras of Ur, layouts became precise and harmonic in proportion, viz., Ningal’s temple, where the peak of Babylonian architecture was reached (BAAE, 105).

The Cassites restored and remodeled temples of previous eras, reverting to the long, deep cella of the Sumerians, supporting the idea that they attempted to revive Sumer. culture. A characteristic plan (Innana, Uruk, 15th cent. b.c.) features a deep cella, ante-cella, and corner bastions, reminiscent of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem.

The Assyrians (13th-12th centuries b.c.) inherited the Hurrian cella, the Sumer., and a third, the broad, shallow cella, the latter seen at Kar-Tukul-ti-Ninurta (12th cent. b.c.), the “Hurrian” at Assur (Ishtar, 12th cent. b.c.). In late Assyrian times the deep cella with a more prominent rear alcove predominated.

In Neo-Babylonian times Sumer. types disappeared, and at Babylon, Esagilla was situated in its own court formed by surrounding buildings. The generally square temple had an eastern entrance to an ante-cella leading to the cella on axis, both broad, a combination on the Sumer. axial layout. The broad cella was also general for the lower temple of the ziggurat.


Though starting its architecture later, Egyp. remains present striking examples of beauty of form and decoration, as well as a certain fixation of form and style due to religious restrictions (BAAE, 70, 71).

No evidence from Egypt is available on houses before 5000 b.c., since most prob. they have been buried under annual inundations of the Nile. Later construction in stone, however, indicated that woven reed mats hung on bundled reeds was the early wall and structural system. Next a mud-daubed reed technique appeared, and though denied by some, yet proof of borrowing from Mesopotamia is demonstrable (cf. however, R. W. Ehrich, ed., Chronologies in Old World Archaeology [1965], 14, 15).

Earliest indications regarding houses occur at Merimde (5th millennium b.c.), presenting one type of oval-shaped stone work for night use, roofless with floors below ground level, the occupant sleeping in a crouched position, and a day shelter of dome-shaped reed construction woven on a wood pole skeleton. The grouping of some along a curving street suggests a seeking for urban development. Similar settlements occurred at El Omari, Tasa, Badari and Hemaniya (BAAE, 11). In the era 3700-3200 b.c. (Badarian period) came the important development of rectangular wattle-and-daub structures and the creation of sun-dried brick.

Old Kingdom houses at Saqqara contained an entry hall, a living room and bedroom in two longitudinal strips. Other plans had dependencies of storerooms and work rooms, showing progress to the sixth dynasty. Middle Kingdom principal evidence for houses came from the pre-planned cities as at El Lahun, with rooms predominantly narrow, rigidly laid out in strip fashion. One sophisticated row plan featured a three-strip arrangement with a large court at the N end of the center strip with private quarters in back.

Orientation was to the N in all eras with a roof device to direct the prevailing breeze inward for cooling effect (see A. Badawy, “Architectural Provision against Heat in the Orient,” JNES, XVII, 123, Fig. 1), causing access to the house to be from the S side of the street.

In the New Kingdom at Amarna W, artisan’s living quarters were oriented E-W, with a western front courtyard, a hypostyle hall, the kitchen, and bedrooms to the E for cool sleeping rooms. Roof terraces with awnings were served by a staircase from the kitchen. The typical Amarna house, however, was the villa with its family garden plot, dependency houses and main house approached through a hypostyle hall, and a clerestory lighted central hall as living room, with private quarters beyond. Wall paintings of the monuments indicate that some houses occasionally had three stories, and occasionally basements.

The late period retained the tripartite arrangement of entry, living quarters, and private quarters, mostly two-story as at Medinet Habu (cf. U. Hölscher, Excavations of Medinet Habu [1945], V, 4-16; Figs. 3-20).

Palaces occurred in Egypt only after 3000 b.c., one at Abydos (29th cent. b.c.) with its upper palisade wall of alternate recesses imitating an earlier wooden wall. From the 27th cent. b.c. came a palace with a high, prominently slope-faced wall enclosing a central court, with service rooms against them and a separate walled enclosure for the main quarters. A double gateway was flanked by bastion towers with vertically channeled faces (BAAE, 30).

After a long gap in palace building, the palace of Amenhotep III at Malqata (14th cent. b.c.) presented a rectangular layout of a great audience hall, columned hall behind and rectilinear harem quarters beyond. Kitchen and other dependencies occurred against a S palace. The arrangement is like the tripartite house plan.

In the Late Period, Apries’ palace at Memphis is similar to residences at El Lahun of 1300 years previous, but arranged on an axial passageway through what is believed to be a peristyle court northward to a second court.

Temples remain the most imposing elements in Egyp. architecture, with a typically basic enclosure. Earliest forms were small one-room reed shrines. Later on arose the sun temple, the cult temple of a particular deity, and the mortuary temple.

Chief examples of the cult temple began with, among others, the Giza Sphinx temple. Amenemhat III built a temple (19th cent. b.c.) with three successive cellae preceded by a transverse vestibule. In the Empire Period, temple building was concentrated at Thebes, with the temples of Karnak and Luxor resulting. Karnak presents a gigantic series of open and covered courts extolling the grandeur of the age. In later times processions of the gods within the courts of Karnak developed on a station arrangement.

Basic elements of the cult temple include an axis, an entrance pylon, a hypostyle hall, a sanctuary and additional courts, and a naos. Its axis was usually oriented perpendicular to the Nile.

Basic elements of the sun temple included an altar and an obelisk to represent the connection to the deity, all within an enclosure open to the sky, but no cult statue or naos. The chief deity was Aten or Re’. Examples are those of Pharaoh Neuserre’ at Abu Gharab (2500 b.c.), of Akhenaton at Heliopolis (Amarna era), symmetrical in plan, and the sun temple of Ramases II at Abu Simbel (BAAE, 38-42).

Mortuary temples developed from the chapel at the E end of mastabas. By the fifth dynasty this had become a complex of many rooms arranged around a pillared hall. Chief example from the Empire period is the temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahari (Thebes), featuring a series of terraces at the base of rocky cliffs, where first occurred the proto-Doric fluted columns without curved tapers. That of Ramses III at Medinet Habu (12th cent. b.c.) is more like the usual cult temple, formed of halls on axis with flanking rooms. The portrayal of the king’s deeds on the walls was done to display his political influence. Mortuary temples were built before the decease of its pharaoh.

Pyramids. The most remarkable monuments to the power and abilities of the Egyp. pharaohs were the pyramids at Gizeh completed by the end of the fourth dynasty. Two general types were found: the stepped type as at Saqqara and the geometric as at Gizeh. Both were formed by slices of rubble inclined inward, with the geometric type faced with prismatic blocks (BAAE, 51, 52). In the First Intermediate Period, the pyramid was separated from the tomb and became a mere symbol. (See I. E. S. Edwards The Pyramids of Egypt [1952], 206ff.)


Mesolithic Jericho produced the earliest houses in Pal. c. 7000 b.c. (KAHL, 42-44), well-built, round, prob. domed, floors below ground level, and built of plano-convex bricks, one of the earliest, if not the earliest, occurrences of this brick. Strangely enough, in the Late Neolithic period (5th millennium b.c.) free-standing houses of plano-convex brick on stone foundations occur (KAHL, 65), along with the round plan, though some plans suggest a rectangular shape.

In the Chalcolithic Period evidence of roofing by wood timbers appeared, and, commonly enough, gabled in the next millennium as shown by the house urn of Kodeirah (BAAE 157). In the Early Bronze Age an apsidal form of house plan briefly appeared (c. 2300) as at Megiddo, an import from the Aegean area. Now also the typical Palestinian house of mud brick or rammed earth on rough rubble emerged, rectangular in shape with a lefthinged door in the middle of the long side.

In the Middle Bronze Age the house had more rooms, often arranged around a court, perhaps reflecting Mesopotamian influence. At Tel Beit Mirsim one house had a room large enough to require center posts. Living quarters were generally on the second floor.

Decline set in at the Israelite conquest, with earlier Canaanite houses reoccupied or crudely rebuilt, with an occasional house showing a court and flanking rooms. Contact with the Phoenicians later provided improvements in techniques for public buildings but not for private houses.

In the Babylonian and Persian periods Gr. influence, as well as Mesopotamian and Egyp. forms, came in through their trading posts along the sea coast.

Palaces of note did not occur in Israelite Pal. until the 10th cent. b.c.; first was the House of the Forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 7:2ff.) hypostyle with wood columns of Lebanon cedar (BAAE, 160), and later the palace of Ahab at Samaria. At Ugarit from the era of the Middle Egyp. Kingdom appeared a palace featuring a scriptorium, stable, and military governor’s residence. At Hama near the monumental gateway to the citadel are the remains of a columned vestibule leading to three groups of transverse rooms, with upper residential quarters accessible by a stairway (BAAE, 163).

Temples. Jericho’s mound provides one of the earliest sanctuaries, from the early eighth millennium (KAHL, 41, 42). The cultic high places are represented by Babed-Dhra E of the Dead Sea. An early example of the ante-cella and cella occurred in the Early Bronze Age shrine at Ai (c. 28th cent. b.c.). In the Middle Bronze Age the cellae became deep, with porch and ante-cella open to the outside, frequently flanked by towers. In Israelite times more temples appeared. Bethshan’s tell provides a temple (10th-9th centuries b.c.) featuring an ante-cella and raised rear cella reached by a stair to the side (cf. the debir of Solomon’s Temple). See also KAHL, 251. For Solomon’s Temple see Jerusalem Temple.

Elsewhere in Pal. chief examples of temples appeared at Byblos from Egyp. Dynasty II, similar to the tri-partite layout of Egyp. cult temples, and a strictly Phoen. type. Ugarit excavations revealed two temples, one to Baal and a second to his father Dagon from the Middle Egyp. Kingdom similar in plan to the Byblos style temple. Each had a court with altar, an ante-cella, and broader cella beyond containing an offering stand. The Byblos Reshef temple employed the ante-cella and raised cella (BAAE, 167, 168).

Cities. The earliest indication of urban development in Pal., if not in the whole Middle E, occurred at Jericho in the grouping of settlers about the shrine from c. 7800 b.c. By 7000 b.c. a tower more than thirty ft. high (KAHL, 44) and a defensive wall had been built, showing troublous times. By c. 6500 b.c. a settlement appeared at Seyl Aqlat near Petra. About 3000 b.c. Arad in the Negeb developed a triangular-shaped city plan with an enclosing stone wall and bastions (BAAE, 150). Tel Beit Mirsim (23rd cent. b.c.) presented an oval-shaped wall with a few N-S streets. Similar layouts appeared in the Late Bronze Age at Megiddo.

City orientation is suggested in Numbers 35:4, 5; although the cardinal points of the compass are given, it does not follow that the city was rectangular; rather, simply travel around the city is indicated.

A significant feature of Palestinian towns was the effort to provide water supplies within the city walls: Jerusalem and Megiddo had vertical shafts; El Gib and Gezer had tunnels with stairs.

Important towns beside Jericho include Gezer, Byblos, Tyre, and Ugarit. Gezer was occupied from Neolithic times (7000-5000 b.c.). In the 20th cent. b.c. its inner enclosure developed to provide three gates and took on a foot-shaped outline. In the Late Bronze Age a new wall was built with thirty towers.

Byblos showed contact with Mesopotamia c. 3000 b.c., as seen by the Jemdet Nasr seals in the lowest strata (BAAE, 154), thus revealing the fact of intercommunication and influence on what was done there. Close ties with Egypt may be seen from Early Dynastic times down to the Empire period. Cretan influences appeared 2100-1900 b.c. The principal street curved NW from the central plaza toward the wall. Remains show that secondary streets crossed the main street at irregular intervals.

Tyre lay on an island which originally was two, later joined by King Hiram (c. 969 b.c.). In later times a companion city was built on the mainland.

Ugarit in the Late Bronze Age had an irregular outline with irregular streets. Excavations indicate occupation as early as the Mesopotamian Pre-pottery era. The city wall was rebuilt c. 1800 b.c. After 1380 b.c. several large residential areas developed, separated by generally parallel streets. Houses frequently had cesspools and a well; a basin occurred in each court which also frequently had an awning.


The matter of style was a result of the use of materials in a particular fashion and it varied with the use of different materials. Although both in Egypt and Mesopotamia the earliest construction was of woven reeds, yet even these developed a primitive elegance. Out of the following wattle-and-daub technique a wall form of slightly inclined character arose, repeated in the later mud brick dwellings, giving the walls an attenuated character. A persistent element of Egyp. stone work was the graceful cavetto cornice derived from earlier drooping reed shapes. The stone bundle papyriform column of Saḥure was modeled on the earlier bundled reed columns, a pleasant variant to the round open papyriform column of Karnak. The evidence from the Pyramid Age presented a frank expression of the power of stone as a superior architectural material. Relief was supplied in the fifth-sixth dynasties by copying plant forms.

After the First Intermediate Period a noticeable realism appeared in the artistic adornment of the monuments. Though a clear decay may be seen, and though a certain vitality derived from spatial treatments, as in Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple, it was not arrested by Amarna but accelerated as is evidenced by a certain “inelegance” of artistic decoration. The forces of decadence appeared in the later colossal architectural examples and the imitative archaism of the Saite period is mere copying of earlier examples.

Egyptian architecture was able to survive for its long period by being based on 8 to 5 height-base proportions of the isoceles triangle and a square related to it. Amarna adopted a series 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.

Mesopotamia, lacking a good building stone, turned to a combination of timber and brick, using plaster as a decorative material (cf. Gen 11:3b). Technicians soon developed the true brick arch for arches, vaults, and domes. Crenelated parapets finished wall tops in imitation of mountains. Mesopotamian architecture suffered by contrast to Egyp. for the dark brick crumbled to the gray of the earth.

Though symmetry dominated at first, later on orthogonal demand prevailed and a certain rigidity predominated.

Decorative techniques included the extensive use of plaster, painted and plain. In various eras stone slab wainscots lined the walls, illustrating in graphic detail the story of conquest, as in the palace of Tiglath-pileser III (8th cent b.c.).

Strangely enough, in Pal. where a good white limestone was available, stone was never used except in the Solomonic era, the lack indicating a people unfamiliar with this technique who were native to other areas without stonework. (Cf. J. Van Seeters, The Hyksos [1966], 17, etc.) Against brick work elsewhere the prevailing mode was rubble stone set in mud and sometimes plastered. Solomons’ Temple and palace, and Ahab’s palace at Samaria were almost the sole Israelite achievements. The significant contribution of northern Israel to architectural art was the proto-Ionic capital developed from the Mesopotamian sacred tree.

Materials and techniques.

The most important step beyond reed construction was the shaping of mud into a suitable building material, either by hand, or later by a mold. Though the true arch in mud brick was developed in Egypt, this fact never released Egypt from the post and lintel style of stone construction (BAAE, 66). Yet most houses were built of mud brick. The abundance of labor and stone made for installation of unfinished blocks finished in place. Pyramids were constructed by the use of earth ramps (ibid., 63) and face blocks were dressed after placing.

Lebanon cedar was imported for beams for temples, but date palm trunks served as roof beams for the poorer houses which had roofs of brush and reeds plastered with mud and then whitewashed. Egyptian machines seemed never to have included more than the sledge, simple pulleys and windlasses, the crowbar, and ropes.

In Mesopotamia bitumen became the universal mortar. Burnt brick was used for protective facing. (See Brick.) Drainage channels and expansion joints to drain interiors of structures and relieve pressures were developed.

Timber was imported into Egypt and Mesopotamia, usually from Lebanon, for roof construction, but poorer houses were roofed like those in Egypt. Stone was reserved for the bull collossi, for wainscots and the like in Mesopotamia.

For resistance to earthquake shock in Syria and Pal. a system of wood timbers was employed between stone courses (1 Kings 6:36).

Some doors were made of stone with pintle projections to fit into sockets in sill and lintel; others were fashioned of wood with an edge post installed the same way. In Mesopotamia stone door sockets were frequently inscribed by the king-builder.


H. Frankfort, “Town Planning in Ancient Mesopotamia,” The Town Planning Review, XXI (July, 1950), 98-115; I. E. S. Edwards, The Pyramids of Egypt (1952); A. Badawy, A History of Egyptian Architecture (1954); H. Frankfort, The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient (1954); R. Naumann, Architectur Kleinasiens (1955); W. F. Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine (1956); S. Lloyd, Early Anatolia (1956); W. F. Albright. From the Stone Age to Christianity (1957); W. E. Smith, The Art and Architecture of Ancient Egypt (1958); K. Kenyon, Archaeology in the Holy Land (1960); R. W. Ehrich, ed., Chronologies in Old World Archaeology (1965); A. Badawy, Architecture in Ancient Egypt and the Near East (1966).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


I. GENERAL HISTORY 1. Plans, Estimates and Measuring

2. Old Testament References

II. TEMPLE AND PALACE OF SOLOMON 1. Construction and Materials

2. Style

3. Facts

4. Phoenician Designers


2. Streets

3. Absence of the "Grand Manner"

4. Solomonic Detail

5. Temple of Onias

6. Comparison with Maccabean Work

7. Painted Tombs at Marissa

8. Characteristic Feature




LITERATURE I. General History.

The words "architect" and "architecture" do not occur in the Old Testament or the New Testament. As the greatness of a nation and its social elevation are reflected in the course of architectural development, so is a nation’s failure to rise to firm establishment, after victory in war, reflected in the absence of such development. The latter condition was that of the Jews in Palestine; they failed so to establish themselves that their character and aims could find true expression in architecture. The country by reason of its geographical position and its broken territorial character, which exaggerat edition the tribal nature of its inhabitants, did not favor political empire (see HGHL, 10). The great difficulty of the Jews was the preservation of their own integrity. There could be no victorious expeditions to foreign lands to inspire monumental evidence of achievement in arms, nor had they the inspiration. of various gods or saints, to whose glory great and separate buildings might be raised. Their dwellings were, by force of circumstances, unpretentious, and their tombs were of the same character.

1. Plans, Estimates and Measuring:

Although in the smaller buildings there is very little evidence of the builder having been governed by a previously drawn plan, there seems no doubt that in larger works a plan was prepared. The Tabernacle was made according to a "pattern" (Ex 25:9) and Solomon’s Temple was also designed and submitted for approval (1Ch 28:11). Estimated cost was also considered (Lu 14:28). The equivalents to a tape line and foot rule can be identified (Eze 40:3,5; 47:3; Re 11:1; 21:15).

The Israelites arrived in tents, and the walled cities, "great and walled up to heaven" (De 1:28 the King James Version) which they took and occupied were well fortified, unlovely shelters, covering areas of anything from 12 acres, as at Taanach and Megiddo, to about 23 acres as at Gezer (Canaan d’apres l’exploration recente). The habitations within the walls were poor structures of mud bricks or rude stone; in many cases they were rock-cut caves. True, the Jews attempted, at the outset of their full pos session, to build in beauty, and made efforts toward greater substantiality, using the best available help; the attempt, however, was doomed to failure. Their most important buildings were their fortifications. The engineering skill displayed in the construction of aqueducts and other water systems was forced out of them by sheer necessity, and proved the existence of a latent constructive power, which they never had sustained opportunity to apply to architecture. In striking contrast is the architecture of the Crusaders. In a comparatively short time of less than 200 years, during the half of which practice in the arts of peace was well-nigh impossible, they stamped their occupation by the erection of an enormous number of great and beautiful buildings, the ruins of which are among the most imposing landmarks in the country.

2. Old Testament References:

The often-repeated references to building greatness in the Old Testament, indicate a pride out of all scale with actuality. They tell the story of a long desert pilgrimage during which the Jews, as dwellers in tents, were impressed with the walled cities which, with extraordinary fortitude, they stormed and occupied, and which, with pardonable enthusiasm, they consequently exaggerated, to the glory of God. Although references to buildings in the Old Testament are frequent, they are seldom sufficiently de tailed to convey an idea of their character. Cain built a city and named it Enoch (Ge 4:17); his descendant Tubal Cain was "an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron" (Ge 4:22 the Revised Version, margin). The description of the plan of the ark (Ge 6:14 ff) is the first detailed architectural description in the Old Testament. Asshur, a descendant of Ham, built Nineveh and other cities (Ge 10:11). The tower of Babel was built of "brick for stone and slime for mortar" (Ge 11:3). In Ex 27:9-21 plan, dimensions and construction of the Tabernacle are given.

II. Temple and Palace of Solomon.

The most complete architectural reference is the description of the Temple and Palace of Solomon (1Ki 6; 7) and (Eze 40; 41). These buildings are fully dealt with under TEMPLE, but a brief note is here necessary, as they are by far the greatest buildings of which there is mention in the Old Testament. It is clear that Solomon had ambition for architectural greatness, and, following the example of David (2Sa 5:11) he employed Phoenician designers and craftsmen to carry out the work.

1. Construction and Materials:

2. Style:

In the description, there is very little indication of the style of architecture. The rich nature of the pillars of brass and their "chapiters" (1Ki 7:15 ff English Versions) point to some hankering after an ornate trabeated style. There is no indication, however, of such a style in constructive stone. No mention is made of a crowning feature of a distinctive kind, not even an eave, simply a "coping." The use of a coping suggests that the walls were topped by parapets, "battlement" (De 22:8 English Versions), accord ing to the law. Fergusson’s restoration shows both cornice and battlements (Temples of the Jews, Frontispiece).

One can only vaguely conjecture the sources of influence which guided the builders. The description clearly shows that the great columnar architecture of Egypt was not taken as a model, although certain Egyptian characteristics in detail are evident in contemporary work. Probably Phoenician intercourse with the Mediterranean, generally, showed its influence, in which case a comparatively poor result might be inferred.

3. Facts:

There remain these facts, namely, that here is described a group of buildings, of comparatively great scale; internally, at least, richly detailed and disposed in a way which shows considerable appreciation of architectural fitness, inspired by ambition for monumental greatness and dedicated, as was all that is great and spontaneous in architecture, to the glory of God. The one great flaw lay in the complete lack of a national constructive ability to respond to the call.

4. Phoenician Designers:

The Phoenicians who were employed seem to have been indifferent builders. They took 13 years to build Solomon’s house (1Ki 7:1) and 7 1/2 years to build the Temple (1Ki 6:38), and they, in all probability, found such a great work beyond their powers of adequate conception, more especially as the housement of a strange God was uninspiring. "Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?" (2Sa 7:5 English Versions) was a command which they were only hired to fulfill.

III. Conclusions from Actual Remains.

There are only a very few known examples from which a knowledge of Jewish architecture can be obtained. There are none now standing, and what the spade has uncovered proves little more than a mere building craft of an inferior order. Remains of the period of the monarchy have been uncovered on several sites, notably Jerusalem, Lachish, Tel es Safi (Gath?), Gezer, Taanach, Tel es Mutesellim (Megiddo), Jericho, and these give a general idea of the building craft of the period, but give no evidence of an architectural style. It may, with good reason, be argued that there was no style, but it is too much to conclude that the Jews had no architectural instinct. Ideals were not lacking: "Behold, I will set thy stones in fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy pinnacles of rubies, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy border of precious stones" (Isa 54:11,12). Had history been different, Solomon’s great example might have laid a foundation from which a national style would have been developed. The arts of peace, however, did not even bud, and the bane of internal and external conflict forced building energy to concentrate itself on fortifications.

1. Defence Walls:

Indeed in the great defense walls lies the building history of the Jews. They were hurriedly built and frequently destroyed. Destruction and reparation alternated so consistently, that each successive city within was little more than a temporary housement, at all times subservient to the more important work of defense. Under such conditions nothing flourished, least of all architecture. Building art became a thing of bare temporary utility.

2. Streets:

Streets were laid out without method; narrow, tortuous alleys broken into by projections, founded at the will of each individual builder, served as main thoroughfares (Bible Sidelights, 95; Excavation of Gezer, Vol I, p. 167 ff); compare similarity of conditions with streets of Mediterranean city of Philakopi (Journal RIBA, XI, 531). See City. Masonry was usually of rough unhewn stones, unskillfully laid without mortar, and buildings were rarely on the square. Under these conditions the enthusiasm displayed in the description of Solomon’s work can be understood.

3. Absence of the "Grand Manner":

In Jerusalem the Temple area was the center of architectural grandeur, and it is possible that it may have inspired building endeavor of another nature in other cities. Palestine has as yet yielded no such parallel. Free areas, where they are found to have existed, seem to have happened so, and do not always coincide in position in successive superincumbent cities. They lay claim to no particular "lay out" and, in all probability, they served as space for the dump heaps of the town refuse or for the pen ning-up of cattle and sheep (Isa 58:12, "waste places"). Compare the modern city of Es Salt; it gives a fairly good idea of the general appearance of an ancient Jewish city. The use of wooden shafts for porticos and roofs of large covered areas appears to have been prevalent, and these were frequently set in stone sockets which served as bases. Stone columns seem to have been sparingly used; in fact, there is no evidence whatever that a stone columnar style of architecture prevailed in the more important buildings.

4. Solomonic Detail:

At Lachish (Lachish, 23 ff) a number of voluted low-relief slabs were discovered which were originally built into the left reveals of the doorways of a building of considerable importance. These slabs were found in conjunction with a molded lintel of Egyptian character. The discovery disclosed the only authentic examples of the architectural detail of the Solomonic period, and is particularly interesting as furnishing, perhaps, the earliest prototype of the Ionic volute. At its best it is a shoddy uncon structive adaptation of exotic features, and if it is to be taken as a key to the work of the period throughout Palestine, there can be nothing great to record.

5. Temple of Onias:

When Onias fled to Egypt from the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes, circa 154 BC, he gained permission from Ptolemy and Cleopatra to build a temple at Leontopolis like to that at Jerusalem (Ant., XIII, iii, 3). The temple was built in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isa and modeled after the temple of Zerubbabel, but "smaller and poorer" and "resembled a tower." Petrie recovered this temple (Hyksos, 19 ff) on an artificial mound resembling the Temple hill at Jerusalem, raised alongside the Hyksos camp, w here an influential Jewish community had established itself. It is the most complete plan of a Jewish building of monumental character yet discovered. A sort of rude Corinthian detail was used, and certain fragments point to a battlemented treatment, suggestive of Babylonian origin, and to some extent confirming the inference drawn from the description of Solomon’s Temple.

6. Comparison with Maccabean Work:

Fragments of contemporary architecture of the Maccabean dynasty throughout Palestine show a Greco-Syrian style of considerable dignity and interest, illustrating a readiness to respond to the Hellenizing influence in the arts, which at that time was characterized, in architecture, by a decadent Greek provincialism. The battlemented details, found at Hyksos, seem to indicate the use of a style antedating the Maccabean work, preserving, to some extent, Babylonian traditions.

7. Painted Tombs at Marissa:

From the 3rd century BC up to the Christian era architecture shows a consistent Greek origin with local character in detail (see Expl. in Palestine, 18, 19) at Tel Sandahannah and Mareshah (Painted Tombs of Marissa). These Marissa tombs show most interesting decorated elevations, with painted architectural detail. The work is Phoenician (93) and the date probably 194 to 119 BC (79). Greek Ionic capitals are used, with wreath enrichments painted on the architrave over the capital, and a deep frieze of painted animals, surmounted by a representation of a "battlement" "coping" (De 22:8; 1Ki 7:9) remarkably like the details found by Petrie at Hyksos. An interesting detail is the pointed head to the intercolumnar opening, a form which seems to have suggested itself universally to the primitive builder, where the handling of large lintel stones presented a difficulty. They call to mind the heads of Anglo-Saxon openings.

A liking for mural decoration existed throughout the whole Jewish period, as is seen from the small fragments of painted plaster discovered in the various excavated cities, but the decoration on the Marissa tombs is the most complete example, and resembles in many ways the mural decoration at Knossos and Phylakopi.

8. Characteristic Feature:

The tomb of Zechariah in the Kedron valley probably belongs to the same date as its neighbor, the tomb of James, which De Vogue, from the inscription upon it, ascribes to the time of Herod (Le Temple de Jerusalem, 46). The detail of the crowning part of the entablature is an often-recurring feature in Palestine architecture, appearing as early as the Solomonic era at Lachish. It is characteristically Egyptian, and is also seen at Persepolis (Gwilt’s Encyclopedia, 22), and although neither might have been bor rowed from the other, they are not many removes from the common parent. (A curious eastern tradition mentioned (BD, "Cities," 610) ascribes the building of Persepolis to Solomon.) It was a feature commonly used by the Phoenicians (Rawlinson, Hist. of Phoenician, 142), and was probably introduced by them from Egypt. It seems to have been in favor up to the time of Herod and was abandoned after the wholesale introduction of the classic entablature which in Hellenistic times was only partially incorporated into the prevailing style. The successive variations of the crowning feature of their design is an important factor in tracing the development of Jewish architecture.

IV. Herodian Work.

The Temple of Siah (described by De Vogue in Recovery of Jerusalem, 419 ff, and Temples of the Jews, 140 ff) is an interesting example of the work of the Herodian period and is more Greek in character than one would expect. Here, local character in carving is strongly marked, foliage and figures being freely used with a certain Assyrian manner which, in spite of loose handling, betrays its origin. In fact this chord of architectural enrichment can be traced through the work of In dia, Assyria, Persia and Syria on to the Byzantine period, when the great cathedral church of Sophia in Constantinople displayed it in the most perfect harmony of all time.

The great building period of Herod need not be detailed. Herod was an Edomite and his architecture partook of the more robust Roman style which dominated Jewish art at a time when the opportunity of national incorporation had passed.

V. Synagogues.

This Roman influence, however, remained in Palestine as can be seen by the important remains of synagogues in Galilee of the 3rd century AD (see Fig. 8 from Kerr Berim; Studies in Galilee, chapter vi; Memoirs of the Survey of Western Palestine, special papers, 294 ff). The many remains investigated shed light upon the plan of these post- exilic places of worship, of which there is little or no mention in the Old Testament. See Synagogue. The plans vary considerably in proportion. The example at Meiron measures 90 ft. x 44 ft. 8 inches, while that at Irbid measures 57 ft. 3 inches x 53 ft. (SWP, special papers, 299). In general arrangement the plans vary very little, consisting usually of five aisles with a triple entrance, most often facing south. The details are richly carved and "a surprising feature common to all is the use of animal figures, especially lions, or lambs and eagles. .... In some examples human figures, usually intentionally mutilated, are found" (Studies in Galilee, 110).

VI. Final.

It is probable that future researches may add to our knowledge of early Jewish architecture, but it is doubtful whether there is more to discover than is constituted in the crude and unskilled use of building materials, influenced by limited knowledge of exotic features, which the Jews had neither the time nor the knowledge properly to apply. See City; Building; Fortification; House; Temple.

LITERATURE. Conder, Survey of Western Palestine; Warren, Recovery of Jerusalem; Bliss and Dickie, Excavations in Jerusalem, 1894-97; Fergusson, Temple of Jerusalem; Masterman, Studies in Galilee; Bliss and Macalister, Excavations in Palestine; Macalister, Excavations at Gezer; Petrie, Excavations at Hyksos; Rawlinson, History of Phoen; Petrie, Lachish; Sellin, Excavations at Taanach; Schumacher, Excavations at Tell Mutesellim; Macalister, Bible Sidelights; Peters and Thierch, Painted Tombs of Marissa.

Arch. C. Dickie

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