PERSIAN ARCHITECTURE. Looking at the scanty and imperfect remains of the architecture of ancient Persia, architects and arehreo logien' were unable to trace in them the evidence of a wholly independent style, yet found many difficulties in reconciling their characteristics with those of the buildings of ancient Egypt, the only known architecture to which that of Persia bore any marked resem blance. The remarkable discoveries of MM. Botta and Layard have, however, shown pretty decisively what had indeed been suspected before OMIler, Hanclb. der Archliologie,' § 242), that Persian archi tecture was really an imitation or development of that of Assyria. [NINEVEH, ARCHITECTURE OF.] The sculptured slabs of ancient Nineveh, the human-headed bulls, the bull-headed capitals, and even many particularities in the arrangement, are seen to have been reproduced at Persepolis and Susa. Persepolis the capital, and Pasargadth the dwelling place and the grave of the kings of ancient Persia, were contemporary with the later days of Babylon the mighty, and in all of them the same peculiar cuneiform inscriptions are found. [Costeiroest] For the origin of Persian architecture we need not therefore look farther. The remains of the two kinds are, however, very different. The exhumed buildings of Assyria are essentially palaces. What have been examined of ancient Persia seem to consist chiefly of temples, or temple-palaces, and tombs.
The most extensive and remarkable ruins occur on the site or in the vicinity of Persepolis, the ancient capital. They consist of a series of separate grand halls, probably intended for public receptions and religious ceremonies, in which the monarch took part. One of those halls has been called the palace of Darius, another that of Xerxes, and there are traces of several others ; but including all of these the plan would have been exceedingly limited, and inadequate to the accommodation required for the court of an eastern prince and a numerous retinue, unless the buildings originally extended much beyond the actual ruins. Probably, as has been suggested, the actual residences of the family, court, and dependeots of the king, were detached buildings, which, being "composed of inferior materials, have been washed away, or they dwelt. in the neighbouring palace in the town of Istair, or in some of the buildings on the plain which are now in ruins." (Fergussoo).
The present inhabitants call the chief ruin in Persepolie Tak-Jamschid, or the residence of Jamschid (supposed by them to have been its founder) : recent authorities regard it as the ball or palace of Xerxes.
By the Mohammedans it is called Tchil-Minar, or the Forty Columns, of which number, however, scarcely half are now remaining. The ruins stand upon an artificial eminence formed of admirably built marble masonry. This height consists of three terraces, and extends upwards of 400 yards from north to south, and about 300 from east to west. Though it may be described as a parallelogram in its general shape, this platform is nut perfectly regular in plan, being indented by projections and recesses, which follow the ainuosities of the euperficies of the rock itself ; neither is it one uniform level throughout, those parts which were covered with buildings being somewhat elevated above the rest. The height above the plain from which the rock rises varies consider ably in different places, in some being not more than 14 feet, and in others 40. On every side except the cast, where it adjoins a hill forming a lofty screen or background to it, the platform is enclosed by walls or parapets constructed of large blocks of masonry. As that opposite the loftier ground to the east, the west side (1425 feet in extent), may be considered the principal one or front, and here we find the entrance, not, however, in the centre, but about mid way between that and the north-west angle. The ground is hero somewhat more than 20 feet below the terrace, owing to which there is a considerable ascent. This gave the architect an opportunity of which he availed himself, to make the entrance by a grand staircase which formed a principal feature In the composition. Instead of being formed by wide flights of steps in a direct line leading to the entrance, it consists of two separate ramps or flights in contrary directions, which return again to the upper landing-place. The lower staircases are of large unadorned courses of masonry : the upper flights are profusely ornamented with sculptured relievi. Facing the upper landing-place, but at some little distance from it, Is a propybrn, or lofty mass forming a doorway, somewhat similar to those in Egyptian architecture, and a little beyond it a second entrance of the same kind, which, as Mr. Fer gusson believes, was the opposite entrance to the same pile, which was In fact a distyle hall, having its roof supported by four pillare,—pro.