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321 PERSIA- ARTS AND SCIENCES.

parts of the stairway slabs are left for the evident purpose of receiving inscriptions,

and on one of these, written in Old Persian, are the following memorable words: "XERXES,

THE GREAT KING, THE KING OF KINGS, THE SON OF KING DARIUS, THE ACHJEMENIAN." Thus is

removed all doubt as to whose royal halls opened at the landing of these stairs, or under

whose auspices the great palace was reared.

On the top of the terraces are the ruins of what were once the most splendid edifices in

all Persia. It appears from the remains that no fewer than ten separate and distinct

buildings were erected on the platform. One-half of these were structures of large

dimensions, and the remaining five of but moderate size and importance. Four of the larger

buildings were upon the summit of the central terrace, while the fifth of the first class

stood at some distance between that elevation and the foot of the hill. Of the four

structures on the central platform three were palaces consisting of sets of chambers and

apartments suitable for the royal residence, but the fourth was an open Hall of Pillars of

great extent and beauty, designed, as is believed by antiquarians, for the Audience Hall

of the kings. The three palaces were the abodes of Darius, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes-Ochus,

by whose architects they were no doubt respectively built. The House of Darius stood near

the western edge of the elevation, between the Hall of Audience and the House of

Artaxerxes. The ground-plan measured one hundred and thirty-five feet in length and about

one hundred feet in breadth. It was the most elevated of all the buildings on the

terrace, having the foundation fifteen feet higher than the level of the platform and five

feet higher than the floor of the House of Xerxes. This difference in elevation, however,

was perhaps more than compensated by the greater height of the buildings bearing the names

of the later kings. The House of Darius is believed to have been but one story high, and

to have measured in altitude no more than twenty-five feet. The whole building was

comparatively simple, suggesting in design and execution the severe work of the early

architects of Greece. The sculptured stairway was the most ornamental part of the

edifice, the other parts being nearly devoid of decorations. By comparison the palace was

of much less dimensions than those built by the kings of Nineveh: it was the chaste

solidity and classic execution of the work rather than the size of the structure that

gave fame to the edifice in which Darius planned the subjugation of the Greeks. The

remaining two palaces, those of Xerxes and Axtaxerxes-Ochus, were larger and more

elaborate. The latter is a complete ruin, insomuch that no adequate idea of it

style and details can be obtained. The former is still preserved in outline, from which

it is known to have been a reproduction of the architecture of the palace of Darius. The

great hall in this edifice was eighty feet square. In the portico were two rows of

pillars, six in a row. Around the hall were the royal apartments in which the king and

his household and his household had their abodes. These apartments were - unlike those of

the Babylonian palaces - roofed over, the roofs being supported by rows of columns. The

whole structure was thrown back to the rear edge of the terrace, so that the open space,

instead of being distributed around the building, as in the case of the palace of Darius,

was all thrown to the front. In the matter of ornamentation, as determined from the

sculptures of the stairways, there is a marked change in taste from the style of the

older buildings. In the halls and passages of the House of Xerxes the figures, instead of

representing heroic combats, in which bulls and lions and the king himself are seen

struggling for the mastery, depict the attendants of the monarch bearing viands and

passing to and fro in such service as clearly belonged to a luxurious and sensual court.

In addition to the main buildings which crowned the great platform, it supported four

gateways, which covered the approaches to the various palaces. It appears that these were

a kind of guard stations, where sentries were posted to hold at bay any who might unduly

come into the presence of the king. The largest one of these gateways stood opposite the

center of the landing-place before the main stairway which led to the summit of the