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322 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

gateways stood opposite the center of the landing-place before the main stairway which led

to the summit of the platform. The structure was a great square, measuring eighty-two feet

on each side. The walls were of enormous thickness, the roof supported by columns sixty

feet in height. There were two portals through which passage must be sought to the space

beyond and these were thirty-five feet high and twelve feet in breadth. The portals were

guarded without by colossal bulls, some of them having the heads of men - and the wings of

eagles, after the style prevalent in Assyria. The massive pillars of masonry in which

these marvelous effigies are carved are still in a tolerable state of preservation.

It remains to notice briefly the two great pillared halls, which have been pronounced by

competent judges to be the most marvelous pieces of architecture ever wrought by artists

of the Aryan race in Asia. The first, known as the Hall of a Hundred Columns, was situated

about the center of the great platform, rather nearer to the eastern than to the western

edge. Here a grand square, two hundred and twenty-seven feet on each side, was laid off

and inclosed with a tremendous wall of the uniform thickness of ten and a half feet. The

whole space was covered over, the roof being supported by a hundred columns set in ten

rows of ten columns each. Each of the four walls was pierced with two grand door-ways,

which stood facing the corresponding openings on the opposite side, the passage through

leading between rows. of columns on the right and left. In front of the main structure was

a portico one hundred and eighty-three feet long by fifty- two feet in depth, the roof

being supported by sixteen pillars, thirty-five feet in height. Between the portico and

the main hall were three windows, and in the remaining three sides of the square the walls

contained niches, finished above with a peculiar style of fluted ornamentation.

It is evident that the Hall of a Hundred Columns was a place of public ceremonies. All of

the sculptures and decorations are of a sort to warrant this conclusion. It was not a

place for couches and banquets and

for the idle displays of courtiers, but for the formal dispatch of the important affairs

of the Empire. The Achaemenian kings were not merely oriental figure-heads, but energetic

rulers, who gave their first hours to business and the rest to relaxation, perhaps to

luxury. The representations on the walls of the great hall show the monarch in a

victorious struggle against some monster, real or fabulous, or else sitting in state,

dispensing orders or receiving ambassadors from foreign lands. In such scenes he occupies

the throne, over which is spread a canopy. He wears the crown, and in his right hand bears

the golden scepter. Five dignitaries of the Empire stand near by, and on a lower level at

a distance are fifty armed guardsmen, standing in files of ten, bearing swords and bows

and quivers. On another portal a throne still more elaborate is represented. It is on a

raised dais of three stages, the successive platforms being supported by a series of

sculptured figures. These apparently represent the natives of the various provinces under

the dominion of the Persians. The various costumes are as widely different as the person

and features of the wearers. Doubtless these throne scenes, looking down silently from the

doors and panels of the great hall, were an actual transcript of what was witnessed almost

constantly in the great pillared rectangle, where the Majesty of Persia sat and dispensed

his edicts to the nations. On a different part of the great platform are the ruins of

another edifice, still more wonderful than the Hall of a Hundred Columns. This was the

structure known as the Chehl Minar, or Great Hall of Audience. The space covered by this

building was three hundred and fifty feet in length and two hundred and forty-six feet in

breadth. Like the Hall of a Hundred Columns, it was a structure the vast roof of which was

supported by a system of pillars, which in grandeur and beauty surpassed anything in the

ancient world, excepting only the columnar wonders of Egypt and Greece. The main square in

the Hall of Audience consisted of a space of twenty thousand square feet, occupied by