1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Attic

ATTIC (i.e. “in the Attic style”), an architectural term given to the masonry rising above the main cornice of a building, the earliest example known being that of the monument of Thrasyllus at Athens. It was largely employed by the Romans, who in their arches of triumph utilized it for inscriptions or for bas-relief sculpture. It was used also to increase the height of enclosure walls such as those of the Forum of Nerva. By the Italian revivalists it was utilized as a complete storey, pierced with windows, as found in Palladio’s work at Vicenza and in Greenwich hospital. The largest attic in existence is that which surmounts the entablature of St Peter’s at Rome, which measures 39 ft. in height. The term is also employed in modern terminology to designate an upper storey in a roof, and the feature is sometimes introduced to hide a roof behind.