Open main menu

Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/471

There was a problem when proofreading this page.
Bk. I. Ch. III.

by a deep niche. These support a flat terrace, on which originally stood a range of small pillars supporting arches which surrounded the upper story. These have all been removed, though their form can be restored from fragments found, and as shown in Woodcut No. 305. On the face of the tomb itself are the sinkings for the

305. Capital of Pillars forming Peristyle round Theodoric's Tomb. (From Hubsch.)

306. Plan of Tomb of Theodoric. Scale 50 ft. to 1 in.

architraves and vaults which they supported. The most singular part of the building is the roof, which is formed of one great slab, hollowed out into the form of a flat dome—internally 30 ft. and externally

307. Elevation of Tomb of Theodoric, Ravenna. (From Isabelle, "Edifices Circulaires.")

35 ft. in diameter, and which certainly forms one of the most unique and appropriate coverings for a tomb perhaps anywhere to be found. Near the edge are a range of false dormer windows, which evidently were originally used as handles, by means of which the immense mass was raised to its present position. In the centre of the dome is a small, square pedestal, on which, it is said, once stood the urn which contained the ashes of its founder.

The model of this building seems probably to have been the Mole of Hadrian, which Theodoric saw, and must have admired, during his celebrated visit to Rome. The polygonal arrangements of the exterior, and the substitution of arcades for horizontal architraves, were only such changes as the lapse of time had rendered indispensable. But the building of the ancient world which it most resembles is the Tour Magne at Nimes. In both cases we have the polygonal basement containing a great chamber, and above this externally the narrow ledge, approached by flying flights of steps. We cannot now tell what crowned the French example, though the fact of an urn crowning the tomb at Ravenna points to an identical origin. But we must obtain a greater number of examples before we can draw any positive conclusions as to the origin of such forms. Meanwhile, however, whether we consider the appropriateness of the forms, the solidity of its construction, or the simplicity of its