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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica


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PAVEMENT (Lat. pavimentum, a floor beaten or rammed hard, from pavire, to beat), a term originally applied to the covering of a road or pathway with some durable material, and so used of the paved footway at the side of a street - the "sidewalk" as opposed to the roadway proper. The term is also extended to the interior floor of churches and public buildings. It is probable that the earliest pavements consisted only of rammed clay, as in the "beehive" tombs of Mycenae, or of cement or stucco decorated with lines in coloured marbles, such as those mentioned in the Book of Esther (vi. 1) in the palace at Susa. W. M. Flinders Petrie discovered at Tell el' Amarna in the palace of Akhenaton the remains of a stucco pavement, decorated with foliage, flowers, birds, &c., and a complete naturalistic treatment. The threshold of the doors of the Assyrian palaces were of stone carved with patterns in imitation of those in a xx.31a carpet. The pavements of Greek temples were either in stone or marble, and at Olympia the pronaos of the temple of Zeus was laid in mosaic representing tritons, and the floor of the naos was in coloured marbles. The Roman pavements were invariably in mosaic, sometimes of a very elaborate nature, as in the House of the Faun at Pompeii, where the mosaic represented the battle of Issus between Alexander the Great and Darius III., a reproduction probably of some Greek painting of the period. In Rome the palaces on the Palatine Hill and the thermae were all paved with mosaic, and numerous pavements have been found in Carthage, many of which are in the British Museum, as are also examples from the Roman villas in England. Perhaps the richest Roman pavements outside Italy are those at Treves in Germany. The Roman tradition was continued by the Byzantine architects, who, throughout the East, paved their churches with mosaics, frequently of the same design and execution as those of the Romans, but with Christian symbols. The churches of the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods were all paved in marble, but of a different character from those of the earlier period (see Mosaic).

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Pavement'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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