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Alexandria, one of the greatest cities of the ancient world, was founded by Alexander the Great after his conquest of Egypt in 332 BC. After the death of Alexander in Babylon in 323 BC, Egypt fell to the lot of one of his lieutenants, Ptolemy. It was under Ptolemy that the newly-founded Alexandria came to replace the ancient city of Memphis as the capital of Egypt. This marked the beginning of the rise of Alexandria.
Yet, no dynasty can survive for long without the support of their subjects, and the Ptolemies were keenly aware of this. Thus, the early Ptolemaic kings sought to legitimize their rule through a variety of ways, including assuming the role of pharaoh, founding the Graeco-Roman cult of Serapis, and becoming the patrons of scholarship and learning (a good way to show off one’s wealth, by the way). It was this patronage that resulted in the creation of the great Library of Alexandria by Ptolemy.
Over the centuries, the Library of Alexandria was one of the largest and most significant libraries in the ancient world. The great thinkers of the age, scientists, mathematicians, poets from all civilizations came to study and exchange ideas. As many as 700,000 scrolls filled the shelves. However, in one of the greatest tragedies of the academic world, the Library became lost to history and scholars are still not able to agree on how it was destroyed .
The Great Library of Alexandria ( CC by SA 4.0 )
The Great Library of Alexandria
Artistic Rendering of the Library of Alexandria, based on some archaeological evidence. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The Great Library of Alexandria was one of the most important ancient libraries in the world. The library itself was part of a much larger institution referred to as the Musaeum.
The Mouseion was dedicated to the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts. Musaeum (“Institution of the Muses”) was the home of music or poetry, a philosophical school, and a library such as Plato’s Academy, also a storehouse of texts.
The proposal of creating a large institution such as a universal library is attributed to Demetrius of Phalerum, an exiled Athenian statesman living in Alexandria.
It is most likely that Ptolemy I Soter was the person who established the groundwork for the creation of the library.
However, the Great Library of Alexandria was most likely built during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus.
The earliest known reference detailing the foundation of the Great Library of Alexandria comes from the pseudepigraphic Letter of Aristeas, composed between 180 and 145 BC.
The library was constructed in the Brucheion (Royal Quarter) of the city of Alexandria.
Despite its importance, the exact layout of the library remains an enigma to modern scholars.
After construction, the library quickly acquired a plethora of ancient scrolls.
It is not known the exact number of scrolls housed in the library.
Scholars estimate that at its peak, the library stores as many as 400,000 ancient scrolls and documents.
Because of its vast collection of scrolls, the library became famous in the ancient world and is one of the main reasons why the city of Alexandria became regarded as the capital of knowledge and learning.
It is believed that the Great Library of Alexandria safeguarded works in mathematics, astronomy, physics, natural sciences, and other subjects.
Thanks to its vast collection of ancient documents, the library attracted the likes of many important, influential scholars including Zenodotus of Ephesus, Apollonius of Rhodes, Aristophanes of Byzantium, Eratosthenes of Cyrene, as well as Aristarchus of Samothrace among others.
Many people argue that the library was burned to the ground, but historical records show that the great Library of Alexandria went through a gradual decline that lasted several centuries.
The decline of the library most likely started following the purging of intellectuals from Alexandria in 145 BC during the reign of Ptolemy VIII Physcon.
The library, or better said parts of its cast collection were burned accidentally by Julius Caesar during the civil war in 48 BC.
It remains unclear as to how much of the library was burned, but it was most likely quickly restored thereafter.
Eventually, during Roman rule, the library declined mostly due to a lack of funding and interest.
The exact destruction of the library remains a debated subject. It is generally believed that a great deal of destruction was caused when in 272 AD, the emperor Aurelian fought to recapture the city of Alexandria from the forces of the Palmyrene Queen Zenobia.
During the battle, it is believed that the forces of emperor Aurelian destroyed the part of the city in which the main library was located.
It is believed that if the library did somehow survive the attack, whatever was left was destroyed when the emperor Diocletian laid siege on Alexandria in 297.
Despite the library’s importance, the Great Library of Alexandria was not the first and only of its kind.
In fact, a number of similarly-structured libraries are known to have existed in Greece and in the ancient Near East.
The most famous great library from ancient times, in the Near East, was The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, in the ancient city of Nineveh.
The earliest historical record of written materials can be traced to the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk, around 3400 BC, a period when writing had just begun to develop.
The curation and storage of literary texts are thought to have begun around 2500 BC.
The Great Library of Alexandria was ‘revived’ in modern times with the creation of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
The modern version of the library was finished in 2002, and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina now functions as a modern library and cultural center, but most importantly, it commemorates the original Library of Alexandria.
Understanding What Lighthouses are and How They Work
Have you ever come across huge towers on sea coasts with a rotating flashlight? Well, these huge structures are called lighthouses.
Have you ever come across huge towers on sea coasts with a rotating flashlight? Well, these huge structures are called lighthouses.
Lighthouses have been known to exist even before the 13th century. They were generally built to mark or alert sailors about dangerous rocky coastlines, reefs, and some sandbars and shoals that were invisible during high tide. Some of the earliest lighthouses are the Pharos lighthouse in Alexandria, the tower of Hercules in Spain, and the lighthouse in Dower, England.
The most primitive lighthouses have been derived from the concept of lighting huge bonfires on mountains along the coastline to alert an approaching ship of a hazardous coast. Gradually, men started erecting special stone towers exclusively for the purpose of lighting a fire atop them. These lighthouses were either built on top of hills or on sea shores. At times, these lighthouses were accompanied by a bell that would ring with the flow of the wind. Gradually however, the lighthouses underwent a notable change.
Over the years, lighthouses have evolved in their designs. However, the basic concept has not changed.
● Lighthouses may be erected along dangerous coastal areas of oceans and bays. They may also be erected at the entrance of a port town or in the middle of high seas too.
● They are built so as to house a huge mechanized light atop the tower in a special room with glass windows.
● The height of the lighthouses vary as per their site and climatic features of the place. It is generally calculated using trigonometry wherein one has to calculate the square root of the height of the light above the water surface. Ideally, the height is measured in feet and multiplied by 1.17 to get the exact distance in relation to the horizon in view. This distance is then calculated in nautical miles.
● As against the primitive lighthouses which were made of stone, modern lighthouses are made of concrete and steel. The shape of the lighthouses vary too. However, the whole structure is built so as to survive the saline atmosphere and wear and tear caused by the sea winds.
● The structure generally has a spiraling stairwell inside it along with rooms dedicated for lighthouse maintenance and upkeep. At times, a lighthouse may have rooms to accommodate the lighthouse-keeper too.
● The entrance to the lighthouse is usually designed so as to protect its interiors from possible entry of tidal water.
How Lighthouses Work
● Apart from the tower structure and lighthouse-keeper’s accommodation, lighthouses generally house a fueling room, a coastal signaling room, and a boathouse. It is the lighthouse-keeper’s job to keep up the lighthouse in perfect order and relay the coastal weather conditions to the coastguard authorities. Most of the lighthouses in the US are controlled by the US Coastguard authorities.
● Unlike the primitive lighthouses which had bonfires at the top, modern lighthouses have actual lamps at their summit. Until the 19th century, these lamps were lit with fuels like colza oil, whale oil, lard, and consequently kerosene. By the 20th century, kerosene was replaced by acetylene gas or electricity. The advent of electrical lamps made the overall maintenance of lighthouses all the more easy.
● Lighthouses generally work on the principle of reflecting a vertical light onto a horizontal surface. This horizontal surface is affixed with gigantic lenses called Fresnel lenses. The lens reflects the light in the form of a light beam. Generally, the lens shifts to and fro 180° if the lighthouse is situated on a seashore. If however, the lighthouse is erected on a rock in the middle of the sea, then the lens rotates continuously in a circular clockwise motion. These lenses are so powerful, that a beam of light is easily visible even through extremely foggy weather conditions.
● In olden times, the lens had to be wound every two hours so that it moved in a clockwise manner. Liquid mercury was used at its base to help avoid friction. However, this practice has now been replaced by mechanized lighthouses which start functioning at sunset and switch off automatically by daybreak.
These interesting coastal beacons are now treated as heritage sites in most countries. In fact, there are excursions dedicated to viewing and understanding the importance of lighthouses for safety of marine vessels and coastal defense. Not just this, these iconic structures are celebrated the world over by observation of the ‘International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend’ on the third weekend of every August.
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What are the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World?
Sadly, of the seven sites, only the Great Pyramid at Giza still exists, but a look at the list of ancient wonders gives insight into the incredible architecture and construction abilities that existed in the ancient world. And even those that have long since fallen into ruin have continued to inspire artists who use their imaginations to put a visual to the written descriptions.
Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt
The only surviving ancient wonder, the Great Pyramid at Giza remains an incredible example of Egyptian architecture. A visual representation of the ancient Egyptians' sophistication, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world for 3,800 years. The oldest of the seven wonders, Egyptologists believe it took just 10 to 20 years to build. Construction on the tomb ended around 2560 BC with 2.3 million stone blocks used in its construction.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
These extravagant hanging gardens have inspired artists for centuries, each of whom can only imagine the plants and vines strewn across different tiers. Said to have been located in ancient Babylon&mdashpresent-day Iraq&mdashlegend has it that the gardens were built by King Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled between 605 BC and 562 BC. The gardens, which were spread over terraces up to 75 feet above ground level, were created for the king's wife, Queen Amyitis, who missed the greenery of her home in the Median Empire (now Iran). Unfortunately, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are the only ancient wonder that scholars don't know the exact location of. In fact, though the gardens are written about extensively in Greek and Roman literature, no firsthand accounts are known, leading some scholars to believe the site may be a work of fantasy.
Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Greece
Olympian Zeus in the sculptured antique art of Quatremère de Quincy. 1815. (Photo: [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
Reconstruction of the Temple of Artemis in Istanbul Turkey (Photo: Zee Prime at cs.wikipedia [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5], from Wikimedia Commons)
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Lasting longer than some other monuments on the list, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus endured until a series of earthquakes brought the building down at some point between the 13th and 16th century AD. Now, it lays in ruins in modern-day Bodrum, Turkey. It was constructed around 350 BC as a tomb for a satrap named Mausolus and his wife&mdashwho was also his sister&mdashArtemesia. As satrap, who were governors of the Persian Empire's provinces, Mausolus poured his incredible wealth into the tomb, which was completed after his death by Artemesia. At the time, Halicarnassus was a new capital, wishing to show its glory. As a result, they created a marble covered masterpiece. It was so grand that Mausolus' name became synonymous with tombs, hence the word mausoleum.
Colossus of Rhodes
The monumental sculpture&mdashwhich was roughly the height of the Statue of Liberty&mdashhas a brief, but impactful lifespan, surviving about 60 years before its destruction at the hands of an earthquake. Completed in 280 BC, the statue depicts the sun god Helios and was erected on the island of Rhodes in Greece. The Colossus was created to celebrate the island's victory over Cyprus, whose king has attempted to invade Rhodes. In fact, the sculpture was made from melted iron and bronze from the enemy's weapons.
Lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt
The Lighthouse at Alexandria also had an extended lifespan, enduring from 280 BC until around 1323 AD. In its time, it was one of the largest manmade structures in the world, until a series of earthquakes starting in the 10th century AD caused it to be abandoned. The Lighthouse was about 330 feet tall and was built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom, an Egyptian dynasty that came into power after the death of Alexander the Great. A central figure in guiding ships in and out of the busy harbor, the monument can even be seen on ancient coins. In 1994, French archaeologists found some of the Lighthouse's remains submerged in Alexandria's harbor.
Locations of the Seven Wonders of the World
The seven wonders of the Ancient World are monuments that have been selected for their size, beauty, and importance in the civilization that built it. The ancient world is limited to the Mediterranean rim and Asia Minor, so the map shows only this region. There are three geographical zones: In the North, 5 wonders are in Greece and Turkey, in the South two are in Egypt and in the East, one is in Iraq.
Then one can ask the question: Why are there so many wonders concentrated in the Greek empire? The answer is quite simple, it is simply because it was during this empire that the list was adopted almost definitively, the Greeks simply attributed the beautiful role by inserting as many monuments, leaving to the other civilizations the minimum. Only the gardens of Babylon and the pyramid of Cheops were not part of the Greek Empire, the first being in Persian and the second in Egypt. But if the statue of Zeus was in the heart of Olympia, the other wonders of the world were in the empire: The Turkish coast had been colonized, the island of Rhodes was also part of the empire and coastal Egypt was under the governorate of the empire, also. Besides, it was there that Alexander the Great built his city and his tomb. This explains why on the 7 wonders, 5 are in the Greek Empire.
Moreover, since they were constructed at very different times, one can not see an archaeological continuity between them. On the contrary, they are very different from one another, both in their representations and in their meanings. Here is a map to locate them.
Each of these wonders has been identified, nowadays they have either disappeared permanently, or they are in a state of ruin. A doubt subsists on the very existence of one of them, the gardens of Babylon, the only one of those marvels to have neither direct testimony nor archaeological traces. But their locations place them in the city of Babylon, Iraq.
Where is the pyramid of Cheops?
The pyramid of Khufu was built within the Egyptian Empire during the reign of the Third Dynasty. After becoming a Greek province, then a Roman province (with a time during which the kingdom became independent again), the country regained its independence, definitively in the twentieth century, which means that this wonder is still in the same country at its creation and nowadays, which is not the case with other monuments on this list.
This monument is probably the best known of all this list. It is located in a royal necropolis of the 3rd millennium BC, a necropolis whose main tombs are those of the three pharaohs Kheops, Khefren, Mykerinos and their wives, all 6 made in the form of a pyramid more or less large, and d 'a real "mortuary city" to the west of the pyramids. We are in the west of Cairo, the capital of Egypt, on a limestone plateau gained by the urbanization of the city.
Interesting facts about lighthouses
Lighthouse is a tower with a bright light at the top, located at an important or dangerous place regarding navigation (travel over water). The two main purposes of a lighthouse are to serve as a navigational aid and to warn boats of dangerous areas. It is like a traffic sign on the sea.
The first lighthouse was Egypt‘s Pharos of Alexandria, built in the third century BC. The lighthouse of Alexandria was made from a fire on a platform to signal the port entrance. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was one of the tallest man-made structures in the world for many centuries.
The world’s oldest existing lighthouse is considered to be Tower of Hercules, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that marks the entrance of Spain‘s La Coruña harbor. The lighthouse, which was erected in the first century, is still operational.
The tallest lighthouse in the world is the Jeddah Light, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – 133 meters. Jeddah Light is a concrete and steel lighthouse built in 1990. It is located in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and marks the end of the outer pier on the north side of the entrance to the city’s seaport. It has a range of 46 kilometers and emits three white flashes every 20 seconds.
The most expensive lighthouse built in America is St. George Reef, near Crescent City, California. It took 10 years to construct and cost $715,000.
Originally lighthouses were lit merely with open fires, only later progressing through candles, lanterns and electric lights. Lanterns tended to use whale oil as fuel.
The Argand lamp, invented in 1782 by the Swiss scientist, Aimé Argand, revolutionized lighthouse illumination with its steady smokeless flame. Early models used ground glass which was sometimes tinted around the wick.
In 1759 an English engineer named John Smeaton designed a new type of lighthouse. It became a model for most lighthouses that followed. The lighthouse was built from interlocking blocks of stone instead of wood. This strengthened the structure so it could withstand powerful waves.
In 1821 the French Physicist, Augustine Fresnel, developed a new lens that would capture and focus up to 85% of the light emitted from the illuminant. He developed seven different sizes (that he called orders) and the sizes of the lenses & their effective range decrease as the order number increases.
Keepers were paid a lower middle class wage. George Worthylake, our first, received 50 pounds ($250) a year. By today’s standards that would be the equivalent of $16,000. During the 19th century, the Head Keeper’s pay ranged from $250 to $600, others were paid less. The exception to this was in the West, where keepers were paid $1,000 during the Gold Rush. The service supplied certain foodstuffs during most of their history.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Not much is known of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, said to have been located in present-day Iraq. They may have been built by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II around 600 B.C. or by the Assyrian King Sennacherib around 700 B.C. However, archaeologists have found no substantial evidence to confirm the gardens ever existed.
35 of the Most Beautiful Lighthouses in America
How many of these photogenic landmarks have you visited?
Some of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world can be found in America, from the coasts of California to the shores of Mississippi. Let these lighthouse photos inspire you to take a trip around the country, so you can experience the scenic beauty and historical significance for yourself.
This gorgeous red lighthouse is the tallest in Florida, and one of the tallest in the United States. Its history goes way back to 1835, though it was out of use for decades because of destruction and construction. It's been back in business since 1982, though, and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1998.
If you can't travel down to the deep South to see this Mississippi attraction in person, don't worry: The kind folks of Biloxi set up a live video feed from the top of the lighthouse so everyone can enjoy the view.
On the coast of Little Brewer Island you'll find the oldest lighthouse in the U.S. The first structure was built in in 1716, and the current one was erected in 1783. If you're in the area, you can take a tour of the Boston Harbor&mdashwhich includes this National Historic Landmark&mdashduring the summer.
According to the National Park Service website, this Bay Area beauty has "helped shepherd ships through the treacherous Golden Gate straits" since 1855. You can visit the lighthouse and trail on Sundays and Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., weather permitting.
Looking to own a lighthouse? Back in 2015, this was one of six being offered for free by the Federal Government as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.
Diamond Lady Lighthouse stands tall above the shimmering sand at Cape Lookout on North Carolina's central shore, an area accessible only by boat. Built in 1859, it was painted with its distinctive black-and-white checkered pattern in 1873.
Michigan is home to more lighthouses than any other U.S. state. The Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association is raising funds to repair Ludington State Park's Big Sable Point Lighthouse&mdashthe last of the Great Lakes lighthouses to become electrified.
This picturesque lighthouse has been a shining beacon along the central California coastline since 1872.
This charming lighthouse was saved from demolition in the 1960s and is today one of the most beloved landmarks in Lorain, Ohio.
One of the most architecturally sophisticated lighthouses in the country, this Rhode Island beauty is an impressive example of the High Victorian Gothic style.
Located in the Florida Keys and originally known as the Dry Tortugas Light, this iconic structure became America's most powerful lighthouse when it was electrified in 1931.
An early keeper known as "Ernie" is said to haunt this historical Connecticut lighthouse.
Located in Cape Elizabeth, Maine's oldest lighthouse (it dates to 1791) is also one of the state's most photographed landmarks.
Considered to be one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world, this Oregon treasure now operates as a bed & breakfast.
Michigan's only barber pole lighthouse can be found on the state's Save Our Lights license plates.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is Oregon's only surviving historical, wooden lighthouse.
This picturesque San Diego lighthouse operated for only 36 years. Built in 1855, it was decommissioned in 1891 after its location proved too foggy to show its beam.
Perched high on a rocky cliff, the Split Rock Lighthouse resembles something only Hollywood could dream up. Naturally, it made a cameo appearance in the 2013 film The Great Gatsby.
A black-and-white wonder, this whimsical tower replaced an earlier lighthouse (the second on the site) that was blown apart during the Civil War.
As one of California's first lighthouses (and arguably its most spectacular), this Crescent City icon has been helping mariners navigate the rugged coastline since 1856.
Noted New York architect John Norris&mdashwho was responsible for some of Savannah's most celebrated buildings&mdashdesigned this charming little lighthouse near Tybee Island in 1848.
Rising 193 feet above ground, this is the tallest brick lighthouse in America and it's open for full moon climbs on select evenings throughout the year.
It's in Cape Disappointment, but Washington's North Head Lighthouse is anything but! Visit this 117-year-old tower to take in sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Long Beach Peninsula.
With its majestic setting and quirky octagonal shape, this Alaska lighthouse tops our list of "must-see" places.
Accessible by ferry, this 10-room lighthouse now operates as a museum showcasing what life was like for 19th-century light keepers.
Miraculously, all of the historic support structures have survived on this preserved, five-acre site that contains one of Georgia's prettiest beacons.
Automated since 1966, the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse is kept by "Sarah," a blond, uniformed mannequin in the second story who watches over the site and guards it from vandals.
Greek and Hellenistic cultures
Use of the Egyptian stone frame diffused throughout the eastern Mediterranean after 1800 bce , and the cultures of mainland Greece were particularly attracted to it. In the Greek world of the Aegean and southern Italy, many stone-frame temples were built some have survived to the present day in various states of preservation. They were built largely of local marble or limestone there was no granite for huge monoliths. The basic technology was little changed from that of Egypt the major difference was in the labour force. There were no state-mobilized masses of unskilled workers to move huge stones there were instead small groups of skilled masons who worked independently. The building accounts of the Parthenon show that each column was built under a separate contract with a master mason. There was certainly lifting machinery for handling the blocks, although its precise description is unknown the concealed faces of stones still have grooves and holes that engaged the ropes used to lift them into place. Metal cramps and dowels were introduced for joining stones together mortar was almost never used. There was some experimentation with iron beams to reinforce longer spans in stone, but the maximum remained about 5 to 6 metres (16 to 20 feet). Longer spans were achieved with timber beams supported by the stone frame the solid stone roof slabs of the great Egyptian temples could not be duplicated.
Much of the mason’s effort was concentrated on the refinements of detail and optical corrections for which Greek architecture is justly famous. This same sense is also seen in the first surviving construction drawings, which were made on the unfinished surfaces of the stone walls of the Temple of Didyma. Such drawings would normally have been erased during the final finishing of the wall surfaces, and those at Didyma survived because the temple was never completed. The drawings show how the masons developed the final profiles of columns and moldings—a rare glimpse of the design processes of builders before the days of pencil and paper.
In contrast to stone technology, which remained largely unchanged from Egyptian methods, clay masonry underwent considerable development. Although mud brick remained standard for dwellings, fired brick was more widely used and began to be laid with lime mortar, a technique borrowed from stone construction. Glazed brick also appeared in this period, particularly outside the Greek world among the Babylonians and Persians, who made considerable use of it in royal palaces. A fine surviving example is the Ishtar Gate of the Palace of Nebuchadrezzar at Babylon, with a true arch spanning 7.5 metres (25 feet) and dated to 575 bce . Another major innovation was the fired clay roof tile. This was much more waterproof than thatch, and tile roofs could have the lower pitch characteristic of Greek temples. Hollow terra-cotta blocks for wall ornaments also appeared about this time, probably derived from the highly advanced pottery industry, which routinely made fired clay vessels more than one metre long.
Although stone technology remained confined to the trabeated (column-and-beam, or post-and-lintel) frame, there were a few structures that hinted at future developments. Perhaps the most spectacular building achievement of the age was the Pharos of Alexandria, the great lighthouse built for Ptolemy II in the 3rd century bce . It was a huge stone tower nearly as high as the Great Pyramid but much smaller at the base—perhaps 30 metres (100 feet) square. Within this mass of masonry was a complex system of ramps over which pack animals carried fuel for the beacon at the top. The Pharos was the first high-rise building, but the limitations of masonry structures and the lack of a rapid way of moving people vertically precluded any further development of tall buildings until the 19th century. The Pharos remained the only example of this type long after it was demolished by the Arabs beginning in the 7th century ce .
Another example of a new stone technology that was tried but not pursued further by the Greeks was the underground tombs of Mycenae, built about 1300 bce . These tombs have main chambers enclosed by pointed domes of corbeled stone construction, about 14 metres (47 feet) in diameter and 13 metres (43 feet) high. Crude versions of the corbel dome had appeared earlier in Mesopotamian tombs and the tholoi of Neolithic Europe, but in Mycenae the technics were refined and enlarged in scale. A corbel dome or arch does not develop the high compressive forces that characterize true arches and domes, which are built of radial segments of stone or brick. Thus it does not take full advantage of the great compressive strength of stone and cannot span long distances 14 metres is near the upper limit. Greek masons did not choose to explore this type of structure their buildings remained largely concerned with exterior forms. The Roman builders who followed them, however, exploited masonry to its full potential and created the first great interior spaces.