According F. Krefter, E. Schmidt, F. Herzfeld, A. Sami
||Persepolis, the Norooz-city of the newborn world power Persia, is one
largest building ventures of the antiquity. The multinational political structure of the Achaemenides contributes to the concentration of the potentials of schools with different tradition and artistic profile into a uniform creative focus. Nobody is able to say whether Darius, the builder, wanted to promote an international style for its audience city!?...
The versatility of the factors leads however not to an eclecticism, but calls to life a syncretic cultural monument of a marvellous unity, unequalled effect as symbol of power, and with an exhilarating aesthetic radiation, overwhelming even as world of ruins.
Which faith or which nationality the architects who had planned Persepolis also belonged to, they knew unquestionably the Heraion on Samos and the Artemision on Ephesos thoroughly, if they did not even learn their profession there, for which many historical sources provide certification.
In the architectural program of Parsa and particularly in the column order merge Ionian (Aeolian) Assyro-Babylonian and local Persian influences. Whereby, if one takes a composite capital exactly under the magnifying glass, they could find --with a little daring courage!--the contribution of the Egyptian plant columns, too. In difference to the Greek orders though, which are in their nature nothing else but an allegory of the fight of strength against weight, the artistic philosophy of the Persepolis order
does not rest on the laws of the "Stütze-Last Problem" (support load problem).
Mythic shapes radiating a celestial strength carry the powerful architrave here directly on their backs without any trouble at a height of nearly 20 meters (Apadana).
The absence of an ecchinus filled with delicate tension and an energy back-up in the shank (entasis), as well as the small differences between lower and upper diameters of the columns shooting perpendicularly upwards mediate a quasi gothic weightlessness of the architecture. Hans Janzen would call that a style of "Antiponderosen".
In this sense, the order of Persepolis represents an argument a priori crowned with victory. If the Greek order is a system in development, then Persepolis is a beauty created for ever.
The (clay?) model, which stood before the masters in the Achaemenid capital, consisted of a limited number of elements combined in a strictly defined pattern. The column, made of bituminous limestone from the nearby mountain Rachmat and which shines after polishing black, stands on a bell-shaped basis with four ornamental samples chiselled into reliefs, or on a cascaded one, plus Torus and Astragal. It towers as a fluted shank (36, 40, 48, 52 flutes, always divisable by four), blossoms up into a composite part, (in my opinion, only then present if an axis is to be accentuated--Apadana, Tripylon, throne hall building), and ends with a protomen group, which--besides its symbolic and evil-repelling role--is also the most important constructional element of the Persepolis transverse beam capital, exactly reconstructed already by Friedrich Krefter.
Here is to be noted that the virtual model-reconstruction of one of the four columns of the GATE OF ALL COUNTRIES would not have been realizable without his inestimable work "Persepolis Rekonstruktionen".
Shortly said, each pair of daemonic creatures, in which the column momentum ends represents a crotch of a tree developed further up to indiscernibility carrying across a thick piece of wood (length 2,6m--Apadana), and whose function consists of passing into the vertical column axis the weight of the broad three-part architrave lying on it. This is an elegant solution of the statics problem, which was developed particularly for Persepolis.
The stone columns are divided by Krefter into three main groups:
A) columns with bell-shaped basis, shank and simple protomen capital,
Four motives are known for the protomen capitals: bull, lion monster
with horns, Lamassu (human-headed winged bull) and gryphon. The bull occurs
most frequently. This basic symbol of Achaemenid power occurs in combination
with all main groups enumerated above.
I. E. Iliev