called " Alexandrian." Every single example in the Museum â€” and
there are many â€” which displays evidence of Greek craftsmanship
adheres to it. There are minor differences in detail, as Fig. 230 will
suffice to indicate ; and it is possibly the most beautiful example of any,
while it has the further peculiarity of being applied partly to a fluted
ii6 THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT
half-column, and partly to a pilaster. In has been entitled here as
" A Respond Capital" but no more than a guess can be made as to
the position it originally occupied or even as to whether the building
it belonged to was trabeated or arcuated. It is of white marble.
It even does not seem improbable that the Romans obtained
their knowledge of the Corinthian capital rather from Alexandria
than direct from Greece, though the principal Roman example in
Alexandria hardly conforms to the type just described, except in
having leaf volutes at the angles instead of tendril volutes. Pom-
pey's Pillar (Fig. 229) which the example referred to surmounts, is
known to have been erected in 302 A. D., in honour of Diocletian, by
the local governor Pompeius.
How the leaf volute of Alexandria may have readily developed
into the usual volute of the Roman Corinthian order is, however,
traceable by means of this capital of Pompey's Pillar (Fig. 229) and a
crude Roman capital, now in the Museum, which is illustrated in Fig.
231. The voluted leaf has, as it were, tightened up and become
more constructional, less liable to damage and easier to carve, while the
acanthus leaves cover more of the bell and are clumsy. Besides this,
the Roman egg-and-dart enrichment appears upon an echinus, in an
attempt to form a capital of composite character.
The evolution of the Corinthian capital is thus more clearly to
be traced at Alexandria than elsewhere, and that by means of little
known and recently discovered examples.
Examples of the other Orders are more rare. In fact, the Museum
at Alexandria contains only one Doric capital (Fig. 232), having a
shallow abacus and equally shallow echinus, while fiat bands of Egyptian
character replace the usual annulets. Another, similar to it but much
water-worn, lies on the shore near the Bay of Abou Kir, some eighteen
miles from Alexandria. Both are of coral limestone.
A beautiful Ionic capital, entirely Greek in feeling and execution,
is shown in Fig. 233, and may well be contrasted with the obviously
much later capital shown in Fig. 234, Roman so far as the truly Ionic
portion is concerned, but carrying a Byzantine dosseret, carved out of
THE EVOLUTION OF ARCHITECTURAL ORNAMENT 117
the same stone and ornamented with a Maltese cross enclosed in
a circle upon its principal face, thus proving it beyond doubt to belong
to the Christian period of Alexandrian history.
At this time it is clear that, as might be expected, Byzantine
influence was paramount. There are several large capitals similar
to that shown in Fig. 235, in the Museum, all instinct with Byzantine
feeling and no other, and unquestionably belonging to the period
which succeeded the destruction of the last great heathen temple,
the Serapeion, in 389 A. D., when Constantinople and Alexandria
were competing strenuously for the sea trade of the East.
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