By Kenneth Munson
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Extra resources for Airliners Between the Wars, 1919-39 (Colour)
The Egyptian scribes remained loyal to hard stone that preserves for ever the imprint of the sign or image they chiselled. Learning to write was a long and difficult process, but in a country in which the mass of the population was illiterate, it was a skill that gave access to a high social standing: in Egypt, it took about ten years to learn the numerous hieroglyphic signs. The scribes were the pillars of intellectual life and future copyists of the sacred texts. Numerous texts in praise of the profession have been found in Egypt.
One entered through the Lion Gate28, a masterpiece of prodigious lucidity. Above the lintel is a triangular stone of relatively light limestone. In other words, the Mycenaeans had already identified the zone of masonry that would bear down upon the lintel and had reduced its weight. That is how they conceived and built the covered stairway that descends to the cistern of Perseus. Figure 44 Mycenae: the vaulted tunnel that descends to the cistern of Perseus. 28 Lions had long existed in the region.
How astonishing it is that such an ancient culture has been able to solve, within such art, three fundamental problems in architecture. The Republic of Athens, with its simplifying classicism enamoured of geometry, would forget Mycenae and its works so redolent of logic and rationality. The Greeks were so sure of themselves that they would persist in their approach to architecture, which was undoubtedly beautiful but dangerous in the long term. When, towards 450 BC, Herodotus, travelling from Helicarnassus, arrived in Athens, it was proposed that he should visit the Egyptians, the “barbarians of the south”.
Airliners Between the Wars, 1919-39 (Colour) by Kenneth Munson