A Case of Religious Architecture in Elymais: The Tetrastyle Temple of Bard-e Neshandeh

in Annali Sezione Orientale
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This study provides a new approach and interpretation of a remote Elymaean tetrastyle temple found in the course of excavations conducted at the sacred terraces of Bard-e Neshandeh in the mid-19th century. Perched on the heights of the Zagros mountains in the current province of Khuzestan (sw Iran), the shrine on the lower terrace reflects an innovative synthesis of structural elements engaging both Mesopotamian and Iranian templates and it occupies a special place in the records of temple architecture of the Iranian world before the Sasanid conquest. According to this investigation, a re-evaluation of the tetrastyle temple is proposed in order that it will yield new insights and progress of understanding on the cultic monumental apparatus in Hellenistic and Parthian Elymais.1

A Case of Religious Architecture in Elymais: The Tetrastyle Temple of Bard-e Neshandeh

in Annali Sezione Orientale



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  • View in gallery
    Geolocation of Bard-e Neshandeh. Location of Bard-e Neshandeh (line-drawing map in Vanden Berghe and Schippmann 1985: Carte i; photo in Ghirshman 1976: Pl. ii).
  • View in gallery
    General Situation (line-drawing map in Ghirshman 1976: 8‚ fig. 2‚ modified by the author; photos by the author).
  • View in gallery
    Site plan of the Sacred Terraces (Ghirshman 1976: plan i‚ modified by the author).
  • View in gallery
    Tetrastyle Temple (Ghirshman 1976: Pl. xxiii); particulars of the portico (Ghirshman 1976: Pls xx.5 on the right‚ xxi.2 on the left). Temple plan (Ghirshman 1976: plan ii on the top right).
  • View in gallery
    Tetrastyle Temple in November 2015 (photos by the author)‚ particulars of room no. 5: ne side (right)‚ example “paved benches” corner sw (left).
  • View in gallery
    Mesopotamian-type planimetry in the Iranian world during the Seleuco-Parthian period a–d, g–h) Downey (1988), modified by the author; e–f) Ghirshman (1976), modified by the author; i–k) Shenkar (2011), adapted from online sources Engineering Structures 2006; j) Wright (1979).
  • View in gallery
    Iranian palatial and religious architectures including the main four-columned hall element. a–c) Canepa 2015. Adapted from online sources: centroscavitorino; d–e‚ g–k‚ m–o) Shenkar 2011. Modified by the author. f) Kropp 2010. Modified by the author. l) Adapted online sources: karakalpak.
  • View in gallery
    Architectural reconsiderations (line-drawing map in Ghirshman 1976: Plan ii; photos by Dr. G.P. Basello 2014‚ courtesy of the dariosh Project).
  • View in gallery
    Personal interpretation of the tetrastyle temple planimetry without ne wall.
  • View in gallery
    Temple of Dioscuri (Dilberjin‚ northern Afghanistan).
  • View in gallery
    Bit Resh sanctuary at Uruk (Downey 1988).
  • View in gallery
    Great Temple (Masjed-e Soleyman) (Downey 1988).
  • View in gallery
    Bit Resh sanctuary at Uruk (Downey 1988).
  • View in gallery
    Epatutila (Babylon) (Downey 1988).
  • View in gallery
    Reconstructed axonometric projection of the tetrastyle temple proposed by the author on the picture of Ghirshman (1976: Pl. xxiii).


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