POINTED ARCHES

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Ancient primitive arches were triangular arches created by offsetting each layer until the gap was closed.
Etruscan semicircular arches were built by placing blocks shaped like truncated wedges over a temporary wooden form.
Early Christians knew that a long arch made of many nearly rectangular blocks had a tendency for the center blocks to fall in. The early Christians would prevent this by making flatter arches that increased the horizontal forces, or by making the arch slightly pointed at the top.
Zoroastrians and Muslims copied these Christian solutions.
Someone (likely Adelard of Bath) brought the slightly pointed arch to Christian Europe. He also brought an Arabic translation of Euclid’s “Elements” that mentioned the strength of triangles. Soon afterward, Europeans were building very pointed arches.
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ORIGINS OF CATHEDRAL ARCHITECTURE

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The ribbed vault, invented by European Christians, used ribs to support the ceilings above where barrel vaults intersect at right angles in cathedrals. Muslims never used ribbed vaults, but only used the Roman groin vault.
Muslims did not invent the horseshoe arch, but did invent a decorative arch called the scalloped arch.
Another decorative item invented by Muslims was the Lombard band.
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MOSQUES

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The maqsura dome of the Great Mosque of Córdoba in 784 was unique, but not a precursor of the cathedrals. Like the Roman Pantheon built in the year 128, the mosque mounted the dome atop a rotunda. The arches of the Roman Pantheon met at the top of the dome. But the Córdoba mosque dome had 8 piers, with each arch connecting piers 2 piers apart.
Most of the largest mosques in the Ottoman Empire were designed by a Muslim convert from Christianity who copied from the designs of churches.
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DEFENSIVE ARCHITECTURE

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The Normans of north-west France made improvements to castles, which they spread to England.
In the 12th century, the Templars from north-west France built in Portugal castles with projecting towers to give a line of sight to all approaches. The towers were made round to eliminate the vulnerability of square corners to rocks thrown by trebuchets. The design also included a tower called the castle keep.
The Templars built castles in Muslim lands during the Crusades, and Muslims copied these designs.
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SHIBAM, 16TH CENTURY MUSLIM CITY OF SKYSCRAPERS

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In the 16th century, Muslims built buildings with very thick walls of sun-dried brick. The tallest of these was less than 20% of the height of Lincoln Cathedral in England, completed 200 years earlier in 1311 …
Throughout the entire Islamic Golden Age, the tallest Roman or Christian “Dark Ages” structure was always taller than the tallest Muslim-built structure.
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MINARETS AND ZIGGURATS

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The Samarra minaret, built in the year 848, was very similar to some ancient Babylonian ziggurats, except it was only about half as tall (52 meters), so there was less weight squeezing the sun-dried bricks. Therefore, it could rise at about a 65 degree angle instead of a 45 degree angle without slumping and collapsing.
It was almost as tall as the 55 meter height of the dome of the Hagia Sophia, built by Christians over 300 years earlier in 537, but the minaret did not have interior space.
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