When the Assyrians of Northern Mesopotamia became dominant in the region towards the end of the second millennium bc they took over principles of design established by their Sumerian predecessors. They used brilliant colouring in their architecture (usually by means of coloured glazed bricks), and sculptured decorations in relief as well as free-standing objects. The great Palace of Sargon at Khorsabad (C8 bc) incorporated many repeated motifs such as arches, winged lions and bulls with humanoid heads, gigantic reedings, and two-stepped crenellations, although columns were little used: it stood on a vast brick plinth, and was reached by ramps and stairs. Assyrian temple-platforms resembled flattopped stepped pyramids, with the ‘steps’ formed of a continuous ramp that led around the square plan to reach the summit. Vaulting and even domed construction were apparently known to the Assyrians.
Cruickshank (ed.) (1996);L&M (1986)