Building Materials and Techniques

Jonathan Bardill

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Building Materials and Techniques

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Byzantium employed stone (including marble), brick (of mud or clay), mortar (of varying qualities), and timber as its main building materials the use of which was determined by availability and local tradition, along with structural, economic, and aesthetic considerations. Mortar was used in beds between stone or brick courses, and for binding together the rubble that formed the core of walls. The walls of buildings of Asia Minor, Greece, and the Balkans were typically made of a core of irregular lumps of local stone in a mortar inferior to that used in Rome. The Byzantines also used various kinds of vaulting, including the barrel vault, the cross-groined vault, the dome upon a drum or rotunda, the domical vault or pendentive dome, the dome on pendentives, and the dome on squinches. This article also describes the use of timber, metal, marble, stucco, glass, and glazed tiles in construction during the Byzantine Era.

Keywords: building materials; construction; Byzantium; stone; brick; mortar; timber; metal; glass; vaulting

Article.  7738 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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