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abacus (in architecture)

abacus (ăb´əkəs), in architecture, flat slab forming the top member of a capital. In classical orders it varies from a square form having unmolded sides in the Greek Doric, to thinner proportions and ovolo molding in the Greek Ionic, and to sides incurving and corners cut in Roman Ionic and Corinthian examples. In Romanesque work the abacus is heavier in proportion, projects less, and is generally molded and decorated. In Gothic work the form varies, appearing in square, circular, and octagonal forms with molded members.

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abacus

abacus (pl. abaci).
1. Flat-topped plate, also called tailloir, the upper member of a capital of a column on which the architrave rests. The Greek Doric abacus is the simplest, consisting of a square unmoulded block, called plinthus, but abaci vary according to the Order used.

2. Flat slab supported on a podium or legs, used as a sideboard or for the display of plate, etc., in Antiquity.

3. Panel on an Antique wall.

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super-abacus

super-abacus. Impost-block, dosseret, or super-capital set on top of an abacus, common in Byzantine architecture.

Bibliography

Mango (1986)

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