No means were provided for reaching the summit, and its height had, so to speak, no raison d'être or practical utility. In spite of all the art lavished upon it a pyramid was hardly a building in the proper sense of the word it was a mere heap of building materials. It was quite otherwise with the zigguratt, whose terminal platform supported a richly-decorated sanctuary.

But we must not forget that the zigguratt was a temple, and that it is to the temples of Thebes that we must compare it. In such a comparison Egypt regains all its superiority. How cold and poor a show the towers of Chaldæa and Assyria make beside the colonnades of the Ramesseum, of Luxor, of Karnak!

If we give rein to our imagination and allow it for a moment to restore their crenellated parapets to the ramps and terraces; if we set up the resting-places, rebuild the chapels and pavilions and replace the statues; if we cover the sanctuary with its vesture of bronze and gold, and the whole edifice with the surface decoration to which the sun of Mesopotamia gave its fullest value, we shall then understand how far superior, as an architectonic conception, the Chaldæan zigguratt was to the Egyptian pyramid.

It is crowned with the horned mitre we are accustomed to see upon the heads of the winged bulls. Our interest has been awakened in these little chapels chiefly on account of the decorative forms of which they afford such early examples. It is not to them that we must look for the distinctive features of Mesopotamian temple architecture. These we must find in the staged tower or zigguratt.

And it was not without a purpose that it was put into close juxtaposition with a zigguratt, an arrangement that proves it to have formed a part of a collection of buildings consecrated, by the prince whose dwelling covered the rest of the platform, to the gods in whose protection he placed his trust. An altar with three feet carved in the shape of lion's paws was found in front of the entrance.

It is true that tablets have been found in the royal archives at Kouyundjik upon which reports as to the condition of the heavens are recorded for the guidance of the king, but there is nothing in these so far as they have been deciphered to show that the observations were taken from the summit of a zigguratt.