1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pedestal
PEDESTAL (Fr. piedestal, Ital. piedestallo, foot of a stall), a term generally applied to a support, square, octagonal or circular on plan, provided to carry a statue or a vase. Although in Syria, Asia Minor and Tunisia the Romans occasionally raised the columns of their temples or propylaea on square pedestals, in Rome itself they were employed only to give greater importance to isolated columns, such as those of Trajan and Antoninus, or as a podium to the columns employed decoratively in the Roman triumphal arches. The architects of the Italian revival, however, conceived the idea that no order was complete without a pedestal, and as the orders were by them employed to divide up and decorate a building in several storeys, the cornice of the pedestal was carried through and formed the sills of their windows, or, in open arcades, round a court, the balustrade of the arcade. They also would seem to have considered that the height of the pedestal should correspond in its proportion with that of the column of pilaster it supported, thus in the church of St John Lateran, where the applied order is of considerable dimensions, the pedestal is 13 ft. high instead of the ordinary height of 3 to 5 ft.