1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pediment

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PEDIMENT (equivalents, Gr. ἀετός, Lat. fastigium, Fr. ponton), in classic architecture the triangular-shaped portion of the wali above the cornice which formed the termination of the roof behind it. The projecting mouldings of the cornice which surround it enclose the tympanum, which is sometimes decorated with sculpture. The pediment in classic architecture corresponds to the gable in Gothic architecture, where the roof is of loftier pitch. It was employed by the Greeks only as the front of the roof which covered the main building; the Romans, however, adopted it as a decorative termination to a doorway, niche or window, and occasionally, in a row of windows or niches, alternated the triangular with a segmental pediment. It was reserved for the Italian architects of the decadence to break the pediment in the centre, thus destroying its original purpose. The earliest English form of the word is periment or peremint, probably a workman's corruption of “pyramid.”