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A column or pillar in Architecture and Structural engineering is a structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. In other words, a column is a compression member. The term column applies especially to a large round support (the shaft of the column) with a capital and a base or pedestal and made of stone, or appearing to be so. A small wooden or metal support is typically called a post, and supports with a rectangular or other non-round section are usually called piers. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces. Other compression members are often termed "columns" because of the similar stress conditions. Columns are frequently used to support beams or arches on which the upper parts of walls or ceilings rest. In architecture, "column" refers to such a structural element that also has certain proportional and decorative features. A column might also be a decorative element not needed for structural purposes; many columns are "engaged", that is to say form part of a wall. All significant Iron Age civilizations of the Near East and Mediterranean made some use of columns. In Ancient Egyptian architecture as early as 2600 BC the architect Imhotep made use of stone columns whose surface was carved to reflect the organic form of bundled reeds; in later Egyptian architecture faceted cylinders were also common. Egyptian columns are famously present in the Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak (ca. 1224 BC), where 134 columns are lined up in 16 rows, with some columns reaching heights of 24 metres. Some of the most elaborate columns in the ancient world were those of the Persians, especially the massive stone columns erected in Persepolis. They included double-bull structures in their capitals. The Hall of Hundred Columns at Persepolis, measuring 70 × 70 metres, was built by the Achaemenid king Darius I (524–486 BC). Many of the ancient Persian columns are standing, some being more than 30 metres tall.[citation needed]

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