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by Amanda Bauer
A relieving triangle is a space (usually triangular) above a lintel in megalithic architecture to relieve the weight of the masonry.
One example of a relieving triangle is the Lion Gate at Mycenae. Two lions in heraldic composition flank a pillar, forming a triangle. The triangle relieves the weight of the corbelled vaulting (in which each successive layer of stones is projected slightly beyond the course below).
Lion Gate, Mycenae
Another example of a relieving triangle is from the so-called “Treasury of Atreus,” (which is really a tholos tomb). Here, the relieving triangle is placed over the entrance. Corbelled vaulting was once again utilized in this structure.
Treasury of Atreus (also known as Tholos Tomb)
Biers, William R. The Archaeology of Greece: An Introduction. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1980. 2nd ed.
Kleiner, Fred S. and Mamiya, Chrisitin J. Gardener's Art Through the Ages. 12th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning Inc., 2005.