Brick for Brick
I grew up with castles and churches and manors,
Their architecture feels like home –
While Indian temples and Chinese pagodas
Were glorious aliens in stone.
It all made sense that Kublai Khan
Had not one dome in his Pleasure Dome
But when I saw the Great Ming Wall,
It all felt too familiar –
It looked like something the Romans might have built,
Had they reached this far
Rounded arches, crenellations, arrow loops –
All quite bizarre.
The only telltale signs were in the watchtowers,
And their roofs –
Simple saddelbacks, slightly concave,
They were hard-hill-hatted booths.
Not like the four-square hips of the Romans –
Projections providing proofs.
Except…on many of the towers we see,
These structures are robbed away.
And we’re left with familiarity
That’s out-of-place, astray.
Was it built-up piecemeal, really ?
At this point, who can say ?
From what I can see in images, the watchtowers had roofs that were a mix of hard-hill and hanging-hill, the difference being that the latter had slightly overhanging eaves as in the image below.
To be clear, saddleback roofs (aka gable roofs) were not unknown to Romans, but not I think used atop their watchtowers.