The admission that this book falls short of what it was intended to be is merely a statement of fact and not an apology. There was a time when the author optimistically believed that he could present the major aspects of domical ideology and evolution in one study. That, however, was before the rapidly expanding complexities of the subject and the difficulties of organizing the material in a written from where the ideas would not be reburied under a mass of accumulated evidence has become inescapable factors. Once it has become evident that the dome was not just a utilitarian form of vaulting, which has originated for structural and environmental reasons in some one country, but was primarily a house concept which has acquired in numerous cultures its shape and imaginative values upon an ancestral shelter long before it was translated for ideological reasons into more permanent and monumental form by means of wood carpentry and masonry, the whole problem of the dome opened up into a comprehensible but infinitely complex chapter in the history of ideas.
After the broad outlines of this evolution from the primitive house has been traced in the various ancient and retarded cultures of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas there arose the disquieting question of to what extent one scholar had the time and equipment to reconstruct the whole development of domical beliefs. The matter of time was settled conclusively when Karl Lehmann's The Dome of Heaven showed that non one could expect to enjoy indefinitely a monopoly of domical ideas. The other question remains to be tested now that the scaffolding has been removed and The Dome in skeleton form has to stand alone.