Friday, March 2, 2012

Castel del Monte and his secrets

by Michael Balaroutsos architect
original text by Aldo Tavolaro
When the Emperor Frederick II built this castle near Bari in the 13th century, he imbued it with symbolic significance, as reflected in the location, the mathematical and astronomical precision of the layout and the perfectly regular shape. A unique piece of medieval military architecture, Castel del Monte is a successful blend of elements from classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient and north European Cistercian Gothic.

Castel del Monte, in respect of an esoteric tradition, is a concentration of cosmic symbols and then implications of astronomical, geographical, mathematical and geometric.

-All spaces concluded to the castle (courtyard, salt, the circumscribed circumference to the artefact, an octagonal external enclosure, the backyard tank) are marked by the Sun, using shadows real and theoretical, in the entrance of the star zodiac signs.
-A play of diagonals conducted in the courtyard opens at an angle of 47 degrees equal to that of the cone of precession of the equinoxes, and then double the angle of inclination of the Earth's axis of the ecliptic. A clear allegory of Earth because it is this inclination of its axis to determine the seasons and the resulting rhythms of plant and animal life.
-The latitude of which stands the castle and the value of the culmination of the Sun at the equinox, are enclosed in the triangle formed by the height of the south yard, the width of the court itself and the hypotenuse ideal that connects these two elements.
-Only in this latitude, the points on the horizon where the sun rises and sunrises at the dates of the solstices, ideally combined with each other, draw a rectangle in the golden ratio which Castel del Monte is located in the center.
-And only at that latitude the shadow of a vertical stick, taken one hour before and one hour after noon, in the days of the equinoxes, a sweep angle of 45 degrees, which opened at the center of a circle, behind a rope is the side of the octagon. And Castel del Monte, is an octagon.
-Also significant is the massive presence in the monument of the divine proportion or golden ratio with the relative number of gold that we find, before entering in the tympanum of the portal (an isosceles triangle whose sides are in golden section of the base), as well as in the arcs blind overlooking from upper floor in the courtyard, the rooms trapezoidal, where the shorter side is greater than the golden section, etc..
All of these correlations with Heaven and Earth, and the use of the golden number and the divine proportion were always present in the ancient monuments that were to perform a sacred function or in any mystery, and Castel del Monte, which probably had to symbolize the fusion of the three monotheistic religions (Christian, Jewish and Muslim), merged structure is already in the laws of the universe: astronomy, mathematics and geometry. Obeying the castle so to the relationships dictated by the sun and mathematics, could not take into account a measurement module that was implemented in all its parts because the design was not at the discretion of an architect, but it was only the harmonious development of geometric assumptions.

However there is a form of the original measure, even if it yields at once dictated the pace at which geometric kindle the castle literally like a flower, and see who is also the most proper form, the most consistent, the most noble and let us say, the most sacred. We observe first of all how did the castle from this geometry processing, which, however, coexists with the cadences astronomical confirming us that the ancient builders knew secrets that allowed them, in building monuments of particular significance to harmonize the laws of mathematics and geometry the natural astronomy and geography.

Draw four rectangles in the golden ratio, ie, have the major side and the minor in the ratio of l, 618 (like saying that if we divide the longest side to obtain the shortest 1.618) and have a cross, so as to obtain a Greek cross and a cross of S. Andrea superimposed on each other. But we imagine to be the builders to the castle, the great magistri of the Middle Ages, and finding work on the site where now stands the Castel del Monte and to dispose of the plateau on which to work. Draw four rectangles on the ground then those first giving them and precisely measures 22 m to 35.60 m for the short sides of the long ones (the reason for these measures we will find out eventually).

 We will notice right away that you draw an octagon in the center, and a second octagon, is traced to the periphery. These two octagons are the walls of the castle. But not enough because the isosceles triangles, design highlighted in black, with their heights will determine the thickness of the curtain, that is, the outer walls to the castle and the length of the hypotenuse to be the side length measured at the base of each tower and that their hooves. It must necessarily be octagonal towers because the required angle of 135 ° which lies between the pairs of triangles. It is not over because if we lead from the center of the composition of lines that pass through the points where the pairs of triangles are combined, we obtain the trapezoidal design of the rooms.

The four rectangles in the golden ratio, arranged as in the figure above, draw two octagons, one internal and one external (in bold). They determine the position of the inner and outer walls of the salt. The isosceles triangles sticking out of the octagon better determine their height with the thickness of the curtain walls to the castle with the length of the hypotenuse and the measure of the sides of the octagonal towers. Finally, a series of straight lines carried by the center of the figure and passing through the contact points of the triangles coupled determine the trapezoidal shape of the salt.

It seems clear that we did the geometry and that this process can achieve larger or smaller depending on whether larger or smaller rectangles are the golden ratio that we cause. But to get to Castel del Monte in the dimensions in which we see now we have to draw rectangles with a side of 22 m and the other of 35.60.

And we have come to solving the mystery. Those 22 meters of the shorter side of the rectangle that represents the golden section of the longer side and then the essence of the divine proportion so honored by the ancients, are nothing more than 40 sacred cubits of 55 cm each, which is the measure used by Solomon 's building of the Temple of Jerusalem.

So are two things that clamor for our reflection: the first is that the castle in its geometric development can not take account of individual measures established for the individual parts, but must follow a path required. The second is that necessarily having to give a value to the original matrix, in our case the shorter side of the rectangle in the golden ratio, we have chosen the sacred cubit of Solomon with all the esoteric meanings that flow from it and am only too obvious for dwelling on it. But why forty?

 The number 40 is particularly symbolic in the Old and New Testament and denotes the expectation and penance. Rains continued for forty days in the Flood. After the rain ended and water began to decrease and the ark stopped on Mount Ararat, Noah waited forty days before he sent out a raven. Forty days Moses spent on Mount Sinai lasted forty days fasting of Elijah. Even the fast of Jesus lasted forty days and forty days' notice to the city of Nineveh Jonah said before its destruction, however, averted because the people of Nineveh turned forty days fasting and penance. Forty days of Lent are the forty days spent by the Resurrection of Jesus Ascension Even Pythagoras fasted forty days before he died in the temple of the Muses in Metaponto, according to one of the many versions of his death. Finally forty years were spent in the desert by the Hebrews.

It seems clear that this number is bound to wait, to penance, purification with a view to conquest, to reach a goal that requires testing and is not allowed for free. That being the case number forty in the response could also be contained on the secret function of Castel del Monte as adequate - well isolated - collective meditation with all its rooms surrounded by stone seats, with no kitchens, ovens, pantries, cellars, without no real comfort apart from the toilets.

If Castel del Monte was really meant to accommodate, as a major thinking place, the knights of spirituality, only the creators of the immanent and the transcendent, the number forty (purification) was the only member of the tracking number of the groove from which he took body to another number, repeated and echoed in the architecture of the castle, the number eight, the infinity. When it became impossible to continue support for Castel del Monte military function fell back on the hunting lodge, because Frederick II, loved hunting and for such use had already built other houses. But apart from the questionable viability of the article for practical reasons that have already been many times repeated, unexplained manages a hunting lodge for such astronomy, geometry, so, so much math and with cosmic symbolism. 
Now it also adds to the usefulness of the measure adopted, the sacred cubit, which in turn forces us to those constructions and esoteric initiatory character that they were part of the time course in the kind of culture, in philosophical and religious ferment of the moment. It was also the time of the great Fibonacci, the Italian mathematician, Leonardo of Pisa who had introduced in the West Indo-arabs numbers, and talked with Frederick and scientists at his court the most abstruse mathematical problems. In this framework, enriched by the overwhelming Arab presence in the sciences, and in light of the wonderful physical evidence that Castel del Monte offers us, this monument have so admired, that demands to be admired than to be understood in its essence and presented again in its proper value ,with  deep meaning of that stone book encapsulates the most sophisticated scientific knowledge of the 13 th century. 

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