Parthenon as a New Model of the Meridian

This was published as The Geodetic And Musicological Significance Of The Shorter Side Length Of The Parthenon As Hekatompedon Or ‘Hundred-Footer’ in Music and Deep Memory: Speculations in ancient mathematics, tuning, and tradition, in memoriam Ernest G. McClain. Edited by Bryan Carr and Richard Dumbrill. pub: Lulu. photo: Steve Swayne  for Wikipedia on Parthenon.

This note responds to Kapraff and McClain’s preceding paper, in which they discover a many-faceted musical symbolism in the Parthenon. Specifically,  Ernst  Berger’s  new measurements include the shorter side of the triple pedestal of the monument as an accurate length to represent one second of the double meridian of the earth. By applying a knowledge of ancient metrology, Anne Bulckens’ doctoral derivations of a root foot can resolve to a pygme of 9/8 feet, of which one second of latitude would contain 90 such feet. However, as a ‘hundred footer’, the foot  length  should  then be 81/80 (1.0125) feet, the ratio  of  the syntonic comma. This would indicate a replacement, by Classical times, of the geographical constant of 1.01376 feet  within the model of the earth since the original model, by the late megalithic, assumed that the meridian was exactly half of the mean circumference of the earth. These alternative geographical constants co-incidentally represent the ubiquitous theme in ancient musicology of the transition between Pythagorean and  Just tunings and their respective commas of Pythagorean 1.01364 … (in metrology 1.01376) and syntonic 81/80 (1.0125).

By Classical times the term hekatompedon or ‘hundred-footer’ had evolved, to describe the ideal dimensionality of Greek peristyle temples. One of the earliest, the Heraion of Samos, came to be 100 feet long by the end of the 8th century[1], in contrast to the surface width of the Parthenon’s stylobyte which had been established as in the range 101.141 (Stuart, c.1750) to 101.341 (Penrose in 1888) feet[2].

Recent measurements in 1982 by Ernst Berger[3] found that the top surface of the stylobyte was just over 101.25 feet wide4 and that the most frequently occurring length was 857.6 mm. Anne Bulckens’[5] corresponding foot measure for this would be a step of 2.5 feet, each of 9/8 (1.125) feet, to within
one part in 2500; a foot length called a pygme within historical metrology, after the size of small men first mentioned when Herakles was travelling back from India6. The shorter ends of the Parthenon’s stylobyte would then be 90 such feet across.

However, should the two ends be divided by 100, the required foot length of 101.25 feet becomes a microvariation of the English foot, namely 81/80 (1.0125) feet, a ratio identical with the syntonic comma. This is another ratio crucial to the history of ancient tuning theory; being found between pure Pythagorean tones (9/8) and their counterparts within just tuning (10/9); when string lengths are given specific whole number lengths to specify their pitches intellectually.

1. Hurwit, Jeffrey M., (1987), The Art and Culture of Early Greece, 1100-480 B.C., Cornell: Ithaca, 74-77
2. Berriman, A.E., (1953) Historical Metrology, London:
Dent. IX, 116-120.
3. Berger, E., ed. (1986) Parthenon-Kongress Basel, 2 Vols, Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.
4. an average noted by Berriman, 119.
5. Bulckens, A.M. (1999) The Parthenon’s Main Design Proportion and its Meaning, [Ph.D. Dissertation], Geelong: Deakin University, 269 pp. ; (2001) The Parthenon’s Symmetry in Symmetry: Art and Science (Fifth Interdisciplinary Symmetry Congress and Exhibition of the ISIS-Symmetry), (Sydney, 2001), no. 1-2, pp. 38-41.
6. Philostrates of Lemnos (c. 190 – c. 230 AD) Imagines Heracles among the Pygmies, see Loeb Classical Library

A recent article by Jay Kapraff and Ernest McClain[7] observes that the width of the Parthenon symbolically defined one second of latitude (taking surface lengths as linear fractions of latitude). This implies the double meridian length was known within 0.003% of its modern estimation.

A geodetic symbolism was apparently given to shorter side length of the Parthenon, making it smaller than it would have been if modelled on the circumference of the earth as one 3,600th of one 360th part of the mean earth. If so, this geodetic meaning of the Parthenon can be compared with monuments built two thousand years earlier, such as Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza, within which the relationship of the mean earth was specified, relative to the polar radius, using the same metrological system.

The ancient model of the earth, recovered[8] by John Neal[9] and John Michell[10], used three different approximations of π to model the distortion of
the rotating planet relative to its mean, or perfectly spherical, size. In that model, the Meridian was assumed to be half the circumference of the mean earth of 44 times 126 (131,383.296) feet or 24,883.2 miles. Had the Parthenon’s builders used this model then its ends would be 101.376 feet in width and one hundredth of this would be a foot of 1.01376 feet, the foot known as the ‘Standard Geographical’ Greek foot[11].

The mean circumference of the earth (24,883.2 miles) and the actual double meridian length (24,859.868 miles) are in the same ratio as the geographical foot of 1.01376 (3168/3125) and 1.0125 feet: the 81/80 foot measure that makes the Parthenon’s 101.25 feet a ‘hundred footer’. It is therefore reasonable to assume that, between the building of Stonehenge and Great Pyramid (by 2,500 B.C.) and the building of the Parthenon (designed by 447 B.C.), a more accurate
measurement of the Meridian had superseded the previous assumption, within the old model, that the Meridian was half the length of the mean earth circumference.

7. The Proportional System of the Parthenon, in preparation for the In Memoriam volume for Ernest McClain (1918-2014)
8. Michell by 1980 and Neal, fully formed, by 2000.
9. Neal, John (2000) All Done With Mirrors, Secret Academy, London.
10. Michell, John (1982) Ancient Metrology, Pentacle Books, Bristol, 1982; (2008 new ed.) Dimensions of Paradise, Inner Traditions: Rochester.

Further to this, one can see how the transition from Pythagorean to just tuning systems[12] is strangely present in the relationship between the mean earth circumference and the actual meridian length, since the geographical constant of 1.01376 is near identical to the Pythagorean comma of 1.0136433 while the (chosen) ratio of 1.0125 is the syntonic comma and this, times 100, is near identical to the actual length of one second of latitude which would be 100 times 1.0128 feet[13], just one third of an inch different from a more
modern result.

The Parthenon ‘Hundred footer’ was able to dimensionally reference one second of the Meridian by having its shorter sides one hundred feet of 1.0125 feet long. Aligned to north, this presented accurate Classical knowledge of the
Meridian’s length. The monument expresses other musicological features via its metrology: the 81/80 foot unit is 125/128 of the Athenian foot of 1.0368 feet, a musical interval called the minor diesis, also found within just intonation and equaling the deficiency of three major thirds to the octave

12 The latter prevalent in other aspects of the monument, see Kappraff, J. and McClain, E.G. (2005: Spring–Fall) The Proportions of the Parthenon: A work of musically inspired architecture, Music in Art: International Journal for Music Iconography, Vol. 30/1–2.
13 A non-harmonic 79/78 feet.

The Approximation of π on Earth

π is a transcendental ratio existing between a diameter/ radius and circumference of a circle. A circle is an expression of eternity in that the circumference, if travelled upon, repeats eternally. The earths shape would be circular if the planet did not spin. Only the equator is now circular and enlarged, whilst the north and south poles have a shrunken radius and, in pre-history, the shape of the earth’s Meridian between the poles was quantified using approximations of π as was seen in the post before last. In some respects, the Earth is a designed type of planet which has to have a large moon, 3/11 of the earth’s size and a Meridian of such a size that the diverse biosphere can be created within the goldilocks region of the Sun’s radiance.

It would be impossible to quantify the earth as a physical object without the use of approximations to π, a technique seen as emerging in Crucuno between its dolmen and famous {3 4 5} Rectangle where the 32 lunar months in 945 days was used, through manipulation of proximate numbers to rationalize the lunar month to 27 feet (10 Drusian steps) within which days could be counted using one Iberian foot (of 32/35 feet) as described here and in my Sacred Geometry book.

John Michell (1983) saw that different types of foot had longer and shorter versions, different by one 175th part and corresponding to the north-south width of two parallels of latitude: 51-52 degrees, which is the mean earth degree, and 10-11 degrees. The ratio 176/175 is interesting as for its primes.

  1. The harmonic primes {2 3 5} are 16/25 times 11/7.
  2. The 11/7 is half of the pi of 22/7 and the harmonic ratio is the inverse of 25/8.

From this it is clear that these two latitudes are related by the approximation to 1 of a π (22/7) and a reciprocal 1/π (8/25).

But John Neal (2000) saw that some feet also expressed 441/440 which is the ratio between the mean radius of the earth and its polar radius, visually clear in the Great Pyramid. This ratio is also the cancellation of two different πs, namely 63/20 and 7/22 since 7 x 63 = 441 and 20 x 22 = 440. From this emerged an ancient model of the earth that was embodied within the ancient metrology itself. I call this the metrological model rather than the (earlier) geometrical model based upon equal perimeters and the singular π of 22/7.

The metrological model gave a set of regular reference latitudes that accurately defined the geoid of the planet’s meridian by 2,500 BC. One can ask how those developing the model came across the idea of using proximate ratios of π like 176/175 and 441/440, since the system works so well that one may say that the meridian appears to have been designed that way.

The geometric model already defined the mean radius as 3960 miles and so that gives a mean earth meridian of 22 x twelve to the power six. One 180th of this gives a degree length of 364953.6 feet and this is only found at the parallel 51-52 degrees. It is this that defines the megalithic in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, an obvious candidate for the metrological survey whose complementary latitude was probably 175/176 of this (362880 feet) in Ethiopia, south of the Great Pyramid. The parallel of the Great Pyramid is 441/440 longer (362704.72) than that of Ethiopia while Athens and Delphi are 440/441 of the mean earth and Stonehenge parallel, that is 364126 feet.

This system was first set by Neal in All Done With Mirrors 2000 as I was writing my first book Matrix of Creation. Are we to think Neal made it up or are we dealing with an exact science that had developed through the megalithic enterprise. And if the Egyptians had an exact science of the earth’s geiod, what are we to make of the fact that the earth appears to follow such a numerically inspired pattern of relationships still true today, in the age of global positioning satellites.

One clue lies in the mind, and how ancient number sciences focus holistically upon the balancing mean. A mean earth that did not spin never existed, since it was only the collision with another planet which created the Moon 3/11 smaller than the Earth. The mean earth radius is these days established as the cube root of the equatorial radius squared times the polar radius. This is less, by 3024/3025, than the geometric model’s mean earth radius of 3960 miles, again maintaining rationality.

It would appear that, in entering the physical and spatial, any planetary design might have been based upon precise rational approximations, about the mean size, of π. To this mystery must be added the musical harmony of the outer planets to the Moon, the Fibonacci harmony of Venus to the Earth itself and the extraordinary numerical relationships of planetary time created by the Sun, Moon and Earth documented by my heavily-diagrammed books and website. From this, more and more can be understood about our prehistory and about its monuments.

Books on Ancient Metrology

  1. Berriman, A. E. Historical Metrology. London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1953.
  2. Heath, Robin, and John Michell. Lost Science of Measuring the Earth: Discovering the Sacred Geometry of the Ancients. Kempton, Ill.: Adventures Unlimited Press, 2006. Reprint edition of The Measure of Albion.
  3. Michell, John. Ancient Metrology. Bristol, England: Pentacle Press, 1981.
  4. Neal, John. All Done with Mirrors. London: Secret Academy, 2000.
  5. —-. Ancient Metrology. Vol. 1, A Numerical Code—Metrological Continuity in Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron Age Europe. Glastonbury, England: Squeeze, 2016 – read 1.6 Pi and the World.
  6. —-. Ancient Metrology. Vol. 2, The Geographic Correlation—Arabian, Egyptian, and Chinese Metrology. Glastonbury, England: Squeeze, 2017.
  7. Petri, W. M. Flinders. Inductive Metrology. 1877. Reprint, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

The Broch that Modelled the Earth

Summary

In the picture above [1] the inner profile of the thick-walled Iron-Age broch of Dun Torceill is the only elliptical example, almost every other broch having a circular inner court. Torceill’s essential data was reported by Euan MacKie in 1977 [2]: The inner chamber of the broch is an ellipse with axes nearly 23:25 (and not 14:15). The actual ratio directly generates a metrological difference, between the major and minor axis lengths, of 63/20 feet. When multiplied by the broch’s 40-foot major axis, this π-like yard creates a length of 126 feet which, multiplied again by π as 22/7, generates 396 feet. If each of these feet represented ten miles, this number is an accurate approximation to the mean radius of the Earth, were it a sphere.

The two ratios involved, 22/7 and 63/20, each an approximation to π, become 9.9 (99/100) when they are multiplied together, as an approximation to π squared.  Figure 1 shows that these two ratios, if 22/7 differently used as its reciprocal 7/22, also generates the ratio between the mean and polar radii of the Earth, since 63/20 x 7/22 = 441/440. The ancient Meridian length could be calculated from 396 when multiplied by using the most accurate rational π noted by Fibonacci as 864/275. The 396 units, of 10 miles per foot, was a practical distance to have realized in the megalithic without arithmetic, to store the 3960 mile mean radius of the earth, since the mile of 5280 feet is 4/3 of 3960; that is, 396 x 4/3 equals 528, implying that this model was conceived of within a decimal framework but without the base-10 positional notation of arithmetic. We show that the methods of calculation used can only have seen numbers-as-lengths as being composed of factors of just the first five prime numbers {2 3 5 7 11} and that this limitation upon numbers created a metrology in which fractional units of measure could manipulate lengths to multiply and divide them through addition and subtraction of the powers of these primes.

Marc Calhoun’s picture from the Island (picture from his blog)

Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Introduction.
  3. Main Thesis.
  4. Pre-arithmetic Calculation using Powers of {2 3 5 7 11}
  5. Combining Prime Number Composites.
  6. Appendix 1 Extract from Science and Society in Prehistoric Britain.
  7. Appendix 2: Preface: The Metrology of the Brochs.
  8. Metrological Bibliography.
Continue reading “The Broch that Modelled the Earth”

Walking on the Moon

There are plans to walk again on the moon (above is a NASA visualization), but there is a sense in which the surface of the moon belongs to the surface of the earth, since the earth’s circumference is 4 times the mean diameter of the earth, minus the moon’s circumference.

The Earth and Moon were formed out of an early collision which left the two bodies in an unusual relationship to one another, in more ways than one. Here we discuss the diameter (and circumference) of each body as a sphere as being in the ratio 11 to 3. The diameter of the Moon is 2160 miles so that the common unit is 720 miles (the harmonic constant) and the diameter of the spherical mean earth would be 7920 miles.

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Developmental Roots below 6

Square roots turn out to have a strange relationship to the fundaments of the world. The square root of 2, found as the diagonal of a unit square, and the square root of 3 of the diametric across a cube; these are the simplest expressions of two and three dimensions, in area and volume. This can be shown graphically as:

The first two roots “open up” the possibilities of
three-dimensional space.
Continue reading “Developmental Roots below 6”

The Octon of 4 Eclipse Years

Having seen, in the last post, that three eclipse years fitted into the three-year count at Le Manio, another eclipse fact has come to light, recorded within the nearby site of Crucuno, between its dolmen and rectangle. The coding of time at Crucuno was an evolution of a new metrology based upon the English foot in which, the right triangle of longest integer side lengths was replaced by fractions of a foot using the same two numbers as the sides would have had. This allowed the measurement of a time period to be simultaneously seen in both days and months. That this was possible can be seen at Le Manio, where it could be noticed that 32 lunar months equaled exactly 945 day-inches.

Continue reading “The Octon of 4 Eclipse Years”