Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Megalithic Cubit

Copyright 2002 by Athanasios G. Angelopoulos
Published in 2003 in the book METRON ARISTON
ISBN 9608286069

In April 2002, I made the first precise measurements in the Treasury of Atreus and the Gate of the Lions in Mycenae, because I was interested in the unit of length that was used by the prehistoric architects. Some ancient Greek units of length that were given by archaeologists were not accurate (or even wrong) and did not agree with the measurements that existed at that time. Also, these measurements were very few and in most cases wrong, except those of Anastasios Orlandos for the Parthenon. For example, some books and encyclopedias wrote that the ancient Greek units of length were a foot of 0.3083 m (16 daktyloi = inches of 0.0193 m), a cubit of 0.4624 m (24 daktyloi) etc. But if an inch was 0.0193 m, then the foot was 0.3088 m and the cubit 0.4632 m.

After the measurements of the first three days (24-27 April), I found that the unit of length used by the Mycenaean architects was a cubit of 0.454 m. I called this unit "the Mycenaean Cubit". However, when in the following days and months I measured some other important monuments (including Parthenon), I found that this unit had been used by the Pelasgians long time before the Mycenaeans. Therefore, I changed the name and called it "the Megalithic Cubit" (MC). The MC was also used in historical times by all initiated architects.

Definition: The Megalithic Cubit is defined as 1: 14,000,000 of the Earth's polar radius (or 1: 28,000,000 of the Earth's polar diameter. Since the radius is 6,356,775 m, the MC is equal to 0.454055 m. It is also subdivided into 28 daktyloi, inches) of 0,01622 m). Now, this number (0.454) is a lot different from the one mentioned above (0.4624). Also, the reason they chose 14 or 28 is because these numbers are related to the period of the Moon. For example, there were 14 circles above the entrance of the Treasury of Atreus (not 16 as some artists draw) and 28 stones in the first row around the tholos.

Obviously, this means that many thousands of years ago, the Pelasgians and Mycenaeans knew precisely the size of the Earth and had advanced knowledge of geometry and mathematics. The Greek word γεωμετρία (geometria > geometry) means exactly "measurement of the earth".

A few examples:

1. The width of the entrance of the Treasury of Atreus is 6 MC (2.724 m). I made about ten measurements along the entrance and the width was 2.725 +/- 0.005 m. The height is 12 MC, or twice the width.

2. The first stone on the south wall of the same entrance is 5 MC (2.27 m).

3. The width of the Gate of the Lions on the threshold (and that of the similar Gate in Tiryns) is MC (2.853 m). The width of the Gate of the Lions in the lintel is 6 MC - the same as the width of the entrance of the Treasury of Atreus.

4. The width of the doorposts in the front of this Gate is π/2 MC (0.713 ); the length of the lintel is π^2 MC (4.481 m).

5. The dimensions of the Pyramid of Akrisios and Proitos at Hellenikon, Argos, are 33 x 28 MC (14.984 x 12.714 m). The large square chamber inside the pyramid is 15 x 15 MC (6.81 x 6.81 m).

6. The dimensions of the Parthenon on the stylobates are 68 x 153 MC (30.876 x 69.47 m).

Ancient architects did not use only the number π, but also the numbers φ (golden number = 1.618034), the natural logarithm e (2.71828) and many square roots.

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