The Apparent Course of the Sun on the Exterior of the Tholos

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a) The first thing a visitor became aware of when he saw the monument was the 26 Doric columns of the peristyle. If he counted them and had some previous knowledge of astronomy, he would receive a piece of astronomical information. The 26 columns represent the Precession of Equinoxes or the Great Year.

It is the apparent regressive movement of the sun from 0 degrees of Aries to Pisces, not from Aries to Taurus. The codified number of the 26 Doric columns denotes the 26 thousand years - or to be more precise the 25,796 solar years required for the Sun to return to its starting point at 0 degrees of Aries on the vernal equinox.

The 26 columns on the outside of the building joined the floor to the ceiling.

(b) On the ceiling, a wreath with rays circumscribed the Sun's apparent course. It resembled a huge chariot wheel (the Sun's mythical "quadriga" or four-horse chariot, the four horses symbolizing the four seasons) which ran along the Zodiac Circle thus creating the Earth's day-and-night alternating periods. By advancing each day one degree on the Zodiac Circle, it creates the solar year comprising the four seasons.

by ALTANI, Researcher

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