Time and Planet Earth(Click on the images to see them larger)
After comparing the two graphic representations, the astronomical celestial model and the depiction on the exterior and interior parts of the Tholos, it became obvious that it was not an accidental decorative design.
Moreover, all the codified numerals
a. Seven which is the number of the planetary courses, an allusion to Apollo's seven-string lyre,
b. Number 14 which is related to the full Moon, and
c. Number 26 an allusion to the Precession of the Equinoxes, obviously relate to the Earth.
Time cycles which have a direct effect on Earth are mainly four (Plato, Timaeus, 37e and 39c-d), of which three are ascribed to the movement of the Earth and the fourth to the movement of the Moon. The Sun is not used in determining a time cycle defining the beginning of any practical activities (such as farming work, stock breeding, sailing, etc.) or esoteric (rites connected with the full Moon, the equinoxes or the solstices).
The perception of the start and return to the same point, always within the same length of time, which is observed in nature, helps the mind to perceive the necessary details which will enable it to lead a life in harmony with nature. If, moreover, it also experiences the corresponding inner process with respect and deference, then it becomes a participant in nature's work and feels the harmonious flow which nature follows.
The harmony derived through the knowledge of the effects of the cycles of nature, which are mainly due to the movement of celestial bodies (the Earth, the Moon and other bodies), must be the reason why the astronomical Monument of the Tholos is situated in a healing centre not in an observatory.
According to Plato's Timaeus (39c), the four most important cycles are
a. The day-and-night cycle of the Earth (and of the other planets) is described on the floor of the Tholos though the alternation of white and striped rhombi. The day-and-night cycle is created by the dark planetary bodies revolving round the white stone in rhomboid, elliptical orbits. The Earth moves together with the rest of the planets. It is, in other words, equated to them in order to demonstrate that it is not the Earth that is stationary in the centre of the floor but the Sun. Clad in its whiteness, the white round stone symbolizes the Sun, the only body which is a source of light in the entire planetary system, and creates the alternation of day and night on the other dark bodies which surround it. The white stone in the centre cannot represent the Earth since our planet is a dark body subject to alternating light and darkness, day and night.
b. The Moon's monthly cycle is designated by the symbolic number 14: the num-ber of days of full Moon. The Moon's synodic month is 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.9 seconds, whereas its sidereal month is 27 days, 7 hours, 43 minutes and 11.5 seconds. The number of 14 columns and the number of intervals, another 14 i.e. 28. 28 in all, is an approximation and an allegorical expression of the two months: the Moon's synodic and sidereal months.
The Moon's cycle expressed by the 14 columns of the Corinthian order placed peripherally, marks the division of light as far as planet Earth is concerned: the Sun is the light-giver of the day and rests immobile in the centre, whilst the Moon is the light-giver of the night and moves round the circumference. On the floor design, the Moon closes the Planetary system for reasons which would be too complicated to explain in brief. (for more details see the book "Words Unspoken")
c. The solar year of 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 9.5 seconds, has a complicated and remarkable description which can be traced if we take into account all the elements contained in the pattern of the floor. It should be mentioned that ancient peoples in general had a year of 360, not 365, days. However, in order not to disturb the alternation of the seasons, each people added the approx. 5 and a quarter additional days every 4 or 5 years, depending on the ceremonies and festive days they wanted to observe.
ENUMERATION OF ELEMENTS OF THE PLANETARY SYSTEM
ON THE FLOOR OF THE THOLOS AT EPIDAURUS
Centre of Planetary Systemm, white stone, Sun
1 1st Mercury's orbit 14 striped rhombi + 14 white rhombi = 28 2nd Venus's orbit 14 striped rhombi + 14 white rhombi = 28 3rd Earth's orbit 28 striped rhombi + 28 white rhombi = 56 4th Mars's orbit 28 striped rhombi + 28 white rhombi = 56 5th Jupiter's orbit 28 striped rhombi + 28 white rhombi = 56 6th Saturn's orbit 28 striped rhombi + 28 white rhombi = 56 280 Orbit of the Moon 14 columns + 14 intervals = 28 Precession of the Equinoxes 26 columns + 26 intervals = 52 80 360 +1
The Unit - Sun, the annual Solar Cycle divides the planetary orbits into 280 planetary rhombi and and a total of 80 columns and intervals between the columns. The quotation from Heraclitus "κατά φύσιν διαιρέειν έκαστα"(to divide each in a natural way), in the 1st extract, led to the "natural" triadic division of the floor: the Unit, the planetary orbits and the two peristyles. These divisions give a precise description of the function of the four time-cycles on planet Earth.
a. The day-and-night cycle with the 280 white and striped rhombi.
b. The monthly cycle of the Moon's orbit of 14 columns and 14 intervals.
c. The annual solar cycle, the sum total of the exterior and interior sections of the floor (360+1).
d. The Great Year of 26 millennia, 26 columns and 26 intervals.
The Precession of the Equinoxes Cycle or Great Year appears on the exterior peristyle of the Tholos which consists of the 26 Doric columns.
The number 360+1 which is derived from the addition of the elements is a complicated combination covering the interior and exterior elements of the floor. The importance of Heliocentrism for the Planetary System is stressed once again not only by means of the Unit (Sun, white stone), but by all the elements depicted on the floor. At the same time, the number of 360 days of the Earth's Solar Year, with the addition of one extra day which is the beginning of the new solar year of our planet.
The foregoing description of the four cycles of time, demonstrates the natural gradual increase from the small cycle (day and night) to the great cycle (precession of the equinoxes) and gives an accurate description of the wisdom of the priests. What resourceful minds conceived such a complex combination of mathematical and astronomical observation using such simple and obvious means?
The Tholos of Epidaurus does not merely record the dual knowledge of the apparent course of the sun and its heliocentric position, but the precession of equinoxes is also described on the exterior of the Tholos as it should. In order to arrive at such knowledge, a large number of equinox precession cycles must have been recorded before the phenomenon could become perceptible and symbolized as a colonnade outside the tholos.
by ALTANI, Researcher
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