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2005-05-04 Awarded High Honors r/4-/or Professor S.The Transmission of Medieval Mathematics and the Origins of Gothic Architecture A Senior Honors Thesis in the Departments of Mathematics and Art History Sweet Briar College by Elizabeth Jane Glen Defended and Approved April 15. Thesis Advisor ^ <^£y Professor T. Hamilton ^fe . Wassell.

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2005 Awarded High Honors Kim Williams. Outside Reader .The Transmission of Medieval Mathematics and the Origins of Gothic Architecture A Senior Honors Thesis in the Departments of Mathematics and Art History Sweet Briar College by Elizabeth Jane Glen Defended and Approved April 15.

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architectural thought from the Islamic Empire through Spain to the rest of Western Europe. Studying the impact of mathematics on architecture and the transmission of thought from east to west invites the idea that these topics are connected through the changing architecture of the West: the birth of High Gothic as exemplified Cathedral. Likewise. Isfahan. two seemingly separate fields. This growth in mathematics clearly impacted the design and construction of one building in particular: the Friday Mosque of Isfahan. Its misnomer. Politics and religion being synonymous in the empire. the mathematics available to craftsmen in France (Euclidian geometry) impacted the Cathedral of Chartres a century This crucial time period also saw the transmission of mathematical and later. and architects benefit from new mathematical tools to solve problems each other in design and construction. Their dependency upon is particularly clear during the medieval period. The to the center of mathematical learning had moved from Greece Arabian Peninsula. Mathematics flourishes when practical results are in demand.1 Introduction: Mathematics and art history. and aristocrats that was summarized and learned only by the few monks and who achieved a high level of education. where the new Islamic empire had become prosperous enough to encourage learning. ultimately relate to and complement one another through the medium of architecture. is reflected in the absence of growth in mathematics in Western Europe during Little was retained from Greek mathematicians. "Dark Ages. in Chartres The transmission of thought begins with the Islamic Empire and the capital of the Seljuqid Caliphate. An Empire with . the capitals of Caliphates became centers of religion and learning as well." that time.

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With this knowledge. His articles "Omar Khayyam. a German Master Mason. Levy. Ozdural found specific instances where these mathematical proofs could be applied to the Friday Mosque of Isfahan. especially as religious doctrine supported practical applications of knowledge.rapidly growing wealth and little to fear was the ideal place to sponsor mathematicians. performing an . The influence of contemporary mathematicians on the reconstruction of the Friday Mosque of Isfahan has been studied at length by Alpay Ozdural. in an appendix to Otto von Simpson's The Gothic Cathedral. A handbook by Matthaus Roriczer. Also using octagons. From documents recording these meetings. Studied in much wider circles is the seductive topic of the mathematical secrets of Medieval Master masons. based almost entirely on octagons. The manuscripts of Villard de Honnecourt contain glimpses of the mathematics used in measuring and cutting stones for construction as well as the tools used in the process. scholars such as George Lesser and Ernst Levy attempt to determine the geometrical constructions which govern Chartres Cathedral. His term conversazioni refers to the meetings between artisans and mathematicians in which practical mathematical solutions to architectural and decorative problems were shared. to construct blueprints describes the methods used by masons which were expanded for construction by using geometric relationships instead of fine measurements to scale. for Mathematicians. Lesser's Gothic Cathedrals and Sacred Geometry gives a detailed description of a possible geometry of Chartres Cathedral. and 'Conversazioni' with Artisans" and Architecture: "A Mathematical Sonata Omar Khayyam and the Friday Mosque of Isfahan" serve to construct the argument at the that mathematics had a direct immediate impact on the construction occurring Friday Mosque.

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the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. they quickly brought advanced new mathematics. including many which depend mostly on numerology. both in the Friday Mosque of Isfahan and in Islamic buildings in Moorish Spain. but the evolution of Gothic depended upon certain technical tools available to the masons. called texts including Moors. and skilled artisans to build Mosques for the new Muslim population. Arthur Upham Pope describes the use of ribbed vaults. In his chapter. While Gothic architecture was beginning flowing freely from the East by to evolve in France. overtook southern Spain. new ideas were way of Spain. many subjects. The transmission of mathematics is easily reconstructed through monks such as Gerbert. These students then traveled back spreading the knowledge they had learned and bringing with them translations of ancient Greek and new Islamic that texts. who traveled to Spain to expand their knowledge on to their cities. pointed arches and flying buttresses as essential to Gothic architecture and as seen previously in Islamic architecture. The geometry behind instead of geometry which is the focus of this study. including mathematics. and elevation of the cathedral as well as decorative elements such as the famous labyrinth on the cathedral and a devotion floor. facade. the construction of Chartres is intricate and required abundant creativity and knowledge of the physical forces involved. After the Arabs in Northern Africa. The same geometrical relationships can be used to describe the floor plan. The theories described here were chosen for continuity to the geometrical roots of the architectural plans. "Possible Iranian .analysis of the south tower of the facade of Chartres Cathedral. More elusive is the transmission of architectural elements would make High Gothic architecture possible. Competing and complimentary theories abound.

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. Surely it is plausible then. allowing the availability of new technology to influence the rise of Gothic architecture. the plans of the Friday From Mosque of Isfahan and Chartres Cathedral. Found in the collection Beitrage zw Kunstgeschichte Asiens in memory of Ernst Diez (Istanbul: University of Istanbul.4 Contributions to the Beginning of Gothic Architecture." Pope describes the Friday 1 Mosque of Isfahan as an exemplary example of the Islamic architectural tradition which may have influenced the changing architecture in France. we can determine the strong mathematical relationship between elements that helps create such awe-inspiring religious buildings. that the influx of new mathematical knowledge to Western Europe would have the same impact on architecture. 1-31. 1963).

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Victor J. translated also foreign works and created opportunities for collected and translated new research. at the turn Caliph Al-Rashid established a library in the capital century. The works of many Greek scholars came by way of academics fleeing the persecution of their ideas at the academies of Athens and Alexandria. the Far East. ." Islamic culture was an ideal laboratory for the combination of mathematical is knowledge. The Algebra of Omar Khayyam (New York: Columbia University. and texts from of the ninth all over the world were collected for the first time.Chapter 1: Mathematics and Islam The Islamic religion spread from Mecca throughout the Arabian Peninsula. 1993). quickly became wealthy and peaceful enough through its conquests to become an intellectual center. and Hindu trigonometry came together of scholarship in Arabia. the research institute that was founded by Al-Rashid' s successor. Daoud S. The House of Wisdom works from India. Apollonius. faiths. A History of Mathematics: An Introduction (New York: HarperCollins. once the Islamic Empire spread cover several continents. Baghdad. Islamic religious doctrine in its purest form (though seldom applied) " To find examples of the more advanced mathematics made available through these texts. The works of Euclid. see: 13. 224. Katz. beginning with Mecca and then converting followers from other territories and occupying the of those to who did not convert. In this way. 1931). Kasir. Greek mathematics. Babylonian in a renaissance scribal tradition. the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate in 766. al-Ma'Mun. Like that of the Romans. it was divided under various rulers. Archimedes. and northern Africa. Diophantus and Ptolemy were all translated and assimilated into Islamic Academia through the work of the Bayt al-Hikma? Translated as the "House of Wisdom".

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Swetz. 6 A." Islam." Mathematics Teacher 76 (Dec. Arndt. 4 were accomplished by complex finger-bending and "006. 1994). so Islamic and other mathematicians were supported by caliphs and religious authorities. and responded by invoking for their religion and praising God in their treatises. and He hath appointed the night for stillness. http://www. 234. Easily the most well known of early Islamic mathematicians. Islam viewed secular knowledge as a path knowledge. The and lives and works of Islamic mathematicians contrast with both the mathematicians in Europe. . From Five Fingers to Infinity: A Journey through the History of Mathematics (US: Open Court Publishing.B.tolerant to other religions and cultures. tc/cgi-bin/quran/qsearch. This superior religious freedom allowed them greater support to continue their work and direction towards practical problems. and therefore trigonometry advanced quickly. Al-khwarizmi (7806 c. One common practical application of mathematics was astronomy. resulting in many useful applications. a field Islam held in higher standing than theoretical math. Reprinted in Frank J. the Wise. 1983): 668-70. as utility was looked upon well by religious leaders. We have detailed Our revelations for a people who have knowledge. 289. Until the adoption of the Hindu calculations number system. Greek theorists later who were opposed by the church.096 He is the Cleaver of the Daybreak. 006. tc. Creating practical applications work was another religious byproduct of mathematics.." March 7. "Al-Khwarizmi.pl?surah=006 (accessed 2005). islam. incorporating to holy their knowledge. 850) provided the foundation for modern algebra. which were allowed to live under the caliph and mathematical participate in the research at the House of Wisdom. That is the measuring of the Mighty. 1992). and the sun and the moon for reckoning. Howard Eves. Islamic mathematicians of this time are credited with using all six 4 trigonometric functions and deriving 5 new formulas for spherical trigonometry. An Introduction to the History of Mathematics (USA: Saunders College Publishing. "The 5 Cattle.097 And He it is Who hath set for you the stars that ye may guide your course by them amid the darkness of the land and the sea.

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divide. he will find it same and thus proceed. . though all equations he studied had positive roots and coefficients. also commissioned a work on equations from al-Khwarizmi. . and take square roots. mathematicians and calculators previously memorized every step as they worked with their fingers and an abacus. Al-khwarizmi wrote a practical review of Hindu Astronomical tables and a text on how to use the Hindu number system to add.memorization. and little keeping of the heart busy with the working that he has to see between his hands. Though this prohibits very elaborate calculations." The caliph Al-Mamun. responsible for the founding of the House of Wisdom. "to restore. ." Al-Khwarizmi named the process of moving numbers from one side of an equation to another "restoration. and included whole numbers zero through nine and fractions as we use them today. commented. subtract. title. necessitating each step be erased before another begins. quick. This number system became modern Arabic numerals. resulting in Al-Kitab Al-jabr wa 7 the muqabalah. This translated as The Book on Restoration and Canceling formed . and if it and busies himself with something else. These numerals were written on a dust board for calculations. he leaves the . This manual was also practical — it developed solutions to quadratic equations by separating them into specific classes of characteristics. multiply. "Most the mathematician Abu 1-Hasan al-Uqlidisi scribes will have to use it because it is easy. 226." building on Greek geometry and Babylonian proofs to create the basis of first real modern algebra. The solutions to many of these formulas Katz. As the Hindu numerals slowly gained popularity. use of the modern term Algebra from Al-jabr. . A History of Mathematics. when he turns back to it.

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Abu al-Wafa developed the method of solving geometrical problems with one opening of the compass. A History of Mathematics. 10 [bid." in UNESCO Courier (Nov. a big step for the mathematical world. This flexibility allowed the applications of this new to be more diverse." He also did a geometric study on how to find the vertices of regular polyhedra 11 on its circumscribed spheres. (See Appendix A. a late tenth century astronomer from Nishapur. His proof of the Pythagorean Theorem is also described as "How to create a square using three squares. 1989): 37. An Introduction to the History of Mathematics. Like most Islamic mathematicians. Eves. and solving algebraic problems by constructing a square equivalent to other squares.) His his proofs into a practical contemporary al-Biruni developed method for finding the direction of the quibla. the direction of prayer to Mecca. he always used words numbers and Roshdi Rashed. . moved to Baghdad to the new capital Isfahan to be part of the intellectual movement that had encouraged al-Khwarizmi's work. an unknown algebra or a geometrical magnitude. Like al-Khwarizmi.X are geometric proofs combined with basic algebra. learning from and improving his development of the rule of four tangent function and table of sines and tangents. 275. his focus was on practical applications. in his case. 234. "Where Geometry and Algebra Intersect. Abu and then al-Wafa. An algebraic expression in al-Khwanzmi's work could represent a number. 9 Katz. 257. From Five Fingers to Infinity. using compasses of to describe fixed opening. Al-Wafa translated works from Diophantus. Reprinted Swetz. trigonometry for astronomical calculations.. His quantities" described triangles work on "The 9 on spheres using trigonometry.

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Khayyam made immediate advances it in the world of science. 1931). A particular proof of the Pythagorean Theorem from the latter will be discussed in the next chapter. surveying. 2. Khayyam's mathematical work transactions. allowing Khayyam to study problems with a wide base of applications. Is Necessary from the Science of Arithmetic for Scribes and Businessmen and Kitab fima yahtaj ilayh al-sani 'min al-a'mal al-Handasiyha. he was one of the most in influential Islamic mathematicians of the Middle Ages. architecture. and not replicated again for was soon accepted as the national calendar. Omar Khayyam as a The name al-Khayyami poet. his Book on What . which also influenced by a later mathematician. where "n" is '* Daoud S. The Algebra of Omar Khayyam (NY: Columbia University. This feat. how his mathematical work influenced businessmen and artisans. commercial his and as we will discuss later. related to astronomy. Theorem is used to expand binomials of the form (a + by . along with how was it influenced artisans and the construction of the Friday Mosque of Isfahan. he was supported by Caliph Malikshah throughout his research. law. but is now most closely associated with more importantly. Book on What Is Necessary from Geometric Construction for the Artisan are practical workbooks showing . but made many other advances of note.unknowns in his proofs. many years. The Binomial a positive integer. Born 1048 during the Seljuk dynasty in Iran. pleased the Caliph who continued his patronage unconditionally. as the Hindu numerals were still new and not widely used. Invited to Isfahan to run the national observatory. Kitab fimayahtaj ilayhi al-kuttab wa'l-'ummal min 'Urn al-hisab. He is well-known for solutions to cubic equations. Kasir. Omar Khayyam. He developed a it calendar so accurate 12 lost only one day in 5000 years. .

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51 (Apr. "Geometry and Algebra.) The generalized solution to these types of third-degree equations was wrongly attributed to Descartes.." Mathematics Teacher From Five Fingers to Infinity. which had otherwise been credited to Michael Stifel in 1544. three which at the same time provided a new model for the formulation of equations. Roshdi Rashed. -and Thou. or failing that." 3 D. a Loaf of Bread. (See Appedix B. of cubic equations. . "to go beyond the specific cases represented by a particular form of cubic equation. Khayyam show followed in the footsteps of al-Khwarizmi by using geometric proofs to the solutions of his fourteen classes of cubic equations. 37. For Khayyam. Khayyam alludes to a book he had already written on binomial His solutions expansion. 16 "A Jug of Wine. significantly improving on the work of Archimedes. in Reprinted 14 Swetz. remain the most important of his accomplishments.. (he) developed a theory of algebraic equations of a degree. Mathematician. 1990). and his far reaching applications into many areas.J. from the aphorism.. These proofs use intersections of circles and parabolas (conies) to describe the roots of the cubic equations. "Omar Khayyam. he is recognized by the vast majority as only the author of the Rubaiyat. however. 15 [bid. The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (New York :Dover. 16 Edward Fitzgerald. Struik.". 1958): 280-284. stanza 12. 299." 15 For all Omar Khayyam's crucial advances in the world of mathematics.10 In his book on Algebra.

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1966). 1). Iran Opportunities for academic growth in the Islamic Empire resulted from the establishment of new capitals and the centralization of wealth to encourage academics and architecture. was appointed to rule the Caliphate. familiar in later Iranian architecture. its culture quickly became sophisticated in the arts and The main architectural characteristic of the Seljuk period is the brickwork that became popular as a method of decoration is to create texture and contrast. . while army extended borders of Seljuk territory to the borders of China. replacing Baghdad. This the allowed Malikshah to be a patron of the arts and sciences. The four-Iwan plan references by four walls. Surrounding 17 Wilfrid Blunt. the Masjid-I-Jami (fig.11 Chapter 2: The North Dome of the Friday Mosque of Isfahan. Caliph Malikshah. the replacement of an eighth-century version. A popular example of this three-dimensional brickwork Isfahan. the empire succeeded militarily while architecture. centered in the city plan was the ninth- century version of the Friday Mosque of Isfahan. The building what we the Seljuks saw. His father's vizier. The city of Isfahan in present-day Iran was occupied by the Seljuks in 1051 and quickly became the capital of the empire. it was their changes to the mosque form that created the four-Iwan plan. oversaw state business and military his affairs. did not resemble think of as a mosque 8 today. Nizam-ul-Mulk. the North Dome of the Friday mosque of When Malikshah moved to Isfahan. A large central court is surrounded that is typically covered with elaborate geometric mosaics. The ninth-century mosque had a large central court with a low flat roof supported on baked brick columns. in 1072 though his power was less significant than his predecessors. With this arrangement. each of a style popular in mosques to which includes an I wan or vaulted room this day. Isfahan: Pearl of Persia (New York: Stein and Day. 30. the grandnephew of the original leader of the Seljuks. In fact.

12

the hypostyle court

**were external blind arches. This columned
**

mihrab, the holy wall

in the direction

hall

contained a larger

aisle leading to the

**of Mecca, but no other
**

in a

structures.

The

short brick

columns and walls were covered

smooth

plaster coating,

perhaps painted like other mosques with a similar form. The Seljuks added a row of

**columns around the exterior and replaced the smooth
**

19

plaster with brick decoration in

relief.

The

large South

Dome chamber was

added

in the front

**of the mihrab, as was a
**

hall, creating

domed

square to the north. Then Iwans were added on the sides of the

an

open court

the South

(fig. 2).

The four Iwan plan

creating a courtyard, the elaborate brickwork and

Dome

created the earliest

known example of the

standard Iranian

mosque

plan,

duplicated in

many

later

mosques. The South

Dome was

reportedly built as a sanctuary

in

**honor of the vizier Nizam-ul-Mulk, but no other mosque plans include a North Dome,
**

its

and

purpose has continued

to

be a mystery. The exterior of the mosque

is

very plain,

**with no exterior decoration or facade; instead,
**

the delineation

it is

the square of the Iwans that provides

between exterior and

interior (fig. 3).

The

only where

traditional square hypostyle plan with a flat

wooden roof can be seen today

it

was incorporated

into

numerous reconstructions/

built at virtually the

Two

of the

first

additions, the north

**and South Domes, were
**

(fig.

same time but have very

little in

**common. The South Dome,
**

is

4)

which became

part of traditional

mosque

structure in later medieval Iran,

characteristic of later

**domes, made of plain brick,
**

is

partially decorated with plaster.

The North Dome, however,

an example of the best

brickwork of the Seljuk period as well as of extraordinary structure and decoration

(fig.

"Relief.

.

.

Term

applied to objects or processes in which the design, image or motif projects from a

flat

surface," "Relief,"

Grove Art Online, http://www.groveart.com (Oxford University

Press,

Accessed 23 March

2005).

20

John D. Hoag, Islamic Architecture (New York: Abrams, 1977), 94-95.

The North Dome.groveart. any of several devices by which a square or polygonal room has its upper corners filled in to form a support for a dome." "squinch. 33 feet in length and width and 66 feet high. Technical perfection is only one element of its appeal. The dome itself fits into the space of a relatively small double cube.13 5). a transition zone.""" tympanum They create tessellations (repeating patterns) out of already geometrically patterned tiles (fig. "achieved a structural consonance and a hierarchy of ordered parts not again approached 21 it Squinch: in architecture. Other decorations panels.britannica. but also a variety of textures to accentuate some panels and allow others to recede. . 2005)." between the square head or lintel of a door or window and the round or pointed discharging arch above "Tympanum. http://www.com. Each line is geometrically precise. they have been transformed into arches that bridge the square with the trefoil dome visually as well as structurally. and then to the dome (fig. 6). The gray brick fabric creates a single shelled dome." Encyclopedia Britannica from Encyclopaedia Britannica Premium Service. so perfect in its weight built in distribution that it has not suffered a crack in the 900 years since it was an earthquake-ridden country. simple door.com/eb/article?tocld=9069297 (Accessed March 22 7. The bricks are laid into the walls not only to create patterns and ribbing. Accessed 23 March . the space it. 7). http://www. "Tympanum. (Oxford University Press. squinches are not simply a means to an end. combined with the simple beauty of the dome." Grove Art 2005). the forms created by ribs are almost perfect include terracotta inlays inside the in shape and measurement. Online. The square The base rises to corner squinches. it creates an awe-inspiring space. . Access to the dome is through a modest hallway and a small.

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" The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. can be seen directly in the Friday mosque. and 5 that artisans brought particular questions for the describe these mathematicians to solve. or through conversazioni during which they described their ideas to the artisans. Mathematicians. 1995): 54-71. Three- 2i John D.14 until the high gothic of thirteenth-century France. (See Appendix C. Islamic Architecture (New York: Abrams." Writings by Abu TWafa and Omar Khayyam meetings and provide a written record of the types of problems which would be presented to the artisans. or by using the shapes created by it. resulting from this proof can be seen on the west Iwan of the Friday Mosque in the mosaic patterns (fig. and Conversazioni with Artisans. Abu Al-Wafa and Omar Khayyam.) By using repetitions of the geometrical shape used in Wafa's proof. In one particular conversazioni.. Vol. 54." 23 It is this advanced form that leads art historians to search for a separate architect for the North Dome than for the south. and 24 either of them may have worked on the Mosque in person. There is evidence that these conversazioni took place on the worksite as well. Abu TWafa's geometric proof of the Pythagorean theorem yielded a particularly useful method of constructing geometric patterns. or almonds. No. "Omar Khayyam. 94-95. The famous kite-shapes. Alpay Ozdural describes meetings between skilled artisans and mathematicians in order to use sophisticated mathematics such as geometry and conies to complete the patterns used for mosaics and murqarnas (stalactite) ceilings. 8). At these meetings mathematical proofs also expressed in practical would not only be shared between mathematicians but the craftsman ways to who could use them. repeating patterns can be formed for decorative purposes. . Conversazioni is the term used by Alpay Ozdural to describe meetings between mathematicians and artisans. (Mar. Mathemeticians. In Omar Khayyam. 1977). Hoag. 1. 25 Alpay Ozdural. and 'Conversazioni with Artisans. The work of two mathematicians.

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Omar Khayyam came for Sultan to Isfahan in 1074 in order to run the National Observatory Malikshah and create a more accurate calendar. Though Abu al-Wafa's contributions most likely came from conversazioni about his published works. stalactite ceilings. 9). "Muqamas Visualization at the IWR. also known as architecture. adding the at Isfahan. . (See Appendix D. an untitled treatise and a commentary on Euclid." Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing.) The application of Khayyam's proof to the Friday mosque. though more the difficult to see. and their construction may have overlapped.15 dimensional almonds are also one of the six main components of later murqarnas ceilings 26 (fig. appears to have been Omar Khayyam much more direct. http://www. are a common form of ceiling decoration in Islamic They typically consist of three-dimensional combinations of geometric shapes that combine to form a pattern that projects downward in into the room. he commented on the North Dome "To attain such precision aligning the dome let axis with one of the arches would be a difficult task using modern technology. studied a survey of the Friday When Alpay Ozdural mosque taken in 1 974. Murqarnas ceilings. Such Yvonne Dold-Samplonius.iwr. The construction of North Dome began soon after the South.uni-heidelberg. 2005). is more important to the essence of the building. Soon after this calendar was adopted in 1079. construction began on the renovation of the Friday Mosque.de/groups/ngg/Muqarnas/animations/almond_anim. alone that of the eleventh century. but modern surveys indicate the differences are pronounced. The untitled treatise contains a proof for creating a triangle with special properties by using conies and cubic equations. See Dold-Samplonius for mathematical and graph architects realized theoretic analysis for the ways which the Islamic two dimensional tessellations in the three-dimensional murqarnas ceilings.gif (Accessed March 7. During this time Khayyam had also completed his famous book on algebra. South Dome. the influence of another mathematician.

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" Technology and Culture. the applications of his triangle proof. was largely responsible for its A speculative reason why his name 27 Alpay Ozdural.is followed by who in turn is followed by the wage laborer. he was the most likely figure to construction. ." 27 The South Dome. 28 Gulru Necipoglu. The to pentagonal star design on the interior of the dome made it the first dome be decorated in such a way (fig.. pt. the master builder . the musical proportions of which correspond exactly have influenced its North Dome's structure. someone who oversaw the construction with as much accuracy To create or even follow such complex. were so close together it is doubtful one group would be more skilled than another.is very unusual for a Seljuqid building. from a leader. No." 28 As Omar Khayyam to the had just released his proof. 1998): 708. . The geometrical properties of pentagons were not commonly studied by the eleventh century. Khayyam's understanding of the pentagon. and in general the extreme trigonometric indicate he skill necessary to create a building with such exact proportions design. This indicates that the increased skill and exactitude came as possible. in fact not precise enough for mathematical analysis to be meaningful. but their inclusion in Khayyam's writings indicates an intimate knowledge with the shape. (Oct.. indicates that mathematicians could have directly led such construction. more specifically Omar Khayyam. 4. "A Mathematical Sonata for Architecture: Omar Khayyam and the Friday Mosque of Isfahan. . Vol. Geometry and of Mathematical Sciences (Santa Monica. "the geometer with his science. . Al-Isfizari.16 precision. a contemporary mathematician. 39. "The Topkapi the contribution Scroll: Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture". 1995): 140. 10). was not as precise. however. 4. Other elements of the design also indicate a mathematician's influence. mathematically demanding plans would have required the input of a knowledgeable leader such as the architect or even a mathematician. Calif. This variation was unlikely to have as the construction periods come from that the artisans who built the domes.

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Omar was stripped of power and lost the protection from the Caliphate he had previously enjoyed. and his name rejected by the religious community to this.17 was not associated with the building is his fall after Malikshah's death. as his brother and sons disputed the title. The death of the Caliph plunged the empire into a period of civil war. A new surge of religious fanaticism resulted in an outcry against his poetry. His calendar was abolished. some of which was considered heretical. only to then lose it to a series of turbulent governments. Due association between his new ruler may have expunged all name and an important direct attribution. the and removed from public documents. Without his patron. His third son Sanjar eventually seized the throne. Even without the mosaics and North clear that there are mathematical roots in Dome of the Friday Mosque of Isfahan. . it is religious building such as the Friday Mosque.

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It must also be noted in that the Greeks themselves considered only speculative thought as worthy of inclusion the liberal arts. Until the end of the tenth century. arithmetical knowledge was based on Nicomachus. The study of the seven was not equal. and lost significance again in the rise of Christian society. who focused on elementary Pythagorean mathematics and numerical . Christianity refused to accept heathen ideas until after paganism did not pose so much of a threat. criticized the liberal arts as the food of the devil. Jerome. St. Mathematics became less important in the transfer from Greek to Roman thought. As in many aspects of medieval life. The existing educational system based on the ideas of the seven liberal arts and its quadrivium was rooted thinkers considered ideologically to pagan society. Indeed. as technical subjects. therefore architecture and applied geometry. when the church was happy to take on the superior education system. music. were overlooked. Western which caused problems in the intellectual world. very in the little quadrivium (arithmetic. however. astronomy) was improved early years of the Christian education system and therefore was only passed on as a relic from the Greeks. education in the post-Roman world was an emulation of what came before with a veneer of Christianity. as well as other scholars of the early church. Both the Greeks and the Roman education in many different areas essential to the growth of a free man into a member of society.18 Chapter 3: The Geometrical Knowledge of Medieval Master masons in the While mathematical growth was encouraged Europe was battling changes in culture Islamic Empire. the seven liberal arts became a prerequisite of studying theology in the in the later middle ages. geometry.

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From Five Fingers to Infinity. Schrader. geometry. De arithmetica. a follower of Nicomachus.Arabic number system. the change to the Hindu. Number theory and properties of Easter were the basic building blocks of tenth century mathematics in the west. The most was that of Boethius. these numerous classifications did not include any practical application of what we would call arithmetic. 1 967): 264-75. By the end of the twelfth century. and trigonometry from Arabia... From the end of the tenth to the end of the twelfth century very little changed in the way mathematics was taught or thought about. Painstakingly evens. "De Arithmetica. From Five Fingers I. Boethius concentrated on number theory. to Infinity. Schrader. means and extremes. 1968): 615- 28. and the constant rebirth of the educational system into the university system of today. purposes. the intellectual revolution had occurred. categorizing numbers as evens. Also. Between the sixth directly for educational De arithmetica was published It survived the release of Boethius' sources into the educational field. Like Nicomachus. Book Reprinted in Swetz. without the 29 Dorothy V. "The Arithmetic of the Medieval Universities" Mathematics Teacher 60 (Mar. . flooding the educational system with translated works from ancient Greek scholars and new new algebra. odds. and other categories more bizarre than applicable to related to one another. The text of Boethius. followed the quadrivium and paraphrased works of mathematics not available century and the sixteenth." Perhaps most important to scholarship was the introduction and acceptance of the Hindu-Arabic number system. oddlymodern theory. 217. primes. 30 Here we see the influence of Greek learning for its own sake rather than practical Arab contributions. Reprinted in Swetz. 23 1 of Boethius" Mathematics Teacher 61 (Oct. to those studying his texts. 30 Dorothy V.19 mysticism. which allowed greater freedom widely used mathematical text until that revolution in calculations. which will be discussed in a later chapter.

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one such compilation attributed to the scholar-monk Gerbert. Though master masons held very different due to their role the role of the architect today. and worked as such until he was trained by a master to design a building which others would construct. Masons were taught by master masons Lon 3. His knowledge of the stone use would be invaluable for his ability to design a building out of stone. with which they would not be reunited until a complete translation from Arabic back translated in small to Latin. Geometrica Gerberti. No. Shelby. . (Jul. Even the relationships Boethius and Nicomachus described were only assumed. Vol. The availability of geometry in the early middle ages also depended partly on Boethius' paraphrased sections of Euclids Elements. "The Geometrical Knowledge of Mediaeval Master masons. covers two topics.20 Hindu-Arabic numerals. their education was in the construction of the building. and practical geometry. and could not be proven until the new number system and developments of arithmetical calculation circulated from Islamic sources. the Roman system Boethius used provided little ease in computation. design or construction. Cassiodorus and Isidore of Seville. a mason was mason and its literally that. to Those educated with access them could read Roman manuscripts. perhaps because they never existed. a mason. though there is no indication that they could do much more than copy proofs and figures without elaboration or expansion. that taught the No manuals can be found masons what they knew about geometry. R. 47. These theorems and postulates were separated from their Euclidean proofs. 1972): 401. who is specialized for that role and without experience in other areas of construction." Speculum.. which became separated in medieval thought: theoretical geometry studied as described above. the realm of the mason. Instead of an architect. Geometry was also repeated and handbooks by Martianus Capella.

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small decisions repeated over time stout. The lighter design stone used also provided a cost effective way to build a larger church with fewer materials. In created a whole this way. If larger. decreased the need for heavy walls. and the larger the barrel vault the harder was to keep the vault from spreading out.21 in an apprenticeship. dark tunnels. From training the evolution of what would become the Gothic church. As churches with traditional Romanesque structure became taller. the aisle sections could become shorter. Where Romanesque churches were heavy. spreading the weight more evenly and down instead of down and out. instead of simply having a large pier and supporting exterior walls. light and vertical. Romanesque churches are characterized by large barrel vaulted naves. The more complex the wall structure. small high windows and thick stone walls to support the vault. These changes were also not researched changes could be made from one church in the ways we use one bay was today. Only small to the next. even by the huge thick walls. allowing windows to become larger. and the addition of flying buttresses born from the idea of the supporting aisle roof. taller. Other knowledge would have come from observing buildings in existence and from trial-and-error progression of his work. new design of church. we can see how the and knowledge of master masons affected the final product. lighter churches were desirable. Robert Mark trial describes the changes from Romanesque to Gothic churches as happening slowly by and error. This way. the masons slowly developed a method of making them. The pointed arch became the solution. allowing more and less windows on the second level as well as in the clerestory. Gothic ones were bright. the heavy weight of the vault could it not be supported. if built and could not .

.

the patron or for the these drawings were used only as images for mason to clarify his ideas. the differences between a medieval mason and what we think of as an architect. Thus. . how then was the goal of the project conveyed there to the other masons? Buildings were frequently copies. but these models could not have been very effective in describing the strength of the building. MA: MIT Press. as we know them if today. but even with a replica would be need for the mason to determine and convey the size and shape of each stone needed. in effect a full-scale 32 model to attest to the buildings overall structure. in education and background. Two main problems affected the stability of these new tall buildings. money and time were lost. Elaborate drawings of elevations and plans of buildings have been found. but these cannot be blueprints. Experiments in Gothic Structure (Cambridge. we have knowledge or their no indication that literacy was the primary source for their means of communication. The first is the larger amount of wind is that would affect a building so much taller than the surrounding town. These problems were tested out by small models (to determine the stress changes with new loading) and by constructing a building largely similar to one from the past. Some small models may have been made to determine gross stability. Instead. master masons created molds or templates from which the 32 Robert Mark. The second the actual change in forces from moving from a round arch to a pointed one. 11. 1982). but specifications be unclear. and elaborate descriptions included in contracts. their method of conveying knowledge must have been very unlike modern architects. So. Models were would still created.22 stand. became one large reason for the success of the high gothic style. because they lack both scale and diagram of the joints between stones. Like their education. though we know that masons read and wrote. Therefore.

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The process by which the problems were solved includes virtually no mathematical manipulation. Shelby.23 masons would have been able to cut stones to the appropriate size and shape. The papers between them on maconerie (masonry) include setting out topics such as surveying. would have L. he was needed on site for every step of the construction process. and secure. R. We will focus on the Sketchbook and on one of Honnecourt' s followers. called Master 2. "The Role of the Master Mason in Mediaeval English Building. Until the late middle ages. square. possess special significance. . we have a few documents. such as the Sketchbook of Villard de Honnecourt and the instructional booklets created when several German master masons wrote down the tools of their craft. it is also made more With the only real concept of the building in the masons mind. The compass and square. The simple divider compass made of metal. 3. which were cut by carpenters and used by stonecutters in the "tracing house" or what has become the mason's lodge today. only a use of the tools available at the time to create geometrical constructions by following directions. No." Speculum. 39. and other crafts. and cutting stones. level and plumb rule. Though the difficulty of communicating both an overall plan and also the scale components makes the master masons job more complex. (Jul. The four main tools used by medieval masons were the compass. Vol. A mason would draw his plan onto wooden boards. Each stone had to be planned by him and then directed by him in its placement. full-scale construction. The tools used by masons are one of the best descriptors of the geometry accomplished with them. symbolic of the trade and in modern times of the freemasonry organization. knowledge of how the masons planned these cuts and created plans were part of the oral tradition.. 1964): 393. with two legs and a simple hinge. Fortunately.

.

"Villard de Honnecourt. The two legs of the square then form the two legs of the triangle. Compass and Square. Archimedes. 1960): 91. No.. 3. the invisible hypotenuse connecting them. 19. (Oct. much of our information about the mason's tools and construction methods come from the drawings of Villard de Honnecourt. he recorded A what he saw as he traveled Europe for his trade.24 been used both to mark out large spaces for circles on the ground or floor and in a smaller scale to create the plans for windows and arches and measure which has essentially the voussoirs (curved stones) of an arch. stained glass and carved in stone are not in fact square. Monument elevations are included both of sites he had seen and also had described to him. 2. 6. structure. Robert Branner. Squares measured interior and exterior corners. Other than collapsed cathedrals. 1965): 236-248. "Medieval Masons' Tools. thirteenth century architect. Graduations on the square then. and Chartres. prepared flat stones to be marked. such as to create what we know of as Gothic spiral. Shelby. The square. These squares with tapering arms could have been used for ease in measuring out arches or as a method of measuring out two types of triangles on which to base the gradient. need not be relative to any other square to create the same effect. (Spring. II. Vol. R. Vol. Representations of tools and their use are included in the drawings of his successor known only masons the as Master 2. ." Technology and Culture. instead in gradients. was typically made of wood." The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. Angles were measured triangle. Other squares recorded by miniatures. These are invaluable in replicating the methods used by master diagrams. the ratio of the sides of the right of degrees. and were used as a t-square in the process of marking them. Some of these Archimedes include little or no annotation and contribute to mystery of 34 L. remained the same since ancient Egyptian times. No.

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(See Appendix F. The profile of the in the indentation where the base meets the pillar would be included measurements for Robert Branner. Lon R. Inc. Branner suggests these third. Gothic Design Techniques: The Fifteenth-Century Design Booklets of Mahes Roriczer and Harms Schmuttermayer (London: Feffer & Simons. two different center points creates a spiral which allows the Mason to compete the calculations for the keystone of the arch without using the irrational values needed for direct construction.. 84-90. in an the secret that has unsecure document.25 Masonic that it practices. as well as their use. is not the only tradesman to document the knowledge of master A pamphlet by the German Master Mason Matthaus Roriczer their ability to infer revealed that the secret of the freemasons was how the elevation of a building could be constructed from the ground plan. Archimedes. 1977). the spiral is used in creating the constructions placed near it in the manuscript. 37 .. and trans. this series of semicircles created around is not quite the Archimedes' spiral. Shelby ed. with the height of each section described in relationship to the sides of the base. those of the third-point and fifth-point arches. or wedge shaped stones that create the arch. If Honnecourt felt free to describe the tools of the mason's trade. can also be measured out from a square block by methods in the Sketchbook using the masons square (Appendix E). "Villard de Honnecourt. what then is been attributed to the masons almost from their inception? Honnecourt masons. The voussoirs. indicating was a practical construction used often by Master masons as a calculating tool." 91-97. Though many that scholars believe Master 2 drew the Archimedes spiral incorrectly.and fifth-point arches are created by a spiral that Instead.) 37 The size of the base compared to its smaller pillar are represented in concentric squares on the floor plan. This spiral is repeated on the base of a capital in Chartres. and Chartres. According to Robert Branner.

.

did not flood the construction market since among those to consider the position who were educated enough to read. despite publication. Political reasons ultimately disbanded the lodges in the as they existed in Honnecourt and Roriczer's time. The extant secrets were maintained. promote strict Christian dogma and individual . and the organized lodges were disbanded as potential pockets of resistance by new governments. and those classically educated looked at mathematics in a more theoretical light. most were of such stature beneath them. remained within the general Masonic community.26 stencils included in the ground plan. however. to and the brotherhood gathered together ethics. calculations for masons with limited mathematical and drawing Though these elements seem simple to the modern reader. The lodges remained were ideological shells that of their former use. Sociological changes architect's position. the most basic tenets of geometry were known to very few. The complex geometrical relationships between their height lengths represented on the ground plan and on the elevation simplified ability. Other secrets included similar details as well as secret greetings and handshakes. Thus the secrets. in Roriczer's The availability of the secret in print. which survived while the geometrical secrets were exposed publication. along with new methods and the advent of Renaissance architecture diminished the need for the methods of the medieval masons.

.

a longer nave and a new narthex. and 3 their outside points end at the then east and west extremes of the building (fig. everything but the crypt. V. These shapes touch in the exact center of a nave bay. This version had a simple geometric plan. Gothic Cathedrals and Sacred Geometry: 170. the Cathedral was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. the builders of Chartres for the mathematical basis depended heavily on geometry and numerology cathedral. 1 1). with its aisles and radiating chapels. none of the elements are the same loose. and so connections between the two are The 1 134 version was also destroyed. buildings commemorating de Chartres in the virgin have stood on the same is site. From these times. the well of the strong saints. of the later version. From at least the fourth century. 1964). The cathedral of Notre Dame 1020 under the Bishop Fulbert Its the earliest version that is preserved in the modern fabric of the church. and there also existed a well. in an even greater fire. based on two octagrams. when Chartres was named the see of a bishop. translated literally.27 Chapter 4: Chartres Cathedral to the Without the mathematics available Arabs. of the The history of the cathedral is quite long. While this is echoed in the geometric plan of the later cathedral. was a place of worship for the cult of the virgin. . exist in the crypt foundations. or eightpointed stars. which consumed 194. and. then. in its early versions. the Puits des Saints Forts. the west towers. in size or placement. Christian ruins having existed in its place from at least the fourth century. and the western portal in 1 The new George Lesser. made from intersecting squares.3 Chartres (London: Alec Tiranti. A wooden statue of the throned virgin stood in the crypt of the early church. and so a renovation began including a two tower west facade. A fire in 1 134 destroyed the west tower of Fulbert's cathedral.

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are central to the idea of Chartres as a pilgrimage church. the extreme labor force required for the building was supplemented by after a vision a new religious phenomenon. took the form of penance for all classes of civilians. consisted of laymen who 39 gave their time in manual labor for the construction of Chartres. did not equal Chartres in complexity. . The new choir occupies the same space as the one before it. This twelfth century version of Chartres Cathedral structures. while was the first of the style known as High Gothic. added onto. in fact. To be included on popular pilgrimage roots required both an impressive relic and the lure of 1 George Henderson. more impressive and in the cathedral and new Gothic style while incorporating the ruins of Fulbert's its successor." freely modeled by the prophet Ezekiel. and records of miracles associated with the Cult of the Carts abound. geometrical form and decoration. after which the bulk of the building was completed. The as funding rest of the campaign was completed piecemeal was received. The "Cult of the Carts. The bishop money to support three years of feverish construction. This outpouring of piety and sacrifice turned into a nationwide phenomenon. the bay divisions and the radiating chapels had to be utilized. Miracles. This short lived association nevertheless contributed to the construction of Chartres. while the elongated three existing chapels were interspersed with smaller ones of two different types. 36.28 construction began immediately. Chartres (Baltimore: Penguin Books. More than just money. but the architect had to create something larger. and elaborated upon. 1968). The funding of such provided enough a large operation was an issue of great import. hauling hand-carts The difficult journeys full of supplies and necessities. The the earlier Gothic more elaborate and monumental than Romanesque. as well as its reputation as a holy place. The width of the nave. undertaken.

.

The three doorways are related by the proportion 1:"V2:1. tall. this lightness along with the expanse of large windows that creates impression of the style known as High Gothic. The triforium replaced early Gothic galleries. and stood only as a perfunctory band of masonry in the form of a blind arcade ' Lesser. While early Gothic churches were developing four or even five (fig. This utilization of windows was made possible by the generous funding for the project and experimental design of the architecture. the side doors leading to the nave instead of the The large vaulted portals included a complex sculptural program describing in their tympana Christ's birth in the north doorway. creating a larger center door in a relationship that is repeated throughout the structure.29 popular myth. would dominate the perspective of the pilgrim. his resurrection in the south doorway. The Royal Portal was unusual aisles. the 40 It is wide nave. in that it was fairly compact. consecration in 1260 would A pilgrim facing Chartres Cathedral after its immediately be overwhelmed by the great western towers and the Royal Portal existence from before the still in 1 194 fire. Chartres kept to a more classic plan with three parts The bottom portion. over 35 meters and verticality. Chartres had owned the chemise worn by since the ninth century reign of Mary during its the birth of Christ King Charles the Bald. Gothic Cathedrals. . stories. Thus reconstruction and the sudden increase impressive in miracles were not only for the greater glory of god. and in the center Christ's second coming. but promoted the new pilgrimage style cathedral as well. Moving through the doorway. 174. the arcade provided access to the single and double aisles and let in light from large windows at ground level. 12). This judging Christ follows the theme of moving through time as well as providing an incentive for those lingering in the doorway to attend service as good Christians.

.

contains elaborate mathematical figures. This floorplan. Ultimately. While the center bays of the transept are not as wide as those of the nave. a base unit. while perhaps seeming piecemeal. the first set of aisles open up on either (fig.30 between the arcade and the clerestory. and all geometrical relationships between that bay and other sized objects. each aisle bay within the church retains its square shape with equal dimensions. The eastern altar. With this in mind . The top layer of the clerestory contains the most windows and makes It is the most innovative use of the flying buttresses to open up the walls. this use of light as the framework of the cathedral that makes Chartres such an inventive space. calculations based on geometrical Because of the thirteenth century. end of the cathedral opens up to include two aisles that circumnavigate the allowing pilgrims to travel to each of the seven chapels without disrupting the service. and continue through six wide bays until the transept crossing The transept also follows the pattern of a central wide aisle with smaller side aisles. The north and south ends of the transept also function as entrances complete with elaborate portals and wide porches. the simplest method is for every element on the plan to have a geometrical relationship to the other measurements. such as an aisle bay. can be assigned a measurement upon the other measurements can be extrapolated from the beginning of construction. Moving through the narthex. In this way. 13). the difficulty in obtaining exact measurements at the turn of the to those problem of converting very small measurements on a plan of a very large cathedral needed to be addressed. side.

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architecture. William Stoddart (Bloomington. such as Chartres Cathedral. Other than simple repetition. Burckhardt. thought to found by modern art historians in major Greek in have been seen as beautiful and included accordingly art historians also find the architectural plans. here the idea is expanded to use geometrical relationships based on a single shape to create the plan for a whole building. In Chartres. many aspects of the building harmoniously use the same dimensions crossing between the nave and transept to create a more pleasing space. This measurement 42 is repeated in the width of the nave and the height of the side aisles. As far as a general unit of measurement. 1996). Indiana: 43 World Wisdom Books. 96. and what importance rested on these geometries will help us understand the plan of Chartres . the geometry that medieval master masons knew. The proportion of phi 1. Chartres and the Birth of the Cathedral trans.31 then. 42 Titus Burckhardt. It stands to reason from these two examples treating only the tripartite plan of the nave sides that there are mathematical proportions In Appendix F the need for these geometrical relationships are discussed with reference to the proportions of a pillar. 97. Chartres. and it continues with the height of the columns on the floor. the total height of the nave is in golden proportion with the height of the nave until the beginning of the vault. Similar golden proportion in the work of Medieval masons. (See Appendix G. In golden proportion with that measurement is the height of the wall pillars (as 43 measured above). for example. or phi. a proportion important to medieval masons would have been the golden section. The length of the is equivalent to the height of the wall pillars (between the columns and the vault).) This proportion. reflected in nature. This proportion is 1: is derived as follows: a line is segmented is in the proportion of phi when the proportion of the whole line to the larger segment the same as the proportion of the larger segment is to the smaller segment.618. .

32

in every aspect

of the cathedral.

A

cross section of the nave at the western end can also

**be treated with a plan based on octagrams.
**

star,

An

octagram

is

a shape like an eight pointed

which

is

constructed with two squares, with one square rotated 45 degrees and

placed on top of the other

(fig. 14).

A square

is

the side length of

which

is

the width of the

nave and

aisles

**without the buttresses
**

into

almost the exact height of the top of the nave.

When

it

is

made

**an octagram, the turned square contains two smaller octagrams
**

the width of the nave only, and

stacked vertically in the nave. While each square's side

is

the straight squares correspond to the bottom and top of the nave, the turned squares

**superimposed on them touch
**

octagrams work together

at the

exact center of the nave

(fig.

1

5).

These inscribed

aisles.

to create a

harmonious shape

to the

nave and

is

With so

many

geometrical proportions related to the height of the nave,

it

clear that there are

numerous ways

to apply a geometrical figure to different aspects

of the cathedral.

Some

of the most representative include the south tower, the general floor plan and the

labyrinth.

The south tower, more

stylistically

**advanced than the older north, more accurately
**

145,

it

represents the ideals of Gothic architecture. Built around

1

begins with a square

base to match

its

northern counterpart which transitions to an octagon plan and then into

a steep pyramid.

The

closest

measurement we have

at

for

its

total

height

is

102.84 meters,

six times

its

width as measured

16.44 meters,

45

where the width of the tower

is

**measured from buttress
**

width

to buttress,

above the

is

plinth, or base.

This ratio of height to

may

**be a coincidence, as the tower
**

ratios to

based on a geometrical system instead of a

modular one (based on

one particular measurement or module). In the

**Lesser, Gothic Cathedrals,
**

Ibid.

IS

. By circumscribing twelve octagons around the center octagon. a Greek cross provides our basis for symmetry in the The eastern end of this plan can be determined to be based on a plan similar to Reims Cathedral and Westminister Abby. Before the thirteenth century porches were added onto the transept ends. The base of the plan of the Because its cathedral of Chartres is an equilateral Greek cross. identical to the length precise plan by Lassus. Otto von Simson.13 meters from the center of the crossing to their entrances.40 meters. 16) some radii which overlap with on the tower. was close from the center of the crossing to both the center of the labyrinth and the center of the eastern apse. a single geometric shape is expanded and contracted (by circumscribing or inscribing a similar version of the same shape.33 geometrical system. This plan 46 is also based on the octagrams. rotated so as not to be parallel) in order to establish measurements. it is difficult to see consideration important placement within the plan as well as later constructions on the medieval building. The octagon is also the shape of the spire and repeated again in the floorplan of the building. circumscribing and inscribing rotating octagons architecturally important altitudes (fig. an octagon can be created which has of 16. the largest covers the entire height of the tower. they were shortened to their present length of 31. 17). The Gothic Cathedral: Origins of Gothic Architecture and the Medieval Concept of Order (With an Appendix on the Proportions of the South Tower of Chartres Cathedral by Ernst Levy) (New York: Pantheon Books. With these four overall plan. without taking into final form is very different. The height determined the sixth inscribed octagon measures 46 at its bottom edge the base of the spire is (fig. identical segments. Beginning with a center point exactly a side length halfway up the tower. Their original length. 244.44 meters. determined by the extraordinarily to 35. 1956). Beginning with results in this octagon.

.

Other geometrical relationships are represented in figure 18. . as the octagram plan creates many intricate relationships with the original architectural elements which validate its use in describing the plan of the original master mason. 174. the three turned squares represent a popular floor plan in medieval churches which represents the trinity. must be constructed not as a true inscription. Just as the overall plan and the facade have distinct plans based on geometrical forms. Gothic Cathedrals. A second octagram can be inscribed within each within them. they span the length of the church and provide a basic plan from which the rest of the geometrical relationships can be obtained (fig. the labyrinth would have been a very important part of the floorplan with deep Lesser. turned square shares two sides with the corners of the instead it can be lined up so that its largest turned square.34 shaped like eight pointed stars. The eastern largest octagram correlates well with five of the seven radiating chapels. Next a central circle with its center from the center of the crossing and the line of which includes the center of the apse and the center of the labyrinth can be constructed. with the father represented by the larger middle square flanked by the son and holy ghost. These smallest octagrams then correlate of the labyrinth and the center colonnade of the apse. and then another pair is inscribed The third octagram. and the westernmost point of the western large octagram ends at the center of the porch 47 directly in front of the middle portal. described above in the treatment of the nave. original. The smallest octagram to the size is then inscribed within it. If a turned square is circumscribed around the circle. however. 18). If two octagrams are constructed so their centers are the center of the labyrinth and the center of the apse and the points of their turned squares touch at the center of the crossing.

.

It represents the way of Christianity. the one in which the Minotour was built by the first architect: Daedalus. This pagan myth had been appropriated as a Christian parable by the construction of Chartres. who slays the Monotaur and finds his way home only by the help given him by the virgin Ariadne. 18). represents man who attempts personal to slay his own demons of weakness and is helped along the way by the Virgin Mary. the circles. 48 A decorative item intended to be such an important reminder of faith and of the architect had to be imbued with the same geometric complexity as the as the western rose rest of the cathedral. Its may have been more important. brass plaque depicted three figures. 130. The labyrinth is centered on a very important spot in center the floorplan. Chartres: The Masons Who Built a Legend (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. and the labyrinth is away from the western wall as the rose window is high. . as it contains only the remains of a few brass rivets from a sexfoil metal center the great master piece which may have honored The mason who was the primary architect of the cathedral. the Minotaur. (See 48 John James.35 spiritual and geometrical meaning. Theseus. to honor the architects of the cathedral. and Ariadne. In this way It is is a reflection of the window and they are connected symbolically. The labyrinth has the same dimensions as far window. The relationship between the measurements of the width of the its diameter of the labyrinth or center and other characteristics can be described mathematically. and its could be used as a powerful prayer device. the center of the western octagram (fig. The myth also points to other function. Alternate names given to Labyrinths include both 'Jerusalem' and 'Daedali' showing a direct connection between the history of the myth and the function of the labyrinth. This myth connects both the uses of the labyrinth. Theseus. first labyrinth. an eleven-circuit labyrinth created by 12 concentric circuit. The resided. 1982).

.

certain numbers are chosen for their religious meaning." Chartres Cathedral http://www.com. 49 The geometrical methods in Chartres cathedral were known to Master masons before new mathematics arrived at the school of Chartres. 2005).) More than their abstract geometry.johnjames. see John James. creating a tie between numerology and geometry which used results in the decisions for the final plan. but the transition between Romanesque and High Gothic was being felt architecture may have resulted from the eastern influence that across Western Europe. "The numerology of the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth.36 Appendix H. Accessed March 21. the numbers contained in the Labyrinth have own symbolic meaning.au/chartresthelabyrinth. For more on the numerology of the labyrinth. Like the rest of the plan of Chartres cathedral.shtml (2004. .

.

The new lines of communication depended on the transmission and translation of Arabic texts through North Africa and Iran to Spain. . it is unlikely that their religious fervor resulted in a widening of communication lines with those they sought to convert. Considering the ethnocentrism and greed of the crusaders. 249. A History of Mathematics (New York: John Wiley and Sons. Arabs converting to Christianity. It is this cosmopolitan culture that embraced the academic achievements fertile of all cultures and provided a ground for European scholars to rediscover Greek mathematics while learning the advancements of the great Arab mathematicians. religious and cultural beliefs unique to Moorish Spain. Boyer.940 in in France. Born c. particularly music and 1 Carl B. Sicily and Eastern Europe. as religious mercenaries plundered Islamic and Christian monuments alike to fulfill the goal of spreading Christianity. as the constant area of land being gained and lost to the Islamic empire resulted in Spanish people converting to Islam. The most valuable of these sources was Spain. The religious crusades undertaken from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries are sometimes accredited with the expansion of western knowledge. by the century communication lines between European scholars and the east were developing. 1989). We can assume then that the revival of Greek and rather introduction of Arabic learning was accomplished not because of the crusades. One of the Gerbert.37 Chapter 5: Transmission early medieval Though late tenth Europe stagnated in mathematical development. later first western scholars to travel to Spain to learn from Arabic texts was known as Pope Sylvester II. but in spite of them. Gerbert entered the church at a young age and showed aptitude many subjects. and a mix of political.

38

mathematics. His early training took place

in the

**monastery of Aurillac, where he was
**

in

chosen by a Spanish count

to travel to Spain.

Gerber then studied

Barcelona, Cordova

**and Seville under Arabian and Spanish
**

natural sciences.

tutors, concentrating

on mathematics and the

A

recommendation

to the

Emperor Otto

I

resulted in his appointment as

a court teacher in mathematics, logic

and

letters.

His students from

this

period included

the next Emperor,

whose

respect

would save

his clerical position.

Later Gerbert

became

a teacher in the cathedral school of

Reims under

little

Archbishop Adalbero,

whom he

later

succeeded after some complications and not a

opposition. During his stay at Reims, Gerbert taught arithmetic, geometry and the use of

an abacus for calculation.

He was

51

the first recorded teacher of the

Hindu-Arabic numeral

**system in Western Europe.
**

place system instead of the

He

is

also said to have constructed abaci,

some

utilizing a

Roman

**method, globes of the earth and the solar system, and
**

to conservative religious leaders

the first

pendulum

clock.

5

'

Most threatening

was

his

interest in

**Arabic astronomy (thought to be synonymous with astrology and heresy) as
**

53

well as his interest in spreading the education of Arabic mathematics and languages.

He

continued to travel, to Ravenna and throughout Europe, but always returned to his

position at Reims.

After his appointment as the Archbishop of Ravenna, Gerbert found enemies in

those

who opposed any change

in the church.

He attempted

to

reform the abuses of

church positions by bishops

who

kept concubines and otherwise thwarted church

doctrine. Gerberts steady rise through the church

was

affected

by

his education, as

many

**Boyer, Mathematics, 249.
**

" 53

Eves, History of Mathematics, 208.

Charles F. Linn "Mathematics East and West," The Ages of Mathematics Vol

II

(New York: Doubleday,

1977): 66.

he did incorporate new ideas into the curriculum of the Quadrivium. or from consulting a spirit trapped in a golden head. and of 1020. which expanded quickly to become one of the most respected centers of learning in France. where they studied together under Gerbert. These superstitions did not keep him from continued later." 70. and Otto III. its Fulburt emphasized the seven liberal arts. Fulburt started the Chartres Cathedral School. with teachers brought in from all over France. close connections to King Robert of France began at the Cathedral School at Reims. as well as Italy. Germany and England. slightly controversial for Roman pagan connotations in a medieval Europe where education was typically confined almost exclusively to biblical study. As he rose to bishop in 1007. instead of the newer translations of the Greek mathematicians.39 accused him of coming by his knowledge through pacts with demons. . Though he used Boethius. Fulburt was helped along the way by a monarch Fulburt's much as the emperors promoted Gerbert in times when his support dwindled. His use of an abacus introduced by Gerbert which used place values as an aid to calculation was a step between the use of Roman Numerals and the Hindu-Arabic system which was not yet popular in France. who used his influence to appoint him pope in 999. In 990. 54 One of Gerbert's most famous a student of students at the Reims cathedral school was Fulburt. Under his direction. support from Emperor Otto II. As bishop. humble beginnings who would eventually become the Bishop of Chartres. the school became a cosmopolitan center of learning as well. devoted much of his time to the reconstruction of Chartres Linn "East and West. Fulburt continued after the fire to teach.

.

. Only the Christians. Jewish bring societies traditionally kept in close contact.40 cathedral. Wandering Jews contributed to the transmission of all aspects of society. as small Jewish communities flourished as translators and businessmen across the Arab and Byzantine empires. This correspondingly spread the aspects of other cultures absorbed into Judaism. with their sack of Constantinople destroying thousands of unique historical documents. This version would be in turn destroyed and become the foundation of the later cathedral discussed in the previous chapter. In order to avoid the heretical groups produced by remote Christian communities evolving in a religious vacuum. translating eastern literature. and it is very probable that he continued teaching much of the mathematics he learned from Gerbert.' His of influence from strictly biblical knowledge accepting both the seven liberal arts and the new Arabic achievements marks a change in Europe which would lead to a mathematical renaissance in the twelfth centuries. Kings of Sicily. He was well informed in mathematics. while his poetry and music earned him a place as what shift is now to termed a 'renaissance man. can be seen as inhibiting the renaissance of communication in the middle medieval period. Organized patronage also added the transmission of to knowledge between the Mongolia all east and west. his lectures were renowned. Gerbert's travel and interest in Arabic learning foreshadowed a trend of many scholars and monks to become translators in the name of research. sending representatives to news between settlements. traveling to Islamic countries and communicating between synagogues. Fulburt's influence on the students of the cathedral school was great. Emperors of the Eastern Empires as well as supported translations and collections of important documents.

.

as did Toledo and which also became central cities growing in the new cosmopolitan atmosphere. to flourish as the capital of the new caliphate. Ruled by the Visigoths until 711. Churches were allowed to to continue their religious remain and hold services. though they had sway. the Cathedral of St. The Great Mosque of Cordoba has G. Rivoira. . Mosques were quickly being built to service the new element of the Some churches were converted for mosques. Spain transitioned as easily as any area to the Islamic rule. Moslem Architecture (New York: Hacker Art Books. no new Christian churches were allowed I to be built in Cordoba. negotiated a large sum of money for their half of the church. and added onto by successive religious direct connections to the leaders to suit their needs. but soon the new capital of the caliphate needed a mosque.41 The most direct method of transmission continued to be southern Spain. ruler Abd al-Rahman I established his dominion at Cordoba Cordoba continued Seville. 1975). Vincent. Traditionally called the Moors. Vincent was divided into two. while population. and finally completely taken little over and demolished. Vincent was allowed to continue as a Christian church. the southern cities that had been overtaken benefited from the wealth and trade from the east while being allowed and cultural practices. Abd al-Rahman of the cathedral of built the Great Mosque of Cordoba in installments. The Christians. these nomadic Arabs from northern Africa were just previously converted to Islam before they overtook much of Spain. Then St. T. While the northern cities suffered under continuous warfare. and despite the comparative tolerance of Islamic rulers in the near east. 55 The Great Mosque of Cordoba followed The mosque was rebuilt a similar pattern to that we have seen in Isfahan and Chartres. The Umayyad in 756. along with the promise of a new building for their use. After Cordoba's surrender. 241. building off St.

.

Because brick suffers more from the outward force exerted on walls from a of mosques faced the problems of the Gothic architects therefore at a roof. To determine translations the flow of architectural ideas. mathematical or architectural. such as Islamic Mosques and French Gothic Cathedrals. Without the large amounts of stone and timber available to the western Europeans. allowing the walls to be thin and to be pierced with windows to admit the light that is so much a function of the Gothic cathedral. that create the impression of space known as The same determinations that influenced the rise of Gothic were essential to Islamic Building. from the eastern Islamic empire to Western Europe. allows a chronological comparison between the two and intermediaries such as Cordoba. Gothic has to be defined. flying buttresses and the prominence of vertically are the elements Gothic. how we followed the transmission of mathematics.42 east and the west. pointed arches. looking at the elements of buildings. there are no writings or proofs whose have been documented. . This frame carries the weight of the vault. Instead. By following elements of Gothic structure through earlier examples. making it a physical representation of the flow of ideas. To trace elements of Gothic architecture. Ribbed vaulting. builders much smaller scale. and much earlier. To counteract the outward force from a vaulted roof. pulling the weight of the roof down onto individual piers instead of the bulk fabric of the wall. connections can be made between the flow of mathematical ideas which were recorded and the architectural ideas which were not. Iranian construction depended on a poorer and less forgiving material: brick. ribbed vaults act as individual arches.

.

"Possible Contributions to the Beginning of Gothic Architecture. it is not true to say that the rib vaulting of Islamic buildings is Though ribs sometimes appear as only one brick wide from within the vault. and carry "scarcely any static value. as no one was intended them (fig. 21). 19). 1960). they may have been hidden within the vault or penetrate through it in an attempt to hide their strength. 1963). and yet." As their function seems more and more similar. to see instead of decorative. 798-838. as buildings from northern Spain took advantage of this technology. Few mosques Friday Mosque. The connection is convincing. (fig. The Gothic (New York: Princeton. slowly transferring the idea into France until it was recognized as the perfect solution to an early Gothic problem. they must penetrate the outer brick shell and offer structural support. found in the vestibule of the 20) must have been drawn from Eastern tradition to have 56 and Cordoba. 57 Paul Frankl. Though these ribs have been contrasted with Gothic terms of their practicality over decoration. in Beitrage zur Kunstgeschichte Asiens (Istambul: University of Istanbul. the ribs in the vaults in the Cathedral of Chartres are not entirely weight-bearing. but the churches and other pre-Moorish buildings of Spain hold no examples from which Cordoba could have been drawn. in a vault While its this structure came much later than the same ribbed we can use existence in Isfahan as part of a lasting tradition in in Isfahan exist that predate the Islamic architecture. the Friday On the back of the half-dome which the ribs are clearly constructive creates the West Iwan on Mosque of Isfahan. it becomes easier to follow the transition that would slowly have taken place. purely ornamental. These ribbed Mihrab of Hakam evolved ribs in in Isfahan II (fig. While these are obscured by the murquarnas ceiling on the interior of the dome." 14. .43 This architectural device can be seen the Friday mosque of Isfahan supporting a cupola vaults in Cordoba. it would be hyperbole to 56 Arthur Upham Pope. Even as the rib vaulting of the Mosque of Isfahan is not entirely decorative. vaults.

.

etc. is essential for the extremely tall cathedrals with wide naves.) are distributed downward through itself. Pointed arches. these ribs serve as flying buttresses to bring pressure off of the point of the half-dome. the straight pillars or base without as much pressure outward on the arch like the ribbed vaulting.44 presume that this is more than a stepping stone. a tool for the advancement of architecture known as Gothic. From the eighth century. allowing to support the exterior of the walls from bowing more windows in taller naves. While Europeans would have been exposed to pointed arches well before they were utilized. these pointed arches became a its repeating theme. another essential element of the Gothic movement." 20. The most widely known symbol of Gothic attempts to do the exact same: the flying buttress. It. Another non-decorative element. 5). They attach to the archways in order to distribute weight along their length and to the secure pillars at the ground. vault. The pointed arch carries much more weight than the rounded arch because the forces of the arch (roof. In the North Dome of the Friday Mosque of Isfahan. have deep roots in eastern Mosques. 22). This transference of weight from the top of an arch repeated in the vault of the southern Iwan of the Friday down to weighted pillars is Mosque of Isfahan (fig. we can see them as another example of the Gothic use of eastern design practices in order to solve particular problems. . pointed arches which appear strikingly Gothic were utilized almost universally in the Abbasid caliphate (fig. even a base unit for design 58 (fig. "Possible Contributions. These graceful wings off high gothic cathedrals began as more modest supports whose duty was out. 23). outward push of the roof of architecture Each of these Gothic elements attempts a tall structure to prevent the on its walls. Without these transferring the burden to the Pope.

.

as well as pointed arches and ribbed vaulting.45 counterweighted pillars (seen on either side of the vault base). the ambition in the east was Working with poorer worship materials. bright and inspirational as possible. we can not attribute this to the transmission of thought in the same discrete architectural elements. This verticality way its as the other is part of what Gothic can call own. One remarked different is the use of light in these spaces. While the builders of Chartres attempted as many windows as possible. "Possible Contributions." The goal of flying to allow the architect to create buttresses. The verticality of Gothic is perhaps the most difficult element of its construction Pantheon. the pressure on the half- dome would be in the to bow out and collapse at the point. the building supplies needed are reduced. rise to like the Romans and could have inspired the new heights. is a space as vertical as possible. the beneath these is structurally a void. light in Isfahan was regarded as something to be controlled. the spiritual reaction to a vertical space drives both." 2 1 . 21). While the theme of verticality exists in both the Friday Mosque of Isfahan and Chartres Cathedral. These buttresses can be seen again of the pointed arch are west Iwan half-dome (fig. as it Pope. pointed arches and flying buttresses achieved a financial goal as well. the Islamic architects were attempting similar structures. While flying buttresses by definition cross an shell empty space. were confined to very specific entrances. While these elements from the the same. a place for that is as large. The lightness achieved by the technical elements of ribbed vaulting. By building tall thin walls with relatively small supports. had been spanned by the to trace to the east. Large spaces. and heat. where the lateral forces carried away into massive abutments. Light. east help to achieve that goal. Though the results in verticality are quite different from Chartres to Isfahan.

.

46 achieved it in a way never approached before. . It is plausible that the concurrence of the birth of Gothic with the mathematical renaissance due to Islamic contribution is not by coincidence. The advanced mathematics of Abu al-Wafa and Omar Khayyam are clearly reflected in the Friday Mosque of Isfahan. instead illustrates the ability of the builders to use new techniques available to them in order to achieve their goal. beneficial to the theory have not yet been found (like a in Iran). Gerbert brought to Chartres. the evidence available is compelling. could have been exposed to the architectural ideas brought to Spain along with Islamic mathematics. The knowledge of how these structures were made and the mathematics behind them makes their revolutionary designs even more beautiful. The genius of Gothic it is not threatened by the inspiration of Islamic architecture. the traveling monks from all over Europe. he could also have brought a vision for a great Scholars like him. We have already seen the direct influence of available mathematics on the design and construction of a piece of architecture. and some examples which would be pre-Cordoba ribbed vault mathematical education vertical space. in much the Though specific dates in some instances are unknown. Master masons used the limited geometrical knowledge available to them to construct hugely elaborate Gothic Cathedrals. The transmission of architectural thought could have been spread same way as mathematics.

.

To solve this geometrically. Islamic mathematicians like Abu al-Wafa created much simpler methods of describing triangles on the sphere.47 Appendix A: The "Rule of Four Quantities" Abu al-Wafa Though Ptolemy had discussed the use of spherical triangles with respect to astronomical calculations. and D respectively and a common acute angle at A. a common geometric representation of the problem. A History of Mathematics. three given line segments. First we need to solve a number of proportions with To find z such that b:a = a:z. Theorem: If ABC and ADE are two spherical triangles with right angles at B. then sin BC: sin CA= sinDE: sin EA. c and x are represented as lengths of line segments. . the quantities a. Omar Khayyam The cubic equation used for this example is 2 2 3 3 x + b x + a = ex . b. 257. 60 Appendix B: A solution of a Cubic Equation. Katz. we need to use the figure below.

.

E such that BE = b. AB and BC such that the length of AB = m and BC = c. Now let the perpendicular of AC at B be drawn find point so that it intersects the semicircle at a point we'll name D. BD. 2 To make the construction for the proof. The result of these first calculations will be that m =— b .48 Follow this method again to find line segment m such that b:z = a:m. . On so that it this line. and draw a line parallel to AC crosses the semicircle at point F. draw a line made up of two line segments. Construct a semicircle with AC as the diameter.

.

where H constructed same height on D and the same position on the x axis as G. find the hyperbola. Now the y axis as construct a rectangle DBGH. This segment NP part of a proportion related to MH which we know is a perpendicular which touches the hyperbola. Now To draw a hyperbola through H such that the lines EF and ED are its asymptotes. So. we can use the same method explained earlier to complete a set of proportions. (EM)(MH) = (EN)(NP) and EN:EM = MH:NP follows. NP can then be . and perpendicular which cuts the hyperbola point P. A point on the hyperbola can be its found as follows: at Start with a point N on is line EF.49 By using such that the the method described at the beginning of this proof. The line GH cuts the line EF at point M. find point G is on line BC at ED:BE = AB:BG.

.

With step 3. (BE)(AB). (EK)(KJ) = (EM)(MH) = (BG)(ED) = (BE)(AB). Since ED: BE = AB:BG. from steps and 2. and if a line is drawn from J perpendicular to AC. (EK)(KJ) = (EM)(MH). now we know (BL)(LJ) = (EK)(BE+KJ) = (EK)(BE) + (EK)(KJ) = . then it cuts EF at point K and AC at point L. Therefore.50 found using the method described above. as proportional line segments. 4. H*S*N D I . we have (BG)(ED) = 1 3. it is the only missing length in the set of four ABO This hyperbola cuts the semicircle at C point J. 2. E M K V C A B L G The rest of this proof uses algebraic representations of the geometrical model above. J 1 Because and H are on the hyperbola.

.

AB = a_/b_. (LJ)_= (AL)(LC). 285-286. 61 The method of construction and J. 8.51 (EK)(BE) + (AB)(BE) = (BE)(EK+ AB) = (BE)(AL) and from 5. But. this (BL)_ (LJ)_ = (BE)_ (AL)_. it BL = x. . 302-303.(BL)JBC-BL). and a root of the given cubic equation. "Omar Khayyam's Reprinted in Frank Solution of Cubic Equations" Mathematics Teacher 51 (Apr. 6. Expanding the last equation in step 7. 7. Setting BE = b. (BE)JAL) = (BL)JLC). follows that we find (BL)_ + b_(BL) + a_ = c(BL)_. from steps 4 and 5.BL). the exact steps for the solution were taken directly from Howard Eves.. or (BE)_(BL+AB) . and arranging terms. we obtain b_(BL + a_/b_) = (BL)_(c. Therefore. BC = c in step 6. From Five Fingers to Infinity: A Journey through the History of Mathematics (US: Open Court Publishing. 1994). 1958). from elementary geometry. Swetz.

.

By reflecting each triangle over side c. If the area of the whole shape is equated with the sum of its parts. called an almond in Islamic . we get a kite-shape. then: c 2 ={a -by + 4| — .52 Appendix C: Abu al-Wafa's Geometrical Solution to the Pythagorean Theorem Abu Al-Wafa used the figure above to prove the Pythagorean Theorem. The triangle shapes each have an area of — and the center square has sides that measure a-b. J which reduces to the Pythagorean theorem: c~ = a 2 +b 2 . The outer square has sides that measure c.

.

. (Mar.' The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. and "Conversazioni" with 1. Artisans. Mathematicians. 54. Vol.53 Changing the triangles on the proof to almonds creates a pattern used in many 62 mosaics. "Omar Khayyam. 62 " Alpay Ozdural. several of which are on the Iwan facades of the Friday Mosque (figure 8). No. 1995): 54-71 .

.

such as patterns for ornamentation and perhaps plans for architecture. A numerical example given by Ozdural chooses 12 and 6 as the extreme values of the musical proportion. AC and AB. is found by dividing twice the product of the extremes by their sum. by adding 12 and 6 and 9. A musical ratio the ratio determined by the arithmetic and harmonic means between two numbers. C By extending the lines G AB D A C to create a right triangle. AC it = AB + BD. H= 2(12 -6) 12 = 8 . The arithmetic mean between 12 and 6 is found by taking the average of the two numbers. a and connecting them with is musical ratio is formed. In terms of a triangle ABC as drawn below. dividing the result (18) by two to get The harmonic mean. The arithmetic mean is found by creating a larger right triangle by continuing line AB and extending a . The musical proportion Khayyam's is found between the two sides of the right triangle. In this example. the +6 in musical proportion between 12 and 6 triangle is 12:9::8:6. Khayyam created this triangle with special properties in order to use for other problems. H.54 Appendix D: Khayyam's Triangle The goal of Omar Khayyam's triangle proof was to construct a right triangle defined as having a hypotenuse equal to the sum of the shorter side and the perpendicular to the hypotenuse.

.

By known properties of right triangles. 1998): 704-705." Technology and Culture. line GO is created with AB + AC length . 63 With this knowledge. 39. 4. CD is From geometrical calculations it can be found that line the harmonic mean between to AB and AC.55 perpendicular from point C to complete the triangle. No. (Oct. the musical proportion can be found be AC:GO::CD:AB. Therefore GO is the arithmetic mean of lines AB and AC. line CW is the length of the sum of sides AB and AC. By finding the midpoint of AC and connecting it to the hypotenuse AW. see Alpay Ozdural. .. "A Mathematical Sonata for Architecture: Omar Khayyam and the Friday Mosque of Isfahan. • To view these steps. Vol.

.

Alpay Ozdural. The harmonic mean of their lengths corresponds to the height of the square base section of the dome (GM). "A Mathematical Sonata for Architecture.56 We can apply this Dome." 699-715. In this example. . the musical proportion the North AC:GO::GM:NQ. the length of the square base of the dome (AC) and the height of the polygonal transition zone (NQ) are the extremes. Dome of the Friday Mosque of Isfahan corresponds to a very 64 specific triangle studied by Khayyam just before the dome was built. By containing this exact relationship. The arithmetic corresponds to the height of the mean of their lengths dome to where the transition zone begins (GO). as in the harmonic to the relationship of architectural elements in the North example below.

.

of a pointed arch are not Difficulties incurred in carving the keystone. with the interior and exterior parallel. A wooden mason's edges not being of a circle. Pointed arches were more calculate. Each block for an arch was bounded by two curved of concentric circles with the same center point. These diagrams demonstrate how a mason's square can be used to trace the face of a voussoir (a curved stone for an arch) according to descriptions from the Villard de Honnecourt Manuscript. however it is worth noting that the keystone for a round arch would be constructed essentially in the same way as each other piece. or center voussior.57 Appendix E: How to carve a Voussoir. As . described here. as well as the extrapolated center point. Instead. The diagram below shows the placement of a voussior within the larger arch. lines. square was cut for each set of arches. parts difficult to and were comprised of two separate arcs from a large pair of circles. The blue square represents the square block from which the voussior would be cut. the arm of the square would represent interior a narrow segment which would then determine the and exterior edges of the arch.

.

it is easy to follow how the same shape can be marked on shape of the stone. the stone and repeated with the square in order to trace the This figure shows the wooden mason's square on is the face of a square block of stone. With the arm of the mason's square represented by the yellow area. The first step to carve the voussoir to draw two perpendicular lines to one face of the stone.58 the voussoir fits into the arc between concentric circles. . the size of the square fits within a segment of the circle from its extrapolated midpoint.

.

Note that the arm of the square is wider where meets the top cross-line. The right-hand diagram shows how these marks circle correlate to rays from the implied from which the arch is taken. then the square is moved along it the lines to make a series of marks. seven widths of the square).59 The block is then marked at each cross-line. Now a diagonal line can be drawn where the last marks were made. and therefore it takes a smaller number of marks on the top line to reach the edge of the block (in this case. .

.

These two curved segments and the diagonal line 65 extrapolated marked previously border the area of the desired stone. These diagrams and explanations have been expanded from Robert Branner's brief treatment of this problem in "Three Problems from the Villard de Honnecourt Manuscript" The Art Bulletin Vol. No.. . " 1 (Mar. 65. 1957).60 Now the curved lines of the voussoir can be traced with a sweep of the mason's compass. at the with one point resting on the top of the diagonal line and the other center point. 39.

.

84-90. The geometrical approach allows the plan to be repeated in any size. r\ k i b < 1 V m \j/ d Shelby. Next two squares are inscribed.61 Appendix F: How to Draw a Pillar on a Base Plan The fifteenth century booklet by Mathes Roriczer describes how many of the elements of a piece of architecture are represented by geometrically constructed figures on the plan pillar. for the building. all sides are parallel to the sides of the other squares. The step starts with a square first ABCD representing the side its of the base of the pillar. Fixing the side lengths of the squares. This appendix is from an example describing the plan for a Note that the sizes of the concentric squares are geometrically related to one another instead of measured in a scale. Gothic Design Techniques. These now represent how the pillar narrows from its base (ABCD) to the size 66 of the pillar (JKLM) by way of a transitional level marked by square EHGF. Accurate measurements are necessary in order to build on a large scale to a very small plan. . and these would be very difficult to obtain using fifteenth century technology. each turned so that corners meet the midpoints of the sides of the square larger than they are then turned so that squares it.

.

68 Ibid. To construct a rectangle with the proportions of Phi. or the shorter is to the longer as the longer the sum of the shorter and longer.groveart. . This length to extend the side of the square by a length b.62 Appendix G: Phi The proportion of Phi. Divine Proportion and has been studied and used from classical times as a theoretically as "a:b The proportion can be described is to = b:a+b. "Golden Section. also known as the Golden Section. Accessed 21 March 2005). ratio. line is dropped fixed The rectangle with long side length a+b and width a fulfills the proportion b:a = a:a+b. extreme and mean beautiful number." Grove Art Online http://www.com (Oxford University Press. a line is drawn from at the midpoint of a square with side a to an opposite corner." Two visual representations that describe the proportions of Phi in geometrical terms are the construction of a Phi rectangle and the repetition of Phi rectangles. Daniel Robbins.

.

another square is created with the same proportion By repeating this process. Starting with a square of side length unit the next square has the side length 1. the squares form a seamless pattern shown below. larger square as the base unit.618. tJ . 1. Now using this to it.63 A common construction made with the Phi proportion emphasizes the ratio by using squares whose side lengths have the Phi proportion.

.

kensmen. making them images in the and the labyrinth's prominent placement geometrical floorplan.html (Accessed March 21. the circuits of the labyrinth also have very specific geometrical relationships to each other. "Labyrinths: Symbols of Hell & the Pilgrim's W'ay" Apologia http://www.64 Appendix H: The Labyrinth of Chartres The labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral is the same size as the western rose window and the same distance away from the portal as the window of each other. The labyrinth at Chartres is an eleven circuit labyrinth. In addition to this is high.com/catholic/labyrinths. 2005). The measurements of the parts of the labyrinth. are geometrically related. but not counting the center itself E = width of actual circles lines that form the and paths F = radius of center Lopez. paths (E) This includes the width of the lines that form the B= diameter of center diameter of entire labyrinth C= D = the length of only the circuits on both sides of the center. as 69 described below. A = width of each circuit (path). the numerology of which is very complex. .

.

resulting is in a mix of the two in elements of Chartres cathedral. The labyrinth has eleven circuits. were synonymous in the medieval period. Two results in represents Christ. a number which holds power in many religions. . and prominent in the Christian Bible as a number representing knowledge. The labyrinth in Chartres an example where the geometrical significance of an architectural element has been stripped to only numerological value. the middle of the holy trinity. and two multiplied by eleven twenty two. Numerology and mathematics.65 From are: these measurements we have a variety of geometrical relationships. a number repeated is in the geometrical relationships above. fulfill are seen in some of these relationships. of which the labyrinth only an example. three of which A = (C-B) / 22 B = 22A / 3 C = 22A + B The numerical values which unimportant. seemingly specific numerological qualifications. while clearly separated today.

.

-j'. <>i Plan d1 liinid plan is iiif>M|iu. the north dome can be seen to the very bottom.».. 1990). )}'• ' :' -f* '•'•Am^i«>**h?. ninth century plan and twentieth century plan.-.-.™ Oleg Grabar. - JS sr^^ k iK. numbered room 476.iltci Ms second phase 3 ( tlic provided in Chapter On the twentieth century plan. 104 and 97 .->. New York University Press. The Great Mosque of Isfahan (New York: respectively.66 Figures: Figure 1: The Friday Mosque of Isfahan.

.

. 72 Ibid.tcl?location_id=3696 (Accessed 23 March 2005)." Archnet http://archnet.org/library/images/thumbnails.67 Figure 2: Central Court showing two of the four I wan rooms. 71 Figure 3: Mosque exterior "Friday Mosque of Isfahan.

.

. 1 Ibid.68 Figure 4: South Dome Figure 5: North Dome 1 Ibid.

.

"Note on the Aesthetic Character of the North Dome of the Masjid-I-Jami of Press. Isfahan. Arthur Upham Pope." Studies in Islamic Art & Architecture (London: Oxford University . 187. 1965)." 3. "Possible Contributions.69 Figure 6: Elevation Figure 7: North Dome Tiles 75 76 Pope.

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org/library/images/thumbnails.gif (Accessed March 7. tcl?location_id=3696 (Accessed 23 March 2005).iwr.uni-heidelberg." Archnet http://archnet.de/groups/ngg/Muqarnas/animations/almond_anim. http://www. 2005). "Muqarnas Visualization at the I WR. Yvonne Dold-Samplonius.70 Figure 8: Mosaic of almonds Figure 9: Three Dimensional Almond Friday Mosque of Isfahan. ." Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing.

.

71 Figure 10: Pentagonal Ribbed Decoration in the North Dome 79 "Friday Mosque of Isfahan.tcl71ocation id=3696 (Accessed 23 March 2005).org/library/images/thumbnails. ." Archnet http://archnet.

.

170.72 Figure 1 1 : Chartres plan showing geometry of older version." ARTstor http://www. . 2005). '"Chartres: exterior. Lesser. Gothic Cathedrals.artstor.org (Accessed March 31.

.

entun m p n unexplomt uwtt. puifo </« A'ai'-ik Forff original site nj the Royal Portal 26." "Chartres: Cathedral Plan. Ba.org (Accessed March .artstor.2005)." ARTstor http://www. 31.evunl Plan Figure 12: Elevation 82 Figure 13: Floorplan of Chartres 8 - "Chartres: interior nave cross-section and elevation.73 j*i 1 4-(4~* M-f- f— l@S TM1 E?g l§3 Callo-Romou £XM n-nftirv Xlih century A7/rt «n/w-> /"te ES> AY7fA and AT///M . 2005). ARTstor http://www.org (Accessed March 31.artstor.

.

*' .74 at : : h BJ 4*4* ttt 10 1 1 • + ++ + +»».*.' ? •'*»*< * • 4 I t vtt<J"'J/ 2$ 20 VI H Figure 14: An Octagram .

.

75 Figure 15: Plan of Nave Cross Section Figure 17: Study of the Facade Lesser. Gothic Cathedrals. . Appendix.

.

.76 CALCULATED ALTITUDES Simson. Appendix. The Gothic Cathedral.

.

77 Figure 18: Floor Plan 1 Lesser. . Appendix. Gothic Cathedrals.

.

78

Figure 19:

A

ribbed Vault in the Friday

Mosque of Isfahan

Figure 21: The half-dome of the

West Iwan from

the rear

8

**Pope, "Possible Contributions,"
**

88

10.

"The Great Mosque of Cordoba," Archnet

http://archnet.org/library/images/thumbnails.tcl?location_id=3696 (Accessed 23

March 2005).

Pope, "Possible Contributions,"

8.

79

Figure 23: The vault of the South Iwan from the rear

Friday Mosque of Isfahan," Archnet http://archnet.org/library/images/thumbnails. tcl?location_id=3696 (Accessed 23 March 2005). Pope, "Possible Contributions," 8.

.

80 .

cico o4f 7 B5/31/06 .

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