Technical Data
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The following data are taken from the book
of John and Odette KetleyLaporte: Chartres  le labyrinthe déchiffré,
Editions Garnier 1997. There are other numerical data in other works,
they may give rise to all possible, but quite more impossible speculations.
Maybe even the data in this book. But one must begin somehow.
The location of the labyrinth in the cathedral is not chosen arbitrarily and
its dimensions are not accidental, there are hidden
many numeral qualities, which are no more familiar to us today. Surely
we will not arrive to understand them completely.
The
11circuit labyrinth is not a new development
of Chartres. It was already wellknown before. The toothed
circumference and the center with the 6 circular elements
are new. The completion was in the year 1200,
it was planned intensively and in detail. The labyrinth
had a prime at that time and was also built in other Gothic
cathedrals. It was new to all of them that they were walkable
and that their symbolism was (also) based on mathematical
elements.
The
labyrinth of Chartres is designed according to the geometry
of the circle both in the whole as well as in
many details. The circle is the symbol of the eternity,
the infinity, of the omnipotence of God, of the sun.
The sun anew is in Christianity the symbol for Christ,
the new sun. The 114 graduations at the outside of the
perimeter (also called lunations) divided by 6 (the number
of perfection) result in 19, the number of the sun. The
Flower of Life has also 19 circles.
The
Chartres labyrinth has a diameter of 12.858 m including
the lunations, without them a diameter of 12.455 m. The
Australian architect John James says
that the diameter of the labyrinth is equal to a circle
which contains an isosceles triangle, which again corresponds
to the half diagonal of the crossing of the nave and the
transept. With that the figures of the circle,
of the square (= the holy), of the triangle
(= the spirit or the perfection) would be contained in
the crossing and in the labyrinth.
In
the Middle Ages there was a good dozen of "feet"
as units with its derivatives hand, span,
yard, thumb etc. In Chartres at least 4 different were
used. The Roman foot with 294.45 mm and a further with
294.2 mm were common. The architects of the Middle Ages
were fascinated by numbers. The circle
played a large role, one generally used a value of 22:7
= 3.1428 for the unit Pi. In the school of Chartres a
more exact value of 399:127 = 3.1417323 could have been
calculated, which is not so far away from our current
value of 3.1415927. The circumference was thus specified
with the integral values of 399 "hands" and
the diameter with 127 "hands".
The
way in the labyrinth is made of bright, very hard stones
from the quarries of Berchères and is on an average
343.23 mm wide. The stones are very carefully
formed with different inner and outer diameters and are
made in relatively long pieces. There are 273 pieces (or
276, points of fracture taken into consideration or not).
The last stone at the entrance to the center has a length
of 1.64 m, which can be interpreted as the average size
of the medieval humans. The length of the way
is 261.5 m according to John James or said in
other units 740 "long feet" or 888 "Roman
feet". Both numbers loaded with symbolism. The cross
sum of 740 is 11 (=7+4+0), and 888 is the numeric value
for the name of Christ in the Greek system. The 11 stands
for the inner fight, the aberration, the trespassing of
the Ten Commandments and the penalty.
The black, smaller stones from quarries
of Senlis or the region of Givet separate and limit the ways. The outermost
bounds and the inside limitation around the center are 85 mm wide
and the others between the 11 white rings measure about 81 mm including
the joints.
The
black 114 lunations (more exactly said
113, because one is omitted for the entrance) serve as
separation from the rectangular plates of the nave and
as tying of the labyrinth in the floor. They were maybe
inserted as first. The height of the teeth arises as a
result of the difference of the overall diameter minus
the diameter of the 11 rings and the center divided by
2: (12858 mm  12455 mm) : 2 = 201.5 mm. Each tooth is
manufactured from one piece with the dimensions 343.23
mm wide, 288 mm high, an opening of 262 mm and
a clearance of 280 mm to the neighbouring piece. The thin
place is 70 mm wide, the upper width is 93 mm. Thus a
model for the stonemasons could be manufactured. The
counterparts from bright stones follow these measures,
are however made of larger parts.
The
center itself has a diameter of
2.942 m. The innermost circle has a diameter
of 1.57 m. It contained a today no longer existing copper
plate. The six inner petals follow the harmonious division
with 3, 5, 7 and 10 units (counted in feet). All this
parts consist of partial circles. In the small cloverleaf
of the closing the square root of 10 is expressed.
The
rose of six petals may remind the name
"Mystic Rose" for Mary, popular in the Middle
Ages, and the popularity of the rose for the alchemists.
Although the natural rose has only five petals, here probably
the number six was chosen to demonstrate perfection.
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