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John A Shimmin

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Doric Temple Proportions
by John A Shimmin   

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· The Manx Grail Chronicles: Mystery of the Templar Treasure
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Copyright:  1986

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The Manx Grail Chronicles

Vitruvious [De arch. 4.3.3] wrote that he could dictate the proportional formula for construction Doric Temples. He states that these proportions were based on a modular system determined by the spaces between columns. Unfortunately, Vitruvious omitted the actual formula for peripteral “pycnostyle” temples, the main style used in Greek temples. In fact, he may never have possessed this information. Nevertheless, this had not deterred others from exploring the Vitruvian Doric Temple proportional module by simulating solutions for the missing formula.

Unlike these other attempts to establish a proportional framework, however, this paper ignores all prior concepts of Vitruvian proportionality and establishes a Doric Temple proportional formula based on statistical modeling.
The results produced a mathematical model that is better than 99% accurate in predicting Classical-period Doric temple Width:Length proportions. Not only do the statistical results produce a mathematically reliable model for the prediction of temple measurements, but they imply that the progenitor of the formula was Pythagoras. This conclusion is reached since Doric temple proportionality produce a statistical result based on irrational numbers – a mathematical phenomena revealed first within the Pythagorian brotherhood.

A classification that can be applied to statistical testing must “…produce classes that so accurately reflect the nature of the specimens that those classes and criteria that define them can be used to identify additional specimens of the same kind.”
[Rouse 1972]

Vitruvius very clearly describes the various temple styles in his ten books on architecture. He specifically mentions DIASTYLE (intercolumniations three times the column base), and SYSTYLE (intercolumniations two times that of the column base), and PYCNOSTYLE (intercolumnar spaces one and a half times the lower column diameter) structures. These classifications are too broad for producing clear proportional divisions, yet it is through these divisions that Vitruvious assigns his proportional code. Whether by design or neglect, Vitruvius omits his proportional formula for PYCNOSTYLE temples; these temples comprise the bulk of the peripteral Doric design and are central to the temple issue. This omission in Vitruvius’ architectural pastiche, however, has not daunted generations of researchers from reworking his old figures or, at least, from molding their research on his modular system.

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