While the world’s recent attention has been focused on Barcelona, as some of its people rally for Catalonian independence from Spain, few people are aware that the city is home to one of European histories’ greatest subterranean treasures; a 4000-meter-squared radius (1.3 miles squared) archaeological site of Roman ruins, including the enigma of the Temple of Augustus. The secret of this temple lies not just within its measurements, but as author and researcher Ashley Cowie investigated, it was found to enshrine the ancient code of music and architecture, expressed by Roman architects in the universal cosmic languages of mathematics and geometry.
The subterranean Roman ruins
The Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) of Barcelona reminds one of a labyrinth, with winding alleys leading the unsuspecting explorer to suddenly come upon the medieval Plaça del Rei or Square of the Kings. Many tourists may not suspect that hidden beneath the courtyard of the 14th century Royal Palace on the square, the Musea d ’História de la Ciutat (City History Museum) displays the most extensive and magnificent underground Roman ruins in the world. Once proud, now crumbling, gargantuan sandstone columns protrude from broken mosaic walkways and streets, in what was a bustling and thriving city between the 1st and 6th century CE.
Temple of Augustus
Nearby, are the ruins of a once glorious Roman temple dedicated to Augustus, built during the Imperial period in what was the ancient Roman colony of Barcino (modern day Barcelona). Augustus (63 BC to 14 AD) was the founder of the Roman Principate and is considered to have been the first Roman emperor, but this ruinous temple in his name was not discovered until the late 19th century when three of its four vast columns emerged from a construction site.
Unlike most Roman buildings in Barcelona, which were torn down to become the foundations of newer structures, the columns of the Temple of Augustus remained intact and were incorporated into the medieval buildings which were built around them. Thousands of tourists visit these columns every year, take a quick selfie, and climb the steps back to modern Barcelona. Only a few people take the time to reflect upon the volumes of hidden data and ancient knowledge embedded, not only within the measurements of the actual columns, but in the carefully delineated spaces ‘between’ the stones.
The three pillars of the Temple of Augustus in Barcelona, Spain ( CC by-SA 3.0 )
Measurements of the Temple
In 2017, I left London and descended into Barcelona’s underworld, spending six months in measuring both stones and spaces, and unearthing the fragmented research projects of those scholars who had come before me with similar interests. I was to discover that in 1830, Spanish architect Antoni Celles wrote a complete description of the Temple of Augustus and what is more, he drew a detailed plan of the temple with accurate measurements of the foundations and the circumferences of columns. He recorded: “It was found to have 11 columns on each wing, including corner columns, and with 6 on the front and further 6 on the posticum. The whole building measured approximately 35 x 17.5 meters in size .” (114.8 x 57.4 feet). Antoni Celles was born in Lleida and studied architecture at the Academy of San Fernando de Madrid between the years 1793 and 1802. In 1797 had obtained the authorization of Madrid to establish a Class of Architecture in Barcelona and gave the first Architecture classes in the city.
Although Celles recorded the temple’s foundational measurements, he didn’t go so far as to interpret them, thus, the underlying metrology upon which this temple was raised has never been studied, until now that is. And, just as predicted, this temple was found to enshrine the ancient code of music and architecture which was expressed by Roman architects in the universal cosmic languages of mathematics and geometry.
To reveal this lost musical-architectural code, one must simply ask “why” the Roman temple architects chose exactly “35 x 17.5” meters (114.8 x 57.4 feet,) reflecting a double square with a (2:1 ratio), and not any other measurement or proportion?
What lies beneath The discovery of an ancient complex in Thessaloniki ignites old debates
GREEK TOUR guides can sometimes be touchy. Having studied for years to gain a licence, they protect their monopoly on the sharing of information about their country’s treasures. But Yannis Kiourtsoglou, a guide based in northern Greece, is generous with his knowledge these days. Every weekend he takes hundreds of people on free walks through Thessaloniki, drawing attention to the fine monuments that survive and the equally fine ones that were obliterated by archaeological crimes. He tells his followers, for example, about the temple to Egyptian gods, built in 250BC, rediscovered in 1917 and now buried under drab modern buildings.
Decoding Barcelona’s Enigma of an Ancient Musical Roman Temple - History
Under Augustus, arts of Hellenic tradition were adapted to proclaim the permanence
and universality of Roman power. Artists and craftsmen from Alexandria, Athens, and
Asia Minor flocked to the imperial court to create models that celebrated the best of all
possible worlds. During the crisis years of the reign of Commodus, artists developed the
independent artistic language that led to the remarkable works of late antiquity.
The enduring image of Rome represents one of mankind's greatest collective achievements. Reflected in imperial art from the accession of the first Roman emperor Octavian (31bc), to the deposition of the last, Romulus Augustus (ad476), it was continued by the Byzantine dynasties ("emperors of the Romans" until 1453). and revived at intervals in the medieval and modern Western world. During the reign of Augustus (31bc-ad14), imperial art - whether in the context of public celebration or in the form of portraits of the sovereign - imperial art was promoted at even,' social and economic level and exported to the most distant bounds of the empire. This mood of ideological fervour permeated the art of the entire imperial era.
An Empire of Symbols
Undaunted by any challenge, the Romans built arches, bridges, aqueducts, roads, walled cities, and frontier fortresses. These constructions were the conscious symbols of a mighty empire, the lasting and immutable traces of which are still to
be seen today from Europe through to Mesopotamia and North Africa.
At the heart of the continued reverence of the ideal of the empire by so many generations was the long-standing religious concern of the Romans to guarantee the survival and good fortune of their community through the scrupulous observance of divine will. Superstitious practices, threatened by the popularity in Italy of Epicurean doctrine, were modified for future centuries by Augustus, who translated them into loyal adherence to the images of the new regime. Out of the mythology inherited from eastern Greece, which had caused so much embarrassment to the rationalists, a few retained elements were sufficient to trace the essential historical origins of Rome and to rechannel traditional beliefs towards the new structures of imperial rule. These included the descent of the Julians from the goddess Venus Genitrix the role of Mars, from the birth of Romulus to the avenging of the murder of Caesar and the protection of Diana and Apollo in the battles that ended the civil wars. The task of the Chief Pontiff charged with religious functions was to preserve on the basis of these beliefs the "reciprocal link" (religion) with the gods rather than to expound the nature of the divinities. The past was reinterpreted as the forerunner of the history of Rome by writers such as Livy. who began with Aeneas and continued with the achievements of the Romans in accordance with the will of providence. In reviving the forms of worship necessary for the maintenance of the state, the leading personage of the governing class evoked the moral aspect of ancient religious zeal, adapting it to popular philosophical attitudes. The portraits of Augustus embodv the heroic and the divine aspects of the "actions" (res gestae) of the man who performed them. Crossing the "city of marble" from the Palatine to the Capitol and the Campus Martins, one is surrounded by buildings and monuments that culminate in the Mausoleum of Augustus, where the apotheosis of the Emperor fulfilled the legend of his origins: the entrance to the mound was in line with the Pantheon, the place where Quirinus, at Rome's beginning, ascended to the skies. Virgil's Aeneid projects the message into the future. The Ara Pads, the altar set up to commemorate the rule of Augustus, transmits the tidings of messianic investiture and discloses the eternity of Rome, as do the Carmen Saeculare (a choral lyric) of Horace and the fourth Eclogue of Virgil. Henceforth, no public monument would fail to reflect in the actions of the heroes being portrayed or in its allegorical decoration faith in the sacred, everlasting essence of Rome.
Certain motifs from the Hellenistic-style imagery of Octavian remain in official portraiture created after 27bc, when he was honoured with the title of Augustus. However, these Greek influences are tempered by the Roman preference for specific detail in portraiture. This is typified in the impressive marble statue of Augustus from Prima Porta, dating from after 17bc. which although based on a classical model has been modified in order to capture the actual features of the emperor. In Greece, among the many conventional images, there is an extraordinary bronze statue, depicting Augustus on horseback with military and religious attributes. Among these can be seen the sheath of his sword and the lituus (a staff used for divination) of the augurs on the mount of his ring — Augustus was appointed Chief Pontiff in 12bc. His neck is long and the fringe of hair is typically forked above the brow us in the earlier portraits. The bodv is thin under the mantle, the face is bony, and the skull irregularly broad. An air of defiance is suggested by the prominent chin, the lips pursed by the nervous contraction of the cheeks, and the tension in the eyes. The memory of youth contrasts with the harsh truth of a man in advanced age. The principal representation of Augustus and other images of him are cast aside by the artist, who shows the disturbing truth, far removed from the image favoured for propaganda purposes - the signs of an unhappy adolescence, the mental turmoil of an ageing man who, behind the unyielding mask of power, never reached full maturity.
Octavian, renamed Augustus in 27bc, originally lived near the Forum but later moved to the Palatine, where he bought the house that belonged to the orator Hortensius. After the victory over Semis Pompeius (36bc), he purchased nearby buildings and had them demolished, donating the land to the state for the Temple of Apollo. On the ground floor of his house, in the western sector that was intended for private use. the decorative paintings of the so-called Room of the Masks still appear remarkably fresh and bright. The walls represent, by means of skilful illusion, the outlines of a theatre stage. The structure appears superimposed on the permanent background of stone, which is enlivened by recesses and projections. The central area reproduces the painted fabric curtain covering the door to the stage, with a reference to the work being performed. On the western wall is a sacred landscape that alludes to a satirical play. The horizontal lines, which in reality come towards the foreground, converge at a vanishing point set at the eye-level of anyone entering the room, in accordance with the theory of geometric perspective outlined by the Greek philosopher Democritus in Aktinographia. Equally rigorous rules applied to the depiction of shadows. In this "second style" decoration of the House of Augustus, perspective of what was much later termed the Brunelleschi type was generally superseded by a system of different viewpoints for the three horizontal sections (plinth, central fascia, and cornice) of the wall. In the Room of the Masks, adherence to the theoretical model is attributed to a painter from the court of Cleopatra, who followed the victorious Octavian from Alexandria (28bc).
During the period from Sulla to Caesar (c.90-40bc). artists in Rome from the Greek cities of southern Italy and Sicily had concentrated on the revival of parts of ancient Greek culture. This trend culminated in the Ara Paris, or Altar of the Augustan Peace, erected in 13bc to celebrate the era of prosperity and security during the rule of Augustus. The sculpture, which blends Hellenistic influence with the universal message of Periklean Athens, is an Italic-style realistic-record of the consecration ceremony and was dedicated on 30 January, 9bc. It shares the same formal treatment as Phidias' Panathenaic processional frieze in the Parthenon. On the northern face is a procession, perfectly ordered by family and rank, of the principal figures: priests, augurs, lictors (attendants). Octavian, flamens (priests). Agrippa, the young Cains Caesar, Livia, Tiberius, Antonia Minor and Drusus with their son Germanicus, Domitia and Domitius Ahenobarbus, and Maecenas. For many centuries to come, this composition typified dynastic propaganda. The arrangement of acanthus scrolls crowded with small animals beneath the figures brings together patrician traditions and the new order of the principate. On the eastern face of the monument Aeneas is shown as the founding father, whose family tree is traced by the tendrils. These were the noble branches of an ancestry rooted in custom. The hypnotic rhythm of the plant spirals changes for the sudden halt of the procession at the entrance to the enclosure, enabling the participants to gather up their robes or turn round, while a cloaked figure in the background, a symbol of winter, places his finger to his lips to impose holy silence.
Augustus entrusted the continuity of his ideas to forms of unquestionable beauty. Since Rome appears as the magnified projection of the predominant Greek city-state, its archetype was the Athens of Perikles. The Hellenic figurative tradition was acknowledged most of all in the decoration of civic and religious buildings in Rome. A law was even proposed (but not approved) by Agrippa. Augustus' son-in-law, whereby all original Greek works of art transferred to Italy would be exhibited in public places. Appreciation of Rome's heritage was guaranteed by classicism.
which tempered the acceptance of Hellenic experiments. With craftsmen working to specific models, they were conforming to a single will, taking pride in being part of a collective enterprise, the allegorical transformation of Rome, which conferred upon Augustus the character of Supreme Being. In the official portrait of the princeps, to which the title of Augustus was added in 27bc, the facial features were adapted to meet the rules of classical statuary and the hairstyle made to resemble those of the heroes of Polykleitos. For the court and the citizens in outlying estates and provincial cities who were following the example of Rome, workshops of Athenian sculptors were recruited to provide copies of the most famous originals by Greek sculptors such as Myron and Lysippos. This became the most popular way to furnish a house or villa. Some artists moved to Italy and supplied a wide range of casts, a selection of which were added to Rome's growing collections. The most famous masterpieces of the moment were copied although it was hard to capture the poetic spirit of the original: the final result depended on the ability of the artist to imbue his copy with some of the original's vitality and energy. At Baiae, one workshop possessed the moulds of dozens of famous works from Athens, from which it turned out statues and bronze herms, monuments with a square shaft bearing a bust. Many of these statues were found in the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum where, along with images of the owner, the heads of philosophers stood side by side with the busts of warriors and the likenesses of heroes, such as Achilles and Pentesilea, and divinities including Minerva, Apollo, Diana. Hermes, Bacchus, and Herakles, In wall-paintings, known as the "second style" (according to the four Pompeian "'styles"), architectural forms created an illusion of space, at the centre of which were reproductions of Hellenistic masterpieces showing mythological scenes.
Plan of the Baths of Diocletian, Rome.
The central part of the baths now forms
the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli
During the imperial period, the popularity of the public baths signalled a reversal of the trend of the late republican age when privacy had prevailed. The lavatrina, a small room for private ablutions in houses, was replaced by communal establishments. The balaneia or public baths which originated in Sicily and Greece, offered hot water and steam baths, using a system of hot air passed through underground pipes (hyperkausterion). The hygiene value of this system was emphasized in the .sanctuary of Epidaurus where the original Greek system was supplemented by new structures in the Roman age. Initially, the public baths built in Rome were known as balnea (third century bc), and then thermae, still of Greek derivation (thermos meaning "warm"). The baths were regularly inspected for cleanliness and temperature: later, these inspectors were called curatores thermarum. The Romans were inspired by the Greek combination of baths (loutra) with gymnasiums and soon had special areas for physical exercise. The Baths of Agrippa (19bc) were built on a monumental scale, complete with a park and a vast swimming pool.
The Central Baths of Pompeii (still incomplete in ad79) were based on the precepts of Vitruvius, the military engineer and author of De architecturea. One of Nero's architects introduced the axial and symmetrical plan (ad62), later developed by Apollodorus of Damascus in the Baths of Trajan, where a separate section was provided for cultural activities with Latin and Greek libraries and rooms (auditoria) for lectures and conferences. This plan became even larger in the subsequent urban complexes of Caracalla and Diocletian. As visitors followed the ritual sequence of changing room, gymnasium caldarium (hot room), tepidarium (warm room), and frigidarium (cold room), the could enjoy the statuary and decoration, which included a manner of subjects: athletes, nymphs, the Bacchic dance, Venus rising from the water, and the beneficent divinities. In the words of an anonymous epigram: "Baths, wine, and love corrupt our bodies. But thev are life."
The dissemination of the imperial message was reminiscent of the reign of Alexander the Great (356-323bc). The conquests of Rome rivalled those of Macedon in terms of territorial gain and promised even greater stability. The link was made by the consecration of the bronze supports of the tent that Alexander had taken on his campaigns in the temple of Mars Ultor. However, it was made clear that the Roman Empire shared nothing, nor bore comparison, with any Greek monarchy: this illusion had been dispelled by Caesar. When the young Octavian visited the founder's tomb in Alexandria, he refused to look at the remains of King Ptolemy, declaring that he had come to see a king, not a corpse. Rome had subdued the kingdom of Macedonia and all the others derived from it, in order to reassume the universal destiny of Alexander.
The long-established strategy of forming contacts was replaced by annexation, an integral form of rule in which Augustus' image was replicated everywhere, as that of Alexander had been, as the living embodiment of the all-embracing empire. Artists, with their responsibility for perpetuating heroic human faces and deeds, were part of culture, and as necessarv as lawyers, doctors, and state officials in safeguarding humanity. One outcome of the Roman vision was that Greco-Latin culture was made tangible and lasting in the form of monuments. Architecture, painting, and sculpture took on a role comparable in society to that attributed to Greek philosophy. Aristotle held that logic was the foundation of reason and central to all discourse, even it the conversation turned from fact to persuasion: in Roman treatises it was the practical outcome of eloquence that became the highest expression of intellectual activity. Artistic production was a "demonstrative discourse", entrusted to specialists whose task was to immortalize collective functions and ceremonies or individual services.
The end of the class struggle and the civil war helped bring a new sense of cohesion to society. From the time of the early kings to the middle of the republican period, conflicts among patricians and plebeians had emphasized the contrast between native art and works intended for an aristocracy that was cautiously receptive of Hellenic models. Now it was difficult to isolate "plebeian" art in the historical sense of that social class. By the time of Augustus. Rome had already established an equilibrium between both factions, resulting in a more uniform structure of government. Augustus chose to revive the title of "tribune of the people", which would render inviolable his own person and his right to pass laws. Restoration of internal peace after the final defeat of Mark Antony had removed the most serious threat to Roman unity. Official planning gradually yielded to private patronage, the living standards of the middle class improved, and purchasing power mushroomed. The general mood was one of harmonious celebration. Romans had always found reassurance in the purpose and content of their monuments, which tended to vary in form according to the public level of cultural sophistication. The new factor, as compared with the traditional social structure of republican times, was that Rome now ruled over a cosmopolitan population such as Alexander had only dreamed of in his final years when he encouraged Macedonian men to marry Persian women. Ever since the Hellenic age. Greeks had been amazed at the custom of the quirites (Roman citizens) of granting citizenship to freed slaves and of allowing the sons of such slaves access to the magistracy. The father of the family could likewise free his foreign servant to make him his equal. Every Roman could thus create new citizens, investing them with prestige and power, and helping to formulate a mass culture more complex and comprehensive than that of Alexandria. To the multitudes, with their basic representative needs -votive offerings, portraits, and funerary monuments - was allotted that element of Greek culture which had already permeated Italic culture and plebeian art: socialist realism. This was not so much promoted by the people as offered to them like "bread and circuses". The combination of simplicity and Greek influence can be seen in the figurative decoration of commemorative monuments, a form of public art implemented by the state. Originally, there had been the triumphal painting of the republican age, on huge canvases, illustrating the actions of victorious heroes. These were much more likely to influence the collective mind than any easel painting, rather in the manner of modern-day billboards. In the celebratory relief of the imperial age. state policy still indulged the popular partiality for story-telling, combining clear narrative with spectacular rediscovered Hellenistic devices. Over time, the Roman manner of depicting history became so entrenched in the social imagination that up until the age of medieval Christianity, it came to be seen as the only way of presentation, and was almost second nature, part of the visual experience of Western civilization. No matter how Roman citizens of every extraction might differ privately in the choice of other forms of art, they were united in their positive reaction to the omnipresent propaganda of the Empire.
Daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia (sister to Augustus). Antonia Minor married Drusus Minor (second son to I.ivia), by whom she bore Claudius. As emperor, Claudius dedicated coins inscribed "Antonia Augusta" to her after she died in ad37, their image corresponding to that of the large bust known as the Ludovisi Juno. The woollen band, adorned with pearls and beading that surrounds the diadem of Juno is appropriate to her role as priestess to the Divine Augustus. Hellenic queens were often exalted in this ambiguous manner, both as priestesses and divinities. A perfect example is provided by this courtly sculpture in Neo-Attic style. Compared with models of the classical age, the effect of light and shade-in the coiffure becomes more prominent here and charming ringlets appear behind the ears and trail down the neck, alluding to the style introduced by Agrippina the Elder. The head, inclined slightly to the left, was inserted into the
drapery of a colossal statue of the imperial cult. As Seneca declared in his Apocolocynthosis ("The Pumpkinification of Claudius"), an irreverent comment on the deification of the late Emperor, the step from the sublime to the ridiculous is a small one.
Characteristic of the Roman world, clientes (or freedmen) were literally the plebeian followers of the patricians, who gave service and loyalty in return for protection. The career of a rising politician depended on the number of clientes he had. so maintaining them was regarded as an economic investment along with property. The freed slaves became citizens and remained followers of their patronus (manumitter). Even in death, they continued to enhance the patricians prestige, with their funerary monuments lining the roads outside the city, which bore inscriptions proclaiming the bonds made through manumission. During the time of Augustus, Luni marble replaced travertine stone for these sculpted portraits. Cutting off the figure at the base of the chest was a legacy of the Etruscan tradition. Busts were sculpted in deep frames, as if they were facing outwards from inside a window, from the tomb towards life. Family members were placed close together or shown in embrace. Customs governing the public image were once again controlled by rules that had been blurred at the tempestuous conclusion of the republic. Augustus ordered the wearing of an unusually large toga as a sign of a civis romanus and this style found keen acceptance among the freedmen who could thus assert the privileges they had won.
Children born of a freedman after his manumission were free of all special restrictions and the son of a freedman gained the right to join the army. Alongside representations of toga-wearing men and women wrapped in mantles were the citizens in arms, in the heroically nuked pose of Greek derivation. The number of individuals represented, including those still living, and the size of the monument, constituted a metaphor of pride and hope for the growing family. The figures vary greatly: each one has a story to tell: it is a record of the past and a model for the future. For example, the gestures of the married couple in the Gratidii group tell a love story. The static, frontal representation of individual faces derives from Italic tradition, but the overall composition has elements both of classical nobilitv and Greek sentiment.
From the reign of Augustus, the wearing of the toga became increasingly popular. The balteus, the sweep across the chest, became looser with a tuck in it (umbo) another fold of material (sinus) hung at knee-level. In the marble statue of Titus (ad79-81), which came from the Lateran Palace, the line of the drapery runs from the right foot to the left shoulder, over which the end (lacinia) falls. The shadows are so dense and the folds so fine that it resembles a work in bronze. The artist has combined the emperor's coarse features with an elegance achieved through the delicate carving which in the skilfully rendered folds reveals the pose of the body beneath. The large head is modelled with incredibly light touches. The small, rather disquieting eyes are surrounded by tiny wrinkles and framed by a square face. The smile on the prominent mouth suggests both sensuality and amiable optimism. Near the left foot lies a wasp's nest this is a reference to Titus' grandmother Vespasia Polla, who derived her name from the insect, vespa (wasp), and from his father's surname Vespasian. The log. inside which is a honeycomb (favus, another phonetic allusion to the family name Flavius), serves, therefore, not merely as a physical prop: it is his family tree.
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Decoding Barcelona’s Enigma of an Ancient Musical Roman Temple - History
The taozhong , the earliest kind of bell, appeared in primitive Chinese society. It was an instrument for labouring people to play after work. The introduction of metal brought about the tongnao (a bronze percussion instrument resembling an inverted bell, sounded by a hammer), tongling (a small bronze bell) and tongzhong (a bronze bell). Then they evolved into the bianling (a chime of small bells), biannao (a chime of percussion instruments resembling inverted bells) and bianzhong (a chime of bells).
Many chimes of bells appeared in the days before the Qin Dynasty (221 BC-206 BC) unified China. Most of them were shaped uniquely like combined pairs of tiles. They produced quick and short notes. Each bell could produce two different notes when the front and the side of its lower part were struck. So such bells were also known as double-note bells. As they were used mainly for performances, they were also called musical bells.
With the development of society and the elapse of time, the musical bells gradually became feudal sacrificial vessels and important symbols of power, rank and position of the ruling classes. According to The Junior Dancing Master, the Ministry of Rites, the Ritual of Zhou , "The emperor could have bells on the four sides of his palace, a duke or prince could have bells on three sides of his residence, a minister could have bells on two sides of his residence and an official could have bells on one side of his residence." This was a clear proof of the rigid hierarchy of power in those days.
Due to the differences in the uses, shapes and regional features and the evolution of times, the ancient Chinese percussion instruments before the Qin Dynasty were divided into the nao (an ancient percussion instrument resembling an inverted bell, sounded by a hammer), duo (a kind of bell used in ancient China when proclamations were issued or in times of war), zheng (a bell-shaped percussion instrument used in ancient times by troops on march), goudiao (a long and narrow bell), yongzhong (a bell with a cylindrical handle on top), niuzhong (a bell with a semi-circular knob on top), yangjiaozhong (a bell shaped like a ram's horns) and tongzhong (a tube-shaped bell).
With the introduction of Buddhism into China after the Qin Dynasty, ancient bells gradually became important musical instruments for Buddhism. As the saying goes, "There are bells at every temple. Without bells, there would be no temples." Round bells took the place of those shaped like combined pairs of tiles. The strokes of bells became sweet and sonorous, spreading to distant places.
With their imposing shapes and deep and prolonged sound, round bells were widely used in Buddhism and Taoism. They also entered the imperial court and became a symbol of imperial power. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, ancient Chinese bells were divided into musical bells, Buddhist bells, Taoist bells, imperial court bells and bells for sounding the night watches. Their functions and uses were broadened. According to a historical record, "Bells are the leading musical instruments made of metal. The peals of big ones can be heard five kilometers away and the strokes of small ones can reach places half a kilometer off. When a monarch held court or an official leaves his office, a hell is struck to call together their subordinates. A bell is struck at a feast to accompany the singing of songs. A bell is struck at a Buddhist or Taoist temple to draw the devotion of worshippers and the awe of ghosts and gods." In those days, bells served as musical instruments, sacrificial vessels and musical instruments used in Buddhist or Taoist masses, keeping up all the uses of bells during the pre–Qin period and the Sui, Tang, Song and Yuan dynasties.
Masonic Number Three—The Triptych
Much like the “Cathedral Code”, this three door entrance has never been investigated or explained. Let’s call it a “Triptych”—this Triptych is directly connected with the twin towers above it.
The Twin Towers are symbolized on the ground by the
Triptych’s twin outer doors, which signify “opposites.”
The twin towers terminate (or rise up) from the Triptych’s outer doors. The doors are, like the towers, a pair of opposites, and are encoded in both ancient and modern architecture, as evidenced by the very modern building below:
A massive Triptych graces the facade of Rockefeller Center. Above the door on the right is
a male, above the door on the left is a female, and a ‘god’ sits above the center door.
The male and female figures atop the doors of opposites are, of course, pairs of opposites themselves:
The Triptych design that graces the entrance of Rockefeller Center matches the
Masonic symbolism of Sun (right), Moon (left), and the Spiritual Eye (center).
But what symbolism lies behind that third door? We know already, from the evidence above, the meaning behind the dual outer doors: what is the esoteric meaning beside the door they juxtapose?
The answer is, in fact, a major part of Freemasonry’s lost secret: the secret is symbolized by the sacred Masonic number three, and the answer is that the third door represents you. That god in the center of that Triptych above represents man’s soul, the eternal Self that is not physical, the Self that every human body, or “pair of opposites”, contains within it.
The metaphor here being, of course, that the two opposing halves contain a higher element: a third element inside, the soul.
You don’t HAVE a soul. You ARE a soul. You HAVE a body.”
—C. W. Lewis
The body, the physical, two-sided part, is material and temporary, composed of the same pairs of opposites as the material world in which it lives. The soul, however, is not thus subjected: it lives free of the laws of the physical universe, a teaching echoed in the biblical tale of the Garden of Eden where Man falls to the lower world after eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (good and evil being opposites).
“…the fall [of your soul] from perfection into duality…was naturally followed by the discovery of the duality of good and evil…This is the Biblical version of a myth known to many lands …”
The Self or soul, then, has fallen from its higher spiritual home in the heavens and has landed in the material world of opposites:
“According to this mystic doctrine…all souls have pre-existence and have descended from the spiritual world into the earthly prison of the body…”
—John Yarker, Arcane Schools
What this teaching implies is that humans are in fact divine already: they existed before the birth of the body and will survive after it. Having fallen, however, the soul is now imprisoned inside a material body that mimics the duality of the universe in which it lives.
“Man is a god in the body of an animal according to the pronouncement of ancient philosophy…”
—Alvin Boyd Kuhn
The word “imprisoned” is accurate because your body is not your true home but an imperfect and transitory vehicle. The body imprisons the soul because it requires care and constant maintenance. To survive, it must continually:
- Maintain A Constant Temperature
- Fight Disease
A body can endure for decades, but death will eventually come to it. For the ancients, the fall into this fragile human body is a tragedy:
“…the Platonists in general believed in a pre-existent state, in which all souls had sinned, and thus lost their wings, whereby they were once capable of ascending, and so they sunk into these bodies partly as a punishment for former follies.”
—Olinthus Gregory, The Fall of Man and the Depravity of Nature
The end result of this particular consequence is, unfortunately, the loss of the true Self and the true origin entirely: the soul has descended so deeply into the material world that it has lost sight of the eternal “god within”.
“A man is a god in ruins.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
The soul is thus imprisoned in these conditions over which it has no control, but it is not completely powerless. The soul is eternal, a trait that imbues it with its own inherent powers: powers that can be exercised in the material world. Though the soul is in a fallen state, the powers it has were never lost, merely covered up and unrecognizable.
Masonry exists not only to reveal to Man the presence of his inner soul, but to help him rediscover its higher powers—powers that have been covered up by the body.
We can see this entire concept carved on an ancient statue that still sits in ruins in the Elephantine Caves of Bombay, India. Note how the statue forms a three-in-one design, with a male on the right (sun, Jachin pillar) and female on the left (moon, Boaz pillar) flanking a “god” in the center (the eternal, spiritual you).
Above: The Mask of Eternity, as described by Joseph Campbell. Elephanta Caves, India.
Press play on the one minute video below and watch how the illuminated 20th century professor of mythology, the brilliant Joseph Campbell, analyzed this ancient Triptych-like statue:
As Joseph Campbell tells us in this video, we are all-powerful beings. To spark these powers…to turn these powers “on”…you need to employ the actual formula of the number Three. That is, you need to “reconcile” or “balance” your twin bodily opposites. This forms the basis of the lost secret of Freemasonry:
“…only by the reconciliation of opposing forces is the Pathway made to true occult knowledge and practical power…”
—Israel Regardie, The Eye in the Triangle
In other words, you need to “join” your male “right-half” and your female “left-half,” the twin sun and moon pillars:
“…Join the male and the female and you will find what you are seeking…”
—Aphorisms of Zosimus
Once the twin opposing forces have been balanced or reconciled, then the true “soul within” is revealed. This three-in-one practice of uniting the opposites through the middle path is an ancient exercise, virtually unknown in the West and now the exclusive province of the Eastern religions:
“Unfortunately our Western mind, lacking all culture in this respect, has never yet devised a concept, nor even a name, for the union of opposites through the middle path, that most fundamental item of inward experience…
…It is at once the most individual fact and the most universal, the most legitimate fulfillment of the meaning of the individual’s life.”
This “union of opposites through the middle path”, described by Jung, is the secret of the Triptych entrance on Gothic cathedrals. It forms the lost wisdom of the Masons as well as being the deeper meaning behind the famous Masonic number “Three”.
The Triptych very elegantly conveys the ancient occult wisdom of the practice outlined above, and its arcane Pagan wisdom, as mentioned, runs counter to the mainstream Christian belief that every human being’s soul and body are created at the very moment of our birth on earth.
The Masons did not just encode this secret into the High Gothic cathedrals they also adorned castles, lodges, temples, and multitudes of other buildings with the Triptych entrance, embedding their secret for future generations.
Above: Masonic temples with Triptych entrances space
The Temple of Bacchus is one of the best preserved Roman temples in the world
Located in modern-day Lebanon (north of Beirut) in the Beqaa Valley, the ancient city of Baalbek, also called Heliopolis or City of the Sun, notes its heyday during the Roman period. Its colossal constructions make it one of the most famous sanctuaries of the Roman world and a model of an Imperial Roman architecture.
When this area of the Middle East was part of the Roman Empire, Baalbek was known as Heliopolis Photo Credit
The Temple of Bacchus (left) and the medieval fortifications of Baalbek in front of the city in 1959. Baalbek was Hellenized after the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. The Greeks named it Baalbek “Heliopolis” Photo Credit
From the 1st century BC and over a period of two centuries, the Romans built three giant temples here: Jupiter, Bacchus, and Venus. Next, to the Jupiter complex, which was created to be the largest temple in the Roman Empire, there is a separate building known as the Temple of Bacchus. The temple is slightly smaller than the Temple of Jupiter, but it became one of the most celebrated sanctuaries of the ancient world.
Although it is sometimes called “The Small Temple,” it is larger (and better preserved) than the Parthenon in Athens Photo Credit
Temple of Bacchus entrance Photo Credit
Propylaea at the entrance of the site Photo Credit
The temple was commissioned by the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and designed by an unknown architect around 150 A.D. after the cult of Bacchus had become popular in the empire. Antoninus Pius had intended to make the people of the Baalbek region have great respect for the Roman rule, so he built two towers on the eastern edge of the Temples’ entrance way to create a more familiar building that the locals could relate to and recognize.
The massive structure was dedicated to the Roman god of the wine, Bacchus (also known as Dionysus) but traditionally referred to by Neoclassical visitors as the “Temple of the Sun.” It is the best-preserved structure at Baalbek and the most beautifully decorated temple in the Roman world.
The period of construction is considered between 150 AD to 250 AD Photo Credit
A temple most probably dedicated to the Roman Wine God Bacchus Photo Credit
The best preserved Roman temple of its size Photo Credit
Temple of Bacchus pilasters Photo Credit
The reason why it is so well preserved is that has been a part of the Baalbek’s Medieval Fortifications. A series of earthquakes over the centuries had further damaged the site, and it wasn’t preserved or excavated until 1898 when a German expedition began to reconstruct the ruins. Extensive clearings and repairs were accomplished under the French mandate and, later, by the Lebanese government. Some figurative reliefs depicting Greek gods have survived, though in a pretty deteriorated condition.
The main entrance is decorated with grapes and vines, and some of the carvings on the ceiling include different versions of the image of Bacchus. Other sculptures include rituals, practices, people, and creatures, and its ornamentation served as an important model for Neoclassical architecture.
Over the centuries, Baalbeck’s monuments suffered from theft, war, and earthquakes, as well as from numerous medieval additions Photo Credit
Temple of Bacchus columns Photo Credit
In 1984, several ruins of Baalbek, including the Temple of Bacchus, were inscribed as a World Heritage Site.
The temple allures people with its impressive dimensions, richly decorated stonework and monumental gate with Bacchic figures.
El culto a los dioses y su recreación artística en Grecia y Roma se remontan al Antiguo Egipto, según podemos comprobar al estudiar las monedas antiguas. Grandes efemérides como el asesinato de César o leyendas como la llegada de Asclepio transformado en serpiente para liberar a Roma de una plaga, alternan en la numismática grecorromana con invocaciones a deidades mayores como Apolo el médico (en épocas de grandes epidemias) o el egipcio Amón.
Caracterizado con las astas de un carnero, Amón fue asimilado como epíteto de Zeus en Grecia y de Júpiter en Roma, tal como reflejan los antiguos tetradracmas de Alejandro Magno y las medallas consulares de Claudio. Resulta emocionante sostener un denario de Marco Aurelio con La Salud personificada y pensar que acaso fue entregado a Galeno como pago por sus servicios. No obstante, apenas existen tributos numismáticos a personas alejadas del poder como el gran médico de Pérgamo. Los anatomistas ilustrados franceses (Garengeot en 1742 y Flurant en 1752), heredando la costumbre de la escuela renacentista de Padua de recuperar mitos y dioses de la Antigüedad Clásica, denominaron a la retorcida corteza temporal medial asta de Amón. Entre los estudiosos de esta primitiva estructura cerebral destacan Lorente de Nó y su maestro Cajal, cuya divinizada efigie domina en los billetes de 50 pesetas emitidos en 1935.
La numismática grecorromana, en tanto que asequible fuente arqueológica y artística de primer orden, nos informa acerca del origen de los mitos de la Antigüedad, los cuales continúan inspirando a las artes y las ciencias.
Dan Brown is the author of numerous #1 bestselling novels, including The Da Vinci Code, which has become one of the best selling novels of all time as well as the subject of intellectual debate among readers and scholars. Brown’s novels are published in 56 languages around the world with over 200 million copies in print.
In 2005, Brown was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine, whose editors credited him with “keeping the publishing industry afloat renewed interest in Leonardo da Vinci and early Christian history spiking tourism to Paris and Rome a growing membership in secret societies the ire of Cardinals in Rome eight books denying the claims of the novel and seven guides to read along with it a flood of historical thrillers and a major motion picture franchise.”
The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion. These themes eventually formed the backdrop for his books. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he later returned to teach English before focusing his attention full time to writing. He lives in New England with his yellow lab, Winston.
Brown’s latest novel, Origin, explores two of the fundamental questions of humankind: Where do we come from? Where are we going?List of site sources >>>