Architecture and Mathematics in Ancient Egypt
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Corinna Rossi explores the use of numbers and geometrical figures by the Ancient Egyptians in their architectural projects and buildings. Whereas previous architectural studies have searched for "universal rules" to explain the entire history of Egyptian architecture, Rossi reconciles the approaches of architectural historians and archaeologists by testing architectural theories. This book is essential reading for all scholars of Ancient Egypt and the architecture of ancient cultures.
which so often recur in the Egyptian monuments as strictly related to pyramidal forms. They published two drawings in which two rectangular buildings with sloping walls are seen as truncated pyramids (Georges Perrot and Charles Chipiez, A History of Art in Ancient Egypt, vol. i, London: Chapman and Hall, 1833, figs. 58 and 59). An interpretation of the triangular shape of the apron often worn by ancient Egyptians in two-dimensional representations was attempted by Schwaller de Lubicz (Temple de
Soleb representing two pyramids, plan of pyramids 14 and 15 at Soleb and sketch of a pyramid on a Meroitic jar. Petrie’s drawings of the diagrams at the four corners of Mastaba 17 (Third to Fourth Dynasty) at Meidum (copyright: Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, University College London; reprinted with permission). Diagram of pyramid Beg. 8 at Meroe, as drawn on the wall of its chapel and its reconstruction (reprinted by permission of Akademie Verlag). Geometrical relationships in a pyramid
building process 109 each representing one cubit (thus in the plan of a subterranean tomb the three rooms, from left to right, appear to be 7×7, 5×4 and 9×9 cubits, whereas the corridor was 15 cubits long and 3 cubits wide). The fact that they are drawn on ostraca points to their being working drawings meant to be used in rough conditions, but at least in the case of royal tombs, it is possible that a more precise plan had been drawn beforehand, as we shall see later in this chapter. The
dimensions of that part of the temple, it is safer for the moment to abandon the attempt to calculate a scale and conclude that the model is a miniature plan outlined by means of simple units of measurement, not necessarily corresponding to the actual construction. In the model the diameter of the bases of the columns corresponds to 2 fingers (about 3.7 cm); the 58 Bisson de la Roque, Tˆod, p. 154. This scale, even if wrong, can be better expressed as 1:60 palms. Documents on the planning and
measures given by the texts for all the stages of the two primeval temples are very simple: always whole numbers of cubits, mainly multiples of 10, with the exception of a few measures containing its half, the number 5. When the enclosures are not square, no recurrent ratio can be detected between long and short sides. The dimensions of these schematic plans show the same characteristics of those encountered in the study of architectural drawings containing projects: simple dimensions, which seem