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Article MASONIC NOTES AND QUERIES. ← Page 3 of 5 →
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Masonic Notes And Queries.
object , no necessity for erecting a number of them in such close proximity to each other . Most of the writers , however , who have described the Pyramids of Gizeh , have supposed the pyramids to be tho tombs of kings ; but at the commencement of the present century the Erench savans , who accompanied the expedition to E tcame to the conclusion
gyp , "that not only were they founded on geometrical principles , but that they were intended to perpetuate the memory of the standard by which theywere constructed . " This conclusion was most favoured by the results of the investigation in 1840 , by Lieut .Colonel ( afterwards General ) V who discovered two of
yse , the casingstones in their original position ; a discovery " which enables their evidence to be brought to bear on the relative proportions of the height of the Pyramid to its base . " Mr . Taylor proceeds to show how this evidence " is brought to bear , " in the following manner : —
" The angle of the casingstones being 51 cleg . 50 m ., and the base 764 ft ., would give for the perpendicular height , supposing the Pyramid ended in a point , 486 ft . Or , if we take the Erench measure of the base , 7036 English feet , the same angle will give for the perpendicular heiht 48585 English feetWhat
g . reason , it may be asked , can be assigned for the founders of the Great Pyramid giving it this precise angle , and not making each face an equilateral triangle ? The only one that we can suggest is , that
they knew the earth was a sphere ; that they had measured off a portion of one of its great circles ; and , by observing the motion of the heavenly . bodies over its surface , had ascertained its circumference , and were now desirous of leaving behind them a record of that circumference as correct and imperishable as it was possible for them to constructThey assumed
. the earth to be a perfect sphere , aud , as they knew that the radius of a circle must bear a certain proportion to its circumference , they build a Pyramid of such a height in proportion to its base that its perpendicular would be equal to the radius of a circle equal in circumference to the perimeter of the base .
To effect this they would make each face of the Pyramid to present a certain ascertained angle with reference to its base ( supposing a vertical section is made of it ) , which angle would be that of 51 deg . 51 m . 14 s ., if modern science were employed in determining it . We can hardly imagine that the founders of the
pyramids were able to make so exact an estimate ; but if they had such an object in view , as that we have supposed , in building the ' Great Pyramid , the angle of its base ivould bear some near rela ' tion to the angle of 51 deg . 51 m . 14 s . Now the actual angle of the casingstones was found to be 51 deg 50 mCan
. . any proof be more conclusive than this , that the reason we have assigned for the construction of tho Great Pyramid was the true reason which influenced the founders ?"
Whether Mr . Taylor has succeeded in assigning the true answer to the question , "Why was the Great Pyramid built ? " must be an open question ; but there cannot be two opinions as to the importance of the _ discoveries made by that gentleman , and from which he draws his conclusion . Sir John Herschel , in a communication to the Athencemn * on the adoption of a " British modular inch , " fully recognises
their importance and value , as also the originality of Mr . Taylor ' s remarks . " Of these , " writes Sir John , " I may mention the conclusion the author has drawn from the angle of the slope of the casingstones discovered by Colonel Vyse , that the builders of the Pyramid were acquainted with the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter—a piece of
knowledge they were desirous to embody in its dimensions . In fact , the slope of the original faces of the Pyramid conies out from Vyse's ( or Perring's ) measurement of the linear dimensions of these stones , 51 deg . 52 m . Vo \ s ., and by Brettel ' s measure of their angle 51 deg . 50 m . the mean of which differs onlh
, , y y a single second from the angle whose contangent is the length of an arc of 45 deg . of the circle , so as to make the whole periphery of the base all but mathematically equal to the circumference of a circle described with the height for a radius . So stated , the coincidence is certainly very striking . " The
coincidence is , indeed , striking , and if it be not , as Mr . Taylor conceives it to be , intentional on the part of the builders , it is the more wonderful ; but it is not the only instance of apparent design noticed by the author . " By a very remarkable coincidence , " says Sir John Herschel" which Mr . Taylor has the
, merit of having pointed out , the same slope , or one practically undistinguishable from it ( 51 deg . 49 m . 46 s . ) belongs to a Pyramid characterised by the property of having each of its faces equal to the square described upon its height . This is the characteristic relation which , Herodotus distinctly tells us , it was
the intention of its builders that it should embody , * and which we now know that it did embody , in a manner quite as creditable to their workmanship as the solution of such a problem was to their geometry , "f Another curious and novel relation , for pointing out
which we are indebted to Mr . Taylor , is one ( p . 37 ) , which may be most intelligibly expressed under the following form of announcement , viz : —That a belt , encircling the globe , of the breadth of the base of the Great Pyramid , would contain one hundred thousand millions of square feet . If the feet be imperial
standard , and the belt equatorial , this is approximate only to one part in 288 of the whole . But if we suppose the belt meridional , and the area expressed in " modular" square feet , the approximation is within one part in 1 , 100 . The fact is interesting , as offering the only tolerable approach in round numbers to an
arithmetical relation between any of the dimensions of this Pyramid and those of the earth . It may be well to point out here that , in p . 87 , Mr . Taylor has used the word " average" for "• polar" otherwise the readers of Mr . Taylor's work may be led to misapprehend Mr . Taylor ' s meaning in the passage in which
the word occurs , as it appears was the case with Sir J . Herschel when referring to this portion of the work—Mr . Taylor ' s intention being to refer to the ancient measure and not to the modern , to the mean diameter , as it was then supposed , and not to the polar , as it now estimated . Tour space will not permit me to follow Mr .
Note: This text has been automatically extracted via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.
Masonic Notes And Queries.
object , no necessity for erecting a number of them in such close proximity to each other . Most of the writers , however , who have described the Pyramids of Gizeh , have supposed the pyramids to be tho tombs of kings ; but at the commencement of the present century the Erench savans , who accompanied the expedition to E tcame to the conclusion
gyp , "that not only were they founded on geometrical principles , but that they were intended to perpetuate the memory of the standard by which theywere constructed . " This conclusion was most favoured by the results of the investigation in 1840 , by Lieut .Colonel ( afterwards General ) V who discovered two of
yse , the casingstones in their original position ; a discovery " which enables their evidence to be brought to bear on the relative proportions of the height of the Pyramid to its base . " Mr . Taylor proceeds to show how this evidence " is brought to bear , " in the following manner : —
" The angle of the casingstones being 51 cleg . 50 m ., and the base 764 ft ., would give for the perpendicular height , supposing the Pyramid ended in a point , 486 ft . Or , if we take the Erench measure of the base , 7036 English feet , the same angle will give for the perpendicular heiht 48585 English feetWhat
g . reason , it may be asked , can be assigned for the founders of the Great Pyramid giving it this precise angle , and not making each face an equilateral triangle ? The only one that we can suggest is , that
they knew the earth was a sphere ; that they had measured off a portion of one of its great circles ; and , by observing the motion of the heavenly . bodies over its surface , had ascertained its circumference , and were now desirous of leaving behind them a record of that circumference as correct and imperishable as it was possible for them to constructThey assumed
. the earth to be a perfect sphere , aud , as they knew that the radius of a circle must bear a certain proportion to its circumference , they build a Pyramid of such a height in proportion to its base that its perpendicular would be equal to the radius of a circle equal in circumference to the perimeter of the base .
To effect this they would make each face of the Pyramid to present a certain ascertained angle with reference to its base ( supposing a vertical section is made of it ) , which angle would be that of 51 deg . 51 m . 14 s ., if modern science were employed in determining it . We can hardly imagine that the founders of the
pyramids were able to make so exact an estimate ; but if they had such an object in view , as that we have supposed , in building the ' Great Pyramid , the angle of its base ivould bear some near rela ' tion to the angle of 51 deg . 51 m . 14 s . Now the actual angle of the casingstones was found to be 51 deg 50 mCan
. . any proof be more conclusive than this , that the reason we have assigned for the construction of tho Great Pyramid was the true reason which influenced the founders ?"
Whether Mr . Taylor has succeeded in assigning the true answer to the question , "Why was the Great Pyramid built ? " must be an open question ; but there cannot be two opinions as to the importance of the _ discoveries made by that gentleman , and from which he draws his conclusion . Sir John Herschel , in a communication to the Athencemn * on the adoption of a " British modular inch , " fully recognises
their importance and value , as also the originality of Mr . Taylor ' s remarks . " Of these , " writes Sir John , " I may mention the conclusion the author has drawn from the angle of the slope of the casingstones discovered by Colonel Vyse , that the builders of the Pyramid were acquainted with the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter—a piece of
knowledge they were desirous to embody in its dimensions . In fact , the slope of the original faces of the Pyramid conies out from Vyse's ( or Perring's ) measurement of the linear dimensions of these stones , 51 deg . 52 m . Vo \ s ., and by Brettel ' s measure of their angle 51 deg . 50 m . the mean of which differs onlh
, , y y a single second from the angle whose contangent is the length of an arc of 45 deg . of the circle , so as to make the whole periphery of the base all but mathematically equal to the circumference of a circle described with the height for a radius . So stated , the coincidence is certainly very striking . " The
coincidence is , indeed , striking , and if it be not , as Mr . Taylor conceives it to be , intentional on the part of the builders , it is the more wonderful ; but it is not the only instance of apparent design noticed by the author . " By a very remarkable coincidence , " says Sir John Herschel" which Mr . Taylor has the
, merit of having pointed out , the same slope , or one practically undistinguishable from it ( 51 deg . 49 m . 46 s . ) belongs to a Pyramid characterised by the property of having each of its faces equal to the square described upon its height . This is the characteristic relation which , Herodotus distinctly tells us , it was
the intention of its builders that it should embody , * and which we now know that it did embody , in a manner quite as creditable to their workmanship as the solution of such a problem was to their geometry , "f Another curious and novel relation , for pointing out
which we are indebted to Mr . Taylor , is one ( p . 37 ) , which may be most intelligibly expressed under the following form of announcement , viz : —That a belt , encircling the globe , of the breadth of the base of the Great Pyramid , would contain one hundred thousand millions of square feet . If the feet be imperial
standard , and the belt equatorial , this is approximate only to one part in 288 of the whole . But if we suppose the belt meridional , and the area expressed in " modular" square feet , the approximation is within one part in 1 , 100 . The fact is interesting , as offering the only tolerable approach in round numbers to an
arithmetical relation between any of the dimensions of this Pyramid and those of the earth . It may be well to point out here that , in p . 87 , Mr . Taylor has used the word " average" for "• polar" otherwise the readers of Mr . Taylor's work may be led to misapprehend Mr . Taylor ' s meaning in the passage in which
the word occurs , as it appears was the case with Sir J . Herschel when referring to this portion of the work—Mr . Taylor ' s intention being to refer to the ancient measure and not to the modern , to the mean diameter , as it was then supposed , and not to the polar , as it now estimated . Tour space will not permit me to follow Mr .