Precession of the Equinoxes(The corresponding Precessional Period of Plato, "Timaeus" 92D)
The first thing, that impressed the visitor at the sight of the monument, was not the outer wheel of the ceiling, as it was hidden between the 26 columns and the wall of the cella. Instead it was the view of the outside colonnade, which dominated with the 26 Doric columns. If one counted their number and had already acquired the relative astronomical knowledge, he would receive a significant piece of information (see cover design) as they symbolically represented the Precession of the Equinoxes, corresponding to the “Precessional Period” of Plato. (The detailed explanations can be found in the author’s book “Unuttered Words”, chapter 16, not yet translated in English).
The apparent movement of the sun, with regards to the cycle of the Precession of the Equinoxes, is the following:
The sun seems to be recessing from the 0o of the Aries Constellation towards Pisces and not from the Aries constellation towards Taurus. In reality, though, it is the Earth’s axis that retrogrades by 50” 26 seconds annually in the celestial vault. The coded number 26 of the Doric columns denotes the 26.000 or, to be exact, the 25.796 solar years required for the Earth’s axis to return to its starting point at 0o of Aries at the spring equinox (March 21st).
170 years before Hipparchus’ birth the Precession of the Equinoxes was reproduced visually through the external colonnade of the 26 columns of the Tholos. Hipparchus lived between 190 and 120 B.C.The erection of the Tholos began in 360 B.C. Hipparchus was the first astronomer to have measured and recorded the phenomenon of the Precession, using an astronomical instrument of his invention, the astrolabus.
Measurements with this instrument allow the calculation of the change of the “fixed” stars’ position over long periods of time and, as a consequence, produce the accurate time measurements concerning the Precession.
It still remains a mystery, however,
how the constructors of the external colonnade of the Tholos
had the means to calculate the Cycle of the Precession
without access to the proper instruments.
by ALTANI, Researcher
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