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Re: [sl] sun in churches

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  • Barry Carroll
    Dan-- Glad you brought up mid-1400 s San Mineteo. Iwill look for Fred Gettings or, if you have it, will you lend it? I ve been thinking about the dates on
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 3, 2002
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      Dan--

      Glad you brought up mid-1400's San Mineteo.
      Iwill look for Fred Gettings or, if you have it, will you lend it?
      I've been thinking about the dates on these Italian churches
      trying to decide whether there was a well-known tradition
      of "sundialing" in churches that would have challenged architects
      with math and astromomy background to create their own
      showpiece variations on the theme.
      From the 1500's on young European architects always took the
      Italian tour to experience the masterpieces of the renaissance firsthand.
      The point is that perhaps Wren's stuff and those colonial churches
      fit into a context or continuum that makes the idea of their existance
      seem less fringey.
      I have no big answer but i keep chewing on this.

      Ha!
      So Heilbron's presentation put you to sleep too.
      There is good stuff buried, but my god, the guy needed
      an editor bad--someone who knew something
      about the subject.
      He never injects a point of view either. Why does he think
      this is all important enough to write a book about?
      The layout of the book was terrible too-- dense text with
      few meaningful diagrams.
      Worst of all there was no summary at the end of his chapters
      where he identifies what he thinks are the key points for the reader
      to take on to the next chapter.
      It cuts no slack.
      The damn thing rambles on and on.
      It sure won't win any new fans


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      >
      >
    • Dan Washburn
      Hi, Barry: You re a better man than I, Gunga Din. I was so excited when I found Heibron s book on remainder for $4.98, Wow, neat. Except that you are right,
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 3, 2002
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        Hi, Barry:

        You're a better man than I, Gunga Din. I was so excited
        when I found Heibron's book on remainder for $4.98, Wow,
        neat. Except that you are right, it is one dull book. I
        got a couple of chapters into it and my eyes glazed over.
        Never did finish. Too bad, as you say, its an interesting
        subject.

        Thanks for the report. At least we all know where to go now
        if we need to take up the subject in depth.

        Was there any bridge over between the use of
        sunlight/zodiacs in churches such as San Mineato al Monte in
        Florence circa middle 1400s and the use of meridiana
        sunlight markers in churches between 1650 and 1750? It
        would be interesting to read Fred Gettings The Secret Zodiac
        on San Mineato al Monte in conjunction with The Sun in
        Churches to explore the overlap.

        The idea for St. Pauls and the Weems churches may come from
        an earlier tradition such as the San Mineato one rather than
        the more rational/experimental tradition of the Heilbron
        churches.

        Dan

        Barry Carroll wrote:
        >
        > Over Christmas I read The Sun in the Churches
        > by JL Heilbron, a UC Berkeley history professor.
        >
        > The subject was how between 1650 and 1750 the
        > Roman Catholic church paid to have a series of
        > prominent astronomers of the day build solar
        > observatories called 'meridiana' into a handful of
        > Italian churches so that a 1000 year old controversy
        > over the date of Easter could finally be settled.
        >
        > "Meridiana" are devices intended to track the progress
        > of the sun through its cycles. A well-placed hole in
        > roof or dome was typically created to cast a spot of
        > light on the church floor so that its noontime path
        > could be outlined by a carefully leveled marble inset.
        > Along this path key stations including that of Easter
        > and in some cases, the zodiac signs,were marked with
        > precision. Churches that contain 'meridiana' can be
        > found in Rome, Florence, Venice, Bologna, Palermo
        > and Bergamo.
        >
        > Be warned that in spite of its
        > potentially interesting subject,
        > this was one dull book.
        > Don't run out and buy it.
        >
        > So how did the Church get involved in building
        > the 'Meridiana'?
        >
        > It 's because of Easter.
        >
        > When the Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church
        > met in 325AD at Nicaea to discuss suppression of
        > heresy it declared that Easter should be celebrated at the
        > same time by all Christian communities.
        >
        > Easter is supposed to fall on the 1st Sunday after the
        > 1st full moon after the spring equinox.
        > Strangely, the early church made the decision to rely not
        > on direct observation, but instead on published tables
        > computed by mathematicians
        >
        > Computation of Easter in advance is a tricky business.
        > The peculiarities of calendar systems and various
        > methods used to average lunar cycles made it worse.
        > The result was that dates given by tables the church
        > distributed were frequently out of sync with astronomical reality.
        >
        > A long struggle followed to get the matter worked out.
        >
        > Eventually the church got interested again in direct
        > measurement of the relation between the earth and the
        > sun. By using the 'meridiana' the could clearly establish
        > the true dates of the equinox and Easter so as to correct
        > computational errors.
        >
        > However, all the projects funded by the Church were
        > "retro-fits". The observatories were adapted into existing
        > structures. As a result, their builders encountered problems
        > that limited the devices in various ways.
        >
        > While reading the book, I was intrigued by the idea that
        > such big projects involving prominent scientists of the
        > time would have certainly been well-known in the scientific
        > community. As such they might have inspired architects to
        > consider the possibility of churches specifically designed
        > around a 'meridiana' device that marked Easter.
        >
        > I was also curious to see how the time-frame of the Church's
        > 'meridiana' efforts coincided with construction of some churches
        > that came up for discussion on SL a couple years back.
        > I'm referring to Christopher Wren's allegedly building sundial
        > features into St Paul's Cathedral in London during the 1670's
        > and some clever American colonials who built a series of
        > sundial churches in the vicinity of Weems, Virginia between
        > 1707 and 1730.
        > I thought the book suggests where the idea for
        > such structures might come from.
        >
        > B
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      • super_romeman
        you may enjoy this link: http://www.stariq.com/pagetemplate/article.asp?PageID=1578 ... firsthand. ... existance ... http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 4, 2002
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          you may enjoy this link:

          http://www.stariq.com/pagetemplate/article.asp?PageID=1578


          --- In sacredlandscapelist@y..., Barry Carroll <palladin@s...> wrote:
          > Dan--
          >
          > Glad you brought up mid-1400's San Mineteo.
          > Iwill look for Fred Gettings or, if you have it, will you lend it?
          > I've been thinking about the dates on these Italian churches
          > trying to decide whether there was a well-known tradition
          > of "sundialing" in churches that would have challenged architects
          > with math and astromomy background to create their own
          > showpiece variations on the theme.
          > From the 1500's on young European architects always took the
          > Italian tour to experience the masterpieces of the renaissance
          firsthand.
          > The point is that perhaps Wren's stuff and those colonial churches
          > fit into a context or continuum that makes the idea of their
          existance
          > seem less fringey.
          > I have no big answer but i keep chewing on this.
          >
          > Ha!
          > So Heilbron's presentation put you to sleep too.
          > There is good stuff buried, but my god, the guy needed
          > an editor bad--someone who knew something
          > about the subject.
          > He never injects a point of view either. Why does he think
          > this is all important enough to write a book about?
          > The layout of the book was terrible too-- dense text with
          > few meaningful diagrams.
          > Worst of all there was no summary at the end of his chapters
          > where he identifies what he thinks are the key points for the reader
          > to take on to the next chapter.
          > It cuts no slack.
          > The damn thing rambles on and on.
          > It sure won't win any new fans
          >
          >
          > >
          > >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
          http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          > >
          > >
          > >
        • SLB
          ... Totally concur, I did exactly the same Was so looking forward to it too ;-( ... Have you ever seen this publication? Does anyone have an ISBN for it? It is
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 5, 2002
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            Dan Washburn wrote:

            > I was so excited
            > when I found Heibron's book on remainder for $4.98, Wow,
            > neat. Except that you are right, it is one dull book. I
            > got a couple of chapters into it and my eyes glazed over.
            > Never did finish.

            Totally concur, I did exactly the same
            Was so looking forward to it too ;-(

            > It
            > would be interesting to read Fred Gettings The Secret Zodiac
            > on San Mineato al Monte in conjunction with The Sun in
            > Churches to explore the overlap.

            Have you ever seen this publication? Does anyone have an ISBN for it?
            It is supposed to be on sale in the shop at San Miniato but I have never found
            it in stock whenever I am there.

            Kitty MacFarlane
          • Stephanie MacFarlane
            ... Thanks Dan I will order a copy for my next trip ... Its one of my favorite places in my favorite city ;-)
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 5, 2002
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              Dan Washburn wrote:

              > Hi, Kitty:
              >
              > ISBN is 0-14-019215-8. I got my copy after cat yronwode
              > recommended it by trolling on-line in the used book market.
              > Definitely worth it.

              Thanks Dan
              I will order a copy for my next trip

              > I read the book before we went on
              > vacation to Florence and San Miniato turned out to be the
              > high point of the trip for me. Course I fell love with
              > Florence altogether. What a place!
              >
              > Dan

              Its one of my favorite places in my favorite city ;-)
            • Dan Washburn
              ... Hi, Kitty: ISBN is 0-14-019215-8. I got my copy after cat yronwode recommended it by trolling on-line in the used book market. Definitely worth it. I
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 5, 2002
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                SLB wrote:
                >
                > Dan Washburn wrote:
                >
                > > I was so excited
                > > when I found Heibron's book on remainder for $4.98, Wow,
                > > neat. Except that you are right, it is one dull book. I
                > > got a couple of chapters into it and my eyes glazed over.
                > > Never did finish.
                >
                > Totally concur, I did exactly the same
                > Was so looking forward to it too ;-(
                >
                > > It
                > > would be interesting to read Fred Gettings The Secret Zodiac
                > > on San Mineato al Monte in conjunction with The Sun in
                > > Churches to explore the overlap.
                >
                > Have you ever seen this publication? Does anyone have an ISBN for it?
                > It is supposed to be on sale in the shop at San Miniato but I have never found
                > it in stock whenever I am there.
                >
                > Kitty MacFarlane
                >
                >
                Hi, Kitty:

                ISBN is 0-14-019215-8. I got my copy after cat yronwode
                recommended it by trolling on-line in the used book market.
                Definitely worth it. I read the book before we went on
                vacation to Florence and San Miniato turned out to be the
                high point of the trip for me. Course I fell love with
                Florence altogether. What a place!

                Dan


                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
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