Mathematics at Chartres Cathedral

free essayThe Chartres Cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals located in Chartres, France. In recent days, the building strucks by its beauty and majesty. The building is not only remarkable in the way that it tells the biblical stories, but also in its conduciveness for the worship practices. This cathedral directs one’s spirit and one’s eyes upward (William et al., 2015). This was achieved through the design and the structure, not only through the striking sculptures and the stains in the windows’ glasses. The cathedral has existed since the VIII century, but until 1876 the cathedral was an important site for the town. In 1876, Charles presented a gift to the cathedral. The event was viewed as a relic, which is believed to be the tunic worn by Mary when she gave birth to Jesus Christ (Samper & Herrera, 2014). Since then, the church has used to house the relic and accommodate those who come to pay homage to the veil from different parts of the world. Geometry, which is a part of mathematics, played an imprtant role in design and construction of any structure that needs to be laid. Math is important in construction because it defines the spatial of the building, it creates beautiful forms of the building, and, finally, it decorates the structure layout.

Mathematics has been described as gatekeepers subject. The mathematical knowledge is consolidated on the earlier learning. It connected a web of concepts and skills. Therefore, it provides the basis of new knowledge in technology, engineering, and computer sciences. Many researchers have argued that reasoning provides an insight about nature, which is found in mathematics. The practicals of mathematics are the great models of real phenomena. The recent ride in discoveries is associated with mathematics. Therefore, mathematics has arisen different kinds of problems; today, science has posed a problem, which can be solved mathematically. Architects is primary application of mathematics, starting from the days of Pythagoreans. Many researchers have stated that in the layout of any building, there is a need of consideration on harmonious and its surrounding mathematically. However, according to Williams and Oswald (2015), the architecture of the building is primarily a skill of mathematics, particularly geometry. They state that the present Chartres Cathedral building was well laid out in its designation and construction. Furthermore, geometry is also important in construction because it defines the spatial of the building, designs the beautiful forms of the building, and, finally, decorates the structure’s layout.

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The current research has identified that the master builder assumes the responsibilities of execution, the designation, and construction of the new Chartres Cathedra. I also got to understand that the process of construction of the building was not a continuous process; the process was halted due to one or a couple of reasons. Furthermore, I found that Mathematics play a significant role in the cathedral, since it involved the use of engineering and constructions. In the archeological site, I concluded that the numerals were used as illustrative to religious teachings on the walls of Chartres Cathedral.

The building of the Cathedral in the XIII century was much different from the expectation. The process of the construction of the building was not a continuous one; the process was halted due to one or a couple of reasons. It is claimed that the building was constructed by nine different master builders. Although there was a change of this leadership, the effects did not change the final product. It is fascinating to note that mathematically the master builders did not use the same measurements (Rousseau, 2014). Therefore, it means that most master builders would have been dealing with added complications in the adjustment of calculations. Despite, those challenges which made the construction process to last for 13 years, the final result was magnificent, and the unity was reached, despite a variety of themes and plans.

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Mathematics played a significant role in the cathedral, since it involved the use of engineering during the construction process. The different dimensions in constructing parts were calculated, such as the buttresses and the designing of windows. For example, the elaborate plan of widows construction has been showed the application of mathematics, using the ratios 2:3. This ratio was important in designing and constructing an equilateral triangle of windows. The master builder is believed to have been enough versed with the equilateral geometry, which plays an important role in calculating the complicated problems, left by his predecessor. Therefore, mathematics and mathematical relationship play a vital role in designing and construction of Cathedral.

The cathedral was not only designed or built in the cultural vacuum. Many researchers have been trying to make connections between the learning and the architecture. Although most of the researchers have not agreed in each of their points, they all drive the tendency that charters are architecturally manifested. They all agree that the uniform space divisions and subdivisions of Chartres clearly show a plan of the cathedral’s construction. This is driving the learning and the architectural style during that time period.

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Moreover, some recall that during the time of construction of the Chartres Cathedral, the school in the region was established. The school tradition was focusing more on the scientific and music studies. Therefore, it is believed that mathematical design could have been studied at school. The masters, like Platonist and Pythagoreans of the Chartres, are obsessed by mathematics (William et al., 2015). They consider being a link between God and the world. They believe the magical tools are used to unlock the secrets. The scholars like Thiery, had used the geometry to bring up the religious aspects. Therefore, Chartres already had a deposition of mathematical knowledge; there is no surprise to have incorporated in the building of Cathedral (Samper & Herrera, 2014). The Chartres had used many mathematics and geometry in the designing processes of many Gothic Cathedrals. Even though the knowledge of geometry was limited, the people view it had connections between them and their creator, God giving wisdom to men. The knowledge of mathematics and geometry was at the Chartres’ desposal.

Furthermore, in the Middle Ages, there was a significant place of number and symbolism. This made the construction of Cathedral inconceivable without incorporating the geometry symbols (Ostwald & Williams, 2015). The research shows that during this period, the church building was the eternity itself. Unlike our days, where the church is the House of God, a place where His presence occupies. People believe that in order to believe in God, something magnificence should be constructed on the Earth. Therefore, to build such a special place, design has to be combined with the appropriate knowledge of mathematics, and geometry symbols play a vital role.

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Also, mathematics, and, particularly, the geometry was used in creating the floors of the Chartres Cathedral (William et al., 2015). First, the floor plan shows that it is of cruciforms shape, contains nave and choir lying along the eas-west axis. Secondly, it shows the two towers at the western end and the seven chapels of the Cathedral. Through a series of analyzed of the geometry representations, it is believed that the master builder used three diamonds in the construction of the floors. The diamonds are interconnected to each other at the center of the labyrinths. This shows the role that geometry plays in the development of floors of the Chartres Cathedral.

Since the building was used for religious teachings, it necessitates the use of numerals, as illustrative (Ostwald & Williams, 2015). Chartres Cathedral, since it is a Catholic church, the number three is synonymous, it is non-divisible after one is often used. The number three brings the relationship between the trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which is important, since it is a non-divisible number after one. The Chartres cathedral is divided into three parts vertically and horizontally. There are also three doors in every portal and there are three stained glass panels (Trutty-Coohill, 2014). The other number which most builders of the Chartres Cathedral used was sets of seven. This is because it has four plus three, thus combining the Trinity realm. Therefore, throughout the Chartres Cathedral building, the geometry is applied to strength is beauty and the strength.

The exterior architectural structures of charters view are flying buttress. The flying buttress allowed the architect to expand the size of the window. This significantly shows how mathematics was wondefully used by the builders. The plain pyramid completed around 1160 meters. The symbol, and spiritual journey from the Paleolithic to the construction of the Cathedral in the 12th and 13th century to the present believers. They believe that the labyrinth possesses a spiritual and the mysterious significance to human. Therefore, the Chartres Cathedral is world’s designated heritage. The geometry construction has attracted many people from all over the world (Gamwell & deGrasse Tyson, 2015)

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In conclusion, it is significant to recognize the fact that the use of mathematics and, particularly, geometry was necessary for the building of the Chartres Cathedral. After a long way, it is fascinating to realize that mathematics still play a vital role in our churches constructions and designing. It is great to recognize that the geometry plays a significant role in our worship today. It is inspiring to see buildings like Chartres; masons and crafts with little knowledge about construction managed to create a magnificent structure, like the Cathedral. During the construction process, as research shows, only the fundamental mathematics was employed but the result is magnificent. It made many scholars try to determine formulas that were used. The design and construction of the building show how such a remarkable skill, as the problem solving, can help in building. The use of mathematics can be seen everywhere in the Cathedral building. The completion of the building, which includes chapels cloister and chapter house are numerous, those are the religious and ancient treasures from the stained glass.