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The Temple of Didyma

Inscribed on the unfinished wall of the adyton of the temple at Didyma is the blueprint for the construction of a column base (4), that part of the column between the shaft and its plinth. There, four horizontal lines were inscribed through a single vertical line, one, three, and fourteen dactyls apart, with another line dividing the last dimension in such a way that a was half the ratio of b. To construct the column base, a quarter circle with a radius b was drawn to form the lower portion of the torus; the upper part was delineated by another quarter circle with a radius a (1). A vertical line from the center of this circle marked the edge of a smaller circle that formed the molding above the torus (2). And a vertical line from the center of that circle delineated the center of a quarter circle c that defined the curve (apophyge) of the column shaft rising from the base.

This geometric construction was changed, however, and the semicircular molding was set back, a vertical line from the center of the smaller circle that formed its edge now serving as the center of a larger circle a which defined the new curve of the column base (3).


Reference: "The Construction Plans for the Temple of Apollo at Didyma" (1985) by Lothar Haselberger, Scientific American, 253(6), 126-132.

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