Hind sight allows us moderns to appreciate the decimal system, but one cannot underestimate a number system using 12. For instance, take a chord or hemp rope with twelve knots tied together equally spaced apart, one of three straight stakes and pound it into the ground as a starting point to place that hemp rope around, mark out 3 knots starting with one of the knots at that starting stake, pound another stake inside that hemp rope knot, mark out another 4 knots while pulling taught that chord and one has the likeness of a 3,4,5, right triangle (3+4+5=12). Those familiar with Pythagoras’s Theorem know that arithmetically 3 squared plus 4 squared equals 5 squared – the hypotenuse; opposite side of that right triangle.
I do not pretend to know with what and how the ancients started to get a right angle triangle, but I suspect the building engineers, as we might call them today, probably started with that 3,4,5 combination as it’s easy to make and easy to remember. From it one can manipulate that chord to get different angles, plot corners, draw circles, and draw rays from the center of the right angle to plot other positions or even construct parts as well as get the measure of a length of a line or construction – possibly, even the relative sizes of blocks to later become, say, a pyramid.
I suppose the “unit” could have been something other than a forearm plus palm and finger digits, but then again most builders usually had easy access to their own arms, palms, and digits and, most likely, the blessing from the royal to build.
Try that chord and stakes thing – It really works good, too, and in the sands one can draw circles, arcs, and ellipses with the same simple tools. Those units might be supersized with enough hemp rope and large enough stakes. Heh, heh. It’s a lot of fun, too, while enjoying time at the beach with the kid’s and at playgrounds for teaching the kids how easy math and geometry can be without the complications of mistakes on paper – The waves usually wash away on the beach and playground sand can be smoothed over with a straight edge plastic shovel or one of those straight edge stakes for the next daring tyke.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 26-Apr-17 09:12 by Reagent.