The Golden Ratio in Karistos, Greece
The Golden Ratio
The golden ratio, also known as the divine proportion, the golden mean, or golden section, is a number often encountered in nature which has been also widely used in social, natural and engineering sciences. The Ancient Greeks usually attributed discovery of this concept to Pythagoras or Euclid as they discovered the frequency of the ratio’s appearance in the geometry of nature and the Universe around them. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.618, and it is denoted by the Greek letters Φ (phi) (or sometimes τ (tau)), which is the first Greek letter in the name of Phidias, an Athenian sculptor and artistic director of the construction of the Parthenon.
It has been pondered and debated the basis of its ubiquity and appeal when this ratio is applied into meteorology designs, physics, botany and biology, drawing the human face, etc that we unconsciously find the building or the artwork identified as the lines of classical beauty. It is often described as the world's most astonishing number and according to Mariu Livio’s description is the most aesthetically pleasing proportion extant, and it has been asserted that the creators of the Pyramids and the Parthenon employed it. It is believed to feature in works of art from Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa to Salvador Dali's The Sacrament of the Last Supper, and poets and composers have used it in their works. It has even been found to be connected to the behavior of the stock market and management methodologies.
The Dragon Houses and their Origin
In the southern part of Euboea there are more than 20 megalithic structures known as "Dragon House" or Houses of the Dragon. The manifacturers of these ancient buildings are unknown and the main scope or the purpsose of the megalithic masonry constuctions they left behind cannot be effectively determined or identified. According to local traditions and myths, these buildings which nowadays stand in silent memoriam to the early days, were designed and built by dragons, while others legends claimed that in this area, the king of the Cyclopes, a gigantic, insolent, and lawless race of shepherds, lived there for few years. The simplest explanation is that only giants, dragons or Cyclops could design, move and carry these huge boulders.
The Dragonhouse of Ochi is situated at an altitude of 1,386 meters between two mountain ranges. Access is quite difficult and requires some climbing ability, but no special climbing skills are needed. The area is conspicuously bare of vegetation and with steep terain characteristcs. The ancient building has an approximately rectangular parallelepiped shape constructed with numerous hewn stone, perfectly cut stone blocks that weigh up to 10 tons each. Moreover, perfect alignment and careful assembly contribute to an impressive quality of workmanship and design technigues.
The static and dynamic response of the building is spectacular similar to the corbel vaulting technique (shifting the stones slightly and regularly inward until they meet) of the Mycenaean megalithic constructions. The enormous corbelled plaques are slightly inclined in order to let rainwater flow along the roof into the drain indicating a technologically-advanced drainage system.
Corbel Vaulting Technique
Source: South Evia
Phi Behind the Dragon House
On March 22, 2002 and July 3, 2004 a team of professional archaeologists visited the area, near the peak of Mount Ochi, where the best preserved remains are located. They measured the dimensions and orientation of the buildings based on the Azimuth observations of sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset. The building orientation was found to be aligned to the heliacal rising of Sirius around 1100 BC, a date that does not conflict with earlier archaeological time-frame measurements, indicating a religious or astronomical use. Thus, one can say that a place of worship, but also an ancient observatory is located on the peak of Mount Ochi but this is not the only interest part of the story.
The Dragon House
There is a fascinating theory that somehow the DragonHouse on Mount Ochi includes Phi, the golden number. The north and south walls have a total length of 12.60m and the west and east 7.75m respectively. However, since a reasonable deflection can not be fully predicted by using theoretical rules or values, the measurement accuracy can not be better than approximately ± 5 cm. The most interesting part of this measurement analysis is that the ratio of length to width value, is 1.625, very close to the golden section or divine proportion (1.618), providing balance and aesthetic appeal to a construction built somewhere between 1200 and 1400 BC, hundred years before the Parthenon built. South Euboea, is not only a high wind energy potential site. This area has a history that goes back more than 3,000 years and still of great importance for our civilization.