Architecture, Mysticism and Myth, by W.R. Lethaby, , at sacred-texts.com
'Stop! stop! O man stop! for the sake of three hundred and sixty-five, which are in the year.'—SERVIAN FOLK LORE.
THE parallelism so often made out between the childhood of the individual and of the race is well sustained in the gradual apprehension of number by both. With them both, numeration begins by 'One, two,' and 'Ever so many;' both use the symbol of a determinate number for a great multitude; and by both, as the process is carried further, the numbers are instinctively connected with the 'digits' of the hand. Reckoning by fives seems to have preceded the decimal system of both hands, and is still in use, in taking in merchandise by tale—the man in charge chalking on some shutter, or other tally-board, four upright strokes, and then the fifth as a diagonal. As children help their addition or subtraction on their little fingers, so it was in the beginning. As they hold up their hands in dumb show for five, or ten, so did the infant man. His tally-board was always at hand, just as his measure of length, the palm, span, or foot, the cubit, or the fathom, was never mislaid. The Chaldean table books 'measures of length' began, 'five fingers one hand,' in a way still familiar in measuring horses.
Of the most primitive stage of number, Sir John
[paragraph continues] Lubbock gives some account. The Bushman had not names beyond 'two;' three would be called 'two—one,' and four 'two—two,' and so on. They seldom lose oxen, for they discover a loss not by numbering the head, 'but by the absence of a face they know.'
'All over the world the fingers are used as counters; and although the numerals of most races are so worn down by use that we can no longer detect their original meaning, there are many savage tribes in which the words used arc merely the verbal expressions of the signs used in counting with the fingers. Where names are given to the first four numerals, five is "one hand," and beyond it is one, two, three, four, on the second hand—ten being "two hands." Hence, no doubt, the decimal system in mathematics, ten, has been selected because we have ten fingers.'
Vitruvius points out all this: 'It is worthy of remark that measures universally used in all buildings, and other works, are derived from the members of the human body, as the digit, the palm, the foot, the cubit, and that these form a perfect number, called by the Greeks teleios. The ancients considered ten a perfect number, because the fingers are ten in number, and the palm is derived from them, and from the palm is derived the foot. Plato therefore called ten a perfect number; for nature having formed the hands with ten fingers, a number composed of units, called monades in Greek, that number advancing beyond ten as to eleven, twelve, etc., is not perfect until another ten is completed.'
It will be sufficiently obvious to affirm that the first recurring period noticed and counted would be that of the moon's phases, twenty-nine days, twelve hours, forty-four minutes; the nearest whole number in 'a moon' thus being thirty days—'six hands.' Then the year would be measured: twelve moons—three hundred
and sixty days; the true primitive year. How the Egyptians and the Greeks set about correcting this is told by Herodotus: 'The Egyptians were the first to discover the year, which they divided into twelve parts, and they say they made this discovery from the stars; and, so far, I think they act more wisely than the Grecians, in that the Grecians insert an intercalary month every third year, on account of the seasons; whereas the Egyptians, reckoning twelve months of thirty days each, add five days each year above that number, and so with them the circle of the seasons comes round to the same point.' That three hundred and sixty days was the original year, improved by five additional days, is amply proved by the investigators of the monuments. The five days thrown in over were set apart as festivals, and a story that Osiris should not be born in the year, was fulfilled by his being born on one of the five days. That the original Greek year was also of three hundred and sixty days, is seen more clearly in another passage of Herodotus (I-32) and in Homer, as quoted later on.
Plutarch says of the Romans, that before Numa 'they had no idea of the difference between the annual course of the sun and that of the moon, and only laid down this position, that the year consisted of three hundred and sixty days.'
It was the same in Assyria, as astronomical tablets have made evident. 'Twelve months to each year, three hundred and sixty days in number, as recorded.' The course of the sun through the stars was partitioned according to the twelve months—the twelve signs of the zodiac—and these, sub-divided by their thirty days, gave the three hundred and sixty degrees, the basis since for all angular measure; the day was divided into six parts, each subdivided by sixty, and the same for the night, as is still the case in Japan.
In the Bible account of Noah and the Flood, exactly five consecutive months made one hundred and fifty days; therefore the year must have had three hundred and sixty. The Hindoo year of the Veda was the same, the sun-god having seven hundred and twenty twin children, three hundred and sixty days and nights. In the 'Mahabharata,' a young Brahmin descends through a cavern to the city of the serpents. He sees two women weaving a veil, the one with white, the other with black threads, of day and night. He sees a wheel with twelve spokes; three hundred and sixty rays issue from the nave—the days of the year. In Mexico, the number of days was evidently at first the same, for five days were intercalary.
Thus twelve, and three hundred and sixty, became important and easily recognised numbers—fixed points in a sea of abstractions. 'As many as the moons;' 'As many as the days in a year.' These important stepping-stones so far are ten, twelve, thirty, three hundred and sixty; not very even in their stride certainly, but sure and firm. If, however, we halve one, and double the other, of the two middle terms, the series will be much improved—six, ten, sixty (ten by six), three hundred and sixty (sixty by six), three thousand six hundred (sixty by sixty), etc. If this view of the growth of numeration is or is not right in every particular, it is sufficiently confirmed for Assyria by mathematical tablets, the scale having a sexagesimal base with ten: sixty, six hundred, three thousand six hundred (Boscawen). And Berosos even tells us the names of these: 'Now a sarus is esteemed to be three thousand six hundred, a neros six hundred, and a sossus sixty.'
Of the use of this system, the Chaldean account of the flood gives reiterated instances: 'And the God, the immutable lord, repeated the command in a
dream, "Build a vessel and finish it. By a deluge I will destroy substance and life. Cause thou to go up into the vessel the substance of all that has life. The vessel thou shalt build, six hundred cubits shall be the measure of its length, and sixty cubits the amount of its breadth and of its height." I poured on its exterior three times three thousand six hundred measures of asphalte, and three times three thousand six hundred measures of asphalte within, three times three thousand six hundred men porters brought on their heads the chests of provisions. I kept three thousand six hundred chests for the nourishment of my family, and the mariners divided among themselves twice three thousand six hundred chests' (Lenormant).
This important number three hundred and sixty—as many as the days in the year—is largely the basis of those long periods we find in early mythical chronology. In Babylonia, according to Berosos, the ten kings before the deluge reigned each in multiples of this period, making a total of four hundred and thirty-two thousand years (three hundred and sixty, by twelve, by one hundred), and from the deluge to the Persian Conquest three thousand six hundred years. In India the sacred chronology proceeds by the same method, as shown by the following from Sir G. Birdwood: 'The year of the gods consists of three hundred and sixty mortal years. The first age lasted four thousand eight hundred years of the gods, the second three thousand six hundred, the third two thousand four hundred, and the fourth, the present or black age, which began about B.C. 3101, is limited to one thousand two hundred years of the gods.'
The day of Brahma lasts four thousand three hundred and twenty millions of years (three hundred and sixty by twelve): this is the Brahmanical chronology, but there is another system 'based in the reigns
of successive Manus, evidently handed down from Vedic times; each Manu was supposed to reign for four million three hundred and twenty thousand years (three hundred and sixty by twelve thousand).
In accounting for the coincidence of chronological numbers, Bunsen made out a cycle of sixty years, but the number of the days in the year is clearly the explanation for the Egyptian period, as given by Manetho at a late time, when a highly corrected solar year was known of 365.25 days. He tells us that the old Egyptian chronicle comprised thirty-six thousand five hundred and twenty-five years in as many volumes—a hundred times as many as the days of the year.
Pliny says that the labyrinth of Egypt had lasted three thousand six hundred years.
This number is the first of any considerable sum to meet us in Greek literature (Od. XIV., 20), as noticed by Mr Gladstone, 'Among all the numbers used in Homer the highest which he appears to use with a clearly determinate meaning is that of the three hundred and sixty fat hogs under the care of Eumæus in Ithica. The reason for considering this number as having a pretty definite sense in the poet's mind is that it stands in evident association with the number of days as it was probably then reckoned in the year.'
In China, says Huc, 'This number (three hundred and sixty-five), which corresponds with the days of the year, expresses, according to the genius of the Chinese, a great multiple, an uninterrupted series.'
It is told of a certain builder that his method of estimating was to guess the quarter, and multiply by four; the ancients would appear to have multiplied by three hundred and sixty. Professor Max Müller
tells us how as early as 600 B.C. 'every verse, every word, every syllable of the ‘Veda’ had been carefully counted;' the number of the syllables was given as four hundred and thirty-two thousand, a number we have already seen formed by a base of three hundred and sixty. Vitruvius says the circuit of the earth was ascertained by Eratosthenes of Cyrene to be two hundred and fifty-two thousand stadia; that is, a hundred fold the number of the degrees by the mystical number of the planets. And Dante, in the Convito, says the wise men of Egypt had counted the stars of heaven as twenty-two thousand, which is the nearest round number to three hundred and sixty by sixty (twenty-one thousand six hundred). In the Talmud there are said to be 'as many thousands of myriads of stars as the three hundred and sixty-five days in the solar year,' and in the Persian book, the Bundahish, there are six thousand four hundred and eighty stars (three hundred and sixty by eighteen).
In Plato's ideal Republic the inhabitants are five thousand and forty (three hundred and sixty by fourteen).
In the Orphic system there were three hundred and sixty gods, and the Gnostics acknowledged this number of genii.
But it was not alone for the calculation of the unknown quantity in mythical periods, the multitude of the stars, or circle of the earth, that this number was used: for the distance of places and size of countries it was of equal service to the ancient geographers as to the historians and astronomers. Herodotus, Strabo, and Diodorus use it frequently, but apparently without fear of inaccuracy: Strabo, for instance, gives the course of the Euphrates as thirty-six thousand stadia, the distance from Paphos to Alexandria three thousand six hundred, and the
[paragraph continues] Appian way, Rome to Brundusium, three hundred and sixty.
As a measure of circumference, especially for the walls of cities, it was even more largely and more appropriately used; says Herodotus, 'the lake named from Moeris, near which the labyrinth is built, occasions greater wonder; its circumference measures three thousand six hundred stades, or sixty schœnes, equal to the sea coast of Egypt.'
Rawlinson extracted from the accounts given of Babylon, for the circuit of its walls:—
[paragraph continues] And he is disposed to accept these as being sufficiently accurate estimates: but if we allow, with the editor of Strabo (Bohn's edition), as to the number three hundred and eighty-five, 'critics agree in this being a mistake for three hundred and sixty-five; the number of stadia in the wall, according to ancient authors, corresponded with the number of days in the year;' the whole series become but dimensions in mythland. Carthage, the same ancient writer says, 'is situated on a peninsula, comprising a circuit of three hundred and sixty stadia, with a wall of which sixty stadia are upon the neck of the peninsula, and reached from sea to sea;' also, he tells us, there was a space fortified on the isthmus of the Chersonesus—three hundred and sixty stadia. Diodorus Siculus says that one stadium of the walls of Babylon was erected every day by the two millions of men employed by Semiramis, so that the circumference was completed in a year. He says that three hundred and sixty thousand men were employed in building the great
pyramid. Also, that it was the custom in an ancient Egyptian festival for three hundred and sixty priests to take water from the Nile in as many vessels, and pour them out in a cistern which would not retain the water, thus representing the lapse of the days. And at the Tomb of Osiris, at Philæ, three hundred and sixty vases were daily filled with milk during the days of lamentation.
Herodotus, too, makes good use of the number. Darius, he says, divided his empire into twenty satrapies who paid tribute in gold or in kind; five of them paying three hundred and sixty talents, and the Cilicians, 'three hundred and sixty white horses—one for every day.' Also, in connection with Babylon, he tells us 'when Cyrus, in his march against that city, arrived at the river Gyndes, one of the sacred white horses, through wantonness, plunged into the stream, which carried him away and drowned him. Cyrus was much enraged with the river for this affront, and threatened to make the stream so weak that, henceforth, women should easily cross it without wetting their knees. After this menace, deferring his expedition against Babylon, he divided his army into two parts; and having so divided it, he marked out by lines one hundred and eighty channels on each side of the river, diverging every way; then having distributed his army, he commanded them to dig. His design was indeed executed by the numbers he employed, but they spent the whole summer in the work. When Cyrus had avenged himself on the river Gyndes by distributing it into three hundred and sixty channels, and the second spring began to shine, he then advanced against Babylon.' Pliny says that the Mesopotamian valley was three hundred and sixty miles in breadth, and Herodotus, that when the Persians built two bridges of boats across the
[paragraph continues] Hellespont for the invasion of Greece, one had three hundred and sixty, the other three hundred and fourteen boats. From Egypt, according to the last author, the King Amasis sent a corselet as a present to the Lacedæmonians. 'This corselet was made of linen, with many figures of animals inwrought, and adorned with gold and cotton wool: and on this account each thread of the corselet makes it worthy of admiration, for though it is fine it contains three hundred and sixty threads all distinct.' Pliny gives the number as three hundred and sixty-five.
'It is said that there is a Persian song in which is reckoned up three hundred and sixty useful properties of the Palm' (Strabo). More modern Persian makes much the same use of the number, for Sadi says of the veins, that the body is a meadow through which are flowing three hundred and sixty rivulets. The crocodile, it was said by the ancient writers on Natural History, had three hundred and sixty teeth, and laid eggs sixty at a time. Gibbon tells us the Arabs found in Spain a table of emerald supported on three hundred and sixty-five legs. In Cashmere there was a village with three hundred and sixty fountains dedicated to the moon. Ayeni Akberi, quoted by Maurice.)
Tavernier, in the court of the chateau of Augustbourg, in Denmark, was shown a tree so extraordinarily large that it sheltered a number of tables ranged underneath. 'Je ne les ay pas contées mais le Concierge nous dit qu’ it y en a autant que des Jours en l’an.'
A Chinese book of birds, which in 'Mythical Monsters 'is said to be of the third or fourth century, describes their Phœnix the 'Fung Hwang' as the principal of three hundred and sixty different species of birds. A monument of the seventh century quoted by Huc says that after the primitive and pure religion was forsaken,
three hundred and sixty-five sects arose and upset all ideas. In a Japanese work of the beginning of this century, translating a Chinese original some two thousand years old, the mystical relation between the world and man as a microcosm ('Little Heaven and Earth') is drawn out with a detail amazingly like that of mediæval mystagogues. 'Man receives his human form from heaven and earth, and therefore he resembles heaven as to his head, which is round, and earth to his feet, which are square. If in heaven there are five elements, fire, water, wood, metal, and earth, in man there are also the corresponding viscera: lung, heart, liver, stomach, and kidneys; if in heaven there are the five planets or stars, the fire star, the water star, the wood star, the metal star, and the earth star, in man also we find the five fingers and nails; if in heaven there are the four seasons, the twelve months, and the three hundred and sixty days, man displays also the four limbs, twelve great joints, and three hundred and sixty minor articulations' (Fauld's Nipon). Many things seem to have been arranged on a correct numerical plan at Constantinople: in the royal college burnt, it is said, in the reign of Leo the Isaurian (but Gibbon appears to doubt if it ever existed) the president was named the Sun of Science, his twelve associates were Signs of the Zodiac, and the number of books in the library was three hundred and sixty-five thousand. Justinian is said by Codinus to have allotted three hundred and sixty properties to Sta. Sophia, and to have devoted a year's tribute from Egypt, three hundred and sixty-five hundred thousand sesterces, to the construction of the ambo and solia. Sir John Maundeville makes Prester John to be served by three hundred and sixty knights: and tells us that King David had a like number of wives and concubines. They were as many in the story of Hasan in the Arabian Nights, 'three hundred
and sixty, according to the number of days in the year.'
It is to cities and buildings that the number 'as many as the days in the year' has the most frequent application; from the earliest descriptions of Babylon and Carthage, as we have seen, to the present day in England, the number and phrase are universally current. It is told of Blenheim; Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh; Castletown, near Dublin; Syon House, and of many besides, that they have as many windows as the days of the year; but the story is more striking when applied to an ordinary 'Squire's House' in the country. It was told of a house of this sort, to the writer when quite a little child, and the memory of this, as something mysterious, is the origin of this chapter. In some instances, Salisbury Cathedral for example, the comparison is extended through days of the year, weeks, months, and even hours and minutes.
At Calais, landing under the great revolving flashes of the new lighthouse, you are told that it has as many steps as the days in the year.
In the Edda, Thor's palace has five hundred and forty halls: and—
[paragraph continues] That is, one might suppose, sixty to each storey in the nine-fold heavens.
Lucian describes the city of the Isle of the Blessed: 'Instead of corn, the fields bring forth loaves of ready-made bread like mushrooms. There are three hundred and sixty-five fountains of water round the city, as many of honey, and five hundred, rather smaller, of sweet-scented oil, besides seven rivers of milk and eight of wine.'
Kirwan the Holy, as founded by the Companion of the Prophet, is said to have been three hundred and sixty paces in circuit.
Modern Bokhara is said to have a mosque for every day, so also Cairo.
Nushirwan fortified a great wall with this number of towers. In the Talmud, it is written that there are three hundred and sixty-five crowned heads in Rome, and the same number of dukes in Babylon. 'Rabbi Samlai explains that six hundred and thirteen commandments were communicated to Moses; three hundred and sixty-five negative, according to the number of days in the year; and two hundred and forty-eight positive, according to the number of members in the human body.'
The mediæval writer of the 'Stations of Rome' says that the eternal city was surrounded by forty-two walls, with 'grete toweres thre hundred and sixty;' the twelfth century Mirabilia says three hundred three score and one.
William of Malmesbury writes of the church of St Sylvester, in Rome, 'and there too the three hundred and sixty-five martyrs rest in one sepulchre.' There is a legend of St Patrick visiting Rome magically, and bringing back three hundred and sixty-five relics to Ireland (Stokes).
'In the Great City (of Rome) there were three hundred and sixty-five streets, and in each street there were three hundred and sixty-five palaces, and in every one of these there were three hundred and sixty-five steps; each of which palaces contained sufficient store to maintain the whole world' (Talmud, Hershon).
The persistence of this story in regard to Rome is remarkable. It is said to-day that there are three hundred and sixty-five churches in the city (Miss Edwards, Nile).
But it is not in Rome only; all over Europe the number is current; in Cyprus the town of Kuklia (Paphos) is reported to have possessed three hundred and sixty-five churches, there are actual traces of six! (Journal of Hellenic Society, 1888.) In Greece, Athens and other towns claim to have had this number of churches.
The old Arab temple at Meccah had three hundred and sixty statues surrounding that of Hobal the sun god. Sale in his notes to the Koran, quoting an Arab author, says 'there were no less than three hundred and sixty idols, equalling in number the days of the year.' Dupuis mentions three hundred and sixty chapels built around the superb mosque of Balk, erected by the chief of the family of the Barmecides, each for one of the same number of genii: also the same number of temples built upon the mountain Lowham in China, and of idols in a palace of the Mikado (du Daīri) in Japan. Pliny describes the wonderful erection of Scaurus, who executed the greatest work that has ever been made by man, even when intended to be of everlasting duration, his theatre I mean: this building consisted of three storeys supported on three hundred and sixty columns.'
The Jew Benjamin of Tudela was at Constantinople in the second half of the twelfth century. He writes: 'At Constantinople is the place of worship called Sta. Sophia, and the Metropolitan seat of the popes of the Greeks, who are at variance with the Pope of Rome. It contains as many altars as there are days in the year, and possesses innumerable riches. All the other places of worship in the whole world do not equal Sta. Sophia in riches, it is ornamented with pillars of gold and silver, and with innumerable lamps of the same precious materials.' The story is evidently as well known in the folk lore of the
[paragraph continues] East as here in the West. Wheeler, travelling in Greece in 1670, says of Arta, where is a Byzantine church, 'Signior Manno Mannia, a rich merchant of that place, told me that the cathedral church is a great building that hath as many doors and windows as there were days in the year.' A Mohammedan writer, El-Harawi, visited Constantinople in the thirteenth century, and writes: 'In this place are statues of brass and marble pillars, wonderful talismans and other monuments of greatness, to which no equal can be found in the habitable world. Here is also Agia Sophia, the greatest church they have. I was told by Yakub Ibn Abd Allah that he had entered it, and that it was just as I have described it: within it are three hundred and sixty doors, and they say one of the angels resides there. Round about this place they have made fences of gold, and the story they relate of him is very strange.' El Harawi promises to speak in another place 'of the arrangement of the church, its size, height, doors, and the pillars that are in it; also of the wonders of the city, its order, and the sort of fish found in it; the gate of gold, the towers of marble, the brazen elephants, and all its monuments and wonders:' exclaiming in conclusion, 'This city, which is greater than its fame, may God of His bounty and grace make the capital of Islam!'
It is very curious to find Professor Piazzi Smyth claiming that the great pyramid was 365.25 sacred cubits on each side; the whole four sides having a hundred 'pyramid inches' for every day in the year.
In the English translation, made in the end of the sixteenth century, of 'Doctor Faustus,' one of the passages added to the German original, in the account of the travels of Faustus, describes the great circular castle of St Angelo in Rome. 'Well, forward he went to Rome, which lay and doth yet lie on the river
[paragraph continues] Tibris, the which divideth the city into two parts. Over the river are four great stone bridges, and upon the one bridge, called Ponte St Angelo, is the castle of St Angelo, wherein are so many great cast pieces as there are days in the year, and such pieces as will shoot seven bullets off with one fire.'
Another instance from an English source is to be found in Hakluyt's collection, in the account given by Miles Phillips, one of the company put ashore in the West Indies by Master John Hawkins in the year 1568. In a town near Mexico, he says, there was built by the Spaniards a very fair church called Our Lady's Church, in which there is an image of Our Lady in silver and gilt, being as high and as large as a tall woman; in which church, and before this image, there are as many lamps of silver as there be days in the year, which upon high days are all lighted.’
In the ancient Greek town of Tarentum, there was said by Athenæus to be a candelabrum which carried lights equal in number to the days in the year. There is an appropriateness in these lights, as also in the windows of the same number (especially if the windows are in a circular building), which will lead us to a suggestion why this number should be so universally applied to buildings.
Diodorus Siculus says of the Remessium at Luxor:—'Through these chambers we reach the top of the sepulchre (of Rameses II.) where is a golden circle three hundred and sixty-five cubits in circumference, and one cubit thick. On this circle are marked divisions for every day in the year, and in each is noted the rising and setting of the stars, and the influence which the Egyptian astrologers attributed to these constellations.'
The two stories following are from Benjamin of
[paragraph continues] Tudela: 'In Rome you find eighty halls of the eighty eminent kings, who were all called Imperator, from the King Tarquin to the King Pepin, the father of Charles, who first conquered Spain, and wrested it from the Mohammedans. In the outskirts of Rome is the palace of Titus, who was rejected by the three hundred senators in consequence of his having wasted three years in the conquest of Jerusalem, which, according to their will, he ought to have accomplished in two years. There is also the hall of the palace of the King Vespasianus, a very large and strong building; also the hall of King Galba, containing three hundred and sixty windows, equal in number to the days of the year. The circumference of this palace is nearly three miles. A battle was fought here in times of yore, and in the palace fell more than a hundred thousand, whose bones are hung up there even to the present day.'
'Damascus contains a Mohammedan Mosque, called the synagogue of Damascus, a building of unequalled magnificence. They say that it was the palace of Ben-Hadad, and that one wall of it is framed of glass by enchantment. This wall contains as many openings as there are days in the solar year, and the sun in gradual succession throws its light into the openings, which are divided into degrees equal in number to the hours of the day, so that by this contrivance everybody may know what time it is. The palace contains vessels richly ornamented with gold and silver, formed like tubs, and of a size to allow three persons to bathe in them at once. In this building is also preserved the rib of a giant, which measures nine spans in length and two in breadth, and which belonged to an ancient giant named Abchamos, whose name was found engraved upon a stone of his tomb; and it was further stated in the inscription that he reigned over the
whole world.' Indeed, it seems likely enough he did if this is his palace, for it can be none other than the crystal dome of the world fabric itself, with the windows in the firmament, through which the sun shines successively for each day of the year. It is here we may see the root of the attribution in story of this number of windows to earthly temples; the story originally told of the dome of the sky, the house of the sun, as a true explanation of the facts of nature, gets applied, at last to famous buildings from the hands of man, as a myth. Once at least, and probably many times, the number has actually ruled in the design of a temple. This instance is the triple circular platform of the altar of Heaven at Pekin. 'The balustrades have nine by eight, or seventy-two pillars and rails, on the upper terrace. On the middle terrace there are one hundred and eight; and in the lower one hundred and eighty. These amount in all to three hundred and sixty—the number of degrees in a circle' (Edkins in Williamson's Journeys in N. China).
The three hundred and sixty windows of heaven described in the Bundahish, the old Persian writings collected about the eighth century (Sacred Books of the East), is clearly enough the prototype of the story of the Damascus mosque of Benjamin of Tudela. The whole is quite a scientific treatise, and especially clear in its statement of the many layers of the heavenly Olympus as one embracing the other, sphere beyond sphere. Mount Alburz is the firmament within which the sun travels and is restrained. 'Of Mount Alburz it is declared that around the world and Mount Terak the revolution of the sun is like a moat around the world; it turns back owing to the enclosure of Mount Alburz around Terak. For there are a hundred and eighty apertures in the
[paragraph continues] East, and a hundred and eighty in the West through Alburz; and the sun every day comes in through an aperture and goes out through an aperture; and the whole connection and motion of the moon and constellations and planets is with it. . . . And when it arrives at Verak (Aries) the night and day have again become equal, as when it went forth from Verak. So that when it comes back to Verak in three hundred and sixty days and the five Gatha days, it goes in and comes out of one and the same aperture; the aperture is not mentioned, for if it had been mentioned the demons would have known the secret and been able to introduce disorder.'
The editor adds that for the 'five supplementary days added to the last of the twelve months of thirty days to complete the year, no additional apertures were provided in Alburz, and the sun appears to have the choice of either of the two central apertures out of the one hundred and eighty on each side of the world. This arrangement seems to indicate that the idea of the apertures is earlier than the rectification of the calendar which added the five Gatha days to an original year of three hundred and sixty days.'