Ravenna Revisited: Mausoleum of Theoderic – Tragedy

When the layers of farce are peeled away it’s possible to discern the “half abandoned” tragedy of Ravenna that’s full of “sumptuous splendour and incredible decay”.

Upon the loneliest and most desolate shore of Italy, where the vast monotony of the Emilian plain fades away at last, almost imperceptibly, into the Adrian Sea, there stands, half abandoned in that soundless place, and often wrapt in a white shroud of mist, a city like a marvellous reliquary, richly wrought, as is meet, beautiful with many fading colours, and encrusted with precious stones: its name is Ravenna.

It stands there laden with the mysterious centuries as with half barbaric jewels, weighed down with the ornaments of Byzantium, rigid, hieratic, constrained; and however you come to it, whether from Rimini by the lost and forgotten towns of Classis and Caesarea, or from Ferrara through all the bitter desolation of Comacchio, or across the endless marsh from Bologna or Faenza, its wide and empty horizons, its astonishing silence, and the difficulty of every approach will seem to you but a fitting environment for a place so solitary and so imperious.

For this city of mute and closed churches, where imperishable mosaics glisten in the awful damp, and beautiful pillars of most precious marbles gleam through a humid mist, of mausoleums empty but indestructible, of tottering campanili, of sumptuous splendour and incredible decay, is the sepulchre of the great civilisation which Christianity failed
to save alive, but to which we owe everything and out of which we are come; the only monument that remains to us of those confused and half barbaric centuries which lie between Antiquity and the Middle Age.

Ravenna: A Study – Harald Sund – 1913
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.167814

Emerging from the mud, in mute testimony, is the only limestone building in Ravenna.

Constructed of large limestone blocks transported by sea from Istria and laid without mortar, it was decagonal in plan and two stories high…

The mausoleum is the only building in Ravenna constructed of limestone.

Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century
Editor: Kurt Weitzmann – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York – 1979

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/age_of_spirituality_late_antique_and_early_christian_art_third_to_seventh_century

This mute testimony owes “nothing to Roman or Byzantine art”.

The significance of the mausoleum lies in its style and decoration, which owe nothing to Roman or Byzantine art

Advisory Body Evaluation (ICOMOS) – 1996
Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

http://whc.unesco.org/document/154274

This mute testimony invokes a “stone-construction technique” that was abandoned by 50 AD.

The significance of the mausoleum lies in its style and decoration, which owe nothing to Roman or Byzantine art, although it makes use of the Roman stone-construction technique of opus quadratu, which had been abandoned four centuries before.

Advisory Body Evaluation (ICOMOS) – 1996
Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

http://whc.unesco.org/document/154274

The Romans abandoned this “stone-construction technique” in favour of bricks and mortar.

Development began under Augustus, using techniques developed by the Greeks, who had been using fired bricks much longer, and the earliest dated building in Rome to make use of fired brick is the Theatre of Marcellus, completed in 13 BC.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_brick

Roman concrete, also called opus caementicium, was a material used in construction during the late Roman Republic until the fading of the Roman Empire.

By the middle of the 1st century, the material was used frequently, often brick-faced, although variations in aggregate allowed different arrangements of materials.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_concrete

This abandoned “stone-construction technique” was developed by the Etruscans from the Greek ashlar construction technique.

Unlike the other early buildings of Ravenna, the mausoleum was built of carefully worked stone blocks imported from Istria, constructed without mortar but connected by iron clamps.

Advisory Body Evaluation (ICOMOS) – 1996
Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna – UNESCO World Heritage Centre

http://whc.unesco.org/document/154274

Opus quadratum is an ancient Roman construction technique, in which squared blocks of stone of the same height were set in parallel courses, most often without the use of mortar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opus_quadratum

Early Romans most likely learned stone masonry construction from their Etruscan neighbors.

Because Etruscan architecture had been strongly influenced by the Greeks, Rome’s early monumental structures used essentially the same Greek-style ashlar masonry construction: precisely cut stone blocks, assembled in horizontal courses without mortar, interconnected with iron clamps.

The Romans called this configuration opus quadratum , Latin for “squared work.”

Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Professor Stephen Ressler – United States Military Academy at West Point

https://guidebookstgc.snagfilms.com/1132_GreekandRomanTech.pdf

Ashlar is finely dressed (cut, worked) masonry, either an individual stone that has been worked until squared or the masonry built of such stone.

It is the finest stone masonry unit, generally cuboid, mentioned by Vitruvius as opus isodomum, or less frequently trapezoidal.

Precisely cut “on all faces adjacent to those of other stones”, ashlar is capable of very thin joints between blocks, and the visible face of the stone may be quarry-faced or feature a variety of treatments: tooled, smoothly polished or rendered with another material for decorative effect.

The dry ashlar of Inca architecture in Cusco and Machu Picchu is particularly fine and famous.

The term is frequently used to describe the dressed stone work of prehistoric Greece and Crete, although the dressed blocks are usually much larger than modern ashlar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashlar

Geographically, Ravenna is in the Etruscan domain.

Culture that is identifiably Etruscan developed in Italy after about 800 BC, approximately over the range of the preceding Iron Age Villanovan culture.

The latter gave way in the 7th century BC to a culture that was influenced by ancient Greece, Magna Graecia, and Phoenicia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etruscan_civilization

Iconically, the only limestone building in Ravenna is in the Etruscan phallic domain.

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/07/17/catastrophic-english-christianity-as-a-vedic-cult-2/

Stylistically, the roof of the only limestone building in Ravenna is in the Etruscan domain.

The projecting stone lugs of the roof on the only limestone building in Ravenna are also in the domain of the Greek construction techniques that were employed by the Etruscans.

The current structure of the mausoleum is divided into two decagonal orders, one above the other; both are made of Istria stone.

Its roof is a single 300–ton Istrian stone, 10 meters in diameter.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mausoleum_of_Theoderic

Greek builders developed simple construction cranes that made the task of lifting and positioning stone blocks significantly more efficient.

Ingenious Greek engineers solved the problem of lifting blocks without passing a rope underneath.

They left stone lugs projecting from sides; a sling was attached to these lugs to lift the block.

The lugs were chiseled off later.

In some cases, the Greeks carved U-shaped grooves into the ends of the block; a sling was then attached to these grooves to lift the block, and the grooves were covered by adjacent blocks.

The most elegant solution was the Lewis bolt , a wedge-shaped apparatus that worked so well it is still in use today.

Mortar was never used in Greek stone masonry construction to position blocks.

Instead, each stone was cut to the exact required size, and iron clamps were used to connect adjacent blocks together.

Blocks were also sometimes held in place with iron dowels .

This well-conceived system of iron connectors resulted in excellent structural integrity – particularly appropriate for the many earthquake-prone regions of the Greek world.

Understanding Greek and Roman Technology
Professor Stephen Ressler – United States Military Academy at West Point

https://guidebookstgc.snagfilms.com/1132_GreekandRomanTech.pdf

Because these roof lugs weren’t chiselled-off it appears this Etruscan structure was being built when disaster struck at the Greek Termination Event around 88 BC.

The second story is set back and is controversial, being both complex and unfinished, and may have had a dwarf gallery with radial barrel vaults on its exterior, like no. 584, S. Lorenzo, Milan.

Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century
Editor: Kurt Weitzmann – The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York – 1979

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpublications/age_of_spirituality_late_antique_and_early_christian_art_third_to_seventh_century

The last Etruscan cities were formally absorbed by Rome around 100 BC.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etruscan_civilization

The reconciliation of the Roman Greece Splice suggests the crushing of the entire Greek peninsula in 88 BC is associated with the perihelion of Comet Halley in 607 CE…

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/comet-halley-and-the-roman-time-line/

This places the only limestone building in Ravenna in the domain of Religious Ambiguity.

A large part of ancient Italy had the Etruscan civilization from about the 7th to the 1st century B.C.

That was a Vedic civilization.

Some Missing Chapters of World History – P N Oak
https://ia800204.us.archive.org/0/items/EnglishBooksOfP.n.Oak/SomeMissingChapterOfWorldHistory_text.pdf

Yet another proof of the Rama origin of Rome is that another Italian city, situated on the Adriatic coast, diagonally opposite Rome, is named Ravenna, after Ravan, the great adversary of Rama.

World Vedic Heritage – A History of Histories – Volume II – P N Oak
https://archive.org/stream/EnglishBooksOfP.n.Oak/WorldVedicHeritage-Book2_djvu.txt

Ravana, a devotee of Lord Shiva, is depicted and described as a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the veena (plucked stringed instrument).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravana

The lingam (Hindi: लिंग, linga, ling, phallus, Shiva linga, Shiv ling, meaning sign, symbol or mark) is an abstract or aniconic representation of the Hindu deity, Shiva, used for worship in temples, smaller shrines, or as self-manifested natural objects.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingam

The Shivlings that the Vedic pontiff used to worship before being slain by emperor Constantine are on display in the Etruscan Museum in the Vatican.

Some Missing Chapters of World History – P N Oak
https://ia800204.us.archive.org/0/items/EnglishBooksOfP.n.Oak/SomeMissingChapterOfWorldHistory_text.pdf

See: https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/catastrophic-english-india-in-greece/

And this domain of Religious Ambiguity explains why the only limestone building in Ravenna encapsulates the principles of Vedic temple design in one exquisite monument where the “circle of mandala” of the upper floor “circumscribes the square” embedded in the lower floor.

The Hindu temple architecture is an open, symmetry driven structure, with many variations, on a square grid of padas, depicting perfect geometric shapes such as circles and squares.

A Hindu temple design follows a geometrical design called vastu-purusha-mandala.

The design lays out a Hindu temple in a symmetrical, self-repeating structure derived from central beliefs, myths, cardinality and mathematical principles.

The four cardinal directions help create the axis of a Hindu temple, around which is formed a perfect square in the space available.

The circle of mandala circumscribes the square.

The square is considered divine for its perfection and as a symbolic product of knowledge and human thought, while circle is considered earthly, human and observed in everyday life (moon, sun, horizon, water drop, rainbow).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_temple_architecture

Whether we consider the appropriateness of the forms, the solidity of its construction, or the simplicity of its ornaments and details, this tomb at Ravenna is not surpassed by any building of its class and age.

Chapter V – Romanesque Architecture
The Illustrated Handbook of Architecture – Vol 2 – James Fergusson – 1855

https://archive.org/stream/illustratedhandb02ferguoft#page/517/mode/1up

Needless to say, the mainstream believes “scarcely” any Etruscan temples have been found.

Scarcely any remains in situ of Etruscan temples have been found, and the description given by Vitruvius is very scanty.

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica – Vol 2 – Architecture
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/Architecture

This led to the erroneous conclusion Etruscan temples are “not of a very monumental character”.

Owing to the ephemeral nature of the materials employed in the building of the walls of Etruscan temples, viz. unburned brick or rubble masonry with clay mortar, the roofs being in timber, little is known of their general design; the terra-cotta decorations are, however, fortunately in good preservation, and suggest that although the Etruscan temple, architecturally speaking, was not of a very monumental character, its external decoration and colour added considerably to its effect.

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica – Vol 2 – Architecture
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/Architecture

The mainstream needs to open its eyes and broaden its perspective.

The Etruscan temples still exist to this day.
The Etruscan temples are very monumental in character.
The Etruscan temples are impossible to overlook unless you’re an academic.

Unthinkably, the Etruscan temples have been culturally appropriated by other religions.
Unthinkably, the Etruscan temples are so in your face they can poke an eye out.

Please note:
Overrated and overpriced King Theoderic merchandise are still on sale in the foyer.
The proceeds go to the tragic members of the Academic Rehabilitation Scheme in Europe.

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Gallery | This entry was posted in Arabian Horizon, Catastrophism, Gunnar Heinsohn, History, Ravenna Revisited, Round Towers, The Old Japanese Cedar Tree. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ravenna Revisited: Mausoleum of Theoderic – Tragedy

  1. Pingback: Ravenna Revisited: Greek Termination Event | MalagaBay

  2. Pingback: Ravenna Revisited: Triple Point | MalagaBay

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