Sir William Stirling Maxwell - The Canon (2.3 MB)
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A mystical book by William Stirling first published in London in 1897. The work described the esoteric laws which governed the arts, sciences, politics, music and astronomy in ancient cultures. The links between ancient gods and numerical values, and symbolic proportions of sacred temples are also evaluated. Stirling believed that in classical societies (Greece, Rome, Egypt) the priests regulated the lives of the people by interpreting the cosmic cycles and laws, and that this metaphysical vision of society has been lost. Th... More >>>
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A mystical book by William Stirling first published in London in 1897. The work described the esoteric laws which governed the arts, sciences, politics, music and astronomy in ancient cultures. The links between ancient gods and numerical values, and symbolic proportions of sacred temples are also evaluated. Stirling believed that in classical societies (Greece, Rome, Egypt) the priests regulated the lives of the people by interpreting the cosmic cycles and laws, and that this metaphysical vision of society has been lost.
The Canon - An Exposition of the Pagan Mystery Perpetuated in the Cabala as the Rule of all the Arts.
Although William Stirling was ridiculed by many of his contemporaries for writing this book, it has attracted much posthumous interest throughout the years since its original publication. It contains much information concerning the geometric and arithmetical properties and proportions of architecture, mythological symbols, ancient rituals, amd Divine Names. The thesis of the author consists in the proposition that sacred art, architecture, and literature is based upon a mathematical "canon law" that determines its proportions and manifestations according to traditional forms that have been passed down secretly through the ages. Stirling's perspective limits the origin of these principles to the notion of a historical and horizontal continuity and transmission throughout various civilizations beginning with the Egyptian and continuing on to Greek, Hebrew, and Christian. This does not take into consideration the distinctive forms present in each tradition, each having their origin within the vertical transmission of the unique revelation that constitutes its eruption into the field of time. Nevertheless, it will be of much interest to students of ancient knowledge in general and Freemasons inquiring into the mysteries of Geometry in particular.
Sir William Stirling-Maxwell of Pollok, 9th Baronet (8 March 1818 - 15 January 1878), was an Scottish historical writer and art historian, politician and virtuoso.
He was born at Kenmure and studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating BA in 1839 and MA in 1843. He travelled in Spain and the Levant and contributed to Fraser's Magazine and the Examiner. In 1848 he published his pioneering Annals of the Artists of Spain. He succeeded to the Keir estates in 1847.
He served as Member of Parliament for Perthshire from 1852 to 1858 and again from 1874 to 1878. He was appointed a member of the Universities Commission in 1859 and of the Historical Manuscripts Commission from 1872 to 1878, as well as of the Scottish Education Board (a forerunner to the Scottish Office). He was Rector of the University of St Andrews in 1862 and of the University of Edinburgh in 1872. He succeeded to the Maxwell baronetcy (in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia) in 1865, assuming the additional name of Maxwell. He was appointed Chancellor of the University of Glasgow in 1865 and was awarded an honorary DCL from the University of Oxford in the same year. He was a member of the University of London Senate and a trustee of the British Museum and the National Gallery. In March 1877 he married noted author and society figure Caroline Norton, a granddaughter of the famous Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. She died three months later.
He was a breeder of shorthorns and Clydesdale horses, an ardent bibliographer and collector of works of art.