Castel is divided, the numerous groups of eight

Topics: ArtSymbolism

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Last updated: April 21, 2019

Casteldel Monte is a building from the period of Holy Roman Empire and it was builtby Federico II of Svevia and it was built near Andria, in south of Italy.

It isa mysterious castle that fascinated a lot of historians for its mysteries and its secrets that try to guess thereason that Federico II decided to build it. To  describe this castle we can use only one word:eight, because in its architecture, the number eight is always present (theoctagonal plan, with eight sides and eight towers at the corners, the eightmain rooms in which each of the two floors is divided, the numerous groups ofeight decorations in plant style outside and inside the building, etc.) but wedon’t know the symbolism or the reason of these choice.Theoctagon, the shape of the castle, on which the plan of the complex and itselements is based is a strongly symbolic geometric form: it is the intermediatefigure between the square, symbol of the earth, and the circle, whichrepresents the infinity of the sky, and therefore would mark the passage of oneto another.The choice of the octagon could derive from the Dome of the Rock inJerusalem, which Federico II had seen during the Sixth Crusade, or from thePalatine Chapel of Aachen.Section2 – A brief mention of the story of Federico IIFedericoII of Svevia, son of Enrico of Hohenstaufen  and Costanza of Altavilla,decided to built the castle.From  theparents he inherited the Empire (Holy Roman Empire) and the Kingdom of Sicily. Inhis life he dedicate a lot of time to control and to govern the Kingdom ofSicily, where the power of Lords was much increased.

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For reduce the power ofthe lord he decided to createa  lot of castlesin the south Italy to control everything in the kingdom.In  29 January of 1240 from Gubbio, Federico IIcommissioned at Riccardo of Montefuscolo, the architect, to buy the materialfor the start the works of the castle. In the document, that we have from thetime of Federico II, ” lime, stones and anything else necessary”.

Hedecided to built the castle near the church of Sancta Maria de Monte, whichtoday is disappeared.Todaythere are several disagreements about the interpretation of the document thatFederico used to start the works of the castle. The historians discuss abouttwo points that are not yet completely clear, the work  start date and the word ” Actractum”.Many historians for example disagree about the chronology of the work.While some believe that the document indicate the moment of the beginning ofthe construction works, other indicated that in the date the document wassigned the works were already at an advanced stage. The construction, theyclaim, had reached the roof level. Disagreementsare also of semantic nature.

Federico II used a Latin word – ‘ACTRACTUM’ -whichhas many literary interpretations, as it can correspond to floor, groundleveling, paving or simply  to a moregeneral indication of building material.

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