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Double Cube

A cubical figure, whose length is equal to twice its breadth and height. Solomon's Temple is said to have been of this figure, and hence it has sometimes been adopted as the symbol of a Masonic Lodge. Doctor Oliver (Dictionary of Symbolic Masonry) thus describes the symbolism of the double cube:

The heathen deities were many of them represented by a cubical stone. Pausanius informs us that a cube was the symbol of Mercury because, like the cube, he represented Truth. In Arabia, a black stone in the form of a double cube was reputed to be possessed of many occult virtues. Apollo was sometimes worshiped under the symbol of a square stone; and it is recorded that when a fatal pestilence raged at Delphi, the oracle was consulted as to the means proper to be adopted for the purpose of arresting its progress, and it commanded that the cube should be doubled. This was understood by the priests to refer to the altar, which was of a cubical form. They obeyed the injunction, increasing the altitude of the altar to its prescribed dimensions, like the pedestal in a Masons Lodge, and the pestilence ceased.

We may here add a few comments upon what Brother Mackey says of the double cube because the account may be understood in a somewhat different way. In fact, the famous problem of antiquity concerning the cube was not so simple as to give it twice the dimensions of its edges but to produce a cube twice the volume of another one, which is an entirely different proposition. The origin of the problem is not definitely known but probably it was suggested by the one credited to Pythagoras, namely, squat a square or constructing a square of twice the area of a Seen square.

The account given by Doctor Oliver is credited to Eratosthenes about 200 B.C. This authority in a letter to Ptolemy Euergetes tells the history of the problem. The Delphians, suffering a pestilence, consulted their oracles and were ordered to double the volume of the altar to be erected to their god, Apollo. An altar was built having an edge double the length of the original but the plague went on unabated, the oracles not having been obeyed. However, this story is a mere fable and is given no weight at the present time.

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