The sensational discovery in the castle Château Gaillard

23 photos + a lot of interesting text.

In 1852, the castle ruins were found Gaillard historical monument of France. Multiple archaeological excavations were carried out in the area from 1885 to 2000. In 2008, scientists from the University of Bristol, led by Professor John Williams, a doctor of archeology, was able to negotiate with the French government on the resumption of the excavation and, apparently, not in vain. The found burial was unique and attracted the attention of specialists from different countries: archaeologists, historians and even engineers ...

Unusually in this discovery scientists it seemed very location of fragments of iron armor. From above they looked like the outline of a bicycle.

What was the surprise of archaeologists, when carefully managed to clear the extracted fragments from the centuries-old layers of soil and see more. No doubt, it was a part lain in the ground for almost nine centuries knight bike!

"-It Is really very unusual find - says expedition leader Professor John Williams of the University of Bristol - bike in the twelfth century, it is hard to believe, but during excavations of burial doubts about the authenticity we did not have.

Well-preserved metal fragments, soon managed to explain. Spectral analysis of the samples showed the presence of residues of candle wax. Apparently, before the burial of the ancient surface of the bike has been treated with molten wax, which is not allowed to destroy the metal corrosion process. Speaking of the metal.

Back in Hallstatt in Europe were the basic skills of plastic processing iron, rare attempts manufacturing steel blades by carburizing and hardening iron. In the subsequent La Tene era it has been completely mastered the technology of manufacturing steel vklyu¬chaya rather complicated methods of producing welded parts with high quality surfaces resistant to abrasion.

Metallographic study of iron parts and the method of microscopic examination of thin sections allow us to say with confidence that the main parts of this extraordinary medieval bicycle is made of steel. As you can see, recipes for steel products with little or no special changes passed through Roman times and had some impact on the level of early medieval Europe kuznech¬nogo craft. »


Gradually, the scientists were able to reconstruct the appearance of unusual in the era of the Knights of the vehicle. Helped engineers designers Steve Berkeley and Andrew Hopkins arrived at the excavation of the Scientific and Technical Center at the University of Cambridge.

"When they called me and said that the excavation presumably the twelfth century found the design similar to a bicycle, I cried - incredible! - Says Steve - If not for the expedition leader, John Williams, whom I know very well, thought it would be an April Fool's joke. However, the fact remains - in the Château Gaillard really rare find "ancestor" of the modern bicycle. Helping archaeologists to extract piece by piece, we are trying to place Andrew in the drawings and diagrams to imagine the appearance and general construction sites bicycle, how it would turn and run. Frankly, we are gradually imbued with admiration and respect to the medieval inventor, invented and implemented in those times so complex technical project.

It is also interesting to understand the technology of manufacturing of each element of the Knight sipeda.

The frame is as easy as possible and has a cloisonne structure like an airplane wing: steel bars running along the frame attached to the cross-fired plates. Outside the frame is sheathed elements of knight's armor, particularly useful bracers (Bracer) and Shoulders (Pauldron) stapled together round rivets. The front fork and rear part of the frame - one-piece and trimmed outside (Greav) greaves. Stem himself steering handles are made of swords. Parts of the blades of swords (apparently degraded on the battlefields) were used as hard profiles to enhance structural strength. The seat is secured using eight forged metal arches, which served as a kind of shock absorber while driving. The decoration used saddle leather and fabric, the remains of which were found during excavations.

The frame as water tanks was fixed horn with metal lid.

Special attention deserve the wheel of this wonderful bike. To reduce jolting during movement to the metal rim wound horsehair, then wrapped in circumferential bands of rough skin, and only then mounted in a wheel with an engraved pattern massive iron spokes, and the outside rim trimmed with metal plates, which can move relative to each other during travel. Wheels reliably protected "enclosures-wings" made of pieces cuirasses and plate gloves.

How could move this "two-wheeled crew»?

Says Andrew Hopkins:

 - The excavation found two metal disks with sharp teeth at the edges. One disc was excavated in the area of ​​the rear wheel. The second disc is found near the bottom of the frame, attached to it with the handle of the sword (probably an ancient prototype of a rod) with metal parts in sight reminiscent of a pedal. Between the discs found the remains of a chain with decorative plates. We can assume that we are faced with the first example of the transmission chain transmission mechanism, applied in medieval Europe. While the chain drive is known to people long ago, he used the first Heron mechanisms for moving the scenery in the Athenian theater. Still amazing how medieval craftsmen could realize such a mechanism in the metal in the twelfth century.


But the twelfth century there is?

According to scientists, on this account, divided.

 - Coins could get to the excavation site by accident, during excavation, - the archeology professor Justin Pierre, representative of the French Academy of Sciences, who participated in the excavations at the Chateau Gayar.- I, as an expert on the Knight's armament, I believe that part of the breastplate (Cuirass) , bracers (Bracer), Plate Gloves (Gauntlet) and gauntlets (Mitten Gauntlet), which were used in the manufacture of this is certainly an outstanding discoveries date back to the second half of the fifteenth century, but it does not have the twelfth and Italian origin. In some parts of the armor found the school mark of master Milanese armor of Missaglia dynasty. And most importantly: X-ray analysis of metal fragments breastplate revealed structure is almost identical to the Milanese armor made in the same period of time. & Quot;

Here is a quote from the handbook of knightly armament:

«Milanese armour -« Milanese armor. " Italian full armor of the XV century, a contemporary Gothic armor, differs from it in a more rounded shape and less grooved details. Mainly produced in Milan and Venice »

Scientists argue about the details of the discovery, but none of them calls into question the most sensational discoveries.

From the bike to the Middle Ages?

To answer this question, arrived at the site known worldwide specialist in the history of the bicycle, Dr. Peter Godward (Pieter Godward) from the Faculty of History and Archeology of the University of Cardiff.

& Quot; Cycling - more ancient invention of human civilization than we think. - Says Peter Godward - A sensational discovery in Chateau-Gaillard, confirms the results of years of research scientists of our university. More in 1962, the world had spread the news of the discovery of a unique French archaeologists on the territory of Versailles. Then, during the excavation, allowed the Government of France, in one of the wells was detected side gallery, which led to a vast dungeon of the palace, where among other things was found a bicycle. Cyclists soon received the name "Sun King" in honor of King Louis XIV.

While the unexpected discovery has caused a lot of controversy among archaeologists and historians, many considered it a forgery.

The discussions came up to our university. Then in 1962, having familiarized with the materials of the excavations at Versailles, we have decided to engage seriously in "cycling" of the matter. And even created an international research center dedicated to this issue, which brought together like-minded scientists from several leading universities in the world. Over the years, we have collected information in the files, communicating with collectors, they participated in archaeological and ethnographic expeditions, studied historical documents, works of art and literature. Much time is spent in the reserves and funds the largest museums in the world. And everywhere we wanted one - a bicycle.

We all know the famous Italian painter Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510gg.), Author of many masterpieces, including "Spring" (1478g.) And "Birth of Venus" (1484-1486gg.). From 1492 CE to c 1500. Botticelli paintings create a grand cycle of illustrations to the "Divine Comedy" by Dante. Drawings made metal pins on large sheets of parchment. Almost all of them circled the pen. Each song is dedicated to a single figure. A few figures to the "Paradise" is not finished, and to HHH1 song "Purgatory" Master performed two variants of drawing. One of the two figures in the collection Andrea Kastillesa.

In this illustration, which describes an apocalyptic vision on the sides of the sacred tuple driven seven angels, we see biblical animals: the eagle, the winged bull, winged lion and angelic man with a book. The wagon drawn by a griffin sitting Beatrice.

"Dvukolaya, between four beasts

Winning wagon stood,

And harnessed Griffin walked in front of her. »

(Dante's "Divine Comedy," "Purgatory" ch.XXXI)

 - Pay attention to the figure of a man in the bottom of the illustration, welcomes the process - explains Mr. Kastilles - that you see next to him? This is - a bicycle!

Shocked, we bent over the yellowed parchment and began to carefully look into the picture.
Meanwhile, in the room already is rolled on a special trolley konteyner.Ego massive front wall was made of thick glass. Behind the glass, we saw the small size of the picture, which was depicted in the color of the bike is very similar to the one we just looked at the illustration to the "Divine Comedy»

& Quot; - This is a very rare work by Botticelli, - said Andrea, - yes, make no mistake, this is not a fake! You, as a scientist, I would say: a comparative spectral and chemical analysis of the composition of tempera paint, soil, and even wood fibers, this and other works by Botticelli, portrait "St. Augustine" (1495g.). The formulations are identical. By the way, the background "St. Augustine" and this picture is very similar. Apparently Botticelli created both products at the same time. The originality of this decoration, obviously, the female version of the bike can be seen due to earlier masterpieces "The Birth of Venus." Critics found that during the life of the Botticelli "portrait bicycle" did not find acceptance from the audience. Contemporaries apparently did not understand that there is depicted. For me as a mystery: how come Botticelli doing so the work of this unusual? Why bike explicitly for women? And where does the "Divine Comedy"? Bike Beatrice? You - the scientists, you look for answers ...

Soon after his death the painting was completely forgotten for a long time kept at the State Museum in Berlin, disappeared during the Second World War and came to me by chance, but that's another story ...

-I Have something else, follow me - Andrea Kastilles, exchanged sixth decade, respectable gentleman, an aristocrat, a sly, youthful, smiling. Apparently, the main surprise was ahead.

We followed the master, crossed the courtyard of a family castle (Kastilles Andrea, live in the family estate and is proud of its knightly roots) and climbed the stone steps to the round tower. Inside the medieval tower has undergone major reconstruction and was turned into a modern multi-tiered exhibition space with a unique lighting and thoughtful submission of each piece.

 - It Holbein, the same Hans Holbein the Younger. (It. Hans Holbein, 1497-1543) painter and graphic artist, one of the greatest German artists of the Renaissance, an outstanding portraitist, court painter of Henry VIII, - Andrea brought us to one of the niches. - You see the work in 1540. In the same year he wrote the famous portrait of Henry stored is now in the Roman National Gallery. They are somewhat similar ...

We were shocked and stopped dead - in the picture with frightening certainty was depicted brutal kind of two-wheeled miracle!

 - Bike the reincarnation of Henry the Eighth, - I blurted out.

 - And again, the mystery of which you have to solve. The same bike we meet in one of the earlier figures Galbeyna - Andrea pointed to a glass case next to the corner, there were a few yellowed sheets

 - Maybe the artist depicted the inventor next to his brainchild. However, judging by the surrounding people, it is doomed to condemnation and misunderstanding. At all times people are afraid of new and unusual ...

 - And this is a picture of the early Renaissance Flemish painter, a master portrait of Jan van Eyck (Jan van Eyck, approx. 1385 -1441gg.) Everyone knows his masterpiece "Arnolfini Portrait", but hardly someone known to his other paintings of the same period - we come to the next niche.

And again, a miracle. Absolutely fantastic in concept and at the same time unreal-real, brilliantly executed bicycle imagination of the artist. Now we know exactly Van Eyck invented not only oil paints, he is also the inventor of the wonderful bike.

 - Sort, bike for noble lords, "highly sit, far I look," look even provided a ladder to climb. Note the pedal and transmission, and which wheels ...- Andrea More dolgovdohnovenno told us about these, the most dear to his heart, the exhibits.

In 1885godu in Britain it was even created a military unit Brighton Rifles («Rifles Brighton"), which at high bicycle with large front wheels (so-called "spiders") for the first time confronted the cavalry. The experiment was considered successful, and Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. British Army successfully applied bikes in droves. Bicycle parts were created in France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, China, Japan and Russia. And in the first and second world wars army cyclists are proven.

The first mention of the mysterious "Order of the Sun and the Moon," we find in the manuscript "Acts Romans» (FAITS DES ROMAINS). "Acts of the Romans" - historical narrative in prose, describes the history of Rome and not only being processed compilation of the works of the French Sallust, Lucian and Suetonius. Approximate date of creation 1230-1240-ies.

This miniature of the codex, we see ahead of the troops, protruding from the fortress, armed men riding a two-wheeled cart surprisingly reminiscent of the wheel. Pay attention to the warrior's shield. On the red background of the shield we see the language of heraldry, lion rebels resting on two wheels. This is one of the first images of the emblem of the Knights' Order of the Sun and the Moon ».

We managed to find the later versions of the coat of arms in several other historical documents.

For example in the General Armorial XIV century ("bellenvilskaya manuscript") coat of arms coats of arms of the king of England accompanied by his vassals. Among others there is the coat of arms of the secret Order.

And it is - a fragment of armorial XV century. Again, the same coat of arms.

On the red shield emblem depicts rebelling golden winged lion with a crown on his head, leaning forward and back paws on two wheels.

The full version of the coat of arms depicted on the shield of the rising sun, on top of which - the Moon. Also present on the arms Supporters: protivovosstayuschie silver winged lion and griffin, each of which rests on the wheel. Below, on the stylized ribbon, Latin letters written by the motto of the Order: "IN VELOX LIBERTAS". Translate it can be as follows: "Freedom to speed", "in the rate of release" or "will to freedom»

Translation is ambiguous, as the symbolism of the emblem itself.

They did this ...

In summer 2008, the story finds in the Château Gaillard received an unexpected continuation ...

Already said Steve Berkeley and Andrew Hopkins engineers from Cambridge, took an active part in the excavations proved avid cyclists and literally lit up the idea of ​​the reconstruction of a unique bicycle. But it was not about the layout, not a dummy. They decided to recreate it in a full-size copy of the metal, all the little things and details, and so on it could move.




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