Echoes of Holy Wisdom

What we can do with physics and math–and curiosity–is awe-inspiring.

Natural light moving across the surfaces of marble and gold causes glitter that in turn simulates the perceptual memory of the quivering sea. The iterative marmar offers the linguistic basis of this experience: in Greek marmaron is marble; Marmara is the name of the sea washing at the southern harbors of Constantinople and surrounding the marble quarries on the island of Proconnesus; marmairein and marmaryssein is “to flash,” “to sparkle;” and marmarygma is shimmer. Marmarygma arises in Hagia Sophia at sunrise and sunset at the time when originally the morning and evening liturgies unfolded.

Bissera Pentcheva and Jonathan Abel’s Icons of Sound project at Stanford resurrected the soundscape of Hagia Sophia in concert with Capella Romana. Listen:

Like all good things, there’s also a book, Hagia Sophia: Sound, Space, and Spirit in Byzantium (2017) and accompanying website(s).

The film contains more details, or just listen.

(via NPR’s Weekend Edition and The World According to Sound)