In our city it’s always the Romans and Georgians that take the credit for Bath’s important historical architectural and social status, but l want to introduce you to a locally-born man who deserves to be applauded for shining an intellectual light on the Western World during a period we call the Dark Ages.
Adelard was a medieval scholar whose translations of important texts from Arabic into Latin contributed to advancing western scientific and mathematical knowledge. He was also – at one time – a tutor to Prince Henry later King Henry ll.
Now, Bath’s Royal Literary and Scientific Institution plan to celebrate his various contributions by showcasing a model of a potential public monument – but it won’t be a statue of a man.
Instead, residents are invited to view the Bath Stellarum which will be on display at 16 Queen Square from 13 January 2020 to 13 February, 2020.
Visitors are being asked to comment on aspects of its installation in Bath and to assist in funding its construction.
A Stellarum is a giant dodecahedron, and this memorial will have a peephole to enable visitors to see into infinite space.
The proposed sculpture will be the first memorial to reflect Adelard’s intellectual contributions. The design is based on the five-sided pentagon and the twelve-sided dodecahedron, and is inspired by particular aspects of medieval Bath. An arrangement of mirrors inside creates the illusion of looking into an infinite universe full of stars and is created by the geometry of the dodecahedron and its ability to reflect light in every direction ad infinitum.
Jim Al-Khalili – in his Foreword to the 2013 BRLSI edition of Louise Cochrane’s book on Adelard – outlines some of Adelard’s achievements. In the same book Charles Burnett, a noted authority on Adelard, discusses the legacy of this long-underrated Bathonian.
As described in the book’s general introduction by Peter and Edith Wallis, Bath was a small community of approximately 2000 people in Adelard’s lifetime. During that period John of Tours’ arrival as the Bishop led to the rebuilding of Bath, after the Sack of 1088, including the construction of the Norman cathedral.
BRLSI Director Michael Davis has been a long-standing champion of Adelard as is Paul Cresswell who designed the Bath Stellarum. To make your own contribution to this exciting project for Bath please visit the BRLSI local giving page at https://localgiving.org/appeal/stellarum/