The Gordian knot


What is the Gordian knot?

Gordium is a city 106 km west of Ankara and 10 km North West of Polatli near the village of Yassihöyük was the capital of Phrygia under its most renowned ruler, King Midas (725-675 BC). The town and its fortress guarded the only practicable trade route between Troy and Antioch where it crossed the Sangarius River. You had to get past the citadel of Gordium to trade with Asia

The story tells that Phrygia was left without a king. The council of the Phrygia was given a prediction by the oracle, that the next man to come in riding an ox and cart would become the king. Midas, who was a poor homeowner, came to town riding an ox and cart and became the king. Midas thanked G-d by dedicating his ox and cart to Zeus.
Midas placed a large knot on his cart. The cart with a knot was moved to the city of Gordium, ruled by Midas’ father Gordius.
An oracle had made a prediction that whoever would solve the knot would become the ruler of all Asia. Many people tried their luck with no success.

In 333 BC, Alexander the Great came to Gordium. He attempted to untie the knot. When he could find an end to the knot to untie it, he sliced it in half with a stroke of his sword, producing the required ends (“Alexandrian solution”). Alexander did go on to conquer Asia…


Alexander solution

Alexander’s violent solution was actually the only solution as the knot cannot be untied. What can we learn from such a solution?
Alexander’s violent action has taken a symbol of oneness (a knot that has no ends) and cut it into two. From a state of unity using violence, to a state of duality that later lead to blood shed all over Asia.

We can also look at it from another point of view – Alexander solved his puzzle by approaching it in a new way. He was innovative, a thinker and a strategist, deserving of victory. The oracle used the word “Luein” for the knot. This word means “untie” but it also means “cut”. All others have selected to interpret according to the obvious way except Alexander who looked at it from a different point of view.


The Gordian knot and the idea of unity

The Gordian knot is actually a version of the Torus knot that can be made on a Torus tube. According to ancient teachings, in the beginning there was a great void. This void is the creator, with no body, shape or definition. The Creation requires a definition of space and direction. The Torus tube provides this kind of definition by using the inside, the outside, and infinity. It can be used as a philosophical model of creation itself. The Gordian knot is the simplest of all Torus knots. The shape represents the idea of the ONE GOD and the holy trinity relation which comes from the ONE and exists in everything (positive, negative and neutral).

Written by David Weitzman – Ka Gold Jewelry artist
More information: Gordian knot article