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 Numerology, the Number of the Beast, 666 and all that

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Meles meles

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Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Numerology, the Number of the Beast, 666 and all that   Thu 14 Aug 2014, 13:43

Whilst attempting to understand how the Romans, using Roman numerals, might have done complex calculations involving multiplication and division, it suddenly dawned on me completely by chance that if one takes one of each Roman numeral, ie DCLXVI, it adds up to 666, the infamous "number of the beast" from the Revelations of St John 13:18 (where it is given, in Greek, as " ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ " - meaning "six hundred sixty-six").

Revelations 13:15-18 (King James version):

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

I wonder therefore if that particular inauspicious number, much loved by conspiracy theorists for centuries, was originally just a shorthand, almost idiomatic way, of expressing a big, inexact but all encompassing number ... much in the way that the German band Nena sung about 99 luftballons, or one might still say, when perhaps referring figuratively to a large number of things, something like: "there's a nine hundred and ninety nine of 'em", or even when being inclusive of things, one might say in alphabetic terms something like: "everything from a,b,c ... to x,y,z".

What do people think? Might that be a reasonable and plausible explanation for the so-called "devil's number"? Does DCLXVI appear anywhere denoting "just a big number", I wonder?

PS : That's just an opening shot, feel free to bring up as many other numerological ramblings as you wish. Of course if one takes 666 as the starting point one can then make all sorts of things like names add up to that number and so "give a name to the beast". Depending on how one fiddles the spelling and manipulates the calculation one can derive 666 from names as diverse as Herod Agrippa, Emperor Nero, Martin Luther, Mikhaïl Gorbatchev and even Bill Gates. Rolling Eyes

Last edited by Meles meles on Thu 14 Aug 2014, 18:52; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : removed the exaggerated M=1000, and scaled back my numerical metaphors)
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Nobiles Barbariæ

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Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Numerology, the Number of the Beast, 666 and all that   Fri 15 Aug 2014, 00:39

666? Or 616, as textual critics have pointed out in the recent past based on this, the oldest surviving fragment of Revelations ever found;

This has got some American fundementalists in a right tizzy, as any google search for "number of the beast 616" will readily reveal, and one will read in almost every refutation by them of this philological interpretation a mention of Iranaeus having also refuted it a hundred years earlier than when this 3rd century fragment was written. What they don't mention of course (since they're not textual critics who are philologists concentrating on extant source material to help identify later transcriptional errors) is that the oldest extant version of Iranaeus's refutation is a copy of Eusebius (that man again) from the 9th century.

The crucial bit is "-σιοι δέκα ἕξ" (-ten of soioi), and while gematria was codswallop it was also rather exact codswallop. Could it be a coincidence that the "beast" corresponds so exactly to "616", the gematric and numerological code for Caligula, emperor at the time Revelations was supposedly written?
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PostSubject: Re: Numerology, the Number of the Beast, 666 and all that   Fri 15 Aug 2014, 08:44

Trump International Tower in Chicago, where the 13th floor is known as the "mezzanine floor"

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