I was browsing through an old copy of Classic Bike Guide (Nov 2007), specifically an article by Jim Reynolds on a Royal Enfield bitsa which had been reworked with new engine internals to give a bore and stroke which resulted in a cylinder capacity of 666 cc. The bike was inevitably christened "The Beast" and, equally inevitably, there was a sidebar to the article that gave a few 'facts' about the fearsome reputation of the number. There was the famous verse from Revelation:
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. (13:18)and a few references to heavy metal bands and various 'Devil's Highways'. This got me thinking, and 666 is indeed a strange number. I am no mathematician, but Wikipedia gives enough information for me to be impressed with its unusual properties.
- 666 is the sum of all the numbers from 1 to 36, and is therefore a triangular number
- The number of prime numbers up to 36 is 11, and the number of prime numbers up to 666 is 121, the square of 11
- 666 is the sum of the squares of the first seven prime numbers
- 666 is a repdigit (same digit repeated), a palindrome (reads the same forwards and backwards) and a Smith Number (don't ask)
- The sum of all the numbers on a roulette wheel is 666
beast rising out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy (13:1)?One statement in the magazine which made me prick my ears up was this:
The significance of the number 666 can be traced back to pre-Biblical timesCan it? I have a had a quick look round the interwebs, and I can't find any reference to 666 before the mention in Revelations. But if the Hebrews knew about it, they must have got it from somewhere. And there are so many common threads running through the ancient religions, from prehistoric animism and polytheism to Sumerian and Babylonian, and through to Judaism and the religions of ancient Egypt and Greece. It would be interesting to know if the significance of 666 can be found any earlier than the Hebrews, and if so where and in what context. If Jim Reynolds wasn't making it up, then he must have got the idea from somewhere.
I'll keep looking, but I know that the readers of this blog have an astonishingly wide range of interests and expertise, and I am hoping that someone will come along and offer some words of wisdom.