# Greek Isopsephia

Isopsephia (iso meaning "equal" and psephos meaning pebble") is the name for the practice of adding up the number values of the letters in a word or a phrase to form a number. A Greek synonym for the word "pebbles" is kalkuli and is the origin of the word "calculate." The early Greeks used pebbles arranged in patterns to learn arithmetic and geometry. Here are some famous examples of ancient isopsephia riddles and one of my new discoveries.

## Nero = The Mother Killer

The Roman historian Suetonius recorded this isopsephia riddle in his account of the Roman Emperor Nero, who reigned from 54-68 AD. After the people learned that Nero ordered the assassination of his own mother (59AD) the following piece of graffiti was written on the walls of the city:

Calculate the number of the letters in the name of "Nero" and in "killed his own mother" ... the sum is the same!

Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, circa 110 AD

The isopsephia value of Nero (Nerwn = 50+5+100+800+50) and "killed his own mother" (idian mhtera apekteine = 75 + 454 + 476) both add up to "1005."

## The Sibylline Jesus Riddle

Here is an isopsephia riddle from the Christian Sibylline Oracles which the early Church falsely claimed were written before the time of Christianity and which were widely touted as prophesies of the new religion:

When the virgin shall give birth to the Word of God the Most High, she shall give to the Word a Name, and from the east a star will shine in the midst of day gleaming down from heaven above proclaiming to mortal men a great sign. Yes, then shall the Son of the Great God come to men, clothed in flesh like mortals on earth. He has four vowels and in him, twofold the consonants ... and now I will declare to you the whole number ... eight monads, and to these as many decads, and eight hundreds his name will show.

The Sibylline Oracles, circa 150 AD

To solve the riddle, the son of God has to have a name with four vowels and two consonants plus the numerical value of all the letters in his name have to add up to 8 + 80 + 800. Of course the only name that matches all these conditions is the Greek name Iesous.

Jesus = IhsouV = 10+8+200+70+400+200

The four vowels are I, E, O, U ... the two consonants are the letter S ... and all six Greek letters add up to "888."

## The Caulacau and Abraxas Riddles of Basilides

Basilides was a Gnostic scholar who taught in Alexandria during the reign of Hadrian 117-138 AD. He wrote the Exegetica in the 130's, a work of 24 volumes of which only a few fragments have been preserved in quotes from Clement, Origen, and Irenaeus. Here are some examples of isopsephia riddles unknowingly recorded by the early Church father Ireneaus in his tirade against the Gnostic doctrines of Basilides:

These men, moreover, practice magic and use images, incantations, invocations, and every other kind of curious art. Coining also certain names as if they were those of the angels, they proclaim some of these as belonging to the first, and others to the second heaven; and then they strive to set forth the names, principles, angels, and powers of the three hundred and sixty five imagined heavens. They also affirm that the barbarous name in which the Savior ascended and descended, is Caulacau. ... The multitude, however, cannot understand these matters, but only one out of a thousand, or two out of ten thousand. They declare that they are no longer Jews, and that they are not yet Christians; and that it is not fitting to speak openly of their mysteries, but that it is right to keep them secret by preserving silence. ... They make out the local position of the three hundred and sixty five heavens in the same way as do mathematicians. For, accepting the theorems of these latter, they have transferred them to their own type of doctrine. They hold that their chief is Abraxas; and, on this account, that word contains in itself the numbers amounting to three hundred and sixty five.

Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1.24.5-7, circa 180 AD

Basilides was absolutely famous for combining mathematics with religion. Orthodox Christians viewed the practice of isopsephia as a kind of "number magic" and the graphing of diagrams (images) as "another kind of curious art." There are three isopsehia riddles hidden in Irenaeus's account:

1. The barbarous name "Caulacau" is a pun on Isaiah 28:9-13 which reads ... "To whom would God impart knowledge (gnosis)? To whom would he convey the message? ... for them the Word of the Lord shall be: command upon command, line upon line, here a little there a little." The Hebrew pronunciation for the words "command" and "line" is SAU-LASAU and CAU-LACAU! Amazingly, it appears no one before me has bothered to compute the isopsephia value of the Greek spelling for the name Cau-la-cau (Kaeu-lae-kaeu). The answer is "888," the same number as Jesus! The "coined name" Caulacau is thus a clever Gnostic riddle that equates the name Jesus with gnosis (knowledge)!
2. The next riddle states that the multitude (humanity) can not understand the mystery of the name Caulacau but only the one out of a thousand, or two out of ten thousand. This same riddle appears in Saying 23 in the recently discovered Gospel of Thomas! The answer is revealed in the little detail of Caulacau (888) descending and ascending. This corresponds to the number of Jesus descending from 8880 to 888 then ascending back up to 8880: ... In the numbers from 1 to 10,000, the number of Jesus (888) appears for the first time in the consecutive numbers from 1 to 1,000. Then, in the consecutive numbers from 1,001 to 10,000, the number of Jesus (8880) appears the second time. This satisfies the mystery ... in the numbers from 1 to 10,000 Jesus (888 and 8880) only appears twice! The number of the Jesus who descended from heaven to live on the earth is "888" while the number of the Jesus who was raised from the dead and ascended back into heaven is "8880."
3. The next riddle states that their chief (Archon) is named Abraxas (ABRAXAS), whose number is "365". (In Greek isopsephia A = 1, B = 2, R = 100, A = 1, X = 60, A = 1, S = 200 which totals 365.)

## The Sarapis Riddle

Here is an example of an isopsephia riddle that can be found in pseudo-Callisthenes' biography of Alexander the Great. On the occasion of his ordering the Egyptian city of Alexandria to be built, a God appeared to Alexander in a dream and gave him this oracle:

The city of Alexandria that you are building will be coveted by the world and I shall be its protecting deity for all time to come. You shall dwell there when you are dead and living for this city will be your grave. I shall quickly prove to you where you were meant to be. Take two hundred and add one, then one hundred and add one, then four times twenty, and ten, and take the first number and make it the last. Now learn for all time what god I am.

The Life of Alexander, circa 3rd century AD

Alexander allegedly solved the riddle by writing down the string of numbers given to him in the dream (200 + 1 + 100 + 1 + 80 + 10 + 200) and then switching each number for its corresponding Greek letter to spell out the name Sarapis (SARAPIS). Like so many ancient historiographies, the story was a fabrication because the god Sarapis didn't exist when Alexander was living. Sarapis was created by order of Ptolomy (Alexander's successor) so that the new god would share the attributes of two Egyptian gods (Osiris and Apis) and two Greek gods (Apollo and Zeus) for the purpose of uniting the religious beliefs of the Greek ruling class with its Egyptian subjects.

## The Calculation of Strato

Anus and Gold have the same numerical value: I once discovered this while casually calculating.

The Musa Puerilis of Strato of Sardis, epigram XII, 6.

The Greek word proktos (prwktoV = 1570) means "anus" and Chrusos (crusoV = 1570) means "gold."

## The Secret Meaning of the 318 Males Circumcised by Abraham

Learn therefore, children of love, concerning all things abundantly, that Abraham, who first appointed circumcision, looked forward in the spirit unto Jesus, when he circumcised having received the ordinances of three letters. For the scripture says: And Abraham circumcised of his household eighteen males and three hundred. What then was the knowledge given to him? Understand that He said the "eighteen" first, and then after an interval "three hundred." In the eighteen 'I' stands for ten, 'H' for eight. Here you have JESUS (IHSOUS). And because the cross in the 'T' was to have grace, he said "three hundred. So he revealed Jesus in the two letters, and in the remaining one the cross.

Epistle of Barnabas 9:6-7, circa 71-131 AD

Barnabas is refering to the 318 men born in the house of Abram whom he sent on a rescue mission (Genesis 14:14). The traditional rabbinic explanation is that 318 is the isopsephia value of the Hebrew name Elizer, Abram’s chief servant and heir who was also the captain of the 318 men. Barnabas explained that the number 318, through Greek isopsephia, secretly stood for the first two Greek initials of Jesus (I H = 10 +8) and that the Greek letter Tau (T = 300) because of it's appearance, represented the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.

The Sacred Geometry Mysteries of Jesus Christ
All 8880 diagrams/illustrations, commentary, and Greek to English translations are