Image credit: ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope
Note for the day edit . . . I have updated my 5/14/11 post about Greek mathematics; just the Thales mathematics posted in the replies section . . . and 8/14/12 post about the ancient mathematics of the circle. The post originally linked to a mechanical universe episode about circles. Unfortunately, the mechanical universe series has been taken down from youtube . . . again! You'll have to pay 500 dollars to watch it on your own(yes, I have it . . .). Hopefully, I can figure out my side and diagonal numbers to those mysterious Archimedes numbers!
- more note for the day, I posted even more mathematical connections in Wednesday, May 11, 2011, my post about Babylonians. I once again choose to leave the original post as is, and post the new material in the replies section.
- Mythology and Riddles section -
In Clash of the Titans, the Greek gods deform a prince(Callabus) for hunting down unicorns to where there's only one left. This prince casts a spell on a princess he loves. He makes a puzzle for any other would be suitor of this princess. And, if they don't solve it, they get burned at the stake(in the movie is a scene where a previous suitor gets burned at the stake).
Jacob Bronowski talks about how mathematics and poetry for one share a common property - analogy. In poetry, that's called similie/metaphor. In mathematics, it's called abstraction. When I learned of astrotheology, I saw that mythology is poetry, and I hoped to find some connection/evolution from mythology to numbers. But, I've never found any.
The mythological description of the universe certainly preceded the mathematical(or did it? archaeologists have found tally sticks dating to tens of thousands of years). Well, I've found the human conscouse of science/mathematics in mythology in another way now!
Basically, I've found a certain amount of mythological puzzle testing. The Clash of the Titans example above is of course a contemporary dramatization.
In 1Kings10, a Queen Sheba comes from Kingdome of Saba(contemporary Yemen which is the news lately). She comes to test King Soloman with puzzles/questions. Unfortunately, the bible doesn't specify what those questions are. It just says Queen Sheba was enthralled and thouroughly satisfied with King Soloman's answers, and gives him tons of gold, jewels and so on.
Another place mythology poses questions is Greek Sphinxes. They ask their questions, and if the poor Greek doesn't answer it correctly, the sphinx inevitably kills 'him.' Appears someone else has beaten me to this idea, so i'll just link to this article I found, which shows that this testing appears awkwardly in a Greek drama! link --> The Riddle of the Sphinx
I like this one picture, because it's of a Sphinx and its riddle on a Greek vase(one of the great cultural hallmarks of that culture back then),
Jesus Christ is also made to pose lots of riddles. His use of riddles is no better; they're use to hide the truth.