Mathematics in Ancient Egypt
de lecture - mots
The birth of Mathematical Science is uncertain. If we understand by Mathematics the larationalization of Nature according to the number, its knowledge has been verified for tens of millennia. Thousands of years before any known civilization, bones have been found with incisions that show a knowledge and application of the decimal system; or better still, bone flutes - more than thirty thousand years ago - that verify the use of the diatonic musical scale for which a mathematical knowledge is indispensable.
If some years ago it was taught that mathematics was born in Greece, with figures like Pythagoras, Eudoxio, Euclid, etc., today, as the Greeks already knew, we have again remembered that these wise men learned their knowledge from Egyptian priests. Herodotus says that Egyptian priests dedicate their time to mathematical speculations, although the mathematics to which the "father of History" refers is the sum and synthesis of the Secret Teachings on Man and Nature. When Galileo Galilei, physicist and Pythagorean of the sixteenth century affirmed that "Mathematics is the alphabet with which God has written the book of Nature", he is closer to the idea of Egyptian Number and Mathematics than our mathematicians of the third millennium.
For the Egyptians the Numbers are the Gods, the Pure Archetypes of Plato, the divine Ideas, the vibrant, articulated, luminous and pure skeleton of everything that is born, lives and dies. The Numbers, for the primitive sages of the country of Kem, would not only teach us HOW the reality is; but also WHAT it is, because the Numbers are the Gods -Rot mark out the paths by which everything approaches the One or the Hidden Root and without limits. The Numbers would not only be the steps of the ladder that brings us to heaven, but also the Star that shines in it.
Numbers are Pure beings, whose reflection in Goddess Maat, goddess of order, truth and justice, becomes relationships, in reasons; and in Nature in qualities, in the living forces present in this same nature. Porphyry, the Neoplatonic affirmed that Numbers are the hieroglyphs with which nature expresses its operations and its quintessence.
Let us think, for example, of the royal elbow of Memphis, which is in the Louvre Museum. It is a rule to trace the measure, Maat. For Egyptian priests everything that does not fit the measure belongs to chaos, the kingdom of Set. Thot, the Intelligence, has traced, from the beginning - from the root - the schemes or Numbers of how should be how much in nature wants to enter into resonance or harmony with the divine.
When not adjusted to this measure or geometry perishes victim of chaos, devoured by time that only consumes the unreal. The Seven Sages of Greece inscribed maxims of knowledge, prudence and sacred geometry in the temple of Delphi dedicated to Apollo, God of harmony. They are memories of the mathematics of their teachers, the Egyptian priests: Nothing in excess, be faithful to the measure, the measure is the best, obey the laws, use the measure, know yourself, conjecture the invisible by the visible.
This royal elbow of Memphis is divided into 28 parts, seven palms of four fingers each, that is, nature divided into four elements, earth, water, air and fire, of septenary structure. Each one of these fingers is related to a divinity of Heliopolis: The first nine or First Ennead is the so-called Ennead of Heliopolis, the nine sacred numbers of mathematics, the Pythagorean Tetractis, the equivalent of the Hebrew Sephirots. They follow the divine order of creation, and arise from Zero, which is the Non-Number, the abyss of the Primordial Waters, the homogeneous and undefined, the unlimited Space, without variation and without stain where the universes are born and die.
The One is Atum, "the Born for Himself". His name is translated as "No-Thing" and is interpreted as "Being of All". In the real Elbow of Memphis he appears as Atum- Ra, the Creator Sun, and its symbol is a circle with a central point. Atum is the point, without limits, but already existing. The "here and now" for the first time within the indefinition of Nun.
The Two is Shu, the wind of the spirit that runs giving light and life. Light exists because there is a source and a receptacle of it. Shu is also cosmic electricity, which is expressed as the relationship of the sexes in nature.
The Three is Tefnut, which is Space, but no longer as "unconditioned fullness and limitless void" (Nun, the number zero), but as the Pure Form from which all forms arise. With three points we trace the first geometric figure, the triangle, figure that in flat geometry delimits the surface.
The Four is Geb, the goose and the earth. One of the gods symbols of time. Four are the corners or the elements of everything manifested or earth. The progression from one to four leads, then, in Egyptian mathematics to the pyramid, whose square base is the synthesis of an entire creative process that begins in the infinite blue of Nun and from the creative power of the unity Atum- Ra. The four, earth or time, is also the cross, because everything that lives is crucified in time.
The Five is Nut, the sky, like a great mother who protects with her wings.
The Six is Osiris, symbolized on the elbow of Memphis as an Eye, the Spirit, on a Throne, Nature. Osiris represents Fire in Water, the renewing current of nature and the river Nile.
Seven is Isis, and this truth is represented in various scenarios. In one key Isis is the Moon, whose cycles of time are governed - with respect to the earth - by the number seven and its multiples. On the other hand it is the nature and the soul of the earth, the great enchantress who snatches Ra's secret Name and gives it to her humanity, previously blind and helpless. And as such, she is the Lady of the Seven Scorpions, the Seven Trials, to climb the steps of her ladder and throne. She is also the goddess of wisdom, because for the Pythagoreans to swear, and therefore, to know, is synonymous with "septear"; the seven is the number or key that allows to open the infinite doors of nature, virgin mother of seven veils. Isis is also the virgin who is mother and giver of life. Virgin and subtle, because like life there is no way to bind it or imprison it, nor to fix it like a heptagon in a circle. No one and nothing can geometrically trace (with a ruler and a compass) a heptagon unless, perhaps, you subject the plane of the circle to vibration, as expressed in the following figure.
The Eight is Set, the double square, the prison of karma and the desert, beyond where life develops.
The Nine is Nephtis, and Nephtis is called the lady of the castle and the keeper of the walls, because it is she who closes the first circle of numbers or gods. That is why she was related to the hidden face of the moon, like Lilith in Greece, guardian of secrecy and oaths, of those limits and knowledge that no one should transgress.
The 10 is Horus, the first of the following Ennead of Gods, a form of Ra, of unity in action, but in a world closer to men.
Egyptologists say that the second Ennead is related to the funerary and psychic world, just as the first is related to the mind, and the third is constituted by stellar gods. Some of the Hebrew letters retain this same meaning. The letter D is equivalent to the number four and means door, associated, therefore, with the earth. And the letter He is the five or window, associated with the sky. The letter zayin is the number seven and represents the sword of wisdom, and the het is the eight and its image the fence that prevents to leave. The letter tet, the 9, is the serpent that at the beginning bit the tail on itself, delimiting a circle, and that like Neftis, in the primitive syllabaries was related to the shield that protects. This makes evident that the primitive Hebrew knowledge derives from the Egyptian.