Tag Archives: Egypt

Living in Threes: Triangles and Triglyphs in Ancient Cultures

By Claire Holt

Few periods of ancient history sum up mathematical precision in quite as dramatic a fashion as Ancient Egypt. Against a rugged landscape of rocky mountains, rolling sand dunes, and the wide emptiness of an endless blue sky, the architects in the Land of the Pharaohs embraced geometric design with a passion unrivaled by any other civilization. The Pyramids at Giza remain one of the great architectural wonders of the world, and the giant sculpture of the Sphinx is an  unrivaled example of the Egyptian ability to represent the natural form within a geometric methodology. Equally interested in the mystical power of numerology were the Ancient Greeks. With their elegant marble temples and fertile landscapes, the Greeks built a civilization of which the number three was an object of passion. Its legacy has continued to live on as a core element of more modern cultural codes and religions, suggesting that three may be more important to the way that we currently view the world than we necessarily realize.

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Hermetic Divine triad

In Ancient Egyptian theology, divine triads were used to express the divine family-unit, usually composed out of Pharaoh (the son) and a divine couple (father & mother), legitimizing his rule as divine king. Pharaoh Akhenaten had introduced a monotheistic triad (exclusive and against all other deities) : Aten, Akhenaten and Nefertiti. In Heliopolis, the original triad was Atum, Shu and Tefnut, in Memphis, Ptah, Sekhmet and Nefertem emerged, whereas Thebes worshipped Amun, Mut and Khonsu. The trinity naturally developed into three or one Ennead.

In Hermetic triad reads as :

  • God, the Unbegotten One, the essence of being, the Father of All – the “Decad” ;
  • Nous, the First Intellect, the Self-Begotten One, the Mind or Light of God – the “Ennead” ;
  • Logos, the “son” from “Nous”, the Begotten One above the Seven Archons – the “Ogdoad”.

The One Entity or God (the “Tenth”) is known to Its creation as the One Mind or Hermes which contains the “noetic” root of every individual existing thing (cf. Plato, Spinoza). This Divine Mind (the attributes or names of the nameless God) allows all things to be sympathetic transformations (adaptations, modi) of God.

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Rosetta stone

Rosetta stone"This block had three sections of writing on it–one in hieroglyphics, one in another language called Demotic (another language used in Egypt), and one in Greek. This stone is known as the Rosetta Stone. "

The following is a chapter from "Ancient Peoples: A Hypertext View," draft by Richard A. Strachan and Kathleen A. Roetzel (1997)

Egyptian hieroglyphics had been used by the Egyptians for thousands of years. However, a particularly bleak period of Egyptian history is the conquest of Egypt by Persia. The Egyptians were dominated by Persian intruders. The events that changed the nature of Egypt were not the Persian conquest but rather the war between Persia (the rulers of Egypt) and the united Greek city-states.

 

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