Home > Math Lint Archive Detail

<< Prev 3/23/2008 Next >>

Plato's Nuptial Number

Ebay recently listed an old book that caught my eye: James Adams' The Nuptial Number of Plato (1891). Have you heard of it?

A lot has been written on it (cf. copy of Adams book, Clark's article), but things are still murky. Near the end of The Republic, Plato refers to a mystical number that calls "the lord of better and worse births."

Some scholars think the number is 604 = 1,296,000, while others think the number is 5040 = 1x2x3x4x5x6x7, being the number of citizens in an ideal state.

Personally, I think it is 5 = 2 + 3, the marriage number where 2 and 3 are Plato's male and female numbers. But, then did Plato also have a divorce number, either 1 = 3 - 2 or -1 = 2 - 3.