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Rogerson's Book of Numbers: The culture of numbers from 1001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World

Rogerson's Book of Numbers: The culture of numbers from 1001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World [Kindle Edition]

Barnaby Rogerson

Kindle-Preis: EUR 7,31 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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"'Ill-killed Ill-quartered Ill-cooked Ill-seasoned Ill-served' (Samuel Johnson's five-fold malediction of a dissappointing plate of mutton)"


Rogerson's Book of Numbers tells the stories behind our iconic numbers. It is based on a numerical array of virtues, spiritual attributes, gods, devils, sacred cities, powers, calendars, heroes, saints, icons and cultural symbols. It provides a dazzling mass of information for those intrigued by the many roles numbers play in folklore and popular culture, in music and poetry, and in the many religions, cultures and belief systems of our world.

The stories unfold from millions to zero: from the number of the beast (666) to the seven deadly sins, the twelve signs of the zodiac to the four suits of a pack of cards. Along the way you will discover why Genghis Khan built a city of 108 towers, how Dante forged his Divine Comedy on the number eleven, and why thirteen is so unlucky in the west while fourteen is the number to avoid in China.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 6278 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 208 Seiten
  • Verlag: Profile Books (7. November 2013)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00G2H74SQ
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #231.395 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 5.0 von 5 Sternen  1 Rezension
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Numbers in Lore, Not Math 27. Dezember 2013
Von R. Hardy - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Mathematics seems to rule everything. The power of number and pattern to model and measure all sorts of physical behaviors and characteristics has led to profound speculations about the nature of reality. With numbers so important, people are naturally going to attach meaning to them - some numbers are ominous, or even sacred. And everyone is familiar with the idea of having a personal lucky number, though a favorite cartoon of mine shows a bemused diner at a Chinese restaurant, who is looking at the slip of paper just extracted from his fortune cookie: “Your lucky number is 53,251,938.” The lore and folklore of numbers are part of their power, a part that is examined for the fun of it in _Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers from 1001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World_ (Profile Books) by Barnaby Rogerson. The author is a publisher and a writer on travel and history who for thirty years has been collecting numbers of varying significance. The result is that for each specific numbers (after the sections on millions and hundreds) there are a few pages of strange and amusing facts. This is a wonderful book for leafing through and getting the pleasant “I never knew that!” feeling.

One of the surprising things here is how often people wish to put multiple names onto that which they hold sacred. There are the “ninety-nine most beautiful names” of God, for his prophet Muhammed said there were just that many. There are 49 for the Blessed Virgin Mary, and 108 for Krishna. Less divine are the Seven Dwarfs, and indeed, in the section on the number seven, there they are, with the notation that the Brothers Grimm never named the fellows, so we all use the ones concocted for the 1937 Disney film (although there was a German play of 1912 with Blick, Flick, Glick, Plick, Whick, Snick, and Quee). A literary number here is 42, the answer to the ultimate question of life as found in the renowned _The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy_. This might have been disconcerting to Japanese readers, because pronouncing “four two” in Japanese sounds like “unto death.” In China, 14 sounds like “guaranteed death,” so you may not find a fourteenth floor in a high-rise. Here is a useful word I found under the section on three: tricolon. It means “a rhetorical flourish - a sonorous list of three concepts, often escalating in significance.” Rogerson lists several, like “_Veni, Vidi, Vici_,” but omits my favorite, the lawyer’s over-packed “irrelevant, incompetent, and immaterial.”

There are even lessons for life in this engaging and wide-ranging book. A nurse who specialized in caring for the dying found that those about to die expressed five typical regrets: “I wish I had lived the life true to myself, not the life expected of me. I wish I had not worked so hard. I wish I could have expressed my feelings. I wish that I had stayed true to my friends. I wish that I had allowed myself to be happier.” As Rogerson says, _Carpe diem_. And while you are busy seizing, don’t forget the Kama Sutra’s arts of love (64).
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