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by H. Peter Aleff |

| Numerals and constants | ||||||||||||||

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The mace designer’s mathemagical artistry does not end with the above combinations of mathematical constants. The number of goats divided by the sum of the two smaller quantities comes close to one tenth the days in the sidereal month, that is, the time it takes the moon to return to the same background of stars. And balancing this direct reference to the moon and the night sky, the ratio of the differences between two pairings of the three items yields exactly one hundredth the number of days in the Egyptian civil year which was based on the cycle of the sun.
These two complementary periods embedded in the “booty list” extend the number magic of the mace into time and so unite again the moon and the sun in forms even more directly related to these than phi and pi. They also echo the connection of the Heb-Sed festival with the “meeting of sun and moon” in the pharaonic time reckoning, as proposed in the chapters about the re- enactment of the Heb-Sed festival cycle on the Senet gameboard in my e-book "The Board Game on the Phaistos Disk". The knowledge of these astronomical periods is not attested in writing until later times, but nothing says they could not have been measured much earlier, as I propose on the pages about the star month and the solar year. * The Narmer mace designer’s juggling of numbers and their ratios to obtain all these combinations of mathematical and astronomical constants is a masterly work of mathemagical art. He milked from those three quantities of goats and oxen and prisoners a steady stream of excellent approximations to salient numbers that are as hard to obtain from random entries as striking water from surface rock. Just try it: pick blindly any three numbers with three or four digits each and see if they produce even droplets of this kind. Composing a group of numbers to yield with their ratios so many close hits on these constants requires skillful planning and might be compared with the challenge of constructing a so- called “magic square”. Magic squares are square grids in which the integers from one to the square of the grid side are arranged in such a way that each row and column, and often also each diagonal, adds up to the same sum. Their name reflects that they were believed to have magic powers, a logical assumption in the symbolic realm where the order imposed on the numbers counteracts disorder and chaos and thus protects from the unpredictable. The earliest known magic squares appear in the “ Despite such blemishes in their performance record, magic squares were still popular in 19th century This proposal may be mere speculation, but it seems more plausible than the mace designer hitting such a mother lode of special ratios with random census results from Narmer's booty- counting department, particularly since the mace numbers contain yet another major constant. | |||||||||||||||

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