# 666/Historical Note

## Historical Note on $666$ (Six Hundred and Sixty-Six)

$666$ is the famous Number of the Beast of the Book of the Revelation:

*Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.*- -- The Book of Revelation, chapter 13, verse 18

Hence its reputation as a number traditionally associated with the occult.

Less well known is the fact that the number also appears in the Book of Kings:

*Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold.*- -- The First Book of Kings, chapter 10, verse 14

It is also the number that can be formed by all the Roman numerals less than $\mathrm M$ used once each:

- $666 = \mathrm {DCLXVI}$

It is possible that $666$ was merely chosen as a representative example of some large unspecified number, in the same way that $101$ or $1001$ is frequently so used in contemporary milieux.

However, its other properties make it far more interesting than that.

It used to be a favourite pastime of Catholic scholars to try to devise alphabet schemes whereby the name Martin Luther was associated with the number $666$, hence supporting their assertion that he was the Antichrist.

Martin Luther, in return, did the same thing with Pope Leo X.

## Sources

- 1980: David M. Burton:
*Elementary Number Theory*(revised ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $1$: Some Preliminary Considerations: $1.3$ Early Number Theory - 1986: David Wells:
*Curious and Interesting Numbers*... (previous) ... (next): $666$ - 1997: David Wells:
*Curious and Interesting Numbers*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): $666$