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Mystical Platonic Solids (fwd)

Poster: clevin@ripco.com (Craig Levin)

Alea d'Aquila:

> Poster: Alea Henle <ahenle@yahoo.com>
> I'm looking for information on who, when, how, etc. the platonic
> solids (cube, octahedron, tetrahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron)
> became associated with the elements.  Since there are four elements
> and five solids, the dodecahedron is apparently associated with
> "universe" or "spirit" but I don't know which the others are connected
> with; where it originated or when.  My "source" believes they became
> connected in some mystical tradition, perhaps the Qabbala (sp?) but
> knows very little more.

The Kabbala is based mostly on gematria, the art of magic numbers
and names. It's possible that the geometric solids and the
elements that they purportedly represent might be related, but I
doubt it. I think Democritus, the first philosopher to posit the
existence of atoms, equated the elements with the solids (the
tetrahedron representing fire, for example), but I'd have to say
that until I get access to a text of Democritus (the Loeb
Classical Library Translations edition, preferably, as my Greek
is remarkable only by its absence) that I dunno. You might also
want to look for a book by Johannes Kepler, the astronomer, on
"The New Cosmology" (Copernicus), in which he discusses the
geometric solids. As a last resort, look around for either
Sagan's Cosmos, where I found the quote about Democritus, or CS
Lewis' Discarded Image.

Pedro de Alcazar

Craig Levin
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