05 April 2009

The number of the Beast

From a book on public morals in Britain in the pre-Victorian period:

A code revealed the mark of Evil on Napoleon. The Book of Revelations prophesied that the Beast could be identified by 'the number of his name': 'Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast'. And the very name of Britain's nemesis contained that number. If the letters of the alphabet are numbered so that the first nine letters represent the numbers one to nine (with A worth one and I worth nine), J is left out and the corresponding numbers then increase in multiples of ten, so K is worth ten, L twenty and Z 160, then the sum of the letters in the Emperor's name totals exactly 666. That it only works if his name is spelt 'Napolean' and the first 'a' in Buonaparte is not counted did not matter. As millenarians stressed, 'Napolean Buonparte' deliberately misspelled his name to conceal the mark of the Beast and confound mankind.

- Ben Wilson, Decency & Disorder 1789-1837, London, 2007

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