Terms

70

70
 

Threescore and ten Kings. The numbers 70 and 72 recur very frequently in the sacred text. It is to [242] be observed, that the Orientalists divided each Zodiacal sign into three parts. The twelve signs of the zodiac were then divided in thirty-six parts. These parts were again variously subdivided. Considered with respect to the circle, they were divided by 10, and being multiplied by 12, amounted to 360, the number of days contained in the civil year. Considered with respect to the twelve signs of the Zodiac, they were divided and multiplied by 12. For want of better words, I shall call these 36 divisions of the Zodiac either Decans, or Dodecans. The three decans of each sign contained 10 degrees each, amounting to 30 for each sign, and 30 x 12 = 360. The three dodecans contained 12 degrees each, amounting to 36 for each sign, and 36 x 12 = 432. The excess of 432 above 360 is 72. But the 36 decans and dodecans into which the whole Zodiac was divided, being multiplied by 2, amount to 72; and this number seems consequently to have become a favourite one among the Cabalists. Now I observe that the Cabalists and calculators reckoned all periods as circles. They, therefore, considered the first and last terms of a period as unit. Thus they reckoned the first dodecan or decan of Aries, as the same with the last dodecan, or decan of Pisces; and consequently instead of counting 36 decans and dodecans in the Zodiacal circle, they reduced them to 35. Again, they counted the first term, or degree, of the first dodecan in the sign, as one and the same with the last term, or degree, of the last dodecan. Thus the number of degrees in the three dodecans amounted, [243] according to this mode of calculation, to 35, instead of 36. Hence it happens, that when the degrees of the three dodecans are multiplied by 2, we find sometimes, 35 x 2 = 70, and sometimes 36 x 2 = 72. Perhaps the hieroglyphic, by which the revolutions of time were denoted, will help to explain how the first term and the last were considered as unit.

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