John Dee, Monas Hieroglyphica: Monas and Tetractys

The tetractys, or, Pythagorean Quaternary

Commentary on Monas and Tetractys

  1. ambrose_mnemopolous Post author

    The above illustration from John Dee’s Monas Hieroglyphica depicts the Pythagorean Quaternary, or, tetractys. The geometry, proportions, and method of permutation are embedded in the Monas Hieroglyphica.

  2. ambrose_mnemopolous Post author

    The text accompanying the figure reads: Of the Pythagorean quaternary, 24 possible permutations. The Pythagorean sum is 10. A complete addition of the parts yields 30.

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John Dee (1527 to 1608) was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. He was also an early popularizer of applied mathematics, and was instrumental in planning the British Empire.