Download Ancient Loons: Stories Pingree Told Me by Philip J Davis PDF

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By Philip J Davis

"Ah, I’m Pingree. We meet back. superb. Won’t you take a seat down?"
I seemed round David’s room. wanting the library stacks, I had by no means noticeable such a lot of books piled right into a unmarried room. the place may I sit? each sq. inch of horizontal floor was once lined. Books, papers, notes, manuscripts—all congregated in random and chaotic disorder.

This small come across and the image of the protagonist at the conceal of this booklet introduce the reader to David E. Pingree, the eminent classicist, Orientalist, historian of old technology, and member of the dept of the heritage of arithmetic at Brown collage. this can be a ebook of his tales, retold via Phil Davis, award-winning writer and raconteur par excellence, who reconstructs them from letters and plenty of conversations along with his buddy Pingree.

The tales hint connections among old characters, historic and legendary, and recreate a global during which the pursuit of data for its personal sake results in unforeseen pleasures and institutions. They catch an international most sensible defined through Saul Lieberman’s quip approximately Gershom Scholem’s nice paintings at the Kabala: "Trash is trash; however the research of trash is scholarship," and David Pingree’s imagined reaction, "Yes, yet there’s consistently whatever of worth to be learned."

The publication is devoted to retaining and selling the really good wisdom and ideas of David Pingree, a very awesome individual and to encourage readers to persist with educational culture and while discover strange connections.

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Example text

That he knew various properties of the regular pentagon. The pentagram was the logo of the Pythagorean brotherhood and it was believed that the very figure contained mysteries wrapped up in further mysteries. Pythagoras (or the Pythagoreans) divided numbers into the masculine and the feminine. They attributed various magical/mystical properties to several of the whole numbers, particularly those connected with geometry: the triangle, the square, arrangements of pebbles, etc. Pythagoras discovered and philosophized about the harmonic ratios of the lengths of vibrating strings.

And they were stamped upon Lead. The Figure of the Caterpillare & Flyes Fleas were all made in full proportion, in litel, & cast off in Lead without Characters. I once remarked to David at lunch that there was a definite anti-rationalist spirit in the air today: that irrationalism was making serious inroads; that Kabala was back; that Mrs. Reagan, the wife of the president, consulted her An assortment of sigils 46 Ancient Loons astrologer regularly and that was the least of it. I suggested to David with a twinkle in my eye that, with his knowledge of all the ancient arcane irrationalities, he could make a lot of money by becoming a magus.

This conversational ploy worked splendidly. Rowse was a prolific writer on Elizabethan personalities and Trevor-Roper and Rowse were at daggers drawn professionally. During our lunch (which was a substantial one), Trevor-Roper peppered our conversation with Rowse–gossip, to which I was able to respond and expand upon with some intelligence and not a little surprise. Rising from the table magisterially, he pronounced a final judgment that one must not take seriously the writings of an overheated brain.

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