See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_numerals for reference;

So the Greek Mythology played a part in almost everything, like

  • The ocean (Oceanus)
  • Northern Europe (Europa)
  • And a whole bunch of stuff besides.

And I was looking at a random Wikipedia article about the Numeral Systems. Does any part of Greek mythology take a part in this?

1 Answer 1


Egyptian Hermes (i.e. Thoth) is the creator of literacy and therefore numeracy (Diodorus 1.16).

It was by Hermes, for instance, according to them, that the common language of mankind was first further articulated, and that many objects which were still nameless received an appellation, that the alphabet was invented, and that ordinances regarding the honours and offerings due to the gods were duly established; he was the first also to observe the orderly arrangement of the stars and the harmony of the musical sounds and their nature, to establish a wrestling school, and to give thought to the rhythmical movement of the human body and its proper development. He also made a lyre and gave it three strings, imitating the seasons of the year; for he adopted three tones, a high, a low, and a medium; the high from the summer, the low from the winter, and the medium from the spring.

Diodorus via Lacus Curtius

We must remember that Greek numbers are merely letters (rarely otherwise) that correspond to a numerical value.

  • 1
    That quote actually seems relevant to mythology.stackexchange.com/q/825/197 (where the answers already mention Hermes, but supported by other quotes)
    – b_jonas
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 12:08
  • Two objections: First, the passage in Diodoros refers to an Egyptian myth, not a Greek myth. Second, the oldest forms of Greek numbers were formed by strokes, rather like the Roman numbers. The use of the letters of the alphabet for numbers came later.
    – fdb
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 17:16
  • @fdb The Greeks did not see a real distinction between myths of Egyptian origin and of Greek origin. You might have noticed, for example, that he uses the name Hermes and not Thoth. Your second point seems more of a criticism for the ancients...
    – cmw
    Commented Apr 9, 2016 at 23:30

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