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British Scientist Uncovers 'Secret Messages' Hidden in Plato's Ancient Text
email this pageprint this pageemail usDavid Derbyshire - Daily Mail UK
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July 02, 2010

A bust of the Greek philosopher Plato
His works have been scrutinised and debated for more than 2,000 years by the greatest minds in history.

But it turns out the Greek philosopher Plato still has a few surprises up his sleeve.

In an extraordinary discovery, a British academic claims to have uncovered a series of secret messages hidden in some of the most influential and celebrating writings of the Ancient World.

The codes suggest that Plato was a secret follower of the philosopher Pythagoras and shared his belief that the secrets to the universe lie in numbers and maths.

Claims that an ancient text contains secret messages should normally be taken with a large pinch of salt.

But the latest study comes from a respected Classical scholar at Manchester University, and has been accepted for publication by a leading academic journal.

Plato, who died around 347BC, is arguably the greatest of all the Greek philosophers. With his mentor Socrates, and student Aristotle, he laid down the foundations of Western philosopher and science.

According to Dr Jay Kennedy one of Plato's most important beliefs was hidden in his writing.

'Plato's books played a major role in founding Western culture but they are mysterious and end in riddles,' said Dr Kennedy.

'In antiquity, many of his followers said the books contained hidden layers of meaning and secret codes, but this was rejected by modern scholars.

'It is a long and exciting story, but basically I cracked the code. I have shown rigorously that the books do contain codes and symbols and that unravelling them reveals the hidden philosophy of Plato.'

He added: 'The result was amazing - it was like opening a tomb and finding new set of gospels written by Jesus Christ himself.'

The key to unravelling the Plato Code lies in a Greek musical scale of 12 notes popular among followers of the earlier philosopher Pythagoras.

Dr Kennedy discovered that key phrases, words and themes crop up in regular intervals throughout Plato's writings and that they match the spacing of these 12 notes in the musical scale.

His most famous work, the Republic, for instance, is made up of 12,000 Homeric lines of text. Dr Kennedy found that every 1,000 lines, Plato returns to the theme of music.

In another dialogue, the Symposium, words describing harmony and unity crop up at the same regularly spaced intervals.

In the Greek musical scale some of the notes are harmonic, or pleasing to the ear. Others are dissonant or grating, and need to be followed by another note to relieve the musical tension they create.

At the location of harmonic notes in his writings, Plato wrote lines associated with love or laughter. But the dissonant notes were marked with screeching sounds or war or death.

Dr Kennedy, whose findings are published in the classics journal Apeiron, believes the pattern of symbols would have been obvious to the ancient followers of Pythagoras.

'As we read his books, our emotions follow the ups and downs of a musical scale. Plato plays his readers like musical instruments,' he said.

A century earlier, Pythagoras had declared that the planets and stars made an inaudible music, or 'harmony of the spheres' and that the secrets of the universe lay in maths.

The presence and nature of the hidden codes suggest that Plato may have signed up to the same belief - and that 2,000 years before the birth of modern science, he was leaving a message in his writing that maths and logical patterns ruled the universe, not the gods.

Dr Kennedy argues that Plato did not use the code for pleasure, but for his own safety. Plato's own teacher had been executed for heresy.

Secrecy was normal in ancient times, especially for esoteric and religious knowledge, but for Plato it was a matter of life and death.

Plato led a dramatic life. He wrote at least 30 books and founded the world's first university, called the Academy.

He allowed women to study at the Academy, against the traditions of the time, was an early defender of romantic love - as opposed to arranged marriages and defended homosexuality.

Dr Kennedy added. 'This is the beginning of something big. It will take a generation to work out the implications. All 2,000 pages contain undetected symbols.'

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