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Thread: Arithmancy - What is it?

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  1. #1

    Arithmancy - What is it?

    This is something that's confused me for a little while now. What exactly is Arithmancy? All the references I've seen to it are pretty vague, so I figured someone here might be able to help. Is it like Muggle math, but applied to magic (kind of like wizarding engineering)? Like Geometry, Trig, or Calc used to help make wards and such? And maybe even wand movements? That's my personal preference, but I wasn't sure whether there was an actual description of the class. And I'm basing my idea off almost nothing. Anyone know?

  2. #2
    Pepper Imp
    I just checked the Wikipedia about this (so it may or may not be that reliable, but I'll check a couple of other sites later).

    This is that it said:

    The name Arithmancy is derived from two Greek words arithmos (meaning number) and manteia (meaning divination). Arithmancy is thus the study of divination through numbers.

    I think that students who were serious about Divination would have taken Arithmancy - although it is a little weird that Hermione loved Arithmancy while hated Divination... oh well, heheh.

    I also checked the HPL, and this is what it had on the subject:

    Arithmancy is a branch of magic that is concerned with the magical properties of numbers; someone who practices Arithmancy is called an Arithmancer. For example, in the 1200s, Bridget Wenlock, a famous Arithmancer, discovered the magical properties of the number seven. An O.W.L. in Arithmancy is required to apply for a curse-breaker's job at Gringotts'.

    Arithmancy at Hogwarts is taught by Professor Vector. In her class, students are expected to write essays and to be able to understand complicated number charts, which are part of their homework. Hermione Granger appears to be the only Gryffindor in her year who attempted an O.W.L. in this subject (which is her favourite).

    I believe that this subject also has something to do with names and the numbers associated with them. For example, according to this editorial on Mugglenet, Harry is a number 5, which is the number of instability. I think that this could show that this could be used as something like astrology or the chinese zoological calender.

    I think that this is a Roman or Greek version of the calanders above - I wouldn't put complete trust in the art, it's inprecice and (like the editorial mentions) you'd find better canon evidence to characters in the books.

  3. #3
    Well, I think Hermione might have done better in Arithmacy because she may have been able to get through *cough*top student in the class*cough* by reading and studying constantly. Also, it is a bit like Ancient Runes (I think) because you have to decipher things, and as far as I know, Hermoine enjoyed Ancient Runes.

    EDIT - also, when I think of Arithmacy, I tend to compare it with Algebra a lot of the time.

    Hope that helped a bit!

  4. #4
    My assumptions of Arithmancy were that it was a cross between muggle maths and physics, combining to become something along the lines of the theoretical side of engineering. I would have thought it to be subject that uses numbers, in terms of syllables and wand angles/strokes, to define exactly how spells work. Of all the Hogwarts subjects, I had assumed Arithmancy was key to the creation of new spells and magical objects, by understanding what makes existing spells work. Obviously there is a certain degree of theory in all subjects, but I think Arithmancy is the study of the rules that make them work.

    Of the people we know of, Hermione excepted because she is a certainty, I would have thought the following people would have studied the subject, though the quality of their marks would differ wildly.

    Snape, Fred and George, Lupin, James, Sirius, Dumbledore, Riddle (for sure), Bill, Olivander and most of the Hogwarts teachers. [Edit: And, as Meriska rightly points out, Luna's mother.]

    In my opinion, anyone who was going to go into a career of inventing things would need a good knowledge of the subject.

    Of course, more than ever, this is just my opinion, and like everyone else I have very little to back it up with. It just seems to me that engineering new spells and objects would require more than just knowing existing spells, and of all the classes, Arithmancy points towards that the most.

    But of course, blah blah blah Humphrey Belcher blah blah blah...

  5. #5
    Arithmancy, in Muggle world, is the art of predicting future by numbers (birth dates, etc.). I do, however, like AurorKeefy's explanation, I've never thought of it that way

  6. #6
    I've never really thought about this because I have a very loverly book called The Sorcerer's Companion truly helps a lot!

    In this book they give a pretty long description of Arithmancy, also known as Numerology, and they give a chart so you can do your own and see if it matches. Here is the chart:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
    A B C D E F G H I
    J K L M N O P Q R
    S T U V W Y X Z

    As you can see each letter has a corresponding number to go with it. For names there are three different keys-Character Number, Heart Number, Social Number.

    So Example: Ginevra Molly Weasley would be 7955491 46336 5511356
    To get the Character Number you add up all of the numbers, which usually adds up to more than 9, and simplify. In this case it's 88. To simplify these numbers you add the digits of the number together until you get a number less than 9 (8+8=16 so you then have to add 1+6=7). So Ginny's character number is 7, which corresponds with her a little. Some of the things listed are understanding, bright, perceptive, sometimes pessimistic, sarcastic, and insecure. Sevens prefer originality and imagination than money and material possessions. The Character Number is the general personality type of the person.

    To get the Heart Number you add the digits in the name of only the vowels: 32 for Ginny you then simplify again which ends up 5. The Heart Number refers to the person's inner life and is said to indicate desires and fears hidden from others. Some in the list of 5's are adventurous, energetic, willing to take risks, and can be irresponsible, and quick-tempered. That sounds a lot like Ginny to me.

    The Social Number is supposed to relate to the outside personality, you do the same steps but with the consonants. 56 to 11 to 2. Things listed are imaginative, creative, sweet natured, commitment, loyalty, and fairness are characteristic. Yet, twos can be withdrawn, moody, self-conscious, and indecisive. Doesn't really match up but who is a winner every time?

    You can also go through and see which number(s) are used the most and "flesh out" their personality. That would be another 5 so add some more of the 5 qualities: drawn to many things at once, enjoy travel and new people, but may not stay in one place to long, and may be conceited or irresponsible.

    I really just like seeing how accurate they are. Ginny's was better than some of the others. If you need anymore number def. you can just PM me. I also like AurorKeefy's explanation to the spell makers. Maybe Luna's mother could have taken it also? Since she died of an "experimental curse that back fired" or whatnot.

    Hope this made sense to you. ~Maiya~
    To get the Ha

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