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Thread: Arithmancy - What is it?

  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

  7. #7
    Ok, well at least now I know that there's some sort of definition for it. [EDITED] AurorKeefy is thinking along the same lines as I am, and I think Spellgineering makes a lot more sense than Numerology. Considering that there's already a divination class, why would they devote an entire O.W.L. level class to solely number-based divination? [EDITED] And I really just can't see Hermione getting into such an impractical area of study.

    I suppose that the magical properties of numbers makes sense for the introductory level classes, but it would be quite a stretch to get 3 years out of that. Memorising lots of charts sounds an awful lot like advanced Mugglemath before calculators were invented, and calculators wouldn't work at Hogwarts. The main hole in this is that non-Muggleborns wouldn't have basic math skills (except maybe addition/subtraction taught to them by parents), since muggleschool isn't required in order to go to Hogwarts. So it would be a bit of a leap to get into the advanced math needed for engineering. But I still think it makes a lot more sense to have Arithmancy be the math/physics/theoretical branch of magic rather than a specific area of Divination. Otherwise where would spells come from and how would Snape have created spells while still a student? He obviously had levicorpus down by fifth year, so spell design, while advanced, shouldn't be too unheard of.

    My own idea of Arithmancy is that the 3-5th years learn the magical properties of numbers and mugglemath up to like algebra or so, possibly some basic physics too. In the N.E.W.T. level classes they get into magical physics and the nature of spells (this is why cursebreakers need the class, in my opinion, why would they need to know what numbers are magical in order to break curses?) as well as more advanced math. Maybe toward the end of 7th year they'd get into how spells are made, with the top students being able to come up with some basic spells of thier own.

    Any thoughts on this? Or your own view of the class, I'm open to ideas.

    Moderator's Edit: Please refrain from ANY comments in posts which may cause offence. 10 points deducted.

  8. #8


    This artical taken taken from here.


    Arithmancy is an ancient form of divination, but instead of predicting the future by interpreting fuzzy images and squiggles you use hard-and-fast rules and mathematical calculations.
    Arithmancy, from the Greek arithmo meaning “number” and mancy meaning “prophecy”, has been used by witches and wizards for more that 2000 years to help people analyze and develop their strengths and talents, over come obstacles and chart their future paths.

    It is also known as “numerology” and is based on two ideas. The first, that a persons name contains important clues to the character and destiny. The second, advanced more than 2500 years ago by the Greek sage Pythagoras, is that each of the numbers between 1 and 9 has a unique meaning that can contribute to the understanding of all things.

    These two ideas were combined over the centuries developing many complex systems form converting names into numbers and analyzing the result. The most commonly used systems involves extracting three key numbers from a persons name (The Character Number, the Heart Number and the Social Number) and interpreting the outcome according to a set of established meanings. This system, taught at Hogwarts, was widely known by the Middle Ages and is still used today. All you need is a pencil and paper and to know how to add and spell.

    Step 1
    Convert the name to a set of numbers, each letter of the alphabet has a number between 1 and 9, as follows:

    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 X Y Z

    To analyze any name, write it down with the corresponding numerical value. We're using Nicholas Flamel as an example:

    N I C H O L A S F L A M E L
    5 9 3 8 6 3 1 1 6 3 1 4 5 3

    Step 2
    When you have all the numbers written down, add the up. With Nicholas Flamel, the result is 58. According to the procedures of Arithmancy, when the total is more than 9 (which it almost always is) it must be made a single digit by adding the numbers together until this is achieved. 58 becomes 13 (5 + 8 = 13), which becomes 4 (1 + 3 = 4).
    This number, whatever it is for your name, is known as the Character Number. It indicates the general personality type of the individual.

    Step 3
    The next number is the Heart Number which refers the persons inner life and is said to indicate desires and fears hidden from others, this is the total off all the vowels in the name.

    N I C H O L A S F L A M E L
    9 6 1 1 5

    This equals 22 whuch equals 4 (2 + 2 = 4). In Nicholas Flamels' case the heart and character number are the same, but it is not always like that.
    Step 4
    The third number is the Social Number, which refers to the outer personality, the face a person shows to the outside world. It is the value of the consonants in the name.

    N I C H O L A S F L A M E L
    5 3 8 3 1 6 3 4 3

    This equals 36 which equals 9 (3 + 6 = 9).
    With the numbers in mind (4, 4, 9) it is now possible to sketch out a portrait of the subject using a set of positive and negative personality traits traditionally associated with each number.

    The Meaning of the Numbers
    ONE: This is the number of the individual. One's are independent, focused, single-minded and determined. They set a goal and stick to it. They are the leaders and inventors. One's find it difficult to work with others and don't like to take orders. They can be self-centred, egotistical and domineering. They are often loners.

    TWO:Two represents interaction, two-way communication, co-operation and balance. Two's are imaginative, creative and sweet natured. Peace, harmony, commitment, loyalty and fairness are characteristics. Two also introduces the idea of conflict, opposing forces and the contrasting sides of things: night and day, good and evil. Two's can be withdrawn, moody, self-conscious and indecisive.

    THREE: Three represents the idea of completeness or wholeness, as in the trio's “past-present-future” and “mind-body-spirit.” The Pythagoreans considered three to be the first “complete” number because, like three pebbles laid out in a row, it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Three indicates talent, energy, an artistic nature, humour and social ease. Three's are often lucky, easy going, rich and highly successful, but they can also be unfocused, easily offended and superficial.

    FOUR: Like a table that rests solidly on four legs, four indicates stability and firmness. Four's enjoy hard work. They are practical, reliable and down to earth; they prefer logic and reason to flights of fancy. They are good at organising and getting things done. Like the cycle of the four seasons, they are also predictable. They can be stubborn, suspicious, over practical and prone to angry outbursts. The conflicts possible with “two” are doubled in four.

    FIVE: Five is the number of instability and imbalance, indicating change and uncertainty. Five are drawn to many things at once but commit to none. They are adventurous, energetic and willing to take risks. They enjoy travel and meeting new people but may not stay in one place very long. Five's can be conceited, irresponsible, quick-tempered and impatient.

    SIX: Six represents harmony, friendship and family life. Sixes are loyal, reliable and loving. They adapt easily. They do well in teaching and the arts, but are often unsuccessful in business. They are sometimes prone to gossip and complacency. The Pythagoreans regarded six and the perfect number because it was divisible by both two and tree, and was the sum as well as the product of the first three digit. (1 + 2 + 3 = 6, 1 x 2 x 3 = 6)

    SEVEN: Perceptive, understanding and bright, sevens enjoy hard work and challenges. They are often serious, scholarly, and interested in all things mysterious. Originality and imagination are more important than money and material possessions. Sevens can also be pessimistic, sarcastic and insecure. Seven is sometimes considered a mystical or magical number because of its associations with the biblical seven days of creation and the seven heavenly bodies of ancient astronomy (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter).

    EIGHT: Eight indicates the possibility of great success in business, finance and politics. Eights are practical, ambitious, committed and hardworking. They can also be jealous, greedy, domineering and power hungry. Eight is said to be the most unpredictable of numbers and can indicate the pinnacle of success or the depths of failure; the potential to go either way is present from the beginning.

    NINE: Represents completion and achievement to the fullest degree, as it is the “complete” number, three, expressed three times (3 x 3 = 9). Nines dedicate themselves to the service of others, often as teachers, scientists and humanitarians. Strongly determined, they work tirelessly and are and inspiration to others. However, they can also be arrogant and conceited when things don't go their way.

    By this we can see that according to Nicolas Flamels' numbers, (4, 4, 9), he is a hardworking, down-to-earth person. He takes a practical approach to solving problems. He is emotionally stable, but may have some inner anger and suspicions; however, the ace he shows to the world is that of a kind and generous humanitarian. Finally, we can add a few finishing touches to this portrait by returning to the original array of numbers, to see if any digits occur more frequently than others. In this case the numbers 3 and 1 occur most often indicating that, in addition to what we already know, Flamel is someone who seeks perfection, has the ability to make money easily and goes about things with single-minded focus. Most of this is true about Nicholas Flamel.

    Arithmancy can also be applied to other things in life, almost anything really. An 8 personality for example would be advised to make important decisions on the 8th, 17th or 26th and a 5 on the 5th, 14th or 23rd and so on. It can be used to work out hidden friendships between people or things. A 6, for example, will be happiest driving a Honda or Toyota and a 7 happiest driving a Ford. Five's would be happiest living in Tokyo or Pittsburgh and so on.

    As you can see, Arithmancy can be applied to anything in life and is much more accurate than Divinations and Tea-Leaf reading which is probably why Hermione likes it so much.
    I think arithmancy is about investigating the magical science of numbers and whatnot. I can see why it would appeal to Hermione.

    Mine was freakishly accurate. Creepy.

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