Jan 11, 2020 in Analysis

The Number Seven

From ancient times, numbers play an important and multifaceted role in human life. The ancient people attributed them special and supernatural properties. One number could promise happiness and success, others may cause a blow of fate. In many cultures, especially in the Babylonian, Hindu and Pythagorean, a number is the beginning of all things. The ancient Indians, Egyptians, Chaldeans were recognized experts in the use of numbers. This paper describes the importance of the number seven in the myths, religion and so on.

In numerology, number seven is the mind, spiritual matter, the teaching, study, philosophical understanding, the divine mystery and order. Seven symbolizes the harmony of nature; seven notes in music, the seven major planets, displayed in the days of the week. This is the number of order and organization of space. The seven-day working cycle (one full output) is ideal for the human body. In this seventh day man should have a spiritual rest, break away from the routine of everyday worries and spend it in contemplation and self-knowledge. Hence it is another important quality of seven - contemplation, solitude, privacy, creativity and inactivity.

 

Since ancient times, the number seven is considered almost all nationalities special number. Perhaps, there are no figures that are reflected in superstition, symbols, literature and religion except 7. Probably there is no any person, who has not heard of such concepts and expressions like “Seven Wonders of the World,” “The Magnificent Seven”, “seven colors of the rainbow,” etc. For centuries, the number seven is considered lucky. The philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras argued that “numbers rule of the world.” He established a school of like-minded people who believe in the magic of numbers and thought that every subject is worth a certain number. The numbers, they believed, carry with them the good and evil, happiness and misery.

Speaking about Islam, it should be said that the number seven is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments 700 times. In Islamic tradition, there are seven brides and seven earths, seven gates of heaven and seven stages to hell, seven Prophets (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and Mohamed). During the Hajj to Mecca, the pilgrims have to walk around the sacred Kaaba stone seven times. Seven days the soul of the deceased carries out near the grave. On the seventh day the newborn receives a name. In Islam, the story of creation literally permeated with the number seven in its different variations (Genesis): a period of 6 days of creation + 1 day (Sabbath); The first stanza consists of seven words, the second - from 14; the phrase “that he is good” is repeated seven times; keywords such as God, the earth, the heavens are used in the text of a multiple numbers of times seven. In addition, the number seven that is mentioned in the hadith is also often found in the Koran and Sharia. We know that God created the seven heavens and seven earths: “It is Allah Who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof.”

Muslims believe that some verses of the Quran have a special sanctity and regard them as essential reading and worthy of promotion. The most important of them is Sūrat al-Fātiḥah. It holds a special place in the Quran, and it is in the introductory part. It consists of only seven verses, unlike other recent sourates - the longest in the Qur’an. It sounds like a prayer to Allah. As already mentioned, Muslims consider seven as a sacred number, so the Quran begins with the seven verses.

The figure 7 is considered sacred, divine, magical and happy. Seven was worshiped for many centuries before our era, in the Middle Ages, and it is revered today. In Babylon in honor of the main gods, the seven-step temple was built. The priests of this city claimed that people after death, passing through seven gates fall into the underworld, surrounded by seven walls.

In ancient Greece, the number seven was the number of Apollo, one of the most important gods of the Olympic religion. In addition, Apollo was born on the seventh day of the month, his lyre had seven strings. The legends can be found seven Hesperides, seven circles of hell and seven gates, Astarte’s seven daughters, the seven Cyclops. Thanks to the mythology, we know that each year Athens residents sent as tribute seven boys and seven girls to a man-bull Minotaur that lived in the labyrinth in Crete, in order to be devoured. 

Ancient Rome also worshiped to the number seven. The city is built on seven hills; River Styx is surrounded underground kingdom, wraps hell seven times that divided into seven regions near Virgil. The Brahmin and Buddhist beliefs and worship as sacred number seven. The custom of giving happiness thanks to seven elephants came from the Indians; figurines made of bone, wood or other material.

The ancients knew seven planets and each of them attached a great importance. Menorah is one of the most ancient symbols of Judaism, metal candle holder with seven clay or glass lamps. The form of Menorah goes back to the Bible, in which menorah is described. It represents the seven churches of Asia Minor and represents the seven planets and the seven days of Creation. For example, the Jewish philosopher Philo believed that the menorah symbolizes the seven planets, the highest objects, accessible to human perception. He also argued that the gold, which made the menorah and its light symbolize the divine light, or logo.

Menorah has its own meaning. It means seven church secrets. It also includes the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are bestowed the efforts of the faithful of Jesus Christ. Each of the seven candlesticks is linked with seven spirits who watch over the whole world and for all the churches.

Also, in the Jewish tradition is characterized Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the seven planets, the 28-day lunar cycle (multiple of seven), seven religious (great) holidays, the beginning of the Jewish New Year is celebrated on the new moon of the seventh month – “Day of Trumpets.” Also in the Jewish culture during Easter, God commanded eat unleavened bread (matzah) within seven days (Exodus 12: 15). In this culture a seven-year cycle calculus of human life exists. Every seventh year is a Sabbath year.

An important corresponds of the number seven for believers are the seven sacraments of the Church. These funds are made possible only thanks to the coming of Christ the Savior to the world. We can find the number seven in the Bible, which states that God created all things in the world in seven days. And then - the seven sacraments, seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven ecumenical councils, seven stars in the crown, the seven wise men in the world, seven candles in the altar lamp, seven - in the altarpiece, the seven deadly sins.

The prayer “Our Father” includes seven requests that a person should be called to read the prayer. In other words, prayer is made up of just these desires. The origin of the prayer has been insufficiently studied, but it remains a fact that it has a hidden sacred meaning that is associated with the number seven. 

In Egypt, 7 is a symbol of eternal life, the number of Osiris. According to legends, at the seventh hour of the night, the boat Ra swam to Apophis snake, dead went through seven rooms and seven doors and got into Amerti. Besides that, seven is a symbol of creation (as in Christianity). For the Chinese, seven is a symbol of the funeral. For Japanese and Tibetans, split time between life and death is 49 years (7x7). 49 is also a number of sticks with which speculating on the “I Ching” or “Book of Changes.”

The number 7 has a bright reflection in culture. For example, there are 7 wonders of the world, 7 days a week, 7 notes, and so on. These reflections will be described hereinafter. 

In a culture, 7 is used as the basis of a large number of classifications, as a large number of objects, events, characters, and so on grouped by seven. For example, seven days a week, seven colors of the rainbow, seven cosmic eras, the seven heavens, regions of hell, seven major planets and their associated metals, seven areas of the world, the seven rays of the sun, seven hills, seven ages of man, seven notes, seven wonders of the world, seven days of fasting and penance. 

In Arabic and other folk traditions, the number seven is credited with the ability to protect from the evil of the seven-headed dragon (India, Persia, the Far East (especially in Cambodia), in Celtic folklore and Mediterranean). In these cultures, the number symbolizes on ancient (Eastern) monuments, presented in the form of a crown with seven teeth, triangle inscribed in a square, seven-rayed star, octave, the basic colors, or rainbow. 

In the Sumerian-Semitic culture, the seven planets are represented, and they revered as a deity. Symbols of these deities were seven stars, crosses, busts, flaming altars, knives stuck into the ground, seven trees, seven heavens (Zarathustra), seven zones of the earth symbolized by seven tiers of the seven Babylonian ziggurats (stages connecting heaven and earth), seven-day week (set in ancient Chaldea, and spread as a measure of time in the space of Asia Minor and the Middle East), the seven divisions of the lunar calendar.

In the culture of India, the number seven represents the number of ascents, climbing to higher, gaining center. Seven steps of Buddha symbolize the ascent of the seven cosmic steps beyond the limits of time and space. The seven-story Prasad am in Borobudur is a sacred mountain and the world axis, with the top in the transcendent North, reaching the kingdom of Buddha. Buddha’s sacred number is seven characters representing his incarnation.

The first mention of the 7 Wonders of the World is found in the writings of Greek authors. As already mentioned, in ancient times it was believed that seven is the most perfect and complete number. This number could get only the best of everything that could not be more than seven. Therefore, all of the greatest architectural monuments of antiquity to the miracles attributed only a small fraction of them. In I century BC Greek historian Strabo made the final list, which until then had a lot of different options ranging from the time of Herodotus, who lived in the V century BC.

Strabo’s list survived 2000 years. During all this time it was not disputed. At least the official history does not know such facts. But once people so long agree to the ancient historian, we can only humbly bow our heads and see the miracles that are generally accepted by all mankind.

The number 7 plays an important role in the global symbols. Numbers to 9 inclusive, probably are significant for the reason because of their visibility, they contribute to the formation of the people of the original idea of the number. A mystical value of 7 is found in the written monuments of the ancient East and antiquity. This is called 7 valuable, important, useful or avoid objects or heroic deeds. In Greece, the 7 warriors went to Thebes, there are seven sages, and Rome is a city on 7 hills, in China live 7 geniuses (poets) and 7 young girls, in India the god of fire with 7 languages. 

Talking about 7 days in a week, we can say the following. The time units of this type, i.e. combining several days in a row, have existed since ancient times in different nations. For example, the inhabitants of Rome had eight days in the trading week, which had seven working days, and the eighth day that was bazaar. Also 7-day cycle was used by the ancient Jews. Notes of the Jewish historian Josephus, dating from the 1st century BC, include the following words associated with the seven-day period, “no city, Greek or barbarian, and no nation which has not spread to our custom to refrain from work on the seventh day.” Jews and Christians took the 7-day cycle, as in the Old Testament points 7-day weekly cycle established by God (the process of creation of the world in the last 7 days). It is worth noting that in the ancient calendar in Rome, the names of all seven days of the week are associated with the names of the stars that can be seen with the naked eye, namely the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn. In today’s calendar, we can find these names because of Rome, which distributed them to the whole Western Europe. Yet calendar has always been used as an ideological weapon. Despite the cosmic rhythms, the Chinese and Japanese emperors introduced their own calendars to once again assert their authority.

Speaking about music, it should be said that the main steps of the scale of the musical were awarded seven distinct names: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si. Main stages correspond to the sound, remove by the piano on the white keys. Seven names of basic steps are periodically repeated in scale the thus comprise the main sound of steps along the length of the frequency scale. This is due to the fact that every eighth sound counting up (no need for the black keys) is formed by doubling the oscillation frequency of the first sound. Therefore, it corresponds to the second partial tone of the first (original) sound and therefore virtually merges with it the feelings of the listener. Seven musical notes marked the beginning of the philosophical concept of “music of the spheres” in which the entire universe is perceived as one big musical scale. 

To sum up, number seven characterizes the general idea of the universe, the constant in the description of the world, the full composition of the pantheon, the number of days of the week, the number of colors of the spectrum of tones in music, the constant that determines the amount of human memory, and so on. So it is treated by the English, French, Italian, Russian, Hindus revere it, Arabs, Turks and other peoples. Revered for centuries, in the Middle Ages, and is revered today. The number seven plays an important role in the religions and beliefs of people in the arts and language, science and technology. However, people should not overestimate the significance of this number as the 7 is not more than just a number.

logotype

Related essays