Tuesday, July 14, 2015

All Things Thirteen

Do you think thirteen a  lucky or unlucky number? It goes both ways. Many people get hung up on thirteen—fear it, avoid it—we still have buildings without a floor labeled thirteen as if jumping from twelve to fourteen changes the reality. The Roman calendar had one day each month called the Ides (Beware the Ides!) which in most months fell on the thirteenth — so maybe this wariness about the number goes way back in time. Yet, the U.S. was founded on thirteen colonies and our national seal is full of 13 representations, so shouldn't this be a lucky number?

Words for Thirteen 
Cardinal: Thirteen
Hindu-Arabic: 13
Roman: XIII
13 has no divisors

Roman: tredecim (thirteen), tertius decimus (thirteenth)
Greek:  dekatria and as a prefix triskaideca-

Time and Holiday Associations:
Friday 13 – a day of bad luck sometimes tied to the Last Supper where thirteen individuals were present which lead to the Crucifixion on the following Sunday, and sometimes said to have started when King Philip IV of France in an apparent wealth grab had the Templar Grand Master and many of his high ranking Templars arrested on October 13, 1307. This led to the torture and burning of those arrested and the ultimate end of the Templars. Friday the 13th is an unlucky day to most in the Western world. Some even have a fear of the number thirteen, triskaidekaphobia (tris-kay-dek-ah-fobia). Who thinks these words up? That's just as scary. It's made up of Greek numbers 3 and 10. And to mix thirteen with Friday? Read this article.

However, not everyone considers Friday the 13th unlucky. Triskaidekaphils also exist. This might include everyone at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, whose 13 founders started the institution in 1819.

Science, Technology, Measurement:
  • Baker’s dozen, long dozen, devil’s dozen
  • Aluminum (Al) thirteen element in the periodic table 
  • Thirteen-hundred hours (1 PM)
  • Title 13 of U.S. Code outlines purposes of US Census Bureau
Social, Family and Religious References:
  • Teenage years begin at thirteen
  • In Japan, Friday the 13 is considered an exceptionally lucky day
  • Egyptians held 13 as a lucky number. It represents the final steps of the stages of earthly existence.
  • British sailors refuse to put to sea on the 13th of any month.
  • There are thirteen Buddhas in the Indian Pantheon
  • Twelve Disciples plus Jesus at Last Supper equals 13 participants
  • 13 mystical discs surmount Chinese and Indian pagodas
  • The hilt of the sacred sword in the Temple of Atsusa in Japan is formed of thirteen objects of mystery
  • Thirteen is the sacred number of the Mexican snake gods.
  • Friday, October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress voted in Philadelphia to fit out two sailing vessels, armed with ten carriage guns, as well as swivel guns, and manned by crews of eighty, and to send them out on a cruise of three months to intercept transports carrying munitions and stores to the British army in America. The Continental Navy grew out of this legislation and as such, it constitutes the birth certificate of the navy. 
Tarot Divination: Card thirteen is the Death card representing transformation, change, or destruction followed by renewal. So, okay, death is to be avoided as much as is the number thirteen, but in this instance death isn't always dying, but change.

More Thirteen Associations:
  • 13 original American colonies
  • 13 stripes on U.S. flag (original flag also held 13 stars)
  • US National Seal: 13 levels on the pyramid on seal's backside; 13 stars on emblem over the eagle which holds olive branches with 13 leaves, and 13 olives and in the other claw, 13 arrows; eagle covered by shield with 13 strips and the mottos "e Pluribus Unum" and "annuit cœptis" each have 13 letters. Well, there were 13 colonies!
  • Thirteen is widely used in the occult and is a fatalistic number of great power.
  • With the spread of the early Christian Church, it became widely known that thirteen people dined at the last supper. By implication, it would be unlucky for thirteen to eat together as one of their numbers might die before the year was out.
  • Thirteen represents transcendence from body existence to spiritual existence.
  • It is the number associated with necromancy.
  • Thirteen is the number of immortality (Christ plus 12 disciples) 
  • Apollo 13, on the journey to the moon, is famous for "Huston, we have a problem." 
Games, sports:
  • In card decks, the King is the thirteen card  
  • Friday the Thirteenth—movies
  • Ocean's Thirteen—movie
  • Thirteen, 13—the title of many books and movies
  • Apollo 13—movie

1 comment:

  1. I learned all kinds of things about thirteen that i didn't know! How are you, Rhobin? How many cats do you have?