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profen4
03-08-2013, 01:24 AM
I'm wondering if there are any really ancient symbols for the number 24, something specific to the 24th hour, or the end of a day, or something along those lines would be great, but not required.

It's a minor part of my story, but I want a secret group/society which was formed in late 5th, early 6th century to have a symbol associated with their group. The symbol can be older than that.

I've been going through Google and various images, but I started to think perhaps someone here might have come across something in their readings, or study, or just from their own research, that they might care to share.

Thanks guys.
S

King Neptune
03-08-2013, 01:46 AM
If you want a symbol for the end of the day, then use sunset. The matter of the days beginning and ending in the middle of the night is only a few hundred years old.

ironmikezero
03-08-2013, 01:46 AM
If your context is time, there are a number of groups (to include most military) that have used zero (0) to connote the passing of the 24th hour. This practice may be far older than one might think. I can't think of the source, but I recall reading a speculative text on the early Illuminati using encoded references to times and dates deemed to be of significance. It's your story, so introduce whatever imaginative symbol will have the impact you seek.

Nekko
03-08-2013, 01:53 AM
Another thing to consider: in that time period people marked the periods of the day either by the sun's position OR by the canonical hours, the times of daily Christian prayer - namely matins with lauds, prime, terce, sext, nones, vespers, and compline.

Perhaps there is some symbol having to do with these that would work for your story?

thothguard51
03-08-2013, 01:55 AM
Last watch...

Nekko
03-08-2013, 02:01 AM
If your context is time, there are a number of groups (to include most military) that have used zero (0) to connote the passing of the 24th hour. This practice may be far older than one might think. I can't think of the source, but I recall reading a speculative text on the early Illuminati using encoded references to times and dates deemed to be of significance. It's your story, so introduce whatever imaginative symbol will have the impact you seek.

The earliest know use of a symbol to connote 'zero' is found in India where the concept of zero as a number, and not merely a symbol for separation, shows up by the 9th century AD. Before then various cultures/civilization used blanks or placeholder symbols of no mathematical value to fill the 'void'.

profen4
03-08-2013, 02:07 AM
If your context is time, there are a number of groups (to include most military) that have used zero (0) to connote the passing of the 24th hour. This practice may be far older than one might think. I can't think of the source, but I recall reading a speculative text on the early Illuminati using encoded references to times and dates deemed to be of significance. It's your story, so introduce whatever imaginative symbol will have the impact you seek.

I had come up with a symbol, but it was silly, and I didn't have a lot of reason behind it. I thought it might be interesting to use a real symbol so that perhaps if a kid tried to look it up, they'd see the symbol was real.

It's a group that has a curse/gift where they have a vision and have 24 hours to effect a change or their vision will come true. I searched sacred symbols and runic symbols, and just symbols, but nothing is really striking out at me.

I like the 0 (zero) symbol idea actually, but I wanted something a little bit more complex. Not so complex that it takes me a page to describe it. I am wondering about an intersecting line like how you write zero if you don't want it confused with an oh.

I had originally thought of a triangle with an intersecting line but then I saw almost the exact symbol depicted on Garth Nix's novel (http://pinterest.com/pin/238550111484679289/), and so I thought I'd try to find something real.

lbender
03-08-2013, 02:15 AM
You don't really need something to indicate '24'. You need something to indicate a specific deadline. Perhaps an hourglass - representing the 24 hour hourglass in their headquarters that lets them know time's a-fleeting.

ironmikezero
03-08-2013, 02:28 AM
The earliest know use of a symbol to connote 'zero' is found in India where the concept of zero as a number, and not merely a symbol for separation, shows up by the 9th century AD. Before then various cultures/civilization used blanks or placeholder symbols of no mathematical value to fill the 'void'.


There may be some evidence to suggest the Mayans routinely used the concept and symbol of zero (0) some three centuries before it appeared in Hindu culture.

http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/1122-the-maya-civilization-maya-numerals-and-calendar

Of course, it would not be unusual for such knowledge to be deemed special/powerful and thus be restricted to an elite class that might otherwise suppress its proliferation among the masses.

If you peruse the above link, you'll find the Mayan symbol for zero looks like a seashell.

profen4
03-08-2013, 03:01 AM
You don't really need something to indicate '24'. You need something to indicate a specific deadline. Perhaps an hourglass - representing the 24 hour hourglass in their headquarters that lets them know time's a-fleeting.


Good point. I would like something a little less obvious than an hourglass, but I like the idea of expanding the search a bit. I would like something that only a kid who takes the time to look it up would know that it's real.

thothguard51
03-08-2013, 04:56 AM
Sun dial?

BDSEmpire
03-08-2013, 07:57 AM
You could consider using the Arabic letter miim for a symbol meaning 24. Borrowing from early alphabets is a time-honored tradition for making things look all spooky and mystic.

http://www.stanford.edu/dept/lc/arabic/alphabet/chart.html

Here's how you can make it look lovely as a logo:
http://logopond.com/gallery/detail/161822

Calligraphy turns common letters into works of art:
http://www.oweis.com/miim.jpg

Have fun!

Nekko
03-09-2013, 12:13 AM
There may be some evidence to suggest the Mayans routinely used the concept and symbol of zero (0) some three centuries before it appeared in Hindu culture.

"Long Count dates are written with Mesoamerican numerals... A dot represents 1 while a bar equals 5. The shell glyph was used to represent the zero concept. The Long Count calendar required the use of zero as a place-holder, and presents one of the earliest uses of the zero concept in history."

While it is true that a number of older societies - including the Mesopotamians/Babylonians in the second century BCE, had placeholder symbols for zero, to my understanding, none of them gave it a numerical value.

However, the shell symbol might work for Profen's story. Something few people would know - it does have a meaning for those curious enough to look into it - and an interesting use by the Maya & Olmecs who had a base 20 counting system.

Dave Hardy
03-09-2013, 02:29 AM
The Ancient Greeks used letters to indicate numbers (this was long before Arabic numerals). They were in sequence up to ten and counted by tens after that. Kappa was twenty, delta was four, kappa delta=24. The Gothic alphabet of Wulfila worked the same way for numbers. I believe the Phoenicians used a similar process, as did other cultures using alphabets.

Now you might consider eleven as your signifier. The end of the day was what Jesus referenced in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. The worker who shows up at the eleventh hour (ie the end of the day) is paid just as much as the worker who's been there all day long. That's the source of the expression "at the eleventh hour" for doing something at the last moment.

Drachen Jager
03-09-2013, 07:30 AM
Kieffer Sutherland?

;)

profen4
03-10-2013, 01:43 AM
The Ancient Greeks used letters to indicate numbers (this was long before Arabic numerals). They were in sequence up to ten and counted by tens after that. Kappa was twenty, delta was four, kappa delta=24. The Gothic alphabet of Wulfila worked the same way for numbers. I believe the Phoenicians used a similar process, as did other cultures using alphabets.

Now you might consider eleven as your signifier. The end of the day was what Jesus referenced in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. The worker who shows up at the eleventh hour (ie the end of the day) is paid just as much as the worker who's been there all day long. That's the source of the expression "at the eleventh hour" for doing something at the last moment.

I like that. I wonder if there are some images/symbols that are lesser known, that represent the 11th hour expression. Will have to look into that.

These are all great ideas guys! Thank you

sunandshadow
03-10-2013, 06:38 AM
I don't know of any actual ones, but it would be easy to make some up. 24=2*3*4 so you could do something with that sequence of numbers. 24 can be represented by a circle, quartered, each quarter containing a hexagon or hexagram, or 6 lines. Or, 4 hexagons sharing a common center, each rotated slightly so they looked like a Spirograph. Or 2 dodecahedrons in the same kind of arrangement. 24 is also 3*8, and a sideways 8 is a symbol of infinity and cycles, so you could build a symbol out of 3 8s arranged either end to end to make the sides of a triangle, or spinning around a common axis like a flower or propeller.

ECathers
03-12-2013, 04:52 PM
I had come up with a symbol, but it was silly, and I didn't have a lot of reason behind it. I thought it might be interesting to use a real symbol so that perhaps if a kid tried to look it up, they'd see the symbol was real.

It's a group that has a curse/gift where they have a vision and have 24 hours to effect a change or their vision will come true. I searched sacred symbols and runic symbols, and just symbols, but nothing is really striking out at me.

I like the 0 (zero) symbol idea actually, but I wanted something a little bit more complex. Not so complex that it takes me a page to describe it. I am wondering about an intersecting line like how you write zero if you don't want it confused with an oh.

I had originally thought of a triangle with an intersecting line but then I saw almost the exact symbol depicted on Garth Nix's novel (http://pinterest.com/pin/238550111484679289/), and so I thought I'd try to find something real.

The concept of dividing the day into 24 comes from the Babylonians. Therefore you could use their symbol for 24: http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/HistTopics/Babylonian_numerals.html

The question though, is when it became common practice to divide the day in that manner and whether or not that would have been the practice at the time your cult was born. My first guess is that it wouldn't. (I researched it briefly because it was an interesting question, but haven't thus far found a definitive answer.)

It seems to me that what you may be looking for is a symbol that means "day" since it's probable that your cult didn't view a day in terms of 24 hours.

You mentioned runes. As it happens, the Elder Futhark consists of 24 runes. The last rune Dagaz, represents "day" as well as the number 24. (It's often shown in the 23rd place because it was believed that to write out the entire futhark in correct order would invoke the Ragnarok.)

Also, when a day starts has been a bone of contention for centuries. Some folks start it at sunrise (which makes the most sense to me) some at sunset and even a few at noon (since it's a very easy to determine when the sun is at the center of the sky).

Additionally, you might want to consider where your cult originated and what sort of magical system they're based on, as different cultures had a different division of hours, 10 being one of the more common ones. (The Babylonians had a base 12 number system.) If the cult is based on Egyptian magic then they might be using a 10 hour day, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hour

The triangle with the intersecting line (assuming the line is horizontal) represents either Earth (point down) or Air (point up).