Socrates - Describes Thoth
Type of Spiritual Experience
Hazard is a game played with two dice, meaning the total numbers possible is 12. It thus incorporates the symbolism of numbers. The name "hazard" has been supposed to come from Arabic, from the word az-zahr (الزهر) meaning "dice". Another possibility is Arabic yasara ("he played at dice")
A description of the experience
As quoted as a footnote by Thomas Taylor in Iamblichus - Life of Pythagoras
The inventor of names was called by the Egyptians Theuth [Thoth], as we are informed by Plato in the Philebus and Phaedrus; in the latter of which dialogues, Socrates says:
I have heard, that about Naucratis in Egypt, there was one of the ancient Gods of the Egyptians, to whom a bird was sacred, which they call Ibis; but the name of the daemon himself was Theuth. According to tradition, this God first discovered number and the art of reckoning, geometry and astronomy, the games of chess and hazard and likewise letters
This God as he is the source of invention, is called the son of Maia; because investigation, which is implied by Maia, produces invention; and as unfolding the will of Jupiter, who is an intellectual God, he is the cause of mathesis or disclipine,
- He first subsists in Jupiter, the artificer of the world;
- next among the supermundane Gods;
- in the third place among the liberated Gods;
- fourthly in the planet Mercury;
- fifthly in the Mercurial order of daemons;
- sixthly in human souls;
- and in the seventh degree, his properties subsist in certain animals such as the Ibis, the ape and sagacious dogs.
The narration of Socrates in this place is both allegorical and anagogic or reductory.