Numeral Shapes

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The shapes of our numerals originally had a striking significance. Each single digit numeral contained the number of angles it named.

0 has zero angles angles.

1 had only the hook, no horizontal bar on the bottom, and one angle.

2 looked like a Z and had two angles.

3 looked like a sideways W and had three angles.

4 had the closed top but the horizontal bar din't cross over the vertical bar, and had four angles.

5 was squared off and had five angles.

6 was squared off and had six angles.

7 was a Z with a horizontal middle crossbar, and a hook on the front, and seven angles.

8 looked like an H with the top and bottom closed off, and had eight angles.

9 was squared off and the horizontal crossbar extndes through the vertical line, and a hook on the foot, and nine angles.

'A Star' Ten should be a single digit numeral with ten angles. A star works. * So does the Masonic Lodge Symbol. We use base ten because it has certain excellent mathematical properties such as repeating decimals. We also have ten fingers.

10 (one, zero) signifies totality of base, and changes its name and value depending on which base system is used.

For example, counting in base two:

1, 10, 11, 100.

10 = totality of base.

100 = totality of square.

Now base 3:

1, 2, 10

11, 12, 20

21, 22, 100

Notice that there is no numeral 2 in base two, only 0 and 1, and no numeral 3 in base three, only 0, 1 and 2. Likewise, there is no ten in base ten.

If you want to see pictures of the numerals, visit

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