I don’t know, Nero doesn’t look like such a bad guy…I mean, look at this lovely Victorian representation (by John William Waterhouse, 1878) – he seems to be suffering a wee bit o’ melancholy after a wee bit o’ matricide…
Anyway, I wasn’t at all serious about the 666 thing yesterday – just really wanted to display Hogarth’s painting from the Tate. However, my sister, sent a link to a good article (see the comment below) which undermines the whole June 6 business on two fronts: (1) according to a number of scholars (or is that a number of number scholars? heh heh), the numbers more likely represent the letters that spell Nero’s name in Hebrew; (2) the dates are all wrong anyway – appears some monk got the calendar all mixed up when Christianity adopted the Roman calendar in the 4th C.
This, of course, leads to two excellent quotes in the article:
The Church became aware of the mistake in 1582 but did not correct it to prevent the world from losing four years.
“We assume Satan knows that the sixth day of the sixth month in 2006 was in fact June 6, 2002,” Father Leonard said.
If you want to know who Father Leonard is, read the article. I, however, am fascinated by these two quotes and what they reveal: it took the Church approximately NINE CENTURIES to “become aware of the error” and, then, at that point they seem to have actually considered reversing the somewhat LARGE blunder, but decided not to because, hey, we’d have to backdate, oh, you know, things like the Magna Carta, Columbus’ so-called “Discovery” of America, the dates of the Hundred Years’ War (which was neither a hundred years, nor one distinct conflict, but you get my point…); of course, the second thing revealed is that Father Leonard has a pretty dry sense of humour – hard to imagine Satan screwing his dates up and pulling a Homer Simpson (“…DOH!…it was 2002…! I missed it…who set those clocks in Hell??”)