The study of Magic Squares and Cubes probably dates back to prehistoric times. Examples have been found in Chinese literature written about A. D. r 125* which were evidently copied from still older documents. It is recorded that as early as the ninth century magic squares were used by Arabian astrologers in their calculations of horoscopes etc. Hence the probable origin of the term “magic” which has survived to the present day.
The peculiar interest of magic squares and all lusus numerorum in general lies in the fact that they possess the charm of mystery. They appear to betray some hidden intelligence which by a preconceived plan produces the impression of intentional design, a phenomenon which finds its close analogue in nature.
Although magic squares have no immediate practical use, they have always exercised a great influence upon thinking people. It seems to me that they contain a lesson of great value in being a palpable instance of the symmetry of mathematics, throwing thereby a clear light upon the order that pervades the universe wherever we turn, in the infinitesimally small interrelations of atoms as well as in the immeasurable domain of the starry heavens, an order which, although of a different kind and still more intricate, is also traceable in the development of organized life, and even in the complex domain of human action.
Pythagoras says that number is the origin of all things, and certainly the law of number is the key that unlocks the secrets of the universe. But the law of number possesses an immanent order, which is at first sight mystifying, but on a more intimate acquaintance we easily understand it to be intrinsically necessary; and this law of number explains the wondrous consistency of the laws of nature.
Magic squares are conspicuous instances of the intrinsic harmony of number, and so they will serve as an interpreter of the cosmic order that dominates all existence. Though they are a mere intellectual play they not only illustrate the nature of mathematics, but also, incidentally, the nature of existence dominated by mathematical regularity.
In arithmetic we create a universe of figures by the process of counting; in geometry we create another universe by drawing lines in the abstract field of imagination, laying down definite directions; in algebra we produce magnitudes of a still more abstract nature, expressed by letters.
In all these cases the first step producing the general conditions in which we move, lays down the rule to which all further steps are subject, and so every one of these universes is dominated by a consistency, producing a wonderful symmetry.
There is no science that teaches the harmonies of nature more clearly than mathematics, and the magic squares are like a mirror which reflects the symmetry of the divine norm immanent in all things, in the immeasurable immensity of the cosmos and in the construction of the atom not less than in the mysterious depths of the human mind.
- Magic Squares
- Magic Cubes
- The Franklin Squares
- Reflections on Magic Squares
- A Mathematical Study of Magic Squares
- Magics and Pythagorean Numbers
- Some Curious Magic Squares and Combinations
- Notes on Various Constructive Plans by which Magic Squares May be Classified
- Magic Cubes of the Sixth Order
- Various Kinds of Magic Squares
- Sundry Constructive Methods
- The Theory of Reversions
- Magic Circles, Spheres and Stars
- Magic Octahedroids
- Ornate Magic Squares