It’s a joke, if such a casual name is appropriate for something that uses Ancient Greek roots:

  • Hexakosioi – six hundred
  • Hexekonta – sixty
  • Hexa – six
  • Phobia – irrational or persistent fear

Hence, hexakosioi-hexekonta-hexa-phobia: fear of 666.

In 1989, Nancy and Ronald Wilson Reagan, when moving to their home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles after the 1988 election, had its address — 666 St. Cloud Road — changed to 668 St. Cloud Road.

In November 2013, Codie Thacker, a cross-country runner at Whitley County High School in Williamsburg, Kentucky, refused to run in her Kentucky High School Athletic Association regional meet, forfeiting a chance at qualifying for the state championships, when her coach drew bib number 666.

The Siemens ACS-64 locomotives of Amtrak are numbered 600 to 665 and 667 to 670, leaving out the number 666. – Wikipedia

Issues with 666 go back a long way.

This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six. – Revelation 13:18

From this cryptic reference (the author may have been referring to Nero in code, to get past the prison censors), at least in Western culture the integer 666 and the digit sequence 6-6-6 have both come to mean the Antichrist and the devil. Hence, one supposes, the evident (if occasional) instances of hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. Somewhere along the line, people forgot that 666 had gentler associations.

The weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year
was six hundred sixty-six talents of gold. – I Kings 10:14

Of Adonikam, six hundred sixty-six [descendants]. – Ezra 2:13

But I find the base-10 integer 666 more interesting for its arithmetical characteristics:

  • 666 is the sum of the first 36 natural numbers and, therefore, a triangular number
  • 666 is a repdigit and, therefore, a palindromic number
  • 666 is a Smith number – something about the sum of its digits and the sum of digits in its prime factors (a something I don’t use much, day to day)
  • 666 is DCLXVI, which uses all Roman numeral symbols whose value is less than 1000 in decreasing order

And 666 is the number of this blog post, for which the research – if such a rigorous name is appropriate for something that uses such casual internet wandering – supports my own Theory of Everything.

It is as if the world were made up of innumerable slices of layer cake, stacked all higgledy-piggledy. Viewed pointy-end on, they give no hint of their breadth and depth. But take one bite off the end of the slice, as it were, and new vistas beckon, whether it be in daylilies, art, folk songs, the human body, or the abilities and disabilities of the human mind.

Tired of waiting for physicists (who are taking an unconscionably long time), I have developed my own Theory of Everything and it is this: Everything is more complex than I would ever have guessed, and richer than I could ever have imagined.

Yes, there is more to everything than I would ever have guessed, including the Number of the Beast.


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4 Responses to Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

  1. Judith Umbach says:

    What is the name of the fear of 13? Also a venerable if irrational fear.

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