The System of Marcus Shown to be that of Pythagoras, by Quotations from the Writings of Marcus' Followers.
I trust, therefore, that as regards these doctrines it is obvious to all possessed of a sound mind, that (these tenets) are unauthoritative, and far removed from the knowledge that is in accordance with Religion, and are mere portions of astrological discovery, and the arithmetical art of the Pythagoreans. And this assertion, ye who are desirous of learning shall ascertain (to be true, by a reference to the previous books, where,) amongst other opinions elucidated by us, we have explained these doctrines likewise. In order, however, that we may prove it a more clear statement, viz., that these (Marcosians) are disciples not of Christ but of Pythagoras, I shall proceed to explain those opinions that have been derived (by these heretics) from Pythagoras concerning the meteoric (phenomena) of the stars [779] as far as it is possible (to do so) by an epitome.

Now the Pythagoreans make the following statements: that the universe consists of a Monad and Duad, and that by reckoning from a monad as far as four they thus generate a decade. And again, [780] a duad coming forth as far as the remarkable (letter), -- for instance, two and four and six, -- exhibited the (number) twelve. And again, if we reckon from the duad to the decade, thirty is produced; and in this are comprised the ogdoad, and decade, and dodecade. And therefore, on account of its having the remarkable (letter), the dodecade has concomitant [781] with it a remarkable passion. [782] And for this reason (they maintain) that when an error had arisen respecting the twelfth number, the sheep skipped from the flock and wandered away; [783] for that the apostasy took place, they say, in like manner from the decade. And with a similar reference to the dodecade, they speak of the piece of money which, on losing, a woman, having lit a candle, searched for diligently. (And they make a similar application) of the loss (sustained) in the case of the one sheep out of the ninety and nine; and adding these one into the other, they give a fabulous account of numbers. And in this way, they affirm, when the eleven is multiplied into nine, that it produces the number ninety and nine; and on this account that it is said that the word Amen embraces the number ninety-nine. And in regard of another number they express themselves in this manner: that the letter Eta along with the remarkable one constitutes an ogdoad, as it is situated in the eighth place from Alpha. Then, again, computing the number of these elements without the remarkable (letter), and adding them together up to Eta, they exhibit the number thirty. For any one beginning from the Alpha [784] to the Eta will, after subtracting the remarkable (letter), discover the number of the elements to be the number thirty. Since, therefore, the number thirty is unified from the three powers; when multiplied thrice into itself it produced ninety, for thrice thirty is ninety, (and this triad when multiplied into itself produced nine). In this way the Ogdoad brought forth the number ninety-nine from the first Ogdoad, and Decade, and Dodecade. And at one time they collect the number of this (trio) into an entire sum, and produce a triacontad; whereas at another time they subtract twelve, and reckon it at eleven. And in like manner, (they subtract) ten and make it nine. And connecting these one into the other, and multiplying them tenfold, they complete the number ninety-nine. Since, however, the twelfth Æon, having left the eleven (Æons above), and departing downwards, withdrew, they allege that even this is correlative (with the letters). For the figure of the letters teaches (us as much). For L is placed eleventh of the letters, and this L is the number thirty. And (they say) that this is placed according to an image of the dispensation above; since from Alpha, irrespective of the remarkable (letter), the number of the letters themselves, added together up to L, according to the augmentation of the letters with the L itself, produces the number ninety-nine. But that the L, situated in the eleventh (of the alphabet), came down to search after the number similar to itself, in order that it might fill up the twelfth number, and that when it was discovered it was filled up, is manifest from the shape itself of the letter. For Lambda, when it attained unto, as it were, the investigation of what is similar to itself, and when it found such and snatched it away, filled up the place of the twelfth, the letter M, which is composed of two Lambdas. And for this reason (it was) that these (adherents of Marcus), through their knowledge, avoid the place of the ninety-nine, that is, the Hysterema, a type of the left hand, [785] and follow after the one which, added to ninety-nine, they say was transferred to his own right hand.


[779] Cruice thinks that for stars we should read "numbers," but gives no explanation of the meaning of meteora. This word, as applied to numbers, might refer to "the astrological phenomena" deducible by means of numerical calculations.

[780] A comparison of Hippolytus with Irenæus, as regards what follows, manifests many omissions in the former.

[781] Following Irenæus, the passage would be rendered thus: "And therefore, on account of its having the remarkable (letter) concomitant with it, they style the dodecade a remarkable passion." Massuet, in his Annotations on Irenæus, gives the following explanation of the above statement, which is made by Hippolytus likewise. From the twelfth number, by once abstracting the remarkable (number), which does not come into the order and number of the letters, eleven letters remain. Hence in the dodecade, the pathos, or what elsewhere the heretics call the "Hysterema," is a defect of one letter. And this is a symbol of the defect or suffering which, upon the withdrawal of one Æon, happened unto the last dodecade of Æons.

[782] Hippolytus' statement is less copious and less clear than that of Irenæus, who explains the defect of the letter to be symbolical of an apostasy of one of the Æons, and that this one was a female.

[783] Luke 15:4-10.

[784] Marcus' explanation of this, as furnished by Irenæus, is more copious than Hippolytus'.

[785] The allusion here seems to be to the habit among the ancients of employing the fingers for counting, those of the left hand being used for all numbers under 100, and those of the right for the numbers above it. To this custom the poet Juvenal alludes, when he says of Nestor:-- Atque suos jam dextera computat annos. That is, that he was one hundred years old.

chapter xlvi marcus account of the
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