86E–87B, the Theaetetus raises the issue of irrational or incommensurableroots at 147D–148B, and the Epinomis (which the Renaissance consideredauthentic) has an arresting section at 990C–991A on astronomy, geometry,progressions, the mean proportions, and the formation of numbers. Othedialogues contain mathematical references or observations: for instance,the Euthyphro at 12D, the Hippias Major at 303BC, the Philebus at 56D,the Charmides at 166A, the Statesman at 266AB, the Phaedrus at 274C,and the Laws 7 at 817E–820C.― 5 ―More generally, the Parmenides is concerned throughout with themetaphysics of the one and the many, of unity and plurality; and theRepublic 7.521C–531D outlines a mathematics curriculum in five partsbeginning with arithmetic and ratio theory and thence proceeding to planeand solid geometry, and ending with astronomy and music. Finally, thereare the complicated metaphysical issues of Plato's postulation, at leasaccording to Aristotle in his Metaphysics 991b9, 1082b23–24, 1086a10–11,and De Anima 404b24, etc., of numbers as Forms, of the mathematicals asintelligible pluralities.However, the most intractable or mystagogical of all Plato's mathematicalspeculations (depending on one's point of view) occurs in a passagetowards the beginning of the eighth book of the Republic at 546A ff. HereSocrates refers to a mysterious geometric or "fatal" number in order toexplain why it is that even perfectly constituted republics—those that donot contain within themselves the seeds of their own decay and ruin—decline nevertheless after the passage of many years into the first of foudegenerate forms ending in a tyranny: into a contentious timarchygoverned by the passionate pursuit of honor and "a fierce secret longing"for money instead of justice and the good. They are subject, it wouldseem, to some cyclical cosmic pattern, to an inexorable fate thatoverwhelms them despite their innate, their Platonic excellence. In thecourse of this baffling passage on the geometric number Socrates alsoargues for the necessity of state-planned eugenics. Citizens approachingparenthood must be adjusted to each other, like proportionate numbers, inorder that they may breed good, tempered offspring and thus ensure thecontinuance of balance in the state. And the balance can indeed bemaintained for a time: with Platonic planning and Platonic virtue men canwork with Fate to ensure the continuance of their state's life or prosperity,as long, that is, as the fatal cycle of years has not yet been fulfilled. Aftethat, no legislation by the magistrates, however wise and howeverigorously enforced, can prevail against the inevitable, the periodicchange. The eugenic theme is so prominent indeed that Plutarch,Nicomachus of Gerasa, Iamblichus, and Boethius, among others, did nohesitate to identify the fatal geometric number with the notion of a"nuptial" number, presumably because of the sovereign role it plays― 6 ―in determining, for better or for worse, the fertility of a republic and thusthe success of its marriages, begettings, and births.