A science historian in Manchester claims to have deciphered secret messages hidden in the ancient writings of the philosopher Plato.
Dr Jay Kennedy from the University of Manchester has revealed that the legendary Greek philosopher Plato used a regular pattern of symbols to give his books a musical structure.
Plato's books had a key role in establishing the foundations of Western culture. But the existence of a so-called 'Plato Code' has long been disputed.
By unravelling Plato's 'hidden' messages, Dr Kennedy believes he has thrown a new light on the origins of science, mathematics, music, and philosophy.
Like all great discoveries, Dr Kennedy said his own Eureka moment was partly due to 'luck.'
At the University of Manchester, he happened to be teaching one course on Plato's Republic while teaching another on music and mathematics of the Ancient Greeks, when he began to see a connection.
"It was a combustible mixture," he said. "Insights fed on each other, a cascade of discoveries: it was the most exciting time of my life."
Working from the original scripts, he observed that Plato used a regular pattern of symbols, inherited from the ancient followers of Pythagoras, to give his books a structure hidden beneath the surface.
Fascinatingly, it's a musical code," he said. "Plato and the Greeks believed music was the key to mathematics and the cosmos.
"What we didn't know was that he used Greek musical scales to give his works a hidden structure and then built layers of hidden meanings beneath that."
The hidden codes reveal that Plato anticipated the Scientific Revolution 2,000 years before Isaac Newton, discovering its most important idea - the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics.
"In ancient times, many of his followers said his writings were written in symbols; in modern times that was denied," he said.
"So I've rediscovered that the Ancients were correct."
Plato was the Einstein of Greece's Golden Age and his work founded Western culture and science.
PLATO - FATHER OF PHILOSOPHY
born Athens, lived 427-347 BC
founded the first 'university' called the Academy
was a student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle
most famous work is The Republic
laid the foundations of Western philosophy and science
once said: "Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something"
But his views challenged the accepted view of the world and would have been considered a threat to Greek religion, explained Dr Kennedy, so there was good reason to conceal his views in a hidden Code.
"Plato's own teacher was executed for religious heresy," he said. "And Plato and the other followers of Pythagoras were known for hiding their doctrines.
"They wanted to replace the Olympic Gods with science and mathematics. These were dangerous views.
"So Plato wrote his stories with a fascinatingly rich and seductive surface story then, underneath, hid the messages he really wanted to convey to future generations."
So how significant is it that Plato concealed his message in code?
It's very significant," he said. "It not only changes our understanding of the past but it changes, I think, where we're heading in the future.
"We now understand our roots. Plato was a key founder of Western culture. So the birth of Western thought and science looks different.
"Today, we're having a battle with other cultures about what kind of country we're going to be. And it matters very much that we understand how we got to be a democratic country with human rights.
But it will take a generation to work out the implications," he added. "All 2,000 pages contain undetected symbols."