Riddles of The Lost Symbol
By: Justin Zablocki (author, Zablocki Bros. LLC) on October 14th, 2013 12:00 AM.
Robert Langdon is back for his third adventure in his very eventful life as a Harvard symbologist. The novel begins with him giving a lecture by invitation from his mentor, a Freemason Peter Solomon who is the head of the Smithsonian Institute. His mentor gave him a sealed package to keep safe years earlier and has requested he bring it. But upon arrival he learns that Solomon didn't make this request himself, but it was his kidnapper, Mal'akh. Mal'akh contacts Langdon and tells him if he cannot find the Mason's Pyramid and the Lost Word Solomon will be executed. All that stands in his way is a series of riddles.
The first riddle is Solomon's severed hand. Upon inspection of his hand Robert finds the following inscription:
Robert talks to Solomon's kidnapper, Mal'akh, who says:
As above, so below.
This is referring to an ancient Hermetic aphorism that means there is a physical connection between Heaven and Earth. This gives Robert the idea to turn the hand upside-down to make it read:
This corresponds to a chamber in the sub-basement of the United States Capitol. Here they find Solomon's Masonic altar, in which there is a small pyramid that is missing a capstone. The package that was given to Langdon by Solomon actually contains a capstone that fits perfectly onto this pyramid. The pyramid itself has the following inscription on it (after being deciphered using a pigpen cipher):
S O E U
A T U N
C S A S
V U N J
The box that the capstone originally came in was inscribed with 1514 AD. In this year the Melencolia was made and this engraving contains a magic square, a square in which all of the rows, columns, and main diagonals of the square add up to the same number. In this case the number is 34 and the magic square is a 4 by 4. Once translated they change to:
J E O V
A S A N
C T U S
U N U S
This means "Jeova Sanctus Unus" or "one true God". The final riddle comes after Mal'akh has been killed and Solomon takes Langdon to the top of the Washington monument. Here Solomon tells Langdon that the Lost Word is simply a bible that is buried below the monument. After telling Langdon this he realizes that the words "Laus Deo" are on the base of the pyramid and on the aluminum capstone of the Washington Monument. This again had to be deciphered with a magic square, Order Eight Franklin Square (although this is not technically a magic square). This term means "Praise God". The Mason's Pyramid is in fact, the Washington Monument. The bible is the Lost Word because the Masons thought that the bible contained instructions for humanity harnessing its God-like qualities.
For more on the novel visit the Wikipedia page.
For some more great riddles visit the Funny Riddles Section.