# Greek Anthology Book XIV: 20. - Enigma

## Enigma

If you put one hundred in the middle of a burning fire, you will find the son and slayer of a virgin.

## Solution

Pyrrhus, son of Deidamia, and slayer of Polyxena.

The Greek letter $\rho$ (rho) is the symbol for $100$ in the classical number system of ancient Greece

The word for fire in ancient Greek was $\pi \upsilon \rho \acute \omicron \varsigma$ (that is, pyros).

Inserting $\rho$ into $\pi \upsilon \rho \acute \omicron \varsigma$ gives $\pi \upsilon \rho \rho \acute \omicron \varsigma$, which is a rendition of Pyrrhus.

$\blacksquare$

## Historical Note

Pyrrhus in this context is Neoptolemus, who took Andromache as a concubine after the death of her husband Hector in the Trojan War.

He it was who murdered Polyxena, according to some legends (or sacrificed, which is tantamount to the same thing).

Deidamia of Scyros was indeed his mother.