Pythagoras, The Hecatomb and Roast Beef Dinners

An Absurd Theory On The Nature Of Masonic Banquets

W. Bro. Stephen Dafoe

Pythagoras is best known for the geometrical theorem that is named after him. The Pythagorean theorem or 47th problem of Euclid, as it is known to the Past Master, is inarguably of great importance to Geometry in a practical sense and to Freemasonry in a philosophical sense.

Ritual informs us that upon making the discovery Pythagoras shouted "Eureka" and many lodges carry that name today for this very reason. In actual fact Eureka is properly associated with Archimedes who is said to have exclaimed it upon discovering the formula for the displacement of liquids. In either case these mathematical discoveries were well worth celebrating. But there is another point of ritual, which contains a word not well known today. It is said that after discovering his theorem, Pythagoras sacrificed a hecatomb.

Hecatomb is a word, which at one time was commonly known to mean 100 head of cattle. There are many historians who argue that the ritualistic claim is inaccurate, and that Pythagoras made a substitution instead. Being a vegetarian, these historians claim, he would not have made such a sacrifice and being poor he would not have owned so great a sum as 100 head of cattle.

I am inclined to disagree with the historians and state categorically that the ritual must be correct. It is my firm belief that Pythagoras sacrificed such a quantity of cattle and probably even more. The theory is supported by the many installation banquets I've attended of late. I believe Pythagoras sacrificed these cows and we Freemasons have been forced to eat the meat ever since.

What other reason could there be for the proliferation of Roast Beef Dinners in our fraternity? My evidence is as follows:

2500 year old beef would be, by nature, very tough - Have you ever been to a roast beef dinner where the beef wasn't tough?

I have it on good authority that at least one Grand Lodge is considering adding a fourth question of applicants, "Do you like Roast Beef."

Presently there is one ritual committee greatly debating changing the name Hiram Abiff to Hiram A-Beef.

This evidence is conclusive and I respectfully submit that it is proof positive for Pythagoras and his Hecatomb. The question remains where is it all kept?

In recent years Rosslyn Chapel has been associated with both the Knights Templar and Freemasonry and many contemporary authors have put forth theories as to what is buried under the chapel. I believe that the true treasure is a massive stockpile of Beef and I will petition the Rosslyn Trust to permit excavations to prove the theory.

Additionally many Masons have, since the word was lost sought to find it. I believe that this too is in error and that the true secret of Freemasonry is not the quest for the lost word, but rather the lost recipe that would permit Pythagoras' beef to be cooked in a manner that is palatable.

In closing Brethren, I do not expect all of you to support my theories as the evidence is at best circumstantial, but would it kill us to serve one chicken dinner? Is Chinese food so far out of the question as to threaten the foundation stone of our craft? Must we forever endure the actions of one ancient brother, who may or may not have been a dues paying member?

By the end of January 2002, I will have attended 10 installation banquets and will welcome a good old cheese sandwich. For the love of the craft, will no one rid us of this meddlesome cow?