The Number 10

Swift are celebrating 10 years of success this week:

10 years with the best native teachers

10 years guiding students towards their goals (more than 5000 students have passed their exams with Swift )

10 years as leaders in passing exams (85% of our students pass!)

10 years hand in hand with Cambridge (we are an award-winning center and we are a premium Cambridge learning partner)

10 Swift Years preparing for success in more than 10 official qualifications, A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC, BULATS, Selectividad, Oposiciones and more!

A perfect score!

The number 10 has had significant meaning and symbology throughout history, not just for Swift!
Here are just some of the examples of the power of ten:


The Ten Plagues of Egypt & Ten Commandments

Moses pleaded the Pharaoh to let his people leave their slavery in Egypt. When the ruler refused he warned of great plagues that would descend on his people.

The Nile turning to Blood, a plague of Frogs, a plague of lice or gnats, a plague of flies, pestilence of livestock, boils, hail and fire, locusts, three days of darkness and finally the death of the firstborn finally convinced the Pharaoh to release the Jews.

In the original versions of the Torah, it makes reference to the diseases of Egypt but no number. It eventually became known as three triads before the final affliction.

Moses escapes with his people and while on their long journey to their homeland God provides him with the Ten Commandments also known as the Decalogue, a series of Biblical principles handed to Moses that provide the foundation ethics of western society.

Yahweh coming to the aid of the Jews is similar to the help Zeus offers Odysseus after he sees his longing to return home.

It is widely understood that Egypt suffered a series of events around 1487 BC, the Odyssey of Odysseus was written around 800BC, perhaps the stories of Moses inspired Homer?

The Odyssey

Odysseus, the legendary hero in Greek mythology, began his journey back home after the Trojan war. This journey became one of the most famous stories in western literature, The Odyssey. This epic voyage included defeating the Cyclops, Circe the witch goddess, hearing the Siren song and many other adventures with the pantheon of the gods.

His epic voyage lasted ten years.

Give the Romans a hand!

In Roman numerals, the number ten is represented as X and the number 5 as V. It is theorised that the V represented an open palm with four fingers and thumb extended and the X was two hands. The observation that ten is a significant number in our understanding of the world is obvious. We do have, after all, ten digits on our hands to count with but a lesser-known fact is that the length of an adult hand is 1 tenth of your full height!


The Romans also gave us the miserable concept of decimation which was a brutal form of discipline in the Roman army. The procedure involved dividing a legion into groups of ten who drew straws. The soldier who drew the shortest straw was then executed by his nine comrades, often by stoning, clubbing or stabbing. This punishment was used when large units were guilty of capital offences, such as cowardice, mutiny, desertion or insubordination, and sometimes, to pacify a rebellious legion. The earliest cited use of this punishment was in 471 BC. The lottery meant that entire units could be punished without eliminating the fighting force.

Originally meaning one in ten, the modern-day usage reflects total destruction. The process was reduced to the lesser-known Centesimatio by Emperor Macrinus, resulting in the execution of every 100th man.

The most recent use of the practice is recorded in the Soviet 64th Rifle Division during the Battle of Stalingrad in the Second World War.

The French Revolutionary Calendar

Implemented from late 1793 to 1805 during the French Revolution this was part of the effort to reset the clock and make a clear distinction between the old and the new.

It was very much a decimal system with 100 seconds to every one of the 100 minutes in the hours on a ten hour clock in a ten day week. The months were divided into three ten day weeks and the tenth day was a day of rest. The weeks were called decades, which is probably an accurate reflection of how long they felt!

Those of you with quick mental arithmetic may have worked out that this does not account for a complete year, and no, it does not. Five extra days were allocated every year as national holidays at the end of the year, which corresponded to the 17th to 22nd of September, with an extra day on leap years. There is an online converter here to check what the Revolutionary Calendar time and date is right now or even check your birthday! Napoleon returned France to the Gregorian calendar on September 5th 1805, just in time for the defeat of his Navy at Trafalgar on 29 (Orge) Vendémiaire 14, or should I say Monday the 21st October 1805.

Sea Power to Seat of Power

In Britain, news of Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar was carried to the Prime Minister at his residence, Number 10 Downing Street. This address had served as the official address of the British Prime Minister since 1735.

The history of the site is a fascinating tour through events in British history itself. The first domestic property on the site was a large building leased to Sir Thomas Knyvet in 1581 by Elizabeth I. His major claim to fame was to be the man who arrested Guy Fawkes in 1605 preventing the Gunpowder plot! Follow the link to learn more through our podcast discussion, article and FCE exercises!

It was George Downing who gave his name to the current street, a diplomat who traded secrets to gain a royal pardon changing allegiances in the lead up to the Restoration of the crown in May 1660.

He employed the architect Christopher Wren (famous for St. Paul’s Cathedral) to design the houses. The numbering was a little haphazard and what is now Number Ten was originally Number 5!

The current houses we see today were built around 1685. The houses were cheaply built with poor foundations and poor brick work. Sir Winston Churchill once commented that Number 10 was:

“Shaky and lightly built by the profiteering contractor whose name they bear.”

You can enjoy a virtual tour of the famous, if shaky, building using the Google cultural institute here

Interestingly, the earliest building known to have stood on the site was the axe brewery owned by the Abbey of Abingdon in the Middle Ages. By the early 1500s, it had fallen into disuse.

Perfect Ambition

Zaragoza based brewery Ambar are no strangers to any Maño, but one of their Ambiciosas range has a significant relationship to the number 10. Ambar 10 is made with a combination of ten different hops emanating from Australia, The U.S, England, France, Poland, Germany, Slovenia, The Czech Republic and Spain. If this is not enough symbology for you, the alcohol content of this brew comes out at 10%. It should come as no surprise that this is our brew review of the week, find out what we thought of this mighty beer here

¡Reserva tu plaza para próximos cursos e intensivos!

Solicita rellenando el formulario: