Throughout my upbringing, I encountered the following annotations on Gauss's diary in several so-called accounts of the history of mathematics:

"... A few of the entries indicate that the diary was a strictly private affair of its author's (sic). Thus for July 10, 1796, there is the entry

ΕΥΡΗΚΑ! num = Δ + Δ + Δ.

Translated , this echoes Archimedes' exultant "Eureka!" and states that every positive integer is the sum of three triangular numbers—such a number is one of the sequence 0, 1, 3, 6, 10, 15, ... where each (after 0) is of the form $\frac{1}{2}n(n+1)$, $n$ being a positive integer. Another way of saying the same thing is that every number of the form $8n+3$ is a sum of three odd squares... It is not easy to prove this from scratch.

Less intelligible is the cryptic entry for October 11, 1796, "Vicimus GEGAN." What dragon had Gauss conquered this time? Or what giant had he overcome on April 8, 1799, when he boxes REV. GALEN up in a neat rectangle? Although the meaning of these is lost forever the remaining 144 are for the most part clear enough." "

The preceding paragraphs have been quoted *verbatim* from J. Newman's The World of MATHEMATICS (Vol. I, pages 304-305) and the questions that I pose today were motivated from my recent spotting of [2]:

Why is there no mention whatsoever to the REV. GALEN inscription in either Klein's or Gray's work?

What is the reason that E. T. Bell expressed that Gauss had written the Vicimus GEGAN entry on October 11, 1796? According to Klein, Gray, and (even) the Wikipedians it was written on October 21, 1796. As far as I understand, Klein and Gray are just reporting the dates that appear on the original manuscript. Did Bell actually go over it?

Last but not least, is there a compendium out there of all known potential explanations to the Vicimus GEGAN enigma? The only ones whereof I have notice can be found on page 112 of [1]:

"... Following a suggestion of Schlesinger [Gauss, Werke, X.1, part 2, 29], Biermann ... proposed that GA stood for Geometricas, Arithmeticas, so reading GEGAN in reverse as Vicimus N[exum] A[rithmetico] G[eometrici cum] E[xspectationibus] G[eneralibus]. Schumann has since proposed other variants; including, for GA, (La) G(rangianae) A(nalysis)..."

Heartfelt thanks for your comments, reading suggestions, and replies.

**References**

- J. J. Gray. " A commentary on Gauss's mathematical diary, 1796-1814, with an English translation".
*Expo. Math.*2 (1984), 97-130. - F. Klein. "Gauß' wissenschaftliches Tagebuch 1796–1814".
*Math. Ann.*57 (1903), 1–34. - M. Perero. Historia e Historias de Matemáticas. Grupo Editorial Iberoamérica, 1994, pág. 40.