Publius Enigma

Publius Enigma

The Publius Enigma is an obscure mystery or anomaly connected with Pink Floyd's 1994 album "The Division Bell". [cite news|url=|title=The Pop Life|last=Strauss|first=Neil|date=February 16, 1995|publisher=The New York Times|accessdate=2008-07-22] It is also considered to be one of the first Internet-based promotions for a major band, coming at a time before most artists or record labels had any kind of official Internet presence. It is still unresolved as of 2008.


The Publius Enigma is named after a messenger known only as Publius who posted the following to the Pink Floyd internet newsgroup, [news://] , on June 11th, 1994, soon after the launch of "The Division Bell" world tour:

:"My friends,:You have heard the message Pink Floyd has delivered, but have you listened?:Perhaps I can be your guide, but I will not solve the enigma for you." [ [ Hosted version of the post] ]

In a later post, Publius declares that

:"The Division Bell" is not like its predecessors. Although all great music is subject to multiple interpretations, in this case there is a central purpose and a designed solution. For the ingenious person (or group of persons) who recognizes this—and where this information points to—a unique prize has been secreted." [ [ Hosted version of the post] ]

Many of the newsgroup users were skeptical, so Publius agreed to provide proof of his authenticity. On 16 July 1994 he delivered a prediction:

:"Monday, July 18, East Rutherford, New Jersey. Approximately 10:30pm. Flashing white lights. There is an enigma." [ [ Hosted version of the post] ]

On the night in question at approximately 10:30 p.m., white lights in front of the stage at the Pink Floyd concert in East Rutherford spelled out the words ENIGMA and PUBLIUS. [ [ Video of the Giants Stadium event] .]

Confirmation of the enigma was given again nearing the end of the tour, this time to a much larger audience. On 20 October 1994, during a televised concert at Earls Court, London, the word ENIGMA was projected in large letters on to the backdrop of the stage. The word that appeared at this time was originally without embellishments, but on the "P*U*L*S*E" DVD of the concert, extra markings were added so that it could still be seen but was less obvious; the clue was overlaid with L = mc² at first and subsequently changed to E = mc². The projection is visible during the song "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)." The DVD's authoring company, Das Boot, uses an enigma machine as their logo, which can be seen at the end of the show.

The identity of Publius remains unknown, but the FAQ contains the following information:

"I've always wondered why in the lyrics to my favourite Division Bell song, 'Take It Back', there is a dash between the g and d in G-d.
Some people simply take offence at taking the Lord's name in vain. It was publishing's very subtle way of keeping people from complaining about the abuse of God's good name - and perhaps also to keep people focused on trying to figure out who Publius was instead!" [ [ David Gilmour FAQ] ]

tatements and interviews

In April 2005, during a book signing of his biographical work "", Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason stated that the Publius Enigma did exist, that it had been instigated by the record company rather than the band, and that the prize was to have been a "crop of trees planted in a clear cut area of forest or something to that effect." []

:"That was a ploy done by EMI. They had a man working for them who adored puzzles. ... He was working for EMI and suggested that a puzzle be created that could be followed on the Web. The prize was never given out. To this day it remains unsolved." []


Various bits of Floyd-related media have featured references to the Publius Enigma:
*In the artwork for the MiniDisc release of "A Momentary Lapse of Reason," the word "PUBLIUS" has been inserted into the photo of the man in the rye field. The word "ENIGMA" appears in the lower corner of the picture of the man standing on the edge of the cliff.
*The words "Publius Enigma" can be heard spoken just before the song "One of These Days" on the 2003 DVD release of .
*Storm Thorgerson's cover for John Harris' book "The Dark Side of the Moon", published by HarperCollins in 2005 prominently includes the word "ENIGMA" alongside an ellipsis.

Interestingly enough, page 13 of the "The Division Bell"'s CD booklet contains an anagram of the word "enigma," hidden in third column from the right of the top verse of the lyrics to "Wearing the Inside Out," perfectly aligned with the page number "jyusan." [] Anthony Moore, who wrote the lyrics to the song, has denied that the anagram was intentional on his part. []


There are several notable instances of either coincidence or synchronicity regarding the number 11 and the that can be related not only to Pink Floyd and "The Division Bell," but also to the enigma:

*The page numbers of "The Division Bell"'s CD booklet are written in various languages and printed on silhouettes of the head statues shown on the cover of the album. Page 11 shows two head silhouettes. Printed on either one is the German word for eleven, "elf," resulting in "elf elf," or, "eleven eleven."
*The trailer for the 2009 film " [ 11:11] " features the song "High Hopes." "High Hopes" is the 11th track on "The Division Bell." []
*Table Tennis, represented in both the music video and the single artwork for "High Hopes" is a game in which the first player to score 11 points wins. []
*The release date of David Gilmour's "On an Island", March 6, 2006 [] , is exactly eleven years and eleven months after the U.S. release date of "The Division Bell", April 5, 1994. []
*March 6th is David Gilmour's birthday.
*On June 11, 1994, Publius made his first enigma post to the Pink Floyd newsgroup. [] Eleven years later, on June 11, 2005, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright agreed to reunite as Pink Floyd for Live 8. During the broadcast (and as seen on the Live 8 DVD), the band took the stage just shortly after 11:00 p.m., and by 11:11, Pink Floyd were playing together as a four-man lineup for the first time in twenty four years. []


External links

* [ The Publius posts]
* [ A Guide to the Publius Enigma] An overview of the clues
* [ Publius Enigma] A comprehensive history and analysis
* [ Pink Floyd & Co] A brief history of the Publius Enigma
* [ The Division Bell Concept] Analysis of the enigma based on cybernetics
* [ Interviews with Marc Brickman and Steve O'Rourke]

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