THE MATHEMATICS OF ANCIENT EGYPT . BACK TO THE ANCIENTS MATHEMATICS ORIGINS ZERO ARITHMETIC* counting glyphs, addition & subtraction, multiplication & division, fractions ALGEBRA* simple algebra, simple equations, simultaneous equations, arithmetic series, geometric series GEOMETRY* still under construction: computing , the pythagorean theorem, formulae for area & volume PAPYRI EGYPT MATHEMATICS LINKS SOURCES

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WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF MATHEMATICS ?

The Egyptians had a calendar as early as 4800 BC, but in 4200 BC their mathematics and astronomy produced a 365 day calendar (12 months of 30 days + 5 feast days). By 3100 BC (the time of the Egyptian mace ) various agricultural communities along the banks of the Nile were united by a Nubian, Menes, who founded a dynasty of 32 Pharoahs and lasted 3000 years. For more than half that time, Egypt included parts of modern Israel and Syria as well as the Nile Valley. To rule effectively, an efficient and extensive administration was developed for taking taxes, census, and maintaining a large army. All of this required some mathematics. At first they used counting glyphs, but even by 2000 BC, the hieratic glyphs were in use. For information on sources, see Egyptian Mathematical Papyri.

Herodotus, the Greek (~500 BC), wrote: [Pharaoh Ramses II (~1300 BC)] divided the land into lots and gave a square piece of equal size, from the produce of which he exacted an annual tax. [If] any man's holding was damaged by the encroachment of the river ... [The Pharoah] ... would send inspectors [and surveyors] to measure the extent of the loss, in order that he pay in future a fair proportion of the tax at which his property had been assessed. Perhaps this was the way in which geometry was invented, and passed afterwards in to Greece.

Another judge of the Greek's high estimation of the Egyptians mathematics comes from a boast of Democritus (~410 BC), who wrote: No one surpasses me in the construction of lines with [the help of a ruler and compass], not even the so-called rope-stretchers  (surveyors) among the Egyptians.

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 Time Line of Ancient Egyptian Civilization Prehistoric Era Lower Paleolithic Age 250,000 - 90,000 BC Middle Paleolithic Age 90,000 - 30,000 BC Late Paleolithic Age 30,000 BC - 7000 BC Neolithic Age 7000 - 4800 BC Predynastic Period 4800 - 3050 BC Upper Egypt Badarian Culture 4800 - 4200 BC 365 day calandar by 4200 BC Amratian Culture 4200 - 3700 BC Gerzean A Culture 3700 - 3250 BC Gerzean B Culture 3250 - 3050 BC mace from 3100 BC exhibited numbers in the millions Lower Egypt Fayum A Culture 4800 - 4250 BC Merimde Culture 4500 - 3500 BC Archaic Period 3050 - 2705 BC Dynasties 1-2 Old Kingdom 2705 - 2213 BC Dynasties 3-8 First Intermediate Period 2213 - 1991 BC 2900 B.C. The great pyramid at Giza is constructed. Dynasties 9-11 Middle Kingdom 1991 - 1668 BC 1850 B.C. "Moscow" papyrus contains 25 mathematical problems. Dynasties 12-13 2nd Intermediate Period 1668 - 1570 BC 1650 B.C. Ahmes papyrus contains 85 mathematical problems. Dynasties 14-17 New Kingdom 1570 - 1070 BC Dynasties 18-20 Late Period 1070 - 656 BC Dynasties 21-24 Dynasty 25 (Kushite Domination) Assyrian Domination Saite Period 685 - 525 BC Dynasty 26 Persian Period 525 - 332 BC Dynasties 27-31 Greek and Roman Period 332 BC - 395 AD

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