A History of Mathematics

Paperback | January 2, 2012

byFlorian Cajori

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Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1919. Excerpt: ... THE MAYA The Maya of Central America and Southern Mexico developed hieroglyphic writing, as found in inscriptions and codices dating apparently from about the beginning of the Christian era, that ranks "probably as the foremost intellectual achievement of pre-Columbian times in the New World." Maya number systems and chronology are remarkable for the extent of their early development. Perhaps five or six centuries before the Hindus gave a systematic exposition of their decimal number system with its zero and principle of local value, the Maya in the flatlands of Central America had evolved systematically a vigesimal number system employing a zero and the principle of local value. In the Maya number system found in the codices the ratio of increase of successive units was not 10, as in the Hindu system; it was 20 in all positions except the third. That is, 20 units of the lowest order (kins, or days) make one unit of the next higher order (uinals, or 20 days), 18 uinals make one unit of the third order (tun, or 360 days), 20 tuns make one unit of the fourth order (katun, or 7200 days), 20 katuns make one unit of the fifth order (cycle, or 144,000 days) and finally, 20 cycles make 1 great cycle of 2,880,000 days. In Maya codices we find symbols for 1 to 19, expressed by bars and dots. Each bar stands for 5 units, each dot for 1 unit. For instance, 12 4 5 7 « 19 The zero is represented by a symbol that looks roughly like a halfclosed eye. In writing 20 the principle of local value enters. It is expressed by a dot placed over the symbol for zero. The numbers are written vertically, the lowest order being assigned the lowest position. Accordingly, 37 was expressed by the symbols for 17 (three bars and two dots) in the kin place, and one dot representing 20, placed above 17 in the ui...

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Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1919. Excerpt: ... THE MAYA The Maya of Central America and Southern Mexico developed hieroglyphic writing, as found in inscriptions and codices dating apparently from about...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9.69 × 7.44 × 0.51 inPublished:January 2, 2012Publisher:General Books LLCLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0217662056

ISBN - 13:9780217662055

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