Mesopotamian Mathematics 2100-1600 BC: Technical Constants in Bureaucracy and Education

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byEleanor Robson

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Mathematics was integral to Mesopotamian scribal culture: indeed, writing was invented towards the end of the fourth millennium BC for the express purpose of recording numerical information. By the beginning of the second millennium the earliest known body of 'pure' mathematics was one of thekey elements of scribal training, and is thus pivotal to our understanding of the educational practices and intellectual history of ancient Mesopotamia. The main body of this book is a mathematical and philological discussion of the two hundred technical constants, or `coefficients', found in early second millennium mathematics. Their names and mathematical functions are established, leading to improved interpretations of several large mathematicaltopics. The origins of many coefficients - and much of the more practical mathematics - are traced to late third millennium accounting and quantity surveying practices. Finally, the coefficients are used to examine some aspects of mathematics education in early Mesopotamia.

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Mathematics was integral to Mesopotamian scribal culture: indeed, writing was invented towards the end of the fourth millennium BC for the express purpose of recording numerical information. By the beginning of the second millennium the earliest known body of 'pure' mathematics was one of thekey elements of scribal training, and is th...

Eleanor Robson is at Wolfson College, Oxford.

other books by Eleanor Robson

The Oxford Handbook of the History of Mathematics
The Oxford Handbook of the History of Mathematics

Kobo ebook|Dec 18 2008

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Format:PaperbackPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198152469

ISBN - 13:9780198152460

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`The book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of Old Babylonian mathematics and its role in real life.'K.B.Gundlach, Mathematical Reviews, Issue 2001