Friday, June 23, 2023

Geometry in ancient history

Geometry, one of the most important branches of mathematics, has its roots in countries such as Egypt, Babylon, China, Greece, and Vedic India. Around 2100 BC, the concept of area is first recognized in Babylonian clay tablets, and 3-dimensional volume is discussed in an Egyptian papyrus. This begins the study of geometry.

In Egypt, ancient Egyptians developed geometry from the ‘Age of Pyramids’. The evidence of usage of geometry is seen on the walls of temples and written on papyrus. The Moscow Mathematical Papyrus is a well-known mathematical papyrus containing various problems in arithmetic, geometry, and algebra.

The Babylonians of 2,000 to 1,600 BC knew much about navigation and astronomy, which required knowledge of geometry. Ancient Babylonians used studies of triangles techniques 1500 years before Greeks. The ancient Babylonians were using geometrical calculations to track the biggest objects in space.

The Babylonians were also responsible for dividing the circumference of a circle into 360 equal parts. They also used the Pythagorean Theorem (long before Pythagoras), performed calculations involving ratio and proportion, and studied the relationships between the elements of various triangles.

Beginning about the 6th century BC, the Greeks gathered and extended this practical knowledge and from it generalized the abstract subject now known as geometry, which is derived from Ancient Greek words – ‘Geo’ means ‘Earth’ and ‘metron’ means ‘measurement’.

Herodotus in 5th BC credits the Egyptians with inventing surveying in order to reestablish property values after the annual flood of the Nile. Similarly, eagerness to know the volumes of solid figures derived from the need to evaluate tribute, store oil and grain, and build dams and pyramids.

Alexandria became one of the important centers of Greek learning and this is where Euclid who is often referred to as the “Father of Geometry”, wrote perhaps the most important and successful mathematical textbook of all time, the “Stoicheion” or “Elements”.
Geometry in ancient history

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