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Summary of Egyptian Mathematics

In the few bullet items below we give a summary of known Egyptian mathematical achievements. Records of conquests of pharohs and other facts of Egyptian life are in abundance throughout Egypt, but of her mathematics only traces have been found. These fragments, from a civilization that lasted a millenium longer than the entire Christian era, that undertook constructions projects on a seen not seen again6 until this century, and that created abundance from a desert, allow only the following conclusions.

Yet, there must have been much more to Egyptian mathematics. We know that Thales, Pythagoras and others visited Egypt to study. If there were only applied arithmetic methods as we have seen in the papyri, the trip would have had little value. But where are the records of achievement? Very likely, the mathematics extant was absorbed into the body of Greek mathematics -- in an age where new and better works completely displaced the old, and in this case the old works written in hieroglypics. Additionally, the Alexandrian library, one place where ancient Egyptian mathematical works may have been preserved, was destroyed by about 400 CE.


next up previous
Next: About this document ... Up: $FILE Previous: The Moscow Papyrus
Don Allen 2001-04-21