Pythagoras, a math genius? Not by Babylonian standards

Over 1,000 years before Pythagoras was calculating the length of a hypotenuse, sophisticated scribes in Mesopotamia were working with the same theory to calculate the area of their farmland.

Working on clay tablets, students would “write” out their math problems in cuneiform script, a method that involved making wedge-shaped impressions in the clay with a blunt reed.

These tablets bear evidence of practical as well as more advanced theoretical math and show just how sophisticated the ancient Babylonians were with numbers — more than a millennium before Pythagoras and Euclid were doing the same in ancient Greece.

“They are the most sophisticated mathematics from anywhere in the world at that time,” said Alexander Jones, a Professor of the History of the Exact Sciences in Antiquity at New York University.

He is co-curator of “Before Pythagoras: The Culture of Old Babylonian Mathematics,” an exhibition at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in New York.

“This is nearly 4,000 years ago and there’s no other ancient culture at that time that we know of that is doing anything like that level of work. It seems to be going beyond anything that daily life needs,” he said.

Many scribes were trained in the ancient city of Nippur in what is now southern Iraq, where a large number of tablets were discovered between the mid-19th century and the 1920s.

Typical problems they worked on involved calculating the area of a given field, or the width of a trench.

  • Share/Bookmark

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Radio Archives

Fundraising with GoGetFunding
Fundraising with GoGetFunding

Give Your Support

The Global Reality represents a tireless effort to search, gather, and present information that even some alternative media channels refuse to discuss, let alone the mainstream. This effort is provided with no advertisements, no selling of products or services that are irrelevant and useless. There is only one sponsor: YOU!

Support the information that's in your right to know, that "they" dare not want you to know.

Notice: We can now take manual credit card entries for DVD's or donations. Those who do not want to use Paypal can now send your credit card number, expiration date, 3 digit security code and zip code to globalrealityshow@gmail.com along with the amount of purchase and we can process your order into our Paypal account without you having to use Paypal at all.

One-Time Donation

Donation Subscription

Monthly Recurring Donations
Your Own Amount: $

Join Us on FedBook