Essay on Egyptian Mathematics

Essay on Egyptian Mathematics

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The Egyptians are one of the earliest known and most well documented people to inhabit the Earth. They were one of the first people to respond to practical needs within agriculture, business, and industry. Moreover, archaeological and historical artifacts suggest that the Egyptians were among the first to develop the study of mathematics. This paper will discuss the development of mathematics in ancient Egypt, focusing on the use of hieroglyphs, the decimal system, and hieratic writing and numerals to demonstrate that the Egyptians made notable contributions to modern day understandings of mathematics.

The foundations of mathematics are strongly rooted in the history and way of life of the Egyptian people, dating back to the fourth millennium B.C. in Egypt. Egyptian mathematics was elementary. It was generally arrived at by trial and error as a way to obtain desired results. As such, early Egyptian mathematics were primarily arithmetic, with an emphasis on measurement, surveying, and calculation in geometry. The development of arithmetic and geometry grew out of the need to develop land and agriculture and engage in business and trade. Over time, historians have discovered records of such transactions in the form of Egyptian carvings known as hieroglyphs.

Hieroglyphics were a traditional form of writing used by the Egyptian people. These carvings are one of the earliest examples contributing to current knowledge of ancient Egyptian mathematics. Inscriptions of early hieroglyphic numerals can be found on temples, stone monuments and vases. Such carvings typically include groups of inscriptions. Although hieroglyphs indicate the use of mathematics in early Egyptian civilization, they shed little light on any ...


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... written as neatly as the Rhind papyrus, and was written by an unidentified scribe. Furthermore, although the Moscow papyrus contains fewer problems than the Rhind papyrus (twenty-five as opposed to eighty-seven), the Moscow papyrus has been significant in aiding understanding of early Egyptian mathematics.

In conclusion, it is clear that while their ancient civilization perished long ago, the contributions that the Egyptians made to mathematics have lived on. The Egyptians were practical in their approach to mathematics, and developed arithmetic and geometry in response to transactions they carried out in business and agriculture on a daily basis. Therefore, as a civilization that created hieroglyphs, the decimal system, and hieratic writing and numerals, the contributions of the Egyptians to the study of mathematics cannot and should not be overlooked.

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