Math 323: Fall 2005

Day 2: Third-Millennium Mathematics

Summary

The story of the third millennium is the gradual abstraction of number from the underlying objects and the simplification of the complex archaic metrological systems.  This is a long process.  Mathematics occurs in administrative contexts and in training for scribes.  Problems are set that relate to the types of issues scribes have to face, but there is also a scholasticizing tendency that shows up in unrealistic choices of variables. 

Reading

The Third Millennium Mathematics section of my website.

Additional reading

H.J. Nissen, P. Damerow, R.K. Englund, Archaic Bookkeeping, Chapter 16.

Handouts

Third millennium examples

Links

Fara tablets
    VAT 12455: ration text
    VAT 12537: ration text
    VAT 12593+12783: mathematical table

Homework

Analysis of third millennium texts, plus lots of reading
On to Day 3



Up to Ancient and Classical Mathematics


Last modified: 29 August 2005
Duncan J. Melville

Comments to dmelville@stlawu.edu