Day 7: Mesopotamian mathematical environment

Summary

Education, numeracy and the role of the scribe in the ANE.  In your reading, you should think about such questions as:
    Who were the scribes?  What levels of society did they come from?
    What did they learn in 'school'?
    Where did they learn it?
    How did they learn it?
    What did they do once they graduated?
    How widespread was literacy/numeracy?
    What differences are there in different periods?
    What is the evidence?

Reading

S.N. Kramer, The Sumerians, Chapter 6.
J. Fauvel and J. Gray, The History of Mathematics: A Reader, 1E4 `The scribal art'.
A more up-to-date translation of the advice of the supervisor to the scribe (Edubba C).
S. Tinney, 'Texts, Tablets and Teaching,' Expedition 40,2 (1998).  

Additional Reading

H.J. Nissen, P. Damerow, R.K. Englund, Archaic Bookkeeping, Chapter 13.
J. Ritter, `Babylon -1800', in M. Serres (ed.) A History of Scientific Thought, 17-43.
Transcript of briefing by Col. Bogdanos September 10, 2003.
2001-2002 Annual Report on excavations at Hamoukar by McGuire Gibson.


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Up to Ancient and Classical Mathematics


Last modified: 12 September 2005
Duncan J. Melville

Comments to dmelville@stlawu.edu