### Education, Secondary education and schools

# What were the Babylonian figures?

Mathematics, as a science, owes its appearance to the Ancient East. There are no exact dates for its origin, but it is reliably known that practically every single eastern state had its own system of calculation and calculation methods. In this article, we will discuss a phenomenon such as the Babylonian numbers, consider archeological artifacts that confirm their existence, and evaluate their impact on the further development of science.

## Introduction

The Babylonian kingdom began its existence in the second millennium, but fell in 539 BC. During this period, this eastern region made a serious step forward in many spheres of life, focusing on architecture and astronomy. But in order for the buildings to be stable and durable, so that observations of the heavenly bodies could be recorded and analyzed, mathematics was required. Therefore, at the dawn of the birth of a new civilization, new Babylonian numbers appeared in Mesopotamia.

Since the state was built on the wreckage of the once existing Sumer and Akkad, also very powerful powers, the inventions and scientific achievements of the predecessors helped the Babylonians become a developed and progressive race.

## The number system of the Babylonian kingdom

At first glance at the Babylonian numbers, an association with the Romans immediately arises, since the principle of their recording is almost identical, and at the same time much simpler. The system uses only two characters: a straight blade denoting units, and a recumbent blade, which is estimated at ten.

To record numbers from 1 to 9, only the first character is used, and for any subsequent indicators, one or another combination of two wedges is used. It is important to note that the number system was sexagesimal and was divided into the corresponding categories, and this is no coincidence. The sixth division of Babylon is due to the Sumerians, and the presence of a dozen to the Akkadians. Later the Babylonian numbers were duplicated by Arabic, Roman and Greek and became the basis of time. Since then, we divide the hour by 60 minutes, and every minute by 60 seconds.

## Difficulties in Babylonian mathematics

As we see on the table, the numerical series in Ancient Babylon ended at 59, since the system was sexagesimal. But after all, such a developed civilization could not be limited to just such a volume of figures? Quite right. The Babylonian numeration of numbers assumed huge indicators, which today we call three-, four- and five-digit.

As an example, take the segment from 60 to 120. For the number 60, the same blade was used as for the unit, only the larger one. After him left a large blank and then recorded the rest of the number. This over time began to create confusion, which sometimes could not understand even the ancient users themselves. One can only guess how the brains were broken by experts who deciphered such artifacts. In addition, the Babylonians did not have a zero, and this would greatly simplify the recording of complex numbers.

## From confusion to order

To learn the Babylonian numbers in a number of other systems of calculus, it is enough to memorize two signs. To properly read them and determine the value, you need to familiarize yourself with the principle of positional. For us, there is nothing complicated in this, since in the modern world there is a single positional system. Its essence lies in the fact that the place of a particular figure affects the significance of the number. Agree, if we change places 1 and 7 in the number 17, then the result becomes quite different. But for the ancient peoples this was not so obvious, since previously the position of the figure in the number did not matter. The Babylonians were the first in the history of mankind to understand that there is no need to create many signs, writing them chaotically. It will be enough two, the value of which will depend on the position.

## Babylonian "notebooks"

In the states between the Tigris and the Euphrates, not only rulers but also ordinary people were very educated, but for complete harmony they lacked one element - paper. In Egypt, instead, used a papyrus, which painted ancient hieroglyphics and icons, and the Babylonian recording of numbers and letter-pictures was conducted on clay tablets.

This technique is called cuneiform writing, and its essence lies in the fact that while the clay is soft, with the sharpened wooden blade, the necessary symbols appear on it, which subsequently freeze. Tablets were of different size, thickness and quality. Depending on these indicators, they were recorded laws and decrees, scientific works, or the stories of ordinary people, their observations and cases from life.

## History and Science

Nowadays, there is a clear division of professions into technical ones, involving knowledge of mathematics, physics and other exact sciences, and humanities, where the main role is played by languages, literature, history and philosophy. When ancient civilizations existed and developed, all these branches not only closely intertwined with each other, but also formed a single whole that allowed people to acquire new knowledge. We have already touched on such a subject as the history of mathematics, and I would like to reveal a couple of more points.

Precisely because the Eastern Ancient World had the honor of being the cradle of the world civilization, he had to calculate literally everything. Early enough, there was an economy that was built on elements such as a numerical series and operations with figures. Counts of grain and cereals were counted, the fields were measured, the masses and parameters of the buildings were calculated. Astronomy was also actively developing. To further advance the work in this area, the first formulas were developed, according to which distances to visible stars and planets were calculated. Some of them scientists still use in an unchanged format.

Today we say that mathematics is the basis of physics, chemistry and astronomy, but in fact it originated on the foundation of data already existing sciences, as it was a necessity.

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