Ancient Egyptian mathematics was the poetry of logical ideas, the music of reason and one of the main key components that led to the creation of the ancient world’s most advanced civilizations.
They considered the study of mathematics much like the Nile river begins in minuteness but ends in magnificence. They used it to help them function as a society and solve real-world problems.
According to the great historian, Herodotus admitted the greek owned much to the Egyptians in the fields of arithmetic and astronomy and geometry famous greek scholars like Plato, Euclid, Eudoxus and Pythagoras, and Thales were learned in the Nile valley temples.
History & Facts About Ancient Egyptian Mathematics
It was developed from 3000 to 300 BC from the old kingdom to the Hellenistic era, everything started with the introduction of writing which gave rise to the scribes who used their holy gift to apply the basics of sophisticated mathematics in record keeping, tax accounting, record the lunar phases patterns to devise a calendar, measuring the land.
Some surviving papyrus like the Moscow papyrus of the 19th century and the Rhind Papyrus of the 17th BC were able to show the ancient Egyptians understanding of the numeral system which involved multiplication and fractions and the concepts of geometry such as determining the surface area, the volume of 3D shapes which was the cornerstone of architectural engineering and algebra.
The priests and priestesses were the ones who used mathematics and in charge of workers, surveyors, engineers, tax collectors, shop keepers, and masons while a much advance form of mathematics was used by the ones associated with the building-related jobs.
Ancient Egyptian Mathematics System
The evidence of the usages of mathematics can be tracked to the ivory labels at Abydos which were inscribed with numbers and used as tags for grave goods.
The Narmer macehead depicts an offering of 400,000 oxen, 1,422,000 goats, and 120,000 prisoners and in the old kingdom which prove the usage of a 10 number decimal system.
The ancient Egyptians used written numbers as they used a stroke for units, a heel-bone symbol for tens, a coil of rope for hundreds, a lotus plant for thousands which were additive but as for tens of thousands of even a million require hieroglyphics or as a million needed just one character while a million minus one required fifty-four character.
They had no concept of zero as it was discovered by the Indians and adopted by the Arab then reaching to the European civilization after 800 AD.
The ancient Egyptians were able to solve linear equations and quadratic equations which gave them the ability to estimate volumes of shapes and solids.
They used multiplication by a process of repeated doubling of the number to be multiplied and choosing which of the doubling to add together, the same principles used in modern-day computers algorisms.
With the rise of trade, many practical problems surrounding trade occurred which led to the development of notation for fractions.
Geometry in Ancient Egypt
The ancient Egyptians exiled in the field of Geometry as mentioned in the papyrus of Rhind and Moscow by the use of brute force.
They know how to compute areas of several volumes of cylinders, rectangular and pyramids and other geometric shapes like polygon, circles
Ancient Egyptian Mathematics Papyrus
The Rhind papyrus was written in 1650 BC and discovered in the 19th century and is filled with many mathematical problems and solutions. It showcases a section on fractions where the Egyptians preferred to reduce all fractions to unit fractions like 1/4, 1/3, and 1/9. They wrote 3/4 as 1/2+1/4 and 4/5 as 1/2+1/4+1/20.
The Moscow Papyrus that dates to 1850 BC contains a method on how to calculate the volume of a truncated pyramid and the surface area of half a sphere; it also shows that the Egyptians used the value of Pi at 3.16 which is very close to our modern number of 3.14. it shows their standard of measurement was the cubit around 52.3 cm, these techniques were used in constructing the pyramids and other monuments all over Egypt.
The Ancient Egyptians were truly gifted in the art of mathematics as it shows in the majestic constructions all over the is a great country in the enchanting cities of Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan, so get a better view of Egypt by boarding a Nile cruise to these incredible destinations.