Babylonian Math Problem for you to work out yourself
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Babylonian Math Problem

Triangles math problem

This is a real math problem assigned to Babylonian kids (in modern Iraq) about 1900 BC.

Here's the problem:

Suppose you have two equilateral triangles, one inside the other. Can you figure out the area of the space between the two triangles? Here's a hint: see how you can divide the area into three trapezoids?

Triangle problem
A better drawing of the problem

You'll need to know how to find the area of a trapezoid. (Scroll down for a better drawing of the problem)

Learn by doing: an abacus
More about Babylonian math

Bibliography and further reading about West Asian science:

Science in Ancient Mesopotamia, by Carol Moss (1999). Easy reading. On the short side.

West Asian Mathematics
West Asian Numbers
More West Asian Scienceage
Ancient West Asia
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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