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West Asian numbers – Ancient Mesopotamia

By |2018-04-15T00:37:53+00:00September 16th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

Neolithic counting tokens The earliest way of writing down numbers was to carve notches in tally sticks, and this method spread from Africa all over Europe and Asia. But by about 9000 BC, people in West Asia began to use a different method of counting. Instead of tally sticks, people made clay tokens in different shapes. The shapes meant different [...]

West Asian mathematics – history of math

By |2018-05-10T10:12:08+00:00September 16th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

History of math: Sumerian multiplication table (2700 BC) Cuneiform multiplication table Once people in West Asia figured out how to write down numbers, about 3500 BC, they quickly began to want to use cuneiform to write down other mathematical ideas. (Read more about the invention of numbers) The earliest example of this that we have is from about 2700 BC. It [...]

West Asian science – Mesopotamia and Iran

By |2018-04-07T17:05:01+00:00September 15th, 2017|Science, West Asia|

The constellation Orion From the Stone Age through the Islamic empires, great scientific discoveries have streamed out of West Asia. West Asia is one of the places where farming got started, and maybe the sailboat. The Sumerians developed the world's earliest system of writing, including the first way to write down numbers. They invented the wheel, using it as a pottery [...]

What is cuneiform? Mesopotamia – West Asian writing

By |2018-04-07T17:04:54+00:00September 15th, 2017|Literature, West Asia|

Cuneiform writing (now in LACMA, Los Angeles) Early Sumerian writing West Asia is probably the first place in the world where people figured out how to write. (Though Egyptian people began writing very soon afterwards.) People seem to have begun to write in Mesopotamia about 3000 BC, during the time of the Sumerians. The Sumerians, and everybody else in [...]

West Asia in the Stone Age

By |2018-09-04T08:07:08+00:00September 14th, 2017|History, West Asia|

Stone Age West Asia: A building at Gobekli Tepe (ca. 9000 BC) Stone Age West Asia By around 10,000 BC, people in West Asia were beginning to settle down in one place instead of traveling around, even though they were still hunting and gathering and fishing. What is gathering?  Probably this was because the end of the Ice Age was [...]

Roman numeral answers – Roman math

By |2017-09-04T21:37:29+00:00September 4th, 2017|Math, Romans|

Roman tax collector calculating someone's taxes on an abacus (Metz, ca. 225 AD) Did you figure it out? Poor Claudia died when she was 25 years old, seven months, and fourteen days. It's very likely that she died giving birth to a baby, though it could have been dysentery or cancer or another [...]

Roman numerals – Ancient Roman numbers

By |2017-09-04T18:16:56+00:00September 4th, 2017|Math, Romans, Science|

Claudia Pieris' tombstone (CIL VI.15543) She lived 117-138 AD. Now in Copenhagen, at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. The Romans used several different systems for writing numbers. Sometimes they wrote numbers like this: I II III IV V and other times they used the Greek numbers. Roman people didn't always write numbers the same way, [...]

What is zero? Zero and place value

By |2017-07-29T17:35:52+00:00July 29th, 2017|Math|

A math problem showing place value How can you add big numbers without an abacus? You still group the sheep (or whatever) just as you did when you were using the abacus, but now you write the numbers down using place values, so that your hundreds are all underneath your other hundreds, your tens are underneath [...]