# A Remarkable Collection of Babylonian Mathematical TextsOld Babylonian Arithmetical Hand Tablets

A Remarkable Collection of Babylonian Mathematical Texts: Old Babylonian Arithmetical Hand Tablets The elementary multiplication, squaring, and division exercises in Secs. 1.1-1.3 are written with large cuneiform signs on square fist-sized “hand tablets”. They are clearly beginners’ exercises. 1.1. Old Babylonian Multiplication Exercises Four small tablets in the Schøyen Collection are inscribed with simple multiplication exercises. Three of the tablets in question are displayed in Fig. 1.1.1 below, the fourth in Fig. 1.1.3. The texts will be presented indi- vidually below. No previously published parallel texts are known! 1.1 a. MS 2728 and 2729. Two Linked Triples of Consecutive Multiplication Exercises On MS 2729, there are three computations: 1.  · 30 = 17 30 (1,050) 2. 40 · 3 = 23 20 (1,400) 3. 4 ·  = 30 (00) (1,800) In a modern context, these three computations would be understood as simple arithmetical multiplication exercises. In the context of Babylonian mathematics, on the other hand, it is more likely that they should be understood as geometric multiplication exercises, more precisely examples of computations of areas of rectan- gles. If the numbers to the left are interpreted as the ‘lengths’ (long sides) and ‘fronts’ (short sides) of three rectangles, then the numbers to the right are the corresponding ‘fields’ (areas). http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png

# A Remarkable Collection of Babylonian Mathematical TextsOld Babylonian Arithmetical Hand Tablets

31 pages      /lp/springer-journals/a-remarkable-collection-of-babylonian-mathematical-texts-old-KfkN9bJcKM
Publisher
Springer New York
ISBN
978-0-387-34543-7
Pages
13 –44
DOI
10.1007/978-0-387-48977-3_1
Publisher site
See Chapter on Publisher Site

### Abstract

The elementary multiplication, squaring, and division exercises in Secs. 1.1-1.3 are written with large cuneiform signs on square fist-sized “hand tablets”. They are clearly beginners’ exercises. 1.1. Old Babylonian Multiplication Exercises Four small tablets in the Schøyen Collection are inscribed with simple multiplication exercises. Three of the tablets in question are displayed in Fig. 1.1.1 below, the fourth in Fig. 1.1.3. The texts will be presented indi- vidually below. No previously published parallel texts are known! 1.1 a. MS 2728 and 2729. Two Linked Triples of Consecutive Multiplication Exercises On MS 2729, there are three computations: 1.  · 30 = 17 30 (1,050) 2. 40 · 3 = 23 20 (1,400) 3. 4 ·  = 30 (00) (1,800) In a modern context, these three computations would be understood as simple arithmetical multiplication exercises. In the context of Babylonian mathematics, on the other hand, it is more likely that they should be understood as geometric multiplication exercises, more precisely examples of computations of areas of rectan- gles. If the numbers to the left are interpreted as the ‘lengths’ (long sides) and ‘fronts’ (short sides) of three rectangles, then the numbers to the right are the corresponding ‘fields’ (areas).

Published: Jan 1, 2007

Keywords: Short Side; Multiplication Exercise; Algorithm Table; Regular Factor; Regular Number