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Number or symbol zero was first known to appear in India, as late as year 876, about three hundred years before the birth of Fibonacci.  Yet the history goes back for more than twenty thousand years, from which time there are signs of people using markings to show amounts or numbers.  In Egypt people were presenting very large numbers with hieroglyphs for 5000 ago, using a numbering system based on—ten.

The next practical step was the Arabic number system, which used a place value,  introduced in Mesopotamia circa 2500 B.C.; interestingly enough, a corresponding place value number system was introduced by the Incas for more than 2000 years after that.  A proof that people will invent things independent of the cultures.  The difference in the place value was that in the hieroglyphic notation one used for example three special marks signifying the value of the position; in place value there was a single character for each value (1-10).

There are a number of Egyptian papyri, out of which the Ahmes Papyrus is th most famous, setting the basics for arithmetics with unit fractions.  Cipherization, introduced by the Egyptians some 4000 years ago, and also used in the Ahmes Papyrus, is base for the numbering system we use today.

Mesopotamians were the first to learn to handle squares of numbers, and also invented the Pythagorean theorem, about 1500 years before Pythagoras.  BTW, there is much more documentation from the Mesopotamian than from Egyptian time.  The Mesopotamians impressed their records on soft clay tablets then burned those in the sun or oven. Much easier to conserve than papyrus.  Anyway, the Mesopotamians were practically the first to get their hands dirty with mathematics; the basis for this was the ability to handle squares of numbers and even three term quadratic equations and gradually building mathematical algorithms with this knowledge.



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Pythagoras of Samos (6th century B.C.) is often described as the first pure mathematician.  ”All is number” is the phrease connected to him.  Pythagoras traveled to Egypt and Babylon, and possibly even to India.  In addition to mathematical and astronomical information he has been told to learn religious thougths. Returning to Greece (actually in Croton, which is now part of Italy) he established his school, which was also regarded as a secret society.  One feature of this was the Pythagoreans were vegetarians based on their belief of the reincarnation of the souls.  -  In the Middle Schoolw everyone of us has fighted through learning to prove the theorem of Pythagoras. Knowing the theorem helps in everyday life, but Pythagoras’  contribution to mathematics and geometry is really teaching the kids thinking both in abstracts and forms.

Google for ”History of Mathematics” to learn more.

Numbers, Arithmetics, Mathematics