Ancient Egyptian Math

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 84
  • Published : November 15, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
In the ancient times, Egypt was a very large, complex nation. The ancient Egyptians did many things, but did they use Math? There are several evidences that the Egyptians, indeed used mathematics. Most of our knowledge of Egyptian math comes from two mathematical papyri: The Rhind Papyrus, and the Moscow Papyrus. These documents contain many ancient Egyptian math problems.

We also know the Egyptians used math just by looking at their architecture! The Great Pyramid at Giza is an incredible feat of engineering. This gives us one clear indication that the society had reached a high level of achievement. Another indicator is that early hieroglyphic numerals can be found on temples, stone monuments and vases. Beginning with the basics, here is how the Egyptians used math: Number System:

The Egyptians had a base 10 system of hieroglyphs for numerals. This means that they had separate symbols for one unit, one ten, one hundred, one thousand, one ten thousand, one hundred thousand, and one million. For example, to make up the number 159, fifteen symbols are required:1 "hundred" symbol, 5 "ten" symbols, and 9 "unit" symbols. Over time the Egyptians came up with another form of numbers. These numbers were called “hieratic numerals”. These numerals were much more detailed, but more memorization was needed to remember all the symbols. The Hieratic Numerals included the numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70,80, 90, 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000, 9000 With this system, only a few symbols were needed to form large numbers. For example, the number 777 only uses 3 hieratic symbols, instead of 21 hieroglyphs. Adding and Subtracting:

Adding and subtracting was a very simple process. All you would do was take the two numbers you were adding together and put the same symbols into the same group. For example, say that P stands for 1, and M stands for 10. All you need to do is add the numbers...
tracking img