Thousands of Cuneiform Tablets Document Babylonian Mathematics

1800 to 1600 BCE


In contrast to the scarcity of original sources for Egyptian mathematics, preserved on the relatively fragile medium of papyrus, our knowledge of Babylonian mathematics is derived from several thousand extremely durable clay tablets written in Cuneiform script excavated since the beginning of the nineteenth century.  "The majority of recovered clay tablets date from 1800 to 1600 BC, and cover topics which include fractions, algebra, quadratic and cubic equations, the Pythagorean theorem, the calculation of Pythagorean triples and possibly trigonometric functions."

Timeline Themes