×

**Greek mathematics** refers to mathematics texts written during and ideas stemming from the Archaic through the Hellenistic and Roman periods, mostly extant from the 7th century BC to the 4th century AD, around the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean. Greek mathematicians lived in cities spread over the entire Eastern Mediterranean from Italy to North Africa but were united by Greek culture and the Greek language. The word "mathematics" itself derives from the Ancient Greek: μάθημα, romanized: *máthēma* Attic Greek: [má.tʰɛː.ma] Koine Greek: [ˈma.θi.ma], meaning "subject of instruction".^{[1]} The study of mathematics for its own sake and the use of generalized mathematical theories and proofs is an important difference between Greek mathematics and those of preceding civilizations.^{[2]}^{[3]}^{[4]}

The origin of Greek mathematics is not well documented.^{[5]}^{[6]} The earliest advanced civilizations in Greece and in Europe were the Minoan and later Mycenaean civilizations, both of which flourished during the 2nd millennium BC. While these civilizations possessed writing and were capable of advanced engineering, including four-story palaces with drainage and beehive tombs, they left behind no mathematical documents.

Though no direct evidence is available, it is generally thought that the neighboring Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations had an influence on the younger Greek tradition.^{[7]}^{[8]}^{[5]} Unlike the flourishing of Greek literature in the span of 800 to 600 BC, not much is known about Greek mathematics in this early period—nearly all of the information was passed down through later authors, beginning in the mid-4th century BC.^{[9]}^{[10]}

Greek mathematics allegedly began with Thales of Miletus (c. 624–548 BC). Very little is known about his life and works, although it is generally agreed that he was one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. According to Proclus, he traveled to Babylon from where he learned mathematics and other subjects, and came up with the proof of what is now called Thales' Theorem.^{[11]}^{[12]}

An equally enigmatic figure is Pythagoras of Samos (c. 580–500 BC), who supposedly visited Egypt and Babylon,^{[10]}^{[13]} and ultimately settled in Croton, Magna Graecia, where he started a kind of cult. Pythagoreans believed that "all is number" and were keen in looking for mathematical relations between numbers and things.^{[14]} Pythagoras himself was given credit for many later discoveries, including the construction of the five regular solids. However, Aristotle refused to attribute anything specifically to Pythagoras and only discussed the work of the Pythagoreans as a group.^{[15]}^{[16]}

It has been customary to credit almost half of the material in Euclid's *Elements* to the Pythagoreans, as well as the discovery of irrationals, attributed to Hippassus (c. 530-450 BC), and the earliest attempt to square the circle, in the work of Hippocrates of Chios (c. 470-410 BC).^{[17]} The greatest mathematician associated with the group, however, may have been Archytas (c. 410-350 BC), who solved the problem of doubling the cube, identified the harmonic mean, and possibly contributed to optics and mechanics.^{[17]}^{[18]} Other mathematicians active in this period, without being associated with any school, include Theodorus (fl. 450 BC), Theaetetus (c. 417-369 BC), and Eudoxus (c. 408-355 BC).

Greek mathematics also draw the attention of philosophers during the Classical period. Plato (c. 428-348 BC), the founder of the Platonic Academy, mentions mathematics in several of his dialogues. While not considered a mathematician, Plato seems to have been influenced by Pythagorean ideas about number and believed that the elements of matter could be broken down into geometric solids.^{[19]} He also believed that geometrical proportions bound the cosmos together rather than physical or mechanical forces.^{[20]}Aristotle (c. 384-322 BC), the founder of the Peripatetic school, often used mathematics to illustrate many of his theories, as when he used geometry in his theory of the rainbow and the theory of proportions in his analysis of motion.^{[20]} Much of the knowledge known about ancient Greek mathematics in this period is thanks to records referenced by Aristotle in his own works.^{[10]}^{[21]}

The Hellenistic era began in the 4th century BC with Alexander the Great's conquest of the eastern Mediterranean, Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Iranian plateau, Central Asia, and parts of India, leading to the spread of the Greek language and culture across these areas. Greek became the language of scholarship throughout the Hellenistic world, and the mathematics of the Classical period merged with Egyptian and Babylonian mathematics to give rise to a Hellenistic mathematics.^{[23]}^{[24]}

Greek mathematics and astronomy reached its acme during the Hellenistic and early Roman periods, and much of the work represented by scholars such as Euclid (fl. 300 BC), Archimedes (c. 287-212 BC), Apollonius (c. 240-190 BC), Hipparchus (c. 190-120 BC), and Ptolemy (c. 100-170 AD) was of a very advanced level.^{[25]} There is also evidence of combining mathematical knowledge with high levels of technical expertise, as found for instance in the works of Hero (c. 10-70 AD) or in the construction of simple analogue computers like the Antikythera mechanism.^{[26]}^{[27]}

Several Hellenistic centers of learning appeared during this period, of which the most important one was the Musaeum in Alexandria, Egypt, which attracted scholars from across the Hellenistic world (mostly Greek, but also Egyptian, Jewish, Persian, Phoenician, and even Indian scholars).^{[28]}^{[29]} Although few in number, Hellenistic mathematicians actively communicated with each other; publication consisted of passing and copying someone's work among colleagues.^{[30]}

Later mathematicians include Diophantus (c. 214-298 AD), who wrote on polygonal numbers and a work in pre-modern algebra (*Arithmetica*),^{[31]}^{[32]}Pappus of Alexandria (c. 290-350 AD), who compiled many important results in the *Collection*,^{[33]} and Theon of Alexandria (c. 335-405 AD) and his daughter Hypatia (c. 370-415 AD), who edited Ptolemy's *Almagest* and other works.^{[34]}^{[35]} Although none of these mathematicians, save Diophantus, had notable original works, they are distinguished for their commentaries and expositions. These commentaries have preserved valuable extracts from works which have perished, or historical allusions which, in the absence of original documents, are precious because of their rarity.^{[36]}^{[37]}

Most of the mathematical texts written in Greek survived through the copying of manuscripts over the centuries, though some fragments dating from antiquity have been found in Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and Sicily.^{[25]}

Greek mathematics constitutes an important period in the history of mathematics: fundamental in respect of geometry and for the idea of formal proof.^{[38]} Greek mathematicians also contributed to number theory, mathematical astronomy, combinatorics, mathematical physics, and, at times, approached ideas close to the integral calculus.

Eudoxus of Cnidus developed a theory of proportion that bears resemblance to the modern theory of real numbers using the Dedekind cut, developed by Richard Dedekind, who acknowledged Eudoxus as inspiration.^{[39]}^{[40]}^{[41]}^{[42]}

Euclid collected many previous results and theorems in the *Elements*, a canon of geometry and elementary number theory for many centuries.^{[43]}^{[44]}^{[45]}

Archimedes was able to use the concept of the infinitely small in a way that anticipated modern ideas of the integral calculus.^{[46]}^{[47]} Using a technique dependent on a form of proof by contradiction, he could reach answers to problems with an arbitrary degree of accuracy, while specifying the limits within which the answers lay. This technique is known as the method of exhaustion, and he employed in several of his works, such as to approximate the value of π (*Measurement of the Circle*).^{[48]} In *The Quadrature of the Parabola*, Archimedes proved that the area enclosed by a parabola and a straight line is 4/3 times the area of a triangle with equal base and height. One of his two proofs shows the solution to the problem as an infinite geometric series, whose sum was 4/3.^{[49]} In *The Sand Reckoner*, Archimedes set out to name the number of grains of sand that the universe could contain. In doing so, he challenged the notion that the number of grains of sand was too large to be counted, devising his own counting scheme based on the myriad, which denoted 10,000.^{[50]}

The most characteristic product of Greek mathematics may be the theory of conic sections, which was largely developed in the Hellenistic period, primarily by Apollonius.^{[51]}^{[52]}^{[53]} The methods used made no explicit use of algebra, nor trigonometry, the latter appearing around the time of Hipparchus.^{[54]}^{[55]}

Although the earliest Greek language texts on mathematics that have been found were written after the Hellenistic period, many of these are considered to be copies of works written during and before the Hellenistic period.^{[56]} The two major sources are

- Byzantine codices, written some 500 to 1500 years after their originals, and
- Syriac or Arabic translations of Greek works and Latin translations of the Arabic versions.

Nevertheless, despite the lack of original manuscripts, the dates of Greek mathematics are more certain than the dates of surviving Babylonian or Egyptian sources because a large number of overlapping chronologies exist. Even so, many dates are uncertain; but the doubt is a matter of decades rather than centuries.

Reviel Netz has counted 144 ancient exact scientific authors, of these only 29 are extant in Greek: Aristarchus, Autolycus, Philo of Byzantium, Biton, Apollonius, Archimedes, Euclid, Theodosius, Hypsicles, Athenaeus, Geminus, Hero, Apollodorus, Theon of Smyrna, Cleomedes, Nicomachus, Ptolemy, Gaudentius, Anatolius, Aristides Quintilian, Porphyry, Diophantus, Alypius, Damianus, Pappus, Serenus, Theon of Alexandria, Anthemius, Eutocius.^{[57]}

Some works are extant only in Arabic translations:^{[58]}^{[59]}

- Apollonius,
*Conics*books V to VII - Apollonius,
*De Rationis Sectione* - Archimedes,
*Book of Lemmas* - Archimedes,
*Construction of the Regular Heptagon* - Diocles,
*On Burning Mirrors* - Diophantus,
*Arithmetica*books IV to VII - Euclid,
*On Divisions of Figures* - Euclid,
*On Weights* - Hero,
*Catoptrica* - Hero,
*Mechanica* - Menelaus,
*Sphaerica* - Pappus,
*Commentary on Euclid's Elements book X* - Ptolemy,
*Optics* - Ptolemy,
*Planisphaerium*

- Greek numerals
- Chronology of ancient Greek mathematicians
- History of mathematics
- Timeline of ancient Greek mathematicians

**^**Heath (1931). "A Manual of Greek Mathematics".*Nature*.**128**(3235): 5. Bibcode:1931Natur.128..739T. doi:10.1038/128739a0. S2CID 3994109.**^**Knorr, W. (2000).*Mathematics*. Greek Thought: A Guide to Classical Knowledge: Harvard University Press. pp. 386–413.**^**Boyer, C.B. (1991), A History of Mathematics (2nd ed.), New York: Wiley, ISBN 0-471-09763-2. p. 48**^**Schiefsky, Mark (2012-07-20), "The Creation of Second-Order Knowledge in Ancient Greek Science as a Process in the Globalization of Knowledge",*The Globalization of Knowledge in History*, MPRL – Studies, Berlin: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften, ISBN 978-3-945561-23-2, retrieved 2021-03-27- ^
^{a}^{b}Hodgkin, Luke (2005). "Greeks and origins".*A History of Mathematics: From Mesopotamia to Modernity*. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-852937-8. **^**Knorr, W. (1981).*On the early history of axiomatics: The interaction of mathematics and philosophy in Greek Antiquity*. Theory Change, Ancient Axiomatics, and Galileo's Methodology, Vol. 1: D. Reidel Publishing Co. pp. 145–186.CS1 maint: location (link)**^**Kahn, C. H. (1991).*Some remarks on the origins of Greek science and philosophy*. Science and Philosophy in Classical Greece: Garland Publishing Inc. pp. 1–10.**^**"Sub-scientific mathematics: undercurrents and missing links in the mathematical technology of the Hellenistic and Roman world | Filosofi og videnskabsteori p? Roskilde Universitetscenter, 3. r?kke: Preprints og reprints". Cite journal requires`|journal=`

(help)**^**Zhmud, Leonid (2008-08-22).*The Origin of the History of Science in Classical Antiquity*. Peripatoi. De Gruyter. pp. 23–44. doi:10.1515/9783110194326. ISBN 978-3-11-019432-6.- ^
^{a}^{b}^{c}Boyer & Merzbach (2011) pp. 40–89. **^**Panchenko, D. V. (Dmitrii Vadimovich) (1993). "Thales and the Origin of Theoretical Reasoning".*Configurations*.**1**(3): 387–414. doi:10.1353/con.1993.0024. ISSN 1080-6520.**^**Boyer, Carl (1968).*A History of Mathematics*. pp. 42–43. ISBN 0471543977.**^**Heath (2003) pp. 36–111**^**Boyer, Carl (1968).*A History of Science*. p. 45. ISBN 0471543977.**^**Cornelli, Gabriele (2016-05-20). "A review of Aristotle's claim regarding Pythagoreans fundamental Beliefs: All is number?".*Filosofia Unisinos / Unisinos Journal of Philosophy*.**17**(1): 50–57. doi:10.4013/fsu.2016.171.06. ISSN 1984-8234.**^**Hans-Joachim Waschkies, "Introduction" to "Part 1: The Beginning of Greek Mathematics" in*Classics in the History of Greek Mathematics*, pp. 11–12- ^
^{a}^{b}Netz, Reviel (2014), Huffman, Carl A. (ed.), "The problem of Pythagorean mathematics",*A History of Pythagoreanism*, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 167–184, ISBN 978-1-107-01439-8, retrieved 2021-05-26 **^**Burnyeat, M. F. (2005). "Archytas and Optics".*Science in Context*.**18**(1): 35–53. doi:10.1017/S0269889705000347. ISSN 1474-0664. S2CID 146652622.**^**Cherniss, Harold (1951). "Plato as Mathematician".*The Review of Metaphysics*.**4**(3): 395–425. ISSN 0034-6632. JSTOR 20123223.- ^
^{a}^{b}Lindberg, David (2008).*The Beginnings of Western Science*. The University of Chicago Press. pp. 82–110. ISBN 9780226482057. **^**Mendell, Henry (26 March 2004). "Aristotle and Mathematics".*Stanford Encyclopedia*. Retrieved 22 April 2021.**^**(Boyer 1991, "Euclid of Alexandria" p. 119)**^**Green, P. (1990).*Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age*(1 ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-08349-3. JSTOR 10.1525/j.ctt130jt89.**^**Russo, L. (2004), "Hellenistic Mathematics",*The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why It Had to Be Reborn*, Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 31–55, doi:10.1007/978-3-642-18904-3_3, ISBN 978-3-642-18904-3- ^
^{a}^{b}Jones, A. (1994). "Greek mathematics to AD 300".*Companion Encyclopedia of the History and Philosophy of the Mathematical Sciences: Volume One*. pp. 46–57. Retrieved 2021-05-26. **^**Karin Tybjerg (2004-12-01). "Hero of Alexandria's Mechanical Geometry".*Apeiron*.**37**(4): 29–56. doi:10.1515/APEIRON.2004.37.4.29. ISSN 2156-7093. S2CID 170916259.**^**Edmunds, M. G. (2014-10-02). "The Antikythera mechanism and the mechanical universe".*Contemporary Physics*.**55**(4): 263–285. doi:10.1080/00107514.2014.927280. S2CID 122403901.**^**Luce, J. V. (1988). "Greek Science in its Hellenistic Phase".*Hermathena*(145): 23–38. ISSN 0018-0750. JSTOR 23040930.**^**Berrey, M. (2017).*Hellenistic Science at Court*. De Gruyter. doi:10.1515/9783110541939. ISBN 978-3-11-054193-9.**^**Acerbi, F. (2018). Keyser, Paul T; Scarborough, John (eds.). "Hellenistic Mathematics".*Oxford Handbook of Science and Medicine in the Classical World*. pp. 268–292. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199734146.013.69. ISBN 978-0-19-973414-6. Retrieved 2021-05-26.**^**Acerbi, F. (2011). "Completing Diophantus, De polygonis numeris, prop. 5".*Historia Mathematica*.**38**(4): 548–560. doi:10.1016/j.hm.2011.05.002. ISSN 0315-0860.**^**Christianidis, J.; Oaks, J. (2013). "Practicing algebra in late antiquity: The problem-solving of Diophantus of Alexandria".*Historia Mathematica*.**40**(2): 127–163. doi:10.1016/j.hm.2012.09.001. ISSN 0315-0860.**^**Rideout, Bronwyn (2008). "Pappus Reborn : Pappus of Alexandria and the Changing Face of Analysis and Synthesis in Late Antiquity". doi:10.26021/3834. Cite journal requires`|journal=`

(help)**^**Lambrou, M. (2003). "Theon of Alexandria and Hypatia".*History of the Ancient World*. Retrieved 2021-05-26.**^**Cameron, A. (1990). "Isidore of Miletus and Hypatia: On the Editing of Mathematical Texts".*Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies*.**31**(1): 103–127. ISSN 2159-3159.**^**Mansfeld, J. (2016).*Prolegomena Mathematica: From Apollonius of Perga to the Late Neoplatonism. With an Appendix on Pappus and the History of Platonism*. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-32105-2.**^**Heath, Thomas (1921).*A History of Greek Mathematics*. Humphrey Milford.**^**Grant, H.; Kleiner, I. (2015), "Axiomatics—Euclid's and Hilbert's: From Material to Formal",*Turning Points in the History of Mathematics*, Springer, pp. 1–8, doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-3264-1_1, ISBN 978-1-4939-3264-1**^**Stein, Howard (1990-08-01). "Eudoxos and Dedekind: On the ancient Greek theory of ratios and its relation to modern mathematics".*Synthese*.**84**(2): 163–211. doi:10.1007/BF00485377 (inactive 2021-05-10). ISSN 1573-0964.CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of May 2021 (link)**^**Wigderson, Y. (April 2019).*Eudoxus, the most important mathematician you've never heard of.*https://web.stanford.edu/~yuvalwig/math/teaching/Eudoxus.pdf**^**Filep, L. (2003). "Proportion theory in Greek mathematics".*Acta Mathematica Academiae Paedagogicae Nyí regyháziensis*.**19**: 167–174.**^**J J O'Connor and E F Robertson (April 1999). "Eudoxus of Cnidus".*The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive*. University of St. Andrews. Retrieved 18 April 2011.**^**Artmann, Benno (1999).*Euclid—The Creation of Mathematics*. New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 978-0-387-98423-0.**^**MUELLER, IAN (1969-12-01). "Euclid's Elements and the Axiomatic Method".*The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science*.**20**(4): 289–309. doi:10.1093/bjps/20.4.289. ISSN 0007-0882.**^**Pierce, D. (2015).*The Foundations of Arithmetic in Euclid.*[1]**^**Knorr, W. (1996).*The method of indivisibles in Ancient Geometry*. Vita Mathematica: MAA Press. pp. 67–86.**^**Powers, J. (2020). Did Archimedes do calculus?*History of Mathematics Special Interest Group of the MAA*[2]**^**Knorr, Wilbur R. (1976). "Archimedes and the Measurement of the Circle: A New Interpretation".*Archive for History of Exact Sciences*.**15**(2): 115–140. doi:10.1007/BF00348496. ISSN 0003-9519. JSTOR 41133444. S2CID 120954547.**^**Swain, Gordon; Dence, Thomas (1998). "Archimedes' Quadrature of the Parabola Revisited".*Mathematics Magazine*.**71**(2): 123–130. doi:10.2307/2691014. ISSN 0025-570X. JSTOR 2691014.**^**Reviel Netz (2003-12-01). "The Goal of Archimedes' Sand Reckoner".*Apeiron*.**36**(4): 251–290. doi:10.1515/APEIRON.2003.36.4.251. ISSN 2156-7093. S2CID 147307969.**^**Court, N. A. (1961). "The problem of Apollonius".*The Mathematics Teacher*.**54**(6): 444–452. doi:10.5951/MT.54.6.0444. ISSN 0025-5769. JSTOR 27956431.**^**Knorr, Wilbur Richard (1981). "The Hyperbola-Construction in the Conics, Book II: Ancient Variations on a Theorem of Apollonius".*Centaurus*.**25**(3): 253–291. Bibcode:1981Cent...25..253K. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0498.1981.tb00647.x. ISSN 1600-0498.**^**Baltus, Christopher (2020), Baltus, Christopher (ed.), "Conics in Greek Geometry: Apollonius, Harmonic Division, and Later Greek Geometry",*Collineations and Conic Sections: An Introduction to Projective Geometry in its History*, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 45–57, doi:10.1007/978-3-030-46287-1_4, ISBN 978-3-030-46287-1, retrieved 2021-03-27**^**Toomer, G. J. (1974). "The Chord Table of Hipparchus and the Early History of Greek Trigonometry".*Centaurus*.**18**(1): 6–28. Bibcode:1974Cent...18....6T. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0498.1974.tb00205.x. ISSN 1600-0498.**^**Duke, D. (2011). "The very early history of trigonometry" (PDF).*DIO: The International Journal of Scientific History*.**17**: 34–42.**^**J J O'Connor and E F Robertson (October 1999). "How do we know about Greek mathematics?".*The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive*. University of St. Andrews. Retrieved 18 April 2011.**^**Netz, R. The Bibliosphere of Ancient Science (Outside of Alexandria). N.T.M. 19, 239 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00048-011-0057-2**^**Lorch, R. (2001). Greek-Arabic-Latin: The Transmission of Mathematical Texts in the Middle Ages. Science in Context, 14(1-2), 313-331. doi:10.1017/S0269889701000114**^**Toomer, G.J. Lost greek mathematical works in arabic translation. The Mathematical Intelligencer 6, 32–38 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03024153

- Boyer, Carl B. (1985),
*A History of Mathematics*, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-02391-5 - Boyer, Carl B.; Merzbach, Uta C. (2011),
*A History of Mathematics*(3rd ed.), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., ISBN 978-0-471-54397-8 - Jean Christianidis, ed. (2004),
*Classics in the History of Greek Mathematics*, Kluwer Academic Publishers, ISBN 978-1-4020-0081-2 - Cooke, Roger (1997),
*The History of Mathematics: A Brief Course*, Wiley-Interscience, ISBN 978-0-471-18082-1 - Derbyshire, John (2006),
*Unknown Quantity: A Real And Imaginary History of Algebra*, Joseph Henry Press, ISBN 978-0-309-09657-7 - Stillwell, John (2004),
*Mathematics and its History*(2nd ed.), Springer Science + Business Media Inc., ISBN 978-0-387-95336-6 - Burton, David M. (1997),
*The History of Mathematics: An Introduction*(3rd ed.), The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., ISBN 978-0-07-009465-9 - Heath, Thomas Little (1981) [First published 1921],
*A History of Greek Mathematics*, Dover publications, ISBN 978-0-486-24073-2 - Heath, Thomas Little (2003) [First published 1931],
*A Manual of Greek Mathematics*, Dover publications, ISBN 978-0-486-43231-1 - Szabo, Arpad (1978) [First published 1978],
*The Beginnings of Greek Mathematics*, Reidel & Akademiai Kiado, ISBN 978-963-05-1416-3

**By:** Wikipedia.org

**Edited:** 2021-06-18 17:49:52

**Source:** Wikipedia.org