# From where figures undertook?

During the millennia people used fingers of hands for designation of number. So, one subject they as well as we, pointed a finger one, three - three.

By means of a hand it was possible to show up to five units. For expression of bigger quantity both hands, and in certain cases and both legs were used.

Now we constantly use numbers. We use them to measure time, to buy and sell, call by telephone, to watch TV, to drive the car. Besides each person has various numbers identifying personally him. For example, in the bank account, in a credit card etc. of

Moreover, in the computer world all information, and this text including, is transferred in the identity card by means of numerical codes.

We meet numbers continually and so got used to them that almost we do not realize how important role they play in our life. Numbers make part of human thinking. Throughout history each people wrote numbers, considered and calculated with their help.

The first written figures about which we have authentic certificates appeared in Egypt and Mesopotamia is about five thousand years ago old. Though these two cultures were very much far apart, their numerical systems are very similar as though they represent one method - use of notches on a tree or a stone for record of last days.

The Egyptian priests wrote on the papyrus, and in Mesopotamia on soft clay. Of course, concrete forms of their figures are various, but also in that, and in other culture used simple hyphens for units and other tags for tens and higher orders. Besides, in both systems wrote desirable figure, repeating hyphens and tags the necessary number of times.

Two Egyptian documents created about four thousand years ago with the most ancient mathematical records from found still were found. It should be noted that it is records of mathematical character, but not just numerical.

In these documents knowledge of ancient Egyptians in the field of arithmetics and geometry is stated. In these documents the multiplication table, measures of the area and volumes, and also numerous tasks and their decisions is reproduced.

In Mesopotamia the sign / meant unit and could repeat to nine times for display of numbers from one to nine.

A sign

Egyptians wrote with hieroglyphs, figures too. Egyptians had signs for designation of numbers from 1 to 10 and special hieroglyphs for designation of tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions and even tens of millions.

The following stage in the history of number was carried out by ancient Romans. They invented the system of calculation based on use of letters for display of numbers. They applied the letters " in the system; I “ “ V “ “ L “ “ With “ “ D “ and “ M “.

Each letter had various value, each figure corresponded to number of provision of a letter. To read ** the Roman figure ** or to write it, it is necessary to conform to several basic rules.

** 1. ** Letters are written from left to right, since the greatest value. For example, “ XV “ - 15, “ DLV “ - 555, “ MCLI “ - 1151.** 2. ** Letters “ I “ “ X “ “ With “ and “ M “ can repeat to three a time in a row. For example, “ II “ - 2, “ XXX “ - 30, “ CC “ - 200, “ MMCCXXX “ - 1230.** 3. ** Letters “ V “ “ L “ and “ D “ cannot repeat.** 4. ** Figures 4, 9, 40, 90 and 900 should be written, combining the letters “ IV “ - 4, “ IX “ - 9, “ XL “ - 40, “ XC “ - 90, “ CD “ - 400, “ CM “ - 900. For example, 48 it “ XLVIII “ 449 - “ CDXLIX “. Value of the left letter reduces value of right.** 5. ** the Horizontal line over a letter increases its value by 1000 times.

In Central America in the first millennium of our era of the Maya wrote any number, using only three signs: point, line and ellipse.

The point mattered unit, the line meant five, the combination of points and lines served for writing of numbers from unit to nineteen. The ellipse under any of these signs increased its value by twenty times.

** Aztecs ** managed a small amount of signs too. Only four:

a point or a circle for designation of unit;

letter “ h “ for twenty;

a feather for figure 400;

the bag filled with grain for 8 000.

From - for uses of small quantity of signs for writing of figure it was necessary to repeat many times the same sign, forming a long line of symbols.

Accounts in which results of the inventory and calculations of the taxes received by Aztecs from the conquered cities were specified occur in documents of Aztec officials. In these documents it is possible to see the long lines of signs similar to the real hieroglyphs.

In China sticks from an ivory or a bamboo they designated figures from one to nine. Figures from one to five were designated by quantity of sticks, depending on number. So, two sticks corresponded to number two. And to specify figures from six to nine, one horizontal stick were located in the top part of figure. For example, 6 reminded the letter “ T “.

Figures, or symbols of our numbers, have the Arab origin. In turn, they were borrowed by the Arab culture in India. The interval between the eighth and thirteenth centuries became one of the brilliant periods in the history of science in the Muslim world. Muslims had close ties both with Asian, and with European cultures. They could take from them all the most outstanding. In India they borrowed system of calculation and some mathematical methods.

Modern figures not absolutely precisely reproduce Indian as Arabs altered them, adapting for the letter. But, proceeding from their influence and the authority of their culture, modern numerical symbols are called the Arab figures.