East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Egyptian Mathematics


220px-Open_University_coat_of_armsI am taking a short course on Egyptian Mathematics.
No, really.
It’s part of the Mathematics curriculum at The Open University, and it is available for free as an ebook through Amazon.
Indeed, you should check out The Open University on Amazon – there’s hundreds of course ebooks for free, covering all sorts of subjects, from sciences to law to humanities, to business. Absolutely great.

Of course (ah!) the main reason I’m reading this book on Egyptian Mathematics is as a form of research for my stories – there might be some ideas I can recycle in AMARNA, and both the Aculeo & Amunet stories and the tales of the Contubernium might use some of the stuff in here. For the same reasons, I have also the companion course on Babylonian Mathematics here on my reader.

This is also going to reinforce my very informal armchair archaeology curriculum – that so far includes

January 2015 – Stonehenge (University of Buckingham)
Oct-Dec 2015 – Ancient Egypt, a history in six objects (Manchester U.)
February 2016 – Shipwrecks and Submerged Worlds (U. Of Southampton)
February 2016 – Antiquities trafficking and art crime (U. Of Glasgow)
October 2017 – Archaeology (U. Of Reading)
December 2017 – Art and Life in Ancient Egypt (Open University)

… Plus thirty years of reading books about the subject.

A quick perusal of my MOOCs and online courses since 2013 shows four main subjects

  • Archaeology
  • Oceanography
  • Literature & Writing
  • Mathematics

The last item is a surprise – after all I was a disaster where maths was concerned all through my school career, and indeed passing the single first-year Maths exam in university was sort of a miracle.
Paradoxically, ten years later I started teaching myself applied statistics and ended up teaching it in university and doing environmental data crunching as a researcher. My high school maths teacher would be aghast.
And I actually like the subject, and as long as it is grounded in reality, I really have fun playing with it. I guess my problem in school was that the maths they taught us was too abstract and “just because”.Rhind-Papyrus-problem-79-on-papyrus

Anyway, I’m currently reading on the Rhind Papyrus, that takes its name from the guy that bought it while on vacation in Egypt in 1858 – and it turned out to be one of the two main documents on Egyptian maths.
Rhind bought his souvenir in Luxor.
That is the place in which the last episode of AMARNA will take place.
I will have to do something with this.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “Egyptian Mathematics

  1. Geez, the commitment to your art is stunning. If I had to take maths to keep writing I’d have to say sorry, bye bye writing 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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