Videnskabshistorisk Selskab

Professor Carlos H. B. Gonçalves

Professor Carlos H. B. Gonçalves,

School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities of the University of São Paulo, Brazil
Chercheur associé étranger, Laboratoire SPHERE (CNRS, Paris 7)
Résident à l'Institut d'études avancées de Paris (2016-2017)

Mathematical Tablets from Tell Harmal

The corpus of mathematical tablets from Ancient Mesopotamia includes around two thousand items, distributed along a vast geographical area and a three-thousand-year time-span. This talk will deal with one small subgroup of this corpus, namely twelve tablets that come from the site of Tell Harmal, on the outskirts of present day Baghdad, and date to the Old Babylonian period.

In the analysis of these tablets two aspects will be given attention, in order to exemplify the richness of the corpus. Firstly, I will deal with terms for square and cube roots, from which I will propose an interpretation of how Mesopotamian scribes conceptualised the corresponding operations. The second aspect I will treat is the consistency between the contents of these tablets and other locally available material, such as letters and laws. This will be taken as a suggestion that scribes who wrote mathematical tablets did so as part of a larger scribal community where disciplinary boundaries were either fuzzy or unknown.
tirsdag den 1. november, kl. 17


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