Since some years I have been engaged in a close reading of early Italian abbacus books and related material from the Ibero-Provençal orbit and in comparison of this material with Arabic mathematical writings. At the 7th North African Meeting on the History of Arab Mathematics in Marrakesh in 2002 I presented the first outcome of this investigation: namely that early Italian abbacus algebra was not influenced by the Latin algebraic writings of the 12th-13th centuries (neither by the translations of al-Khwa¯rizmı¯ nor by the works of Fibonacci); instead, it received indirect inspiration from a so far unknown link to the Arabic world, viz to a level of Arabic algebra (probably integrated with mu a¯mala¯t mathematics) of which very little is known. At the 8th Meeting in Tunis in 2004 mathematics) of which very little is known.
At the 8th Meeting in Tunis in 2004 I presented a list of linguistic clues which, if applied to Arabic material, might enable us to say more about the links between the Romance abbacus tradition and Arabic mu a¯mala¯t teaching.
Here I investigate a number of problem types and techniques which turn up in some but not necessarily in all of the following source types:
- Romance abbacus writings,
- Byzantine writings of abbacus type,
- Arabic mathematical writings of various kinds,
- Sanskrit mathematical writings,
in order to display the intricacies of the links between these - intricacies which force us to become aware of the shortcomings of our current knowledge, and hence formulate questions that go beyond the answers I shall be able to present.
|Number of pages||23|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|