### Abstract

Similarities of geometrical diagrams and arithmetical structures of problems have

often been taken as evidence of transmission of mathematical knowledge or

techniques between China and “the West”. Confronting on one hand some

problems from Chapter VIII of the Nine Chapters with comparable problems

known from Ancient Greek sources, on the other a Seleucid collection of problems

about rectangles with a subset of the triangle problems from Chapter IX, it is

concluded,

(1) that transmission of some arithmetical riddles without method – not “from

Greece” but from a transnational community of traders – is almost certain,

and that these inspired the Chinese creation of the fangcheng method, for

which Chapter VIII is a coherent presentation;

(2) that transmission of the geometrical problems is to the contrary unlikely,

with one possible exception, and that the coherent presentation in Chapter

IX is based on local geometrical practice.

often been taken as evidence of transmission of mathematical knowledge or

techniques between China and “the West”. Confronting on one hand some

problems from Chapter VIII of the Nine Chapters with comparable problems

known from Ancient Greek sources, on the other a Seleucid collection of problems

about rectangles with a subset of the triangle problems from Chapter IX, it is

concluded,

(1) that transmission of some arithmetical riddles without method – not “from

Greece” but from a transnational community of traders – is almost certain,

and that these inspired the Chinese creation of the fangcheng method, for

which Chapter VIII is a coherent presentation;

(2) that transmission of the geometrical problems is to the contrary unlikely,

with one possible exception, and that the coherent presentation in Chapter

IX is based on local geometrical practice.

Original language | English |
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Publisher | Roskilde University |

Number of pages | 16 |

Publication status | Published - 17 Mar 2016 |