(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Legacy Of Egypt"

174                                   Science
principles.  The examples employ, for the most part, simple
numbers and must be regarded as illustrations of method, model
solutions, easy to learn by heart and apply to other similar
problems. The methods employed were evolved by experiment
in special cases and tested by experience to be of general
application.
Three technical problems mentioned in a papyrus (V. 1200
B.C.) illustrate the sort of practical problems encountered. One
scribe rallies another on his inability to deal with problems con-
nected with the building and erection of monuments such as a
'royal scribe in command of the soldiers' might be called upon
to solve:
1.  The number of bricks required to construct a ramp of
given dimensions.
2.  The number of men required for the transport of an
obelisk of which the dimensions are given.
5. The number of men needed to effect the removal of sand
from a magazine in a given time.
By the Fourth Dynasty (c. 2700 B.C.)—the age of the Pyra-
mids—Egyptian mathematics had probably completed its de-
velopment and had reached the stage in which we find it in the
papyri of the Twelfth Dynasty (c. 2000 B.C.), from which period
we derive the material available for study. Thereafter, it simply
stagnated, for the reason that the Egyptians did not study the
subject for its own interest, but because they wanted simple
working rules to enable them to deal with their practical prob-
lems. They were not particularly interested in theory or philo-
sophy, and so long as a method met their immediate need, they
were content, and that method continued in use without thought
that it might be improved or simplified.
It has been the custom of many writers to emphasize what
the Egyptians did not achieve rather than what they accom-
plished. This method of presentation of the facts is economical
in words but is*apt to disguise what was actually effected. The