Numbers History

15 de enero de 2012 | Por | Categoría: Café de sastre

Por Carlos Usón.
This is a little history of Indian and Arabic numbers in La Rioja at the eleventh century near of 1000 year.

At that moment, the occidental world was divided in two parts. In the more oriental part, the aristocratic people had a big cultural level, a sophisticated model of life and wonderful palaces. It was the Muslim world. In the other side, the culture had almost disappeared, only confined to the monasteries. The only place where it was possible to find some science or religious literature. It is the Christian side of the world. A place where the people were poor and the noblesse lived in austere living conditions.

La Rioja lived little time in the Muslim world. La Rioja was early Christian and, in the eleven century, the culture was confined in the monasteries and the riojans people didn’t know the Indian and Arabic numbers, the current numbers. But there was a place in La Rioja that knew this numbers, the only place in the Christian world. But, they didn’t know all of then. Only: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. The zero and all the mathematics operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, were unknown. They used the roman numerals to write and the abacus to do the calculations. This place was the monastery of Albelda.

The priest Vigila wrote a very big book about the principal events of moment and in this book the Arabic numbers appear for the first time. It’s the oldest reference in the occidental Christian world. The first reference to the zero is still unknown.

A few years before the year 1000 Gerbert D’Aurillac visited “Spain” to know this numbers and some years later he was appointed Pope with the Sylvester II name. He carried the numbers to “Europe”, but this is another thrilling history. However it is necessary to count that the first time that the Indian and Arabic numbers crossing the Pyrenees from Spain to Jewish communities it was at the hands of a Jewish mathematician born in the valley of the Ebro: Abraham ben Ezra. Specifically he was born in Tudela and he possibly died in Calahorra. Again, this is another thrilling history about the importance of the valley of the river Ebro in the medieval history.

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One Comment to “Numbers History”

  1. marisa dice:

    My name is Marisa, and I study 2º basic That’s English. I like this history. I think is very interesting. Congratulations.

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