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Encyclopedia > Babylonian number system


edit (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:Numeral_systems&action=edit)
Numeral systems

Arabic
Armenian
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Babylonian
Chinese
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Etruscan
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Binary (2)
Octal (8)
Decimal (10)
Hexadecimal (16)


The Babylonians used a base-60 (or sexagesimal) positional numeral system borrowed from the Sumerians. Sexagesimals still survive to this day, in the form of degrees, minutes, and seconds in trigonometry and the measurement of time.


A common theory is that sixty was chosen due to its prime factorization 2*2*3*5 which makes it divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, and 30. Integers and fractions were represented identically - a radix point was not written but rather made clear by context.


The numerals were written in cuneiform, using a wedge-tipped reed stylus to make a mark on a soft clay tablet which would be exposed in the Sun to harden to create a permanent record.


Image:Babylonian_numerals.jpg


External link

  • Babylonian numerals (http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Babylonian_numerals.html)
  • Cuneiform numbers (http://it.stlawu.edu/%7Edmelvill/mesomath/Numbers.html)



 
 

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