Ancient Numeral System

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All ancient numeral systems are unique at the hand of their culture and time period. Some numeral systems have adapted from each other, or originated from another civilization but they all have something in common. Whether its their originality, or their base, or just a rule they use, they are all similar. In this paper I will research and summarize three different ancient numeral systems. The Babylonian, Roman and Mayan numeral systems. I will describe their origins, characteristics, symbols, and many more. Babylonians carved their numbers in soft clay with a “wedge-tipped reed” to create marks termed cuneiform script. This clay tablet then dries in the sun to produce a permanent record. This method of writing first appeared around…show more content…
This system was also called base 12, being it uses a base of 12. A dot symbolizes uncia “twelfth”, these dots were used for 1-5 while 6 was represented by S which means semis “half”. Therefore • is 1/12, while •••• or :: is 4/12. The fraction 6/12 is S and S••• or S:· is 9/12 (or ¾). The dots did not have to be liner, the Romans used :·: for 5. Special values such as zero is portrayed differently throughout different cultures and numeral systems. In the Roman numeral system, zero is not characterized by a specific Roman numeral. There is a latin word (nulla) which means none, this was used by medieval scholars. This was soon shortened to N for the first initial of nulla. However the Mayan zero consists of a shell like symbol (). The Mayan numeral system is based off a vigesimal numeral system, which is base-20. There are three symbols in the Mayan number system, zero (a shellike symbol), one (a dot) and 5 (a bar). Therefore 11 would be 1 dot over two horizontal bars, or 15 would be 3 bars. All numbers after nineteen would be written in powers of twenty, and when reached to the 400s it would be different as well. So the number 23 would consist of one dot on top of three dots following two bars. The number 429 would be written as one dot, on top of another single dot, atop of four dots following one

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