The Moscow mathematical papyrus

The Moscow mathematical papyrus is not only  one of the oldest Egyptian papyrus but also one of the oldest archaeological evidence known to the world that talks about the mathematical sciences such as algebra, geometry and trigonometry, and its length is 5.5 meters and its width is 8 cm. 

 The oldest Egyptian papyrus

The seniority of this Moscow papyrus is due to the fact that it is accurately dated to a specific period of time  contrary to some evidence that is dated by several centuries as an approximate time difference that is  inaccurate and not specific.

This papyrus contains 25 mathematical exercise, including an exercise to calculate the size of missing pyramids.

 It is a common  exercise today in many forms in mathematical geometry that was borrowed from ancient Egyptian mathematical science.

This papyrus dates back to 1850-1800 BC, but the origins of geometry go back to more than 7 centuries before that era. 

Scholars in the papyrus

The oldest known engineer in the Pharaonic Egypt is Imhotep, who was a minister of king Djoser, one of the kings of the third dynasty in the old state and he who entrusted with the construction of the first stone building in history the pyramids of saqqara.

Many early historians in the countries of Greece and Rome, such as Isocrates, Clement of Alexandria, and Yamblychus, mention that the famous mathematician Pythagoras set out from the town of Samos to Egypt after being advised by Thales, the astronomer and mathematician in Greece, to learn and study in it.

Pythagoras in Egypt underwent circumcision to be accepted for study by Egyptian priests in the schools (temples) of Memphis, Thebes, Heliopolis, Hermopolis.

Plato and Plutarch also mentioned that Pythagoras was greatly influenced by Egyptian religious sciences, and their philosophy of life and death, which he later transferred to his country.

Historians mentioned that Pythagoras had been learning in Egypt for about 22 years, and studied philosophy, astronomy and mathematics at the hands of the priests of Egypt, before the Persians invaded the Egyptian lands, and they captured most of the Egyptian priests and with them Pythagoras to Babylon, where they mixed with Magi (priests) of the city  who were followed to the Persian  for the period of Approximately 12 years ago, before Pythagoras was freed from his captivity, and returned to his country to establish his own school regularly quoted from the Egyptian temples in which he had studied.

The Greek writer Antiphon of Rhamnus, from the fifth century BC, also mentions that Pythagoras was the only foreigner who was allowed to learn the Egyptian language and Egyptian sciences at the hands of the priests of Egypt at that time. He learned their culture and sciences, but the priests of Egypt did not allow anyone to learn the Egyptian language and writing, except for those who were subject to circumcision and believed in the beliefs and culture of the ancient Egyptians, because they believed that their language and writings were sacred, and only for them.

The sources differed from the nature of the Pythagorean families, whether the Persians transferred him to Persia, Babylon, or India, the statements are conflicting in this regard. 

There are also "Akhmim wooden boards", which date back to about 2000-1950 BC, which contain several arithmetic operations, and are currently preserved in the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir.

Other papyri

 We cannot ignore a papyrus - almost ignorant of it - which is the Kahun Papyrus (1878-1814 BC), the papyrus is known to people as a medical papyrus for gynecological diseases only, but in fact, the papyrus is divided into 3 sections, a section for gynecology, and a section for veterinary medicine, and a section for arithmetic exercises, in addition to the Rend Papyrus, or the Ahmose Papyrus, dated to the year 1550 BC, from the 33rd year of the reign of Abebe, the Hyksos king, and from the 11th year of the reign of King Ahmose, the ruler of Thebes, according to the belief of most scholars, this papyrus was found in Thebes , in Upper Egypt, which was the Egyptian capital during the reign of King Ahmose.
an image of a papyrus

As for the Moscow Papyrus from the nineteenth century BC, it is kept under code number: E4676, in the Pushkin Museum of Art, Moscow, Russia.
Mosco papyrus





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