Article ID: CBB001211372

Archaic Numbers and Mathematical Knowledge in Rus' (2010)


Simonov, R. A. (Author)

VIET: Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki
Volume: 10, no. 4
Issue: 4
Pages: 3-25

Publication Date: 2010
Edition Details: [Translated title.] In Russian.
Language: Russian

Late in the 20th century, archeologists found two objects in Novgorod with numerical content: a counting tally from the second half of the 10th century and a fragment of birch bark from the first half of the 13th century (catalog #715) with an incantation that used numbers. A historical analysis of these numerical sources suggests their prototypes' much more archaic origins, possibly going back to the 7th-8th century's proto-Slavic tribes of Antes, who lived north of the Black Sea. The objects thus point to the possibility that the Antes or their descendants used the Greek numeral system with 27 letter numbers, which also appear in the so-called "accounting" texts on 9th- 10th century ceramics from he same area. This finding has important implications for the history of written culture in general, for it confirms the hypothesis of O. N. Trubachev on the possible existence of a Russian written culture predating and located to the south-east of Kievan Rus'.

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Authors & Contributors
Thomas Freudenhammer
Harry R. Lewis
Strickland, Lloyd
Wagner, William G.
Tommek, Heribert
Terwiel, B. J.
VIET: Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki
British Journal for the History of Mathematics
Sudhoffs Archiv: Zeitschrift fuer Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Russian History
科学史研究 Kagakusi Kenkyu (History of Science)
Indian Journal of History of Science
MIT Press
Indiana University Press
Franz Steiner Verlag
Ashgate, Variorum
Primary literature (historical sources)
Number systems
Travel; exploration
Śivayog ī, Nijaguṇa
Raykov, Boris E.
Wallis, John
Sylvester II, Pope
Markovnikov, Vladimir Vasilevich
Leonardo da Pisa
Time Periods
18th century
17th century
19th century
9th century
Moscow (Russia)

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