Book ID: CBB911068351

The Making of a Scribe: Errors, Mistakes and Rounding Numbers in the Old Babylonian Kingdom of Larsa (2020)


This book presents a novel methodology to study economic texts. The author investigates discrepancies in these writings by focusing on errors, mistakes, and rounding numbers. In particular, he looks at the acquisition, use, and development of practical mathematics in an ancient society: The Old Babylonian kingdom of Larsa (beginning of the second millennium BCE Southern Iraq). In so doing, coverage bridges a gap between the sciences and humanities. Through this work, the reader will gain insight into discrepancies encountered in economic texts in general and rounding numbers in particular. They will learn a new framework to explain error as a form of economic practice. Researchers and students will also become aware of the numerical and metrological basis for calculation in these writings and how the scribes themselves conceptualized value. This work fills a void in Assyriological studies. It provides a methodology to explore, understand, and exploit statistical data. The anlaysis also fills a void in the history of mathematics by presenting historians of mathematics a method to study practical texts. In addition, the author shows the importance mathematics has as a tool for ancient practitioners to cope with complex economic processes. This serves as a useful case study for modern policy makers into the importance of education in any economy.

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Authors & Contributors
Muroi, Kazuo
Høyrup, Jens
Robson, Eleanor
Proust, Christine
Yusta, Piedad
Melville, Duncan J.
Historia Scientiarum: International Journal of the History of Science Society of Japan
Sciamvs: Sources and Commentaries in Exact Sciences
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Revue d'Histoire des Mathématiques
British Society for the History of Mathematics Bulletin
Cambridge University Press
Cuneiform inscriptions
Tablets; papyri
Primary literature (historical sources)
Diophantos of Alexandria
Time Periods
Middle and Near East
Uruk (extinct city)
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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