Babylonians And The Contributions To Math

The history of ancient Babylonia is really long, but this essay is a short and to the point summery of the entire history. The history of Babylonia started near the end of the year 2000 BC, when invaders were attacking the Sumer kingdom. Sumer was a powerful kingdom in the western part of Asia, and it some what occupied what would become Babylonia. After the kingdom of Sumer was destroyed the city-states of Larsa and Isin came into settle on the land once occupied by Sumer. This led to fighting between Larsa and Isin. After hundreds of years of fighting Larsa defeated Isin.

But, just as Larsa beat Isin, Hammurabi came to power in the city of Babylonia. Hammurabi went on to defeat Larsa and start a vast kingdom in the place where the Sumer kingdom used to be. Hammurabi was a very powerful military and political leader. Also he set up a code of law stating an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, this law is called the Hammurabi code and is still used today. Hammurabis dynasty was also called the First Dynasty of Babylonia. This dynasty ruled for about 200 years until 1530 BC. Under the control of this dynasty, Babylonia entered a period of prosperity and peace.

The Babylonians developed an abstract form of writing based on wedge-shaped symbols. Their symbols were written on wet clay tablets that were baked in the hot sun. Many of thousands of these tablets have survived to this day. They had to use straight lines because curved line could not be drawn in the wet clay. They used these tablets to aid in the calculations of problems. They studied math with the help of these tablets. They studied in mathematics because having a peaceful nation they had no need to specialize in military and warfare, so they learned math and discovered new forms of math.

A tribe known as the Kassites began to attack Babylonia when Hammurabis son ruled the empire. Over the centuries, the Kassites weakened Babylonia. Finally, around 1530 BC a Kassite dynasty was set up in Babylonia. After about 150 years, the Babylonians and the Kassites lived in peace until the Assyrians attacked Babylonia. They weakened Babylonia so much that the Kassite dynasty fell from power and the Assyrians took control. Because of an influx of many nomadic tribes, Babylonia fell into anarchy for about 200 years. During the 800s BC, the Chaldeans rebuilt Babylonia to what it once was.

The new king, Nebchadnezzar, added a lot of territory to Babylonias already vast empire. The king also rebuilt the capital, Babylon. But, Babylonia did not hold together after the kings death. Nabonidus, the new king, could not seem to keep the Babylonian empire together. Shortly after the end of Naboniduss reign, the Persians moved into conquer. Babylonia was defeated and would never rise again. Essay #2: Culture Ancient Babylonian culture is represented mostly through their art. Their art is mostly consists of tablets and pottery with detailed carvings and images of people and their actions.

This form of art reflected their every day lifestyles and culture. First there is the representation of the people, men and women. The art of the men make it seem like that they are better than woman. Maybe symbolizing their gender aspects of their time, where women are considered lesser. Many women wanted to fulfill the desires of men. From the list of other art forms, there is the clay plaque of the goddess Lillith. She looks like she is chained to a wall, perhaps in a sacrificial offering. Her arms appear to be raised as a spiritually symbolic element.

A variety of animals surround her, which could also be a sacrifice. She is standing on two lambs, which the in the Bible means purity, so she could either be a good pure goddess, or one being offered to become one. Two owls are on each side, maybe offering her protection against harm. Since she is a goddess she seems to have wings that could most likely have powers as well. Another thing that strongly represented Babylonian culture is their writing. In the Epic of Gilamesh, the role of women is defined clearly and is expressed in the story.

A female goddess created Gilamesh, who became very powerful and strong. He had his way with women and used them as objects. Women in this story had no status in the political or social world. In the some of the laws of Hammurabi, the laws showed that men had ownership of their wives. Like the one that says, If a man take a women to wife, but has no intercourse with him, she is no wife. This means that if a wife does not offer herself to her husband than she is not considered his wife. And if a wife does wrong to her husband she must jump into a river for her husband.

This act almost always ended in death because she drowned. The culture of ancient Babylonia revolved mostly around their art and written lore. But, women had no say in politics, cultural, or anything else. Men were considered superior. Essay #3: Mathematics The Babylonians had an advanced number system, in some ways more advanced than our present system. The Babylonians divided the day into 24 hours and each hour into 60 minutes and each minute into 60 seconds. This form of time keeping has survived for more than 4000 years. Two tablets found at Senkerah on the Euphrates River in 1854 date from 2000 BC.

They give squares of the number up to 59 and cubes of the numbers up to 32. One major disadvantage of the Babylonian system is their lack of a zero (this meant that the numbers did not have a unique representation, but it required the context to make clear whether the number 1 meant 1, 61, 3601, etc. ). Because the Babylonians did not have our knowledge of multiplication, to make it easier on themselves they use this formula: ((a+b)-a-b) 2 They used this formula because they didnt know how to do the multiplication we use today.

Division was harder for them because they did not have a way to solve long division. Instead they based their method on the fact that: A/b = a(1/b) So what was used was a table of reciprocals. Mathematicians have found their reciprocal tables going up all the way to several billion. Of course the tables are in their number notation, but translating into our notation, but leaving the base as 60, the beginning of one of their tables would look like this: The table has gaps because 1/7, 1/11, 1/13, etc. do not have base 60 fractions (these are what we call prime numbers).

This did not mean that they could not calculate 1/13. they could write: 1/13 = 7/91 = 7(1/91) = 7(1/90) and these values where given in the tables. A tablet that is dated from 1900 BC has the answer to a problem containing Pythagorean triples (numbers a, b, and c, with a+b=c). The Babylonians knew about this before the Pythagoreans even started to discover it. This is said to be the oldest number theory document in history. A translation of another tablet says: 4 is the length and 5 the diagonal. What is the breath? Its size is not known. 4 times 4 is 16. 5 times 5 is 25. ou take 16 from 25 and there remains 9. What times hat shall I take to get 9? 3 times 3 is 9. 3 is the breadth.

Essay #4: Is their math practical? The math that they developed like the way to tell time is still in use today and probably will be in use for years to come. But, the way they used to multiply numbers together is an out of date way to do multiplication. Today we use a much more similar way of multiplication. Also it was very difficult for them to divide because they had no knowledge of long division. Today we do use long division that is much easier to use.

And if their table of reciprocals, which was used to help them do math, was used today, it would most likely confuse everybody. But, back then they had to use because they did not have calculators or computers to make math easier. We also dont use a positional number system where the base is 60 rather than the base of 10. One thing that the Babylonians used that is still in use today is the Pythagorean triples. Essay #5: The study of math The study of math is important because with out math we wouldnt have all the things we have today, such as computers, cars, planes, space exploring technology, etc.

With out math all that stuff, which we take for granted would not be around. We would still be in the dark ages if people with a great understanding for math hadnt been there to invent new things and pull us out of the dark ages and into the techno age. Even though I am not all to good in math, I realize that with out math I would have to write my whole report out on hand instead of a computer. I could not play my video games or chat online with friends if it wasnt for math and the understanding of it. The study of math is important to society and probably always will be.


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