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Mathematical Treasure: Arithmetic of Nicomachus via Iamblichus

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Iamblichus the Chaldaean (ca. 242-327 CE) was a Syrian Neoplatonic philosopher.  His Greek translation of the Introduction to Arithmetic of Nicomachus of Gerasa (ca. 60-120 CE) preserved and popularized the mystical properties of numbers well into the Middle Ages. This is the title page of the 1668 Latin translation of this work. Note the frontispiece illustration where Iamblichus shares the illustrious companionship of Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy, Pythagoras, and Nicomachus.

Below are excepts from pages 27-31.  The first page below contains a discussion of some definitions from Euclid's Elements, Book VI.

The excerpt below briefly discusses number in geometric proportion.

This material is obtained through the courtesy of the Peabody Library of Johns Hopkins University.

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Arithmetic of Nicomachus via Iamblichus," Convergence (April 2017)