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Mathematical Treasure: Egyptian Wooden Codex

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

This is a leaf from a sixth or seventh century Egyptian wooden codex. It was tied together with other slabs of wood to form a crude book. Its surface is coated with gesso allowing an inscription. Five columns of Greek numerals are evidently employed to demonstrate a division process by the number eight.

The image above was obtained through the kind cooperation of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, The Lawrence J. Schoenberg Collection of Late and Early Renaissance Manuscripts, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Lawrence Schoenberg, a successful businessman and collector of early scientific manuscripts, donated his collection to the University. The item shown here is fully digitized and may be consulted and copied in its entirety with due credit provided, including its reference number, LJS 228.

Index to Mathematical Treasures


Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Egyptian Wooden Codex," Convergence (February 2019)