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Mathematical Treasure: Zeuthen's History of Mathematics

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Hieronymous Georg Zeuthen (1839-1920) was a Danish mathematician noted for his contributions to algebraic geometry. He was appointed Professor of Mathematics at the University of Copenhagen in 1886. Eventually, his research interests turned to the history of mathematics and he became an expert in medieval and ancient Greek mathematics. Zeuthen is considered, along with Moritz Cantor, as one of the greatest historians of mathematics in the 19th century. One of his major works was Geschichte der Mathematik im Altertum und Mittelalter (A History of Mathematics in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, 1896). This German version of the work is a translation of the original Danish edition of 1893. A French translation appeared in 1903.

The text begins with a consideration of the “Early History of Mathematics.”

An “Overview of Greek Mathematics” begins on page 14.

Theses images were obtained through the courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library and were digitized by the University of California Libraries. The complete work can be viewed at

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Zeuthen's History of Mathematics," Convergence (July 2016)