# The Great Calculation According to the Indians, of Maximus Planudes - The Digits of the System, I

Author(s):
Peter G. Brown

"The So-Called Great Calculation According to the Indians"

of the monk Maximos Planoudes.

A Translation

Since numbers continue without bound, but knowledge of the boundless is not possible, the more eminent of the astronomers invented certain signs and a method relating to them, so that the representation of those numbers they needed might be more easily and more clearly apprehended at a glance.  There are only nine signs required which are these: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9.1  They also use a certain other sign which they call a cipher, which, according to the Indians, signifies 'nothing'. These nine signs are themselves of Indian origin and the cipher is written as 0.

When each of these 9 signs2 stands alone by itself and in the first place beginning from the right-hand side, the symbol 1 indicates one, 2 indicates two, 3 three, 4 four, 5 five, 6 six, 7 seven, 8 eight and 9 nine. If, however, it is in the second place, then the symbol 1 indicates ten, 2 twenty, 3 thirty and so on. In the third position 1 indicates a hundred,3 2 two hundred, 3 three hundred and so on. The pattern continues for the remaining places.

Peter G. Brown, "The Great Calculation According to the Indians, of Maximus Planudes - The Digits of the System, I," Convergence (March 2012)