Volume 2 (2014)

First page of the paper.

Proceedings of the first egyptological conference of the Patriarchate of Alexandria

Ancient Egyptian Mathematics: Religion and Computation Techniques in the Pharaonic Times

Saleh, Fathi


It was not by accident or by try–and–error methods that ancient Egyptians had built those magnificent monuments which started with the pyramids five thousand years ago. It is by profound scientific knowledge, a fact which has good evidence in the various mathematical papyri that were discovered, which reflect the deep knowledge in Mathematics, Geometry and calculations. When one investigates the way the ancient Egyptians manipulated their Mathematics, one gets surprised by the virtual similarity between the Mathematics that were used at the time of the pharaohs and the ones used by computer systems today. We have only uncovered six principal papyri addressing Mathematics from the pharaonic era until now: the Reisner Papyrus, the Moscow Mathematical Papyrus (MMP), the Kahūn Papyrus, the Egyptian Mathematical Leather Roll (EMLR), the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus (RMP), and the Berlin Papyrus. Each of the above sources contains a series of problems and their solutions. The most known papyrus of them all is the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus which is now on display at the British Museum. It contains 87 problems in addition to a table for the decomposition of two over odd numbers into unit fractions, which we are going to investigate in detail. We are also going to present briefly some hints concerning the interrelations between Mathematics and the ancient Egyptian religious symbols (mainly the apotropaic sound Eye of Horus).


Saleh, F. 2014. «Ancient Egyptian Mathematics: Religion and Computation Techniques in the Pharaonic Times », JHIE 2: 199–209



Language: en


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