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Why didn't the Romans do math?

  1. Jun 19, 2013 #1
    1000 years of mathlessness.

    what gives?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2013 #2
    please explain
     
  4. Jun 19, 2013 #3

    wukunlin

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    I suppose if they had to build stuff, like aqueducts, they don't really need maths. Like none whatsoever :rolleyes:
     
  5. Jun 19, 2013 #4
    Because theory always precedes practice, right?
     
  6. Jun 19, 2013 #5

    wukunlin

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    and who uses maths in practice?
     
  7. Jun 19, 2013 #6
    i know of no math theory attributed to a roman
     
  8. Jun 19, 2013 #7

    collinsmark

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    Have you ever tried multiplication with Roman numerals?
     
  9. Jun 19, 2013 #8
    They probs just used algebra and abicusses.
     
  10. Jun 19, 2013 #9

    Office_Shredder

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    I assume the OP is referring to the fact that the Greeks basically crushed geometry, then got crushed by the Romans, then we have to wait for a whole new religion in Islam to pop up just to figure out what algebra is. I assume it's a combination of the Roman numeral system being just about the worst in the world and the difference in cultures between Greeks and Romans
     
  11. Jun 19, 2013 #10

    Evo

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    Roman contributions to math.

    http://accessscience.com/studycenter.aspx?main=17&questionID=5798 [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  12. Jun 19, 2013 #11

    wukunlin

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  13. Jun 19, 2013 #12
    Try this: (MMDCCXLVII)*(MMCCCXCIV)

    They were good at speaking Latin, conquest, building by over-engineering because they couldn't calculate, passing laws, and throwing great parties (not so great if you were a slave)

    The Greek math tradition continued at Alexandria during the Roman period.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  14. Jun 19, 2013 #13

    collinsmark

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    And fractions. I'm lead to believe that there wasn't a standard way to represent fractions using the Roman numeral system with more precision that 1/12 (they had some sort of representation for divisions by 12, but I don't know much about that).

    I wonder what a fairly precise representation of [itex] \pi [/itex] would look like in the Roman numeral system (something quite a bit more more accurate than III).
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2013
  15. Jun 19, 2013 #14

    lisab

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    My thought, too -- what a terrible numeral system. Notation is powerful!
     
  16. Jun 19, 2013 #15

    WannabeNewton

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    The Romans and Greeks had very different notions of leisure, notions that defined a good part of their cultures. The former was dominated by hedonism whereas the latter was focused a good deal on natural philosophy, amongst other things.
     
  17. Jun 19, 2013 #16

    collinsmark

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExWfh6sGyso
     
  18. Jun 19, 2013 #17

    WannabeNewton

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    Haha, classic Python!
     
  19. Jun 19, 2013 #18
  20. Jun 19, 2013 #19
  21. Jun 19, 2013 #20

    Office_Shredder

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    My favorite quote from that page is
    I find it hard to believe that the Romans had a well-defined sense of the difference between mass and weight, and that their units were defined to be in terms of mass, not weight.
     
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