Epoch: Ancient World (from 4000 BC to 1 BC)


Different civilizations and forms of government form on the banks of big rivers in Afrika (Egypt), Asia (including Mesopotamia, India, China), later also in the Mediterranean Area (Greece, Roman Empire). Although different in regions and time of origin, all these state forms have still a lot in commona hierarchical system of social classes, with aristocracy on the top and many specialized classes below, including priests, scribes, soldiers, craftsmen, farmers, and slaves. Most of these state forms lasted for millennia and centuries. This allowed the melting of the religion with the state forms.

The mathematics in these different state forms was developed to serve practical means, for instance, administration or collection of taxes. But over the centuries, this practical respect of mathematics became more and more independent from the practical application. Scribes and priests began to bring more abstraction into the practical calculations, to think about the concepts behind the pure practical meaning of arithmetics and geometry.

Unfortunately, the knowledge of mathematics of this time is very limited, because only a little evidence is left. It did not survive, either because the material used by scribes to write what they knew was not so resistant (e.g. bamboo, papyrus, tree bark, clay), or because of wars, fire, or intentional destruction of generations which came after.


about 22 000 BC

about 4000

about 2050 BC

about 2000 BC

about 1850 BC

about 1650 BC

about 1400 BC

about 630 BC to 580 BC

about 530 BC to 510 BC

-480 BC

about 450 BC

about 440 BC

about 430 BC

about 420 BC

about 400 - 350 BC

about 380 BC

about 340 BC

about 335 BC

about 320 BC

250 BC

240 BC

232 BC

212 BC

194 BC

about 150 BC

100 BC

about 80 BC

  1. Person: Ahmes
  2. Person: Baudhayana
  3. Person: Manava
  4. Person: Thales Of Miletus
  5. Person: Anaximander Of Miletus
  6. Person: Apastamba
  7. Person: Pythagoras Of Samos
  8. Person: Panini
  9. Person: Anaxagoras Of Clazomenae
  10. Person: Empedocles Of Acragas
  11. Person: Oenopides Of Chios
  12. Person: Zeno Of Elea
  13. Person: Antiphon
  14. Person: Leucippus Of Miletus
  15. Person: Hippocrates Of Chios
  16. Person: Theodorus Of Cyrene
  17. Person: Democritus Of Abdera
  18. Person: Hippias Of Elis
  19. Person: Bryson Of Heraclea
  20. Person: Archytas Of Tarentum
  21. Person: Plato
  22. Person: Theaetetus Of Athens
  23. Person: Eudoxus Of Cnidus
  24. Person: Gan De
  25. Person: Thymaridas Of Paros
  26. Person: Xenocrates Of Chalcedon
  27. Person: Dinostratus
  28. Person: Heraclides Of Pontus
  29. Person: Aristotle
  30. Person: Menaechmus
  31. Person: Aristaeus the Elder
  32. Person: Callippus Of Cyzicus
  33. Person: Autolycus Of Pitane
  34. Person: Eudemus Of Rhodes
  35. Person: Euclid Of Alexandria
  36. Person: Aristarchus Of Samos
  37. Person: Archimedes Of Syracuse
  38. Person: Chrysippus Of Soli
  39. Person: Conon Of Samos
  40. Person: Nicomedes
  41. Person: Philon Of Byzantium
  42. Person: Eratosthenes Of Cyrene
  43. Person: Apollonius Of Perga
  44. Person: Dionysodorus
  45. Person: Diocles Of Carystus
  46. Person: Katyayana
  47. Person: Zenodorus
  48. Person: Hipparchus Of Rhodes
  49. Person: Hypsicles Of Alexandria
  50. Person: Perseus
  51. Person: Theodosius Of Bithynia
  52. Person: Zeno Of Sidon
  53. Person: Posidonius Of Rhodes
  54. Person: Hong, Luoxia
  55. Person: Pollio, Marcus Vitruvius
  56. Person: Geminus
  57. Person: Hippasus of Metapontum
  58. Topic: Egyptian Mathematics
  59. Topic: Babylonian Mathematics
  60. Topic: Ancient Chinese Mathematics
  61. Topic: Indian Mathematics
  62. Topic: Sumerian Mathematics

Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!




  1. Struik, D.J.: "Abriss der Geschichte der Mathematik", Studienbücherei, 1976

Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:

  1. O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive