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Region dominated by the Babylonian civilization. Example of a cuneiform tablet between 1900 and 1600 BC containing Pythagorean triples.

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Region dominated by the Babylonian civilization.

Example of a cuneiform tablet between 1900 and 1600 BC containing Pythagorean triples.

Babylonians and Chaldeans observed the motion of the stars and planets from the earliest antiquity (since the middle of the 23rd century B.C.). They cataloged the motion of the stars and planets as well as the occurrence of eclipses and attempted to fit their behavior to some numerical theories. Many of these observations were used for astrological prophesying and, in fact, they were the originators of astrology. They believed that the motions and changes in the stars and planets determine (or so they believed) what occurs on this planet.

The Babylonians excelled in computational mathematics (base 60), they were able to solve algebraic equations of the first degree, understood the concept of function and realized the truth of Pythagoras\' theorem (without furnishing an abstract proof). One of the clay tablets dated from

between 1900 and 1600 B.C. contains answers to a problem containing Pythagorean triples, i.e. numbers a , b, c with a2 + b2 = c2. It is said to be the oldest number theory document in existence. The Babylonians had an advanced number system with base 60 rather than the

base 10 of common today. The Babylonians divided the day into 24 hours, each hour into 60 minutes, each minute into 60 seconds. This form of counting has survived for 40 centuries.



An example of Egyptian papyri, the Moscow papyrus and its translation; the text contains the estimate =256/81=3.1605

The study of the heavens was not made for altruistic purposes but with very practical aims: a good calendar was necessary in order to prepare for the regular flooding of the Nile as well as for religious purposes. The Egyptian calendar had a year of precisely 365 days and was used for many centuries.

Egyptians knew and used the water clock whose origin is lost in the mists of time.

Most of Egyptian mathematics was aimed at practical calculations such as measuring the Earth (important as the periodic Nile floods

erased property boundary marks) and business mathematics.

Unlike the Greeks who thought abstractly about mathematical ideas, the Egyptians were only concerned with practical arithmetic. In fact the Egyptians probably did not think of numbers as abstract quantities but always thought of a specific collection of objects when a number was mentioned.


To quantify science and technology, it is important to have convenient ways to carry out the necessary arithmetical procedures. The Egyptians were only concerned with practical arithmetic. Their numbers were unsuitable for multiplication. The Rhind papyrus shows how the Egyptians carried out multiplication despite the difficulties in their numerical notation.

The Rhind papyrus:

The Scottish Egyptologist, Henry Rhind, purchased the Rhind papyrus in Luxor in 1858. The papyrus scroll is approximately about 1/3 of a meter wide and 6 meters long. It was written around 1650 BC by the scribe Ahmes who is copying a document which is 200 years older. So the original papyrus dates from about 1850BC.


Pottery & Glass

Metal mining & extraction

Metal working

The two temples at Abu Simbel, of Ramesses II, are primarily dedicated to Re-Harakhte, and that of his wife, Nefertari dedicated to Hathor,

One of the oldest in history the ancient Egyptiancivilization, emerges from pre-history into the period of more or less precise chronological record up to a date perhaps not far removed from 3400 B.C. This highly developed but in many respects static civilization lasted for over 3000 years, during which it spread its influence far and wide. Some archaeologists, indeed, claim to see in all other civilizations signs of an Egyptian origin. It is universally agreed, however, that in technical arts Egyptian workers pointed the way to the rest of the world, and it is to them that all must turn for the first discovery of those facts that made science possible.


To build these structures took a tremendous technical expertise, most of which is not known today. Probably the building engineering of the Greeks took much of this knowledge over.

The Great Sphinx is to the northeast of Chephren\'s Valley Temple. Where it sits was once a quarry. Chephren\'s workers shaped the stone into the lion and gave it their king\'s face over 4,500 years ago. The sphinx faces the rising sun.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu). Herodotus said that it would have taken 30 years and 100,000 slaves to have built it. This pyramid is thought to have been built between 2589 - 2566 BC. It would have taken over 2,300,000 blocks of stone with an average weight of 2.5 tons each. The total weight would have been 6,000,000 tons and a height of 482 feet (140m).

The Palace of Amenhotep III. This was the home of Amenhotep III, his wife Tiy and his harem of 317 Hittites that he received as a dowry when he married a Hittite princess.