# The history of Mesopotamian numbers

May. 04, 2009

## What was Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia is where today is Iraq. It was an area of plains located in the Middle East. It is located between the rivers Tiger and Euphrates.

The Mesopotamian writing is called cuneiform, that was represented in batons with round tips and coned edges like in clay plates, when taken to the oven, and this way it got the name cuneiform.

May. 03, 2009

## The numbering system

Around 2.000 years B.C. the Mesopotamian numbering system appeared. It is one of the oldest positional numbering systems. It had the base 60.

Further, we will show how the Mesopotamian system worked.

May. 03, 2009

## Representation of the number 63

 The drawing by GIULIA shows the second and the first places of a Mesopotamian number.
May. 04, 2009

## Understanding the Mesopotamian numbering

The pointed arrow downward is the number 1, the pointed arrow to the left is the number 10.

Until number 9 the symbols have the sign one, but when it arrives to the number 10, the symbol changes, and so on up to number 59, because they had as base the 60. When arriving in the number 60, the symbol of 1 goes to the second position forming the number 60.

May. 03, 2009

## Writing large numbers

As the number 60 is the base, symbol of 1 goes to the second position to form the number 60. Since 60 + 10 = 70, number 70 was written with the symbol (▼) in the second place and 10 (◄) in the first, like this:

▼ ◄ = 70
60 + 10 = 70