Portal:Arithmetic

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The Arithmetic Portal

Arithmetic tables for children, Lausanne, 1835

Arithmetic (from Ancient Greek ἀριθμός (arithmós) 'number', and τική [τέχνη] (tikḗ [tékhnē]) 'art, craft') is an elementary part of mathematics that consists of the study of the properties of the traditional operations on numbers—addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, exponentiation, and extraction of roots. In the 19th century, Italian mathematician Giuseppe Peano formalized arithmetic with his Peano axioms, which are highly important to the field of mathematical logic today. (Full article...)

The Egyptians and Babylonians used all the elementary arithmetic operations as early as 2000 BC. Later Roman numerals, descended from tally marks used for counting. The continuous development of modern arithmetic starts with ancient Greece, although it originated much later than the Babylonian and Egyptian examples. Euclid is often credited as the first mathematician to separate study of arithmetic from philosophical and mystical beliefs. Greek numerals were used by Archimedes, Diophantus and others in a positional notation not very different from ours. The ancient Chinese had advanced arithmetic studies dating from the Shang Dynasty and continuing through the Tang Dynasty, from basic numbers to advanced algebra. The ancient Chinese used a positional notation similar to that of the Greeks. The gradual development of the Hindu–Arabic numeral system independently devised the place-value concept and positional notation, which combined the simpler methods for computations with a decimal base and the use of a digit representing zero (0). This allowed the system to consistently represent both large and small integers. This approach eventually replaced all other systems. In the Middle Ages, arithmetic was one of the seven liberal arts taught in universities. The flourishing of algebra in the medieval Islamic world and in Renaissance Europe was an outgrowth of the enormous simplification of computation through decimal notation.

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