In a society where reading and writing is not considered general knowledge, the effective and anti-fraud means of documenting debts is the stake. The appropriately prepared wooden stick is split in length and with the same number of slits as on each of the split products, perhaps in different shapes for pounds, shillings, and pennies. Both creditors and debtors receive a stamp wand and can be assured that neither party will add or remove a notch; Because that will be noticed right away when you fold your chopsticks again on payday.
Westminster Brand Palace
In accordance with the conditions prevailing at the time, King Henry I of England (circa 1086-1135) decided that the accounts of the treasury should be done with serrated wood. The decree lasted a whole 700 years. It wasn’t until 1826 that the government, against the bitter resistance of the bureaucracy, pushed through the transition to paper and pen. Eight years later, when the Treasury burned unnecessary wood in the courtyard of the Palace of Westminster, the fire spread to the building, which was almost completely destroyed.
Great moment in math? His Majesty the Italian King of the book “Fateful Moments” approaches the topic. Umberto Botazini, a historian of mathematics at the University of Milan, uses a series of individual stories to tell how mathematical concepts that are now part of the core of the topic, for example the value system with which we write our numbers today. This is undoubtedly better than the cracks in the wood and its further development, the Roman numerals, but it also requires a sign of the absence of a number: zero.
Getting used to it wasn’t easy. A superior smile creeps up on me when a wise man named Fridogius von Tours at Charlemagne’s court has the most complex of ideas about the existential state of nothingness. We have our definition of zero, empty set, and other terms for the fact that something is not, along with the arithmetic rules associated with it. Yet we can safely ignore Fridogius’ concerns. But beware! We have no reason to judge him lightly. After all, it took two centuries for the formal view to become firmly established in mathematics.
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