Egyptian Numeration System essays

This concludes the discussion of the five methods by means of which the Maya reckoned time and recorded dates: (1) Initial-series dating; (2) Secondary-series dating; (3) Calendar-round dating; (4) Period-ending dating; (5) Katun-ending dating, or the u kahlay katunob. While apparently differing considerably from one another, in reality all are expressions of the same fundamental idea, the combination of the numbers 13 and 20 (that is, 260) with the solar year conceived as containing 365 days, and all were recorded by the same vigesimal system of numeration; that is:

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Thus on the basis of the glyphs themselves it seems possible to show that all belong to one and the same numerical series, which progresses according to the terms of a vigesimal system of numeration.

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In a vigesimal system of numeration the unit of increase is 20, and so far as the codices are concerned, as we shall presently see, this number was in fact the only unit of progression used, except in the 2d order, in which 18 instead of 20 units were required to make 1 unit of the 3d order. In other words, in the codices the Maya carried out their vigesimal system to without a break other than the one in the 2d place, just noted. See Table .

This lesson will give you a deep and solid introduction to the roman numeration system
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The other method by means of which the Maya expressed their higher numbers (the second method given on p. ) may be called "numeration by position," since in this method the numerical value of the symbols depended solely on position, just as in our own decimal system, in which the value of a figure depends on its distance from the decimal point, whole numbers being written to the left and fractions to the right. The ratio of increase, as the word "decimal" implies, is 10 throughout, and the numerical values of the consecutive positions increase as they recede from the decimal point in each direction, according to the terms of a geometrical progression. For example, in the number 8888.0, the second 8 from the decimal point, counting from right to left, has a value ten times greater than the first 8, since it stands for 8 tens (80); the third 8 from the decimal point similarly has a value ten times greater than the second 8, since it stands for 8 hundreds (800); finally, the fourth 8 has a value ten times greater than the third 8, since it stands for 8 thousands (8,000). Hence, although the figures used are the same in each case, each has a different numerical value, depending solely upon its position with reference to the decimal point.

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However dissimilar these two methods of representing the numbers may appear at first sight, fundamentally they are the same, since both have as their basis the same vigesimal system of numeration. Indeed, it can not be too strongly emphasized that throughout the range of the Maya writings, codices, inscriptions, or Books of Chilam Balam the several methods of counting time and recording events found in each are all derived from the same source, and all are expressions of the same numerical system.

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For example, if the revolution of Venus had been the governing phenomenon, each monument would be distant from some other by 584 days; if that of Mars, 780 days; if that of Mercury, 115 or 116 days, etc. Furthermore, the sequence, once commenced, would naturally have been more or less uninterrupted. It is hardly necessary to repeat that the intervals which have been found, namely, 7200 and 1800, rest on no known astronomical phenomena but are the direct result of the Maya vigesimal system of numeration.