Ancient Mathematical Sources
It is useful when people know the origin of what they do, the sources that contain the things they do, and their history. Most people, if not all, have encountered and pursued mathematics. Out of the large numbers that take part in mathematics education, only a few individuals have studied the history of mathematics.
Mathematics materials are first traced from Egypt and Mesopotamia. These materials or writings were written of scribes, for there were no books or technology to store it. These documents were very few, but they contained every detail that there is to study mathematics. The above assertion shows that mathematics during those times was profoundly practical, elementary, and a whole in its orientation. Apart from the scrolls, clay tablets were also used by the ancient people to store their information. It is of great interest to note that the Mesopotamian mathematics covered a lot of concepts compared to that of the Egyptians, and their achievements in mathematics were much higher. The tablets used by the Mesopotamians clearly showed that they had a greater sense of mathematical knowledge that was remarkable, even if they did not leave behind any evidence that shows that all this information was organized into a logical structure. I am sure that in the future, many researcher are going to do more researches about mathematics in Mesopotamia and Egypt. However, the picture many people have about mathematical development in these two countries, together with their influence on Greek mathematics, is going to remain.
Among the oldest copies of mathematical documents are copies of the elements of Euclid in the Byzantine manuscripts. These copies are said to have been discovered and traced from the 10th century. No mathematical document by the Greek has been preserved except those of incomplete summaries from the period tracing back to when Alexander the Great was the king. The assertion above is a complete stand that reveals a full contrast to the situation about Babylonian and Egyptian documents.
When we look at the general outline of mathematics, the current account of Greek mathematics is very secure. It contains essential matters such as the origin and developments of the axiomatic method, the discovery of conic sections, and the pre-Euclidian theory of ratios. Many of these things have been extracted from a wide variety of early writings. They have been derived from even nonmathematical sources, but the findings are significant.
Several outstanding dissertations have either not survived or, if they have, they have survived under the Latin writings that many people don’t understand so well. Because of translations and loss of materials, there are still many questions that have not yet been answered. The problem is how related the early Islamic writing on mathematics is related to the Indian and Grecian mathematics. However, we have very many materials that are surviving from the past centuries, and this has made judgment hard because it is not easy to distinguish between the concepts that have been studied lately from what the Islamic mathematics in the past had already covered.
Today, many inventions have come up, and these inventions, such as printing, have, to no small extent, solve the problem of obtaining secure texts. It has allowed very many people, especially mathematical historians, to concentrate on their editorial determinations on the correspondence or work about mathematics that has not yet been published. Nonetheless, how mathematics is growing means that, for the period between the 19th century up to date, only significant mathematical figures have been treated in detail. To add, as we draw nearer to the present time, a problem of viewpoint arises. Like any other thing in the human life cycle, mathematics has fashion, and the more time goes by, the more the old items are considered outdated and meaningless, and the wave shifts to the future or the present. It is for this reason that present-day articles never focus majorly on the recent reports.