The numbers that we call Arabic are so familiar throughout Europe and the Americas that it can be difficult to realize that their general acceptance in commercial transactions is a matter of only the last four centuries and they still remain unknown in parts of the world.
In this volume, one of the earliest texts to trace the origin and development of our number system, two distinguished mathematicians collaborated to bring together many fragmentary narrations to produce a concise history of Hindu-Arabic numerals. Clearly and succinctly, they recount the labors of scholars who have studied the subject in different parts of the world; they then assess the historical testimony and draw conclusions from its evidence. Topics include early ideas of the origin of numerals; Hindu forms with and without a place value; the symbol zero; the introduction of numbers into Europe by Boethius; the development of numerals among Arabic cultures; and the definitive introduction of numerals into Europe and their subsequent spread. Helpful supplements to the text include a guide to the pronunciation of Oriental names and an index.
Reprint of the Ginn and Company, Boston, 1911 edition.