How did they do math in medieval times?

Math in medieval times was primarily based on the teachings of ancient Greek mathematicians such as Euclid and Pythagoras, and calculations were often done using abacus or pen and paper.

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Mathematics played an important role in medieval times, and its influence can still be seen in architecture, engineering, and scientific fields. The teaching of mathematics in medieval Europe was centered on the works of ancient Greek mathematicians such as Euclid and Pythagoras. The focus was on geometry and trigonometry.

Calculations were done using various tools such as the abacus or pen and paper. The abacus was commonly used for basic arithmetic operations, while more complex calculations were done using pen and paper. The use of the abacus was widespread in medieval Europe, and “by the later Middle Ages, the abacus had become the exclusive property of professional mathematicians and merchants” [1].

One of the most significant mathematical achievements of medieval times was the development of algebra. The first known person to use algebraic symbols was the Persian mathematician Al-Khwarizmi, who lived during the 9th century. The word algebra comes from the Arabic phrase ‘al-jabr’, meaning “the reunion of broken parts” [2].

Medieval mathematicians also made important contributions to the study of geometry. The French mathematician, Pierre de Fermat, made significant advancements in understanding the properties of shapes and curves, including the famous Fermat’s Last Theorem.

To summarize, medieval mathematics was primarily centered on the works of ancient Greek mathematicians such as Euclid and Pythagoras. Calculations were done using various tools such as the abacus or pen and paper. Algebra was developed during this time, and significant advancements were made in the study of geometry. As the famous mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss said, “mathematics is the queen of sciences” [3].

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Topic: Mathematics in Medieval Times
Focus: Greek mathematicians, algebra
Tools: Abacus, pen and paper
Facts: Development of algebra by Al-Khwarizmi, geometry advancments by Pierre de Fermat
Quote: “Mathematics is the queen of sciences” – Carl Friedrich Gauss

[1] O’Connor, J.J. & Robertson, E.F. Abacus, retrieved from
[2] Geometry: Algebraic Geometry. (2014). In World of Mathematics. Sage Publications. Retrieved from
[3] Gauss, C.F. (1856). Disquisitiones Arithmeticæ. Göttingen: Dieterichsche Univ.-Buchdr.

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All trade and calculation was made using the clumsy and inefficient Roman numeral system, and with an abacus based on Greek and Roman models. By the 12th Century, though, Europe, and particularly Italy, was beginning to trade with the East, and Eastern knowledge gradually began to spread to the West.

Many Greek and Arabic texts on mathematics were translated into Latin from the 12th century onward, leading to further development of mathematics in Medieval Europe. From ancient times through the Middle Ages , periods of mathematical discovery were often followed by centuries of stagnation. [11]

I will take the term peasant to mean most non-noble, non-clergy. So, actually, stonemasons and builders knew a surprising amount of geometry, primarily geometric constructions. Others, engaged in trade, understood basic addition and subtraction quite well, but before the adoption of the zero in the West, a “counting table” was used to facilitate calculations. Most people could be expected to count for practical purposes.

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How was math used in medieval times?
As a response to this: Medieval mathematics (roughly 1100–1500)
There are texts that are recognisably devoted to arithmetic, geometry, or occasionally algebra, but most of the writings that were later described as ‘mathematical’ were concerned with astrology and astronomy (the distinction between the two was often blurred).

In this manner, Was math taught in the Middle Ages?
The reply will be: By far the most advanced mathematics teaching during the Middle Ages was that done by the trade guilds. This was an apprenticeship of seven years to a master of a trade who then taught you all that he thought you should know.

Also asked, Which was the famous work in mathematics in medieval period?
As an answer to this: "book of Calculation" (1202) which concerned arithmetic and basic algebra. It is famous for popularizing the Hindu-Arabic numerals. Before then, only a few people knew about them from translations of al-Khwarizmi.

Regarding this, What is the ancient way of doing math? The abacus: an ancient technology with modern relevance
The Romans had some sort of counting device with beads. So did the early Greeks. The word "calculate" comes from the expression “drawing pebbles,” basically using some sort of abacus-like device to do math.

What was medieval mathematics?
Response will be: Medieval mathematics was on the whole far removed from anything that we think of as mathematics today. Indeed to study this period at all you need to be prepared to enter a world whose preconceptions, political, religious, or mathematical, were very different from our own.

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How did mathematics change in the 17th century? The answer is: It was further stimulated by the absorption of ideas from Islamic sources, and by the new technical challenges posed by increased trade and navigation. During the seventeenth century in particular, mathematics in western Europe began to change rapidly and dramatically.

Similarly one may ask, How did mathematics become a part of Education?
As a response to this: Numerous books on arithmetic were published for the purpose of teaching business people computational methods for their commercial needs and mathematics gradually began to acquire a more important position in education. Europe’s first great medieval mathematician was the Italian Leonardo of Pisa, better known by his nickname Fibonacci.

In this manner, What cultures produced mathematics in the 13th century?
Yet there were two other European cultures that produced mathematics in that time period, the Hebrew culture found mostly in Spain, southern France, and parts of Italy, and the Islamic culture that predominated in Spain through the thirteenth century and, in a smaller geographic area, until its ultimate demise at the end of the fifteenth century.

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