Greek numbers Greek number systems There were no single Greek national standards in the first millennium BC. Since the various island states prided themselves on their independence. This meant that they each had their own currency, weights and measures etc. These in turn led to small differences in the number system between different states since a major function of a number system in ancient times was to handle business transactions. However we will not go into sufficient detail in this article to examine the small differences between the system in separate states but rather we will look at its general structure. We should say immediately that the ancient Greeks had different systems for cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers so we must look carefully at what we mean by Greek number systems.
Also we shall look briefly at some systems proposed by various Greek mathematicians but not widely adopted. The first Greek number system we examine is their acrophonic system which was use in the first millennium BC.
'Acrophonic' means that the symbols for the numerals come from the first letter of the number name, so the symbol has come from an abreviation of the word which is used for the number. Here are the symbols for the numbers 5, 10, 100, 1000, 10000. Acrophonic 5, 10, 100, 1000, 10000.
Greek numerals, also known as Ionic, Ionian, Milesian, or Alexandrian numerals, are a system of writing numbers using the letters of the Greek alphabet. In modern Greece, they are still used for ordinal numbers and in contexts similar to those in which Roman numerals are still used elsewhere in the West. Cannot Install Printer Remote Procedure Call Failed Windows more.
We have omitted the symbol for 'one', a simple ' ', which was an obvious notation not coming from the initial letter of a number. For 5, 10, 100, 1000, 10000 there will be only one puzzle for the reader and that is the symbol for 5 which should by P if it was the first letter of Pente. However this is simply a consequence of changes to the Greek alphabet after the numerals coming from these letters had been fixed. By that time the symbols were probably not thought of as coming from the letters so there was no move to change them with changes to the symbols for the letters.
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