The Translators: "Stayin' Alive" in the Middle Ages

Boethius, Hunayn, Thabit ibn Qurra, Hildegarde von Bingen, Jiushao, Johann Müller of Königsberg


Boethius: Born 480 in or near Rome, Italy; Died: 524 in Pavia, Italy

"The science of numbers ought to be preferred as an acquisition before all others, because of its necessity and because of the great secrets and other mysteries which there are in the properties of numbers. All sciences partake of it, and it has need of none.  Quoted in The History of Mathematics: a Reader (London 1987)"

Boethius Bio Info


Alcuin of York:  Born 735 in York, Yorkshire, EnglandDied: 19 May 804 in Tours, France

"In the morning, at the height of my powers, I sowed the seed in Britain, now in the evening when my blood is growing cold I am still sowing in France, hoping both will grow, by the grace of God, giving some the honey of the holy scriptures, making others drunk on the old wine of ancient learning... "

Alcuin Bio Info

About 775 Alcuin of York writes elementary texts on arithmetic, geometry and astronomy.


Abu Zayd Hunayn ibn Ishaq al-Ibadi: born 808 in al-Hirah Died: 873 in Baghdad (now in Iraq)

Arabic Mathematics: Forgotten Brilliance?  h

Abu Zayd Hunayn ibn Ishaq al-Ibadi Bio Info


Thabit ibn Qurra (Tabit Qorra) born: 826 in Harran, Mesopotamia (now Turkey)
Died: 18 Feb 901 in Baghdad, (now in Iraq) in Baghdad (now in Iraq)

Thabit ibn Qurra (Tabit Qorra) Bio Info


Qin Jushao 1202 -1261 in Meizhou (now Meixian), Guangtong province, China

Qin Jushao Bio Info

Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art


Johann Müller Regiomontanus Bio Info


Mathematical Ideas:    * Squaring the circle* Perfect numbers* Trigonometric functions* Cartography


Mathematics in Classic Literature

The Franklin's Tale (in The Canterbury Tales)

Geoffrey Chaucer (1390)  -  In Middle English and Modern English