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Mediaeval treatises on arithmetic and algebra frequently include, along with the usual commercial and daily life applications, mathematical games, to be played in company, and recreational problems. The latter, while still on the subject of trade or daily life, involve conditions which are quite unrealistic if not totally absurd. Their authors, in addition to present them as further mathematical exercises, wished to show their readers that mathematics may also have a less repellent if not amusing aspect.


  • I. Sharing liquid by decanting
  • II. Sharing liquid and vessels
  • III. Minimal set of weights
  • IV. Successive distributions
  • V. Mutual borrowing
  • VI. Filling and emptying cisterns
  • VII. Messengers
  • VIII. Large numbers
  • IX. Arrangements
  • X. Crossing a river
  • XI. Miscellanea
  • XII. Family relationships
  • XIII. The knight’s tour
  • XIV. Magic squares
  • XV. Infinite sets
  • XVI. Geometrical recreations
  • XVII. Hidden numbers – Appendices – A. Brief outline of the history of mathematics – B. Sources used
  • Bibliography
  • Index – Addenda – Euler and the knight’s move (in German; English summary) – Short history of continued fractions (in Russian; English summary)


Publisher: EPFL Press

Author(s): Jacques Sesiano

Published: 14 march 2023

Edition: 1st edition

Media: Book

Pages count Book: 352

Format (in mm) Book: 160 x 240

Weight (in grammes): 630

Language(s): English

EAN13 Book: 9782889155125

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