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Historical Problems can be used to enliven any mathematics class. Here are some examples from medieval times, from a 19th century American textbook, and from a 19th century Armenian textbook, among other sources.
Paul Halmos Photograph Collection, page 2: Arveson, Aschbacher, Askey, Lininger, Atiyah, Doob
I have two fields of grain. From the first field I harvest 2/3 a bushel of grain/unit area; from the second, 1/2 bushel/unit area.
This is the title page to Rene Descartes' Treatise on Method, with its three famous essays on Dioptrics, Meteorology, and Geometry. The third essay contains Descartes' treatment of analytic geometry as well as his theory of equations and his rule for finding the normal to a given curve.
Essays on how number has been critical to the work of scientists through the ages.
Given four numbers whose sum is 9900; the second exceeds the first by 1/7 of the first...
The classic work by Dirk Struik is still worth reading, especially for its attention to the social context of the development of mathematical ideas.
Now a good horse and an inferior horse set out from Chang'an to Qi. Qi is 3000 li from Chang'an.
Two persons sat down to play for a certain sum of money; and agree that the first who gets three games shall be the winner. After a few games they resolve to divide the stakes. How much should each person receive?

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