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Problems from Another Time

Individual problems from throughout mathematics history, as well as articles that include problem sets for students.

One military horse cannot pull a load of 40 dan; neither can 2 ordinary horses, nor can three inferior horses.
There is a log of precious wood 18 feet long whose bases are 5 feet and 2.5 feet in circumference. Into what lengths should the log be cut to trisect its volume?
A merchant gave a university 2,814 ducats on the understanding that he was to be paid back 618 ducats per year for 9 years, at the end of which the 2,814 ducats should be considered as paid.
Three men have a pile of money, their shares being 1/2, 1/3 and 1/6. Each man takes some money from the pile until nothing is left.
A person has a circular yard that is 150 ft. in diameter, and wishes a walk of equal width made round it within the fence...
It is required to determine whether 30 horses can be put into 7 stalls; so that in every stall there may be, either a single horse, or an odd number of horses.
One says that 10 garments were purchased by two men at a price of 72 dirhams. The garments varied in value. The price of each garment of one man is 3 dirhams more than the price for each garment of the other. How many garments did each man buy?
The authors recount the 'great tale' of Napier's and Burgi's parallel development of logarithms and urge you to use it in class.
In Archimedes' Book of Lemmas (ca 250), he introduces a figure that, due to its shape, has historically been known as "the shoemaker's knife" or arbelos.
There are two columns in the ruins of Persepolis left standing upright; one is 70 ft. above the plane, and the other 50 ft;

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