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Problems from Another Time

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

In one day, a person can make 30 arrows or fletch [put the feathers on] 20 arrows.
If you are h feet tall and walk all the way around the Earth, keeping to the same circumference, how much farther has your head gone than your feet when you complete the journey?
The square root of half the number of bees in a swarm has flown out upon a jessamine bush; 8/9 of the swarm has remained behind.
Discussion of 15th century French manuscript, with translation of its problems, including one with negative solutions
There is a number which when divided by 2, or 3, or 4, or 5, or 6 always has a remainder of 1 and is truly divisible by 7. It is sought what is the number?
An old Chinese general led his army to a river with a steep bank. Standing atop the bank, he held a stick 6 feet long perpendicular to himself.
Make a crown of gold copper, tin, and iron weighing 60 minae: gold and copper shall be 2/3 of it; gold and tin, 3/4 of it; and gold and iron, 3/5 of it. Find the required weights of gold, copper, tin, and iron.
The perimeters of two similar triangles are 45 and 135 respectively. One side of the first triangle has length 11″ and a second side, 19″. Find the lengths of the sides of the second triangle.
Suppose General [George] Washington had 800 men and was supplied with provisions to last 2 months but he needed to feed his army for 7 months.
If a ladder, placed 8 ft. from the base of a building 40 ft. high, just reached the top, how far must it be placed from the base of the building that it may reach a point 10 ft. from the top?

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