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Mathematical Treasure: Latin Manuscript of Al-Khwarizmi's Algebra

Author(s): 
Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University)

Among the many works translated by Gerard of Cremona (1114-1187) from Arabic into Latin was al-Khwarizmi’s Algebra, written around 825 CE. Various copies of this translation were made in manuscript form and found their way across Europe. One such copy was made by the German monk Iacobus Obernheym at the Benedictine Monastery of St. Matthias in Trier in the year 1456 (Plimpton MS 188). Here is folio 73 of this manuscript.

At the top of folio 85 is a list of the six types of equations for which al-Khwarizmi (circa 780-850) found solutions:

Squares equal to roots.
Squares equal to numbers.
Roots equal to numbers.
Squares and roots equal to numbers.
Squares and numbers equal to roots.
Roots and numbers equal to squares.

The images above have been obtained through the kind cooperation of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the Columbia University Libraries. These and more images may be accessed via Digital Scriptorium, a digital collection of medieval and early Renaissance manuscripts made available by a consortium of cooperating university libraries headed by the University of California, Berkeley. 

Index to Mathematical Treasures

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: Latin Manuscript of Al-Khwarizmi's Algebra," Convergence (June 2018)

Dummy View - NOT TO BE DELETED