Commentaries on the Exhibit’s Works




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A brief commentary prepared by Paul Eloe, PhD, Professor, Mathematics, on the following work:

Elementa geometrica (Elements of Geometry)
Venice, 1482; first edition printed by Erhard Ratdolt


The Greek word elementa (elements) is the same word used in Greek for letters in an alphabet. Hence, Elementa geometrica is to mathematics what letters are to vocabulary. Euclid’s Elements is a masterpiece with two primary contributions to mathematical knowledge.First, the thirteen chapters summarize approximately three hundred years of mathematical development in Greek geometry, number theory, geometrical algebra, and solid geometry (and thus include the mathematical influences of Babylonia and Egypt). Second, in the Elements, Euclid introduces mathematics as a deductive science. Before Euclid, the Greeks based their reasoning on unspecified intuitions; Euclid introduced definitions, axioms, and postulates into mathematical reasoning, then demonstrated how to produce results logically.Original Euclid manuscripts do not exist. This 1482 publication is the first publication of Euclid’s Elements.

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Euclid: ‘Elementa geometrica’ (‘Elements of Geometry’)


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