Mathematical traditions in Ancient Greece and Rome

Serafina Cuomo


There were different ways of doing mathematics in the ancient Greek and Roman world. This essay will explore historiographical approaches to this diversity, from the claim that there were different traditions, to explorations of the social status of mathematicians, to attempts to go beyond written traditions in order to reconstruct practices. I will draw on Jean Lave’s studies on situation-specific mathematics to try and tease out the power relationships and underlying assumptions behind different histories of the evidence available to us.


Hero of Alexandria, two cultures, pure mathematics, applied mathematics, code-switching, Lave

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/703797