America: Mexico

Writing & Mathematics

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Maya
 

Maya writing and numerical system originated in concepts inherited from Olmecs.

Hieroglyphic writing has both ideographic and phonetic elements that have not been completely deciphered yet, and some glyphs had two forms that were interchangeable.

They were used to write texts and calendar information in murals, stele and codices, recording history, myths and genealogy of important rulers.

In mathematics, number symbols were given values according to their position, and the concept of zero was used.

The system was vigesimal and Mayas could write the numbers from 0 to 19 in the first (bottom) position.

Ideograms or number symbols used were basically three:

A dot for one, a bar for five and a stylized shell for zero, and the different numbers were written by combining them.

There are also 20 ideograms that often replaced the dots and bars.

 

 

Mexico

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