Talking numbers:


What's in a name?



The numeric argument sometimes goes like this: If Arabs and their Muslim partners didn't invent Arabic numerals and the cipher system then they couldn't have developed mathematics, astronomy, geometry and the other sciences and arts.


Another argument goes like this: Why is it so important to call numerals "Arabic" or "European" or "Sindhi" or "Indian" or "Hindu"?  Can't we call "universal numerals", or "our numerals"?


The numeric argument is simple: People do not usually invent something complex unless they have a need to do so. Arabs, or more correctly Arabians, are the oldest trading nation on Earth. Traders need a numeric alphabet, as all traders know, and they need a literary alphabet.


the majority of people do not need to call "Arabic" numerals anything but "Arabic" numerals.


Others differ.


Let's for a while leave the cipher system aside and deal with numerals.


Nothing comes from nothing, the saying goes, so numerals, like all other important things, must have an origin. Because Arabians, then Arabs and Muslims, were traders, they needed to develop special signs to communicate numbers. It follows that their numerals, or their Eastern Numerals, existed before other flavors of numerals, such as the Western Numerals.


But both sets of numerals look different or are they?


Think of scripts.


Arabs and their Arabian ancestors use a right to left literary script. Their numeric script generally should be the same, otherwise the hand of a writer recording text and numbers would be moving right, left, left, right, which is not practical.


Europeans, and before them some Andalusian and Sicilians, used a left to right literary script. At first, those concerned recorded their numbers right to left. When demand to use numbers increased, somebody had to come up with an idea to match the orientation of literary and numeric scripts.


Here is an early user of such a system




Now, the two Eastern and Western sets look different, but, probably, not much.


If one assumes that the Eastern numerals are older than their Western numerals, and that the Western numerals were adapted from their older peers, one has to tell us where did the Eastern numerals come from... and prove it.


Here is the proof:







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