Talk:History of the Hindu–Arabic numeral system

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Contents

Not Abjad[edit]

This article is not about Abjad numerals. The title should be History of Hindu-Arabic numerals.

Talk moved from "Arabic" Numerals[edit]

reorganization of the page[edit]

The page had historical information spread all over the article which was really confusing for the reader . Thus I added 2 groups "history" and "description" and replaced the word glyph with the word symbol to make the page more reader friendly. --68.130.206.24 19:43, 7 May 2005 (UTC)

Replay[edit]

@Weder4, Again, you failed to lay forward some evidence!!

The "Arabic Numbers" are of Indian Origin, how can I Islamize or Arabize that??!!

My Reference is School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences University of St Andrews - http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Arabic_numerals.html And the Article was written by J J O'Connor and E F Robertson.

As you see, it was not written by an Arab or a Muslim!!!

Recent editors messing up this page[edit]

re: Stevertigo changes: Why is an already clear and concise intro paragraph being changed to a confusing mess and irrelevant information added? And his revised Indu numeral gif does not even format properly and leaves a huge blank section in the intro area.


Arabic numerals in the shape they are known today are made by the arabs not indians. The indian numerals are different. so there are arabic numerals and indian numerals. The Arab say they drive them from the indian origion ,but the two appears differnetly.

Not much progress that I can see[edit]

I last looked at this page a month or so ago -- it was something of a mess then, and still is. But I see from the history that several (two? ten?) people seem to be working at cross purposes. As such, the result is not very helpful to readers. There are also several point-of-view bits that really are not in the spirit of Wikipedia. Obviously when there are stongly-held views, it's hard to edit those areas so, people, why not just leave them be for a while?

In the meantime, can we at least try and edit-in a factual introduction so that people coming here looking for information will learn what is meant by 'arabic numerals'. That's probably a synopsis of the description, with a pointer to the history. Any volunteers to write? If not, I'll have a go (in a couple of weeks). mfc 16:39, 2005 Jun 5 (UTC)

I'd love to help, but there are people here (person?) who seem to have no interest working as a team with the rest of the world (see my comments and attempts above). It's a shame; Wikipedia is such a good idea. So count me out, though I'll still try and correct bad English (would you believe someone thinks numerals were 'invented'?). Good luck ... quota

See Also[edit]

Removed "Arabic Language" link which is totally out of place.

What we know as Arabic numerals[edit]

Yuber, "we know" is improper usage; "we" is undefined, as other editors have pointed out, and is entirely too colloquial. As well, one cannot assume that the reader knows this kind of thing. Instead, the phrase "what is know in English" is neutral and accurate; I'm surprised you'd revert two different editors who fix this. Jayjg (talk) 00:10, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Origin[edit]

It is possible, however, that the invention of the zero sign took place sometime in the first century when the Buddhist philosophy of shunyata (zero-ness) gained ascendancy. Can someone please provide a source for this? I've never seen this claim made before.

Removal by user:Tokek[edit]

In Japan, Arabic numerals are called sūji, to distinguish them from Japanese numerals written in kanji. The systems are sometimes mixed, either using both sūji and kanji, or using kanji as a positional number system. The Arabic numerals are also sometimes included among the rōmaji. This translates as ‘Roman characters’, and may sound confusing for those who know about Roman numerals.

The removal was commented: "removing portion that is not true. Contradicting source: http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/search.php?MT=%BF%F4%BB%FA&kind=jn&mode=1"

The source is non-english. Can someone please explain what exactly is false in the deleted paragraph? mikka (t) 07:15, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
I think the point is that the Japanese word "sūji" is used for any kind of numeral, both for Arabic and Japanese numerals. The Japanese entry that the link points to says something like:
sūji. (1) character to express numbers. kanji to express numbers (一, 二, 三, …); "arabika" to express numbers (1, 2, 3, …); "rōma" to express numbers (I, II, III, …), etc. [two more meanings follow]
I don't really know Japanese, but I think this is the gist. So it seems the removal was correct. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 14:08, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

Interesting theory.[edit]

Is there a reference for the quote,

"Theorists believe that this is because it becomes difficult to instantaneously count objects past three." ?

I'm not denying the possibility of the statment being true; just that it would be good to have a reference for it. ---Mpatel [[User_talk:Mpatel | (talk)]] 10:29, 20 November 2005 (UTC)

See the Wikipedia article on Subitizing and counting for some references, although that article says four objects, and the book I'm reading says it's three but you can boost it by training yourself in rapid-counting exercises e.g. some video games need this ability. Or did you mean for the first part of the sentence ? 82.68.41.196 01:35, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

I've read in the science magainzes (Scientific American and Science News) as well as in books on evolutionary psychology (Stephen Jay Gould, Steven Pinker, etc.) that it's 7 plus or minus 3. For example, when you roll a pair of dice, you can instantly tell the difference between a six and a five. Of course that's not a valid experiment since the dots on dice come in conventional patterns, but it illustrates the general idea. Do a search on the phrase "seven plus or minus three" and see what comes up. Zyxwv99 (talk) 19:26, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

RFC[edit]

Dispute over relative emphasis of Hindu and Arabic contributions.

Interesting, I wasn't aware of the Indian roots to the Arabic number system. I would say the anon's additions that keep getting reverted are a bit too editorial sounding; however, some of the information would probably be beneficial to the article, particularly some of the quotes and links. HGB 04:32, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

Here is an interesting thought. Only use theories that accepted by the peer community. If their is no firm theory on the origins of the number system don't use it however state that their are several compeating theories on the subject and give offsite referances to them. It isn't the job of a referance to argue or debate that wich is beyond its scope. So in turn editors should not be in a debate on the origin of a numbering system. They should simply say a debate exist and here is whare you can find information on it. However the editors should summerise the accepted theories about what is known and simply referance what is not known. It should be stated that it is not know and their is a debate. For the editors to be debateing about topics which they have no expertise is a diservice to the reader. What if all the mentioned theories here have no basis , and a new theory arises showing evidance about the debated point that cannot be debated.

RFC[edit]

(PS: Nevermind the typos in what follows, which I've noticed, as I already resent that I had to write all this amount of factual correction on something that should've been so trivial and clear that I'm not in the mood to edit it further)

This page, as it is, is in large part a pile of nonsense. It looks like it was written by uneducated hindu nationalist teens and the bias is obvious. The page on such a topic as a numeral system used by the entire world should be in line with the scientific evidence and the scientific consensus and not based on who's more dedicated to spending their idle time reverting a page.

Here are my bones of contention with how it, and if this comment is deleted I will be quite disgusted.

- For a start, the claim "Arabic numerals (also called Hindu numerals or Indian numerals )... The term "Arabic numerals" is actually a misnomer, since what are known in English as "Arabic numerals" were neither invented nor widely used by the Arabs." Who came up with this nonsense? where is it in the scientific literature??!! Let's see, this is like saying that since English is an Indo-European language therefore the term "English Language" is a misnomer because the language was not "invented" by the English and therefore the correct term is some sort of indic language like Sanskrit or whatever, since that's its origin. Much of the internet runs on Perl and PHP, and it would also also like saying that Perl or PHP are derived from awk and therefore the terms Perl or PHP are misnomers because both are derived from awk so awk is the correct term and much of the internet runs on awk. Sorry, but that's such nonsense. The world does not use a Hindu numeral script, it doesn't even use Arabic (Eastern), it uses Arabic (Western), that's its name, there's no "misnomer" nonsense. The family of numeral scripts is called Hindu-Arabic Numerals, it includes Hindu numerals and includes Arabic numerals, the world does not use Hindu numerls, it uses the Arabic ones. What was transmitted to Europe were not the numerals used in India, it was the numerals used in the Western parts of the Arab world.

- There is *no* evidence accepted by the scientific community of the use of zero as a number in India before the 9th century (Gwalior tablet, 876, see below), and that's quite late, and comes a century and a half after the Arabs conquered the Indus Delta region in 711, (and long before that Alexander invaded India), in fact, more than half a century after Al-Khwarizmi wrote his "earth-shattering" treatise, 825, in which he was aware of zero, whereas long before that, BC, the Greeks and before them the Babylonians used a zero symbol that's quite similar to the zero symbol in the Arabic Numerals, and which shape (0) is explained by the O from Greek words "ouden" or "Obol", or the shape left by a coin on sand after its removal. Any claim of Indian use of zero prior to the Gwalior tablet stone *must* be supported by scientific evidence, and accepted by scientific consensus, that would be a a major scientific breakthrough that I won't expect to see first on wikipedia.

- The 9 Indian symbols are largely incidental and of very little significance to their transmission to the West, what was transmitted were "new arithmetics" and methods of calculations for which any symbols would've sufficed, as the words of Arabic origin "Algebra" and "Algorithm" make clear, and there were plenty of Indian symbols the Arabs could've chosen from, or they could've even made their own even inspired by Indian symbols. The wikipedia article suggests that what was tranmitted through the Arabs was a ready-to-be-delivered system conceived by Indian mathematicians in prehistoric and pre-Islamic times, which is nonsense unsupported by evidence. Western and worldwide scientists and scholars make it clear that the Arabs, while they praised and acknowledged the elegance of the 9 symbols and preferred them, never cited any Indian arithmetics, quotes or statements (see A. S. Saidan below for an example of evidence), and that the advances they made at the turn of the millenium were, quite significant and monumental in the history of math and science, very new and breakthrough stuff. Any suggestion to otherwise must be supported by *scientific* evidence and reference to *scientific* consensus, not nationalist blogs.

- The Arabic numerals and methods of calculation changed considerably from their Indian root. Either in shape, or in practice. The Indian symbols were made for sand boards, and they had to undergo significant change, and innovations were required, to adapt them to pen and paper.

- India never had an empire, so whatever the origin of the numerals, it's the fact that they were adopted by the vast Arab-Islamic empire that included the land and seas from India to Spain and lasted in a form or another for a thousand years. Whatever numerals their mathematicians and people would've chosen or made up would've likely been the dominant now.

- The claim in the wikipedia page "In the Arab World—until modern times—the Arabic numeral system was used only by mathematicians. Muslim scientists used the Babylonian numeral system, and merchants used a numeral system similar to the Greek numeral system and the Hebrew numeral system. Therefore, it was not until Fibonacci that the Arabic numeral system was used by a large population." is pure nonsense. In fact, it makes no citation to an evidence that supports it because, like much of the article, it's bullshit. Avicenna wrote in his autobiography that as a child he learnt the numerals, in the tenth century, from a vegetable seller. In the link I provided, which is of standard textbook material of scientific consensus in the West and throughout the world, it's considered a significant enough example of how widespread the use of the numerals by that time was throughout the Arab-Islamic empire that even a humble vegetable seller knew them.

- The leap to conclusion "How the numbers came to the Arabs can be read in the work of al-Qifti's "Chronology of the scholars", which was written around the end the 12th century but quoted earlier sources (see [1]): ... a person from India presented himself before the Caliph al-Mansur in the year 776 who..." is ludicrous. It's shameful. The critical fallaciousness here is stark; it smacks both of ignorance and of uneducated reasoning, in fact, lack of reasoning. The numbers were known before that, in fact, before the rise of the Arab nation, and even to the West of the Arab homeland as the quote below from a Syrian monk makes clear. In addition, the significance of the event cited is magnified multifold out of context and slanted in conclusion, as the following quote, for example, makes clear "The Romans, who took over later on didn't appreciate Euclid. There is no record of a translation of the Elements into Latin until 480 A.D. But the Arabs were more perceptive. A copy was given to the Caliph by the Byzantine emperor in A.D. 760, and the first Latin translation that still survives was actually made from the Arabic in Bath, England, in 1120. From that point on, the study of geometry grew again in the West, thanks to the Arabs." Greek Science after Aristotle, Michael Fowler, http://landau1.phys.virginia.edu/classes/109/lectures/archimedes.htm. What's clear is that the Arabs had an organised infrastructure of translators, scribes, scientists and lovers of knowledge that served the world well. It's should also be clear that, as would happen whenever such a movement of extensive translation from multiple and varied sources would occur, that a lot of fusion and significant innovation would also occur that would create original knowledge, and history as documented by scientific evidence and scientific consenses, and not nationalist propaganda on wikipedia, is testament to that in cases such as that of the Arabs and of the European Renaissance. J J O'Connor and E F Robertson make this point quite well:

We should emphasise that the translations into Arabic at this time were made by scientists and mathematicians such as those named above, not by language experts ignorant of mathematics, and the need for the translations was stimulated by the most advanced research of the time. It is important to realise that the translating was not done for its own sake, but was done as part of the current research effort.

- As made clear by Professor Lam Lay Yon, member of the International Academy of the History of Science, in her below cited 1996 paper titled "The Development of Hindu-Arabic and Traditional Chinese Arithmetic": 'There are no descriptions of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system and the fundamental operations of arithmetic among the early Hindu treatises. With the exception of the Bakhshali Manuscript, whose date is controversial, the treatises do not use the Hindu-Arabic numerals to represent numbers.'

- Paraphrasing the page I'm linking to; 'In India before the Arabs, mathematics as an independent discipline did not exist as such, and mathematicians considered themselves astronomers, for that's what mathematics were for in India, whereas for the ancient Greeks, and afterwards the Arabs, the guardians of Greek culture before the renaissance, mathematics existed and was studied for its own sake. Hindu mathematics, unlike Greek, lacked deduction, rigurous demonstration, proofs or derivations'. This is a very major difference, as "it was the mathematicians, rather than the astronomers, who ultimately ensure the almost universal adoption of the Hindu-Arabic numerals". http://home.c2i.net/greaker/comenius/9899/indiannumerals/india.html Project: The history of Indian numerals Written by: Berat Jusufi, Jon-Fredrik Stryker, Vegard Larsen. It should also be noted, from the page, "It is now universally accepted that our decimal numbers derive from forms, which were invented in India and transmitted via Arab culture to Europe, undergoing a number of changes on the way. We also know that several different ways of writing numbers evolved in India before it became possible for existing decimal numerals to be marred with the place-value principle of the Babylonians to give birth to the system which eventually became the one which we use today.", which relates to the point I reported above that talk about the Indian numerals should be restricted to the nine symbols (1-9) as 0 symbol has Babylonian and then Greek origin, and the fusion of the 10 symbols was made by the Arabs. It also makes clear that there had been "changes" on the way of transmission.

- It should be noted that the Arabs were not prevented by a nationalist worldview from using the symbols of another culture and that they had no problem with attributing the source of the symbols, as they had always called them Indian numerals and never claimed their origin, despite the very major contributions they made to the numeral system and method of calculations. It would be shameful not to follow their example and be driven by a nationalist worldview and other biases that would distort history. But remember, that however much you try, scholarship knowledge is based on scientific evidence and scientific consensus, not propaganda or activism. A revert war on wikipedia would not change history, would not change the view of scholarship, it does not change facts nor evidence, it would only shame this site and the people who use it. csssclll

I am big fan of you Loor99 (talk) 19:28, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

History[edit]

The term "Arabic numerals" does not describe the full history of the numeral system, nor would the term "Hindu Numerals" be correct in describing them as we now know them. A more correct term would be the Hindu-Arabic or Indian-Arabic Numerals, which is used by historians and scholars.

The nine numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) originated in India, before the rise of the Arab nation, and were already moving West and mentioned in Syria in 662 AD by the Nestorian scholar Severus Sebokht who wrote:

I will omit all discussion of the science of the Indians, ... , of their subtle discoveries in astronomy, discoveries that are more ingenious than those of the Greeks and the Babylonians, and of their valuable methods of calculation which surpass description. I wish only to say that this computation is done by means of nine signs. If those who believe, because they speak Greek, that they have arrived at the limits of science, would read the Indian texts, they would be convinced, even if a little late in the day, that there are others who know something of value.

This is in no dispute in the Indian origin of the nine numerals as Arab scholars never claimed to have originated them, and wrote many works in admiration of the simplicity of the Indian symbols. However, it was the Arabs, who had a choice of several numeral systems from the vast lands and peoples that had come under their rule, from Spain to India, who further developed the Indian numberals so that they could be suitable for practical and widespread adoption and use, and disseminated them widely thanks to their advances in arithmetics leading to their eventual transmission to the West.

For example, in his tenth century book, the Arab mathematician al-Uqlidisi showed how to modify the method of calculation with Indian symbols, which had until then required the use of a dust board, so they can be used with pen and paper. The requirement for the dust board was one of the main obstacles in widespread adoption of Indian symbol, as documented by As-Suli in the first half of the tenth Century,

Official scribes nevertheless avoid using [the Indian system] because it requires equipment [like a dust board] and they consider that a system that requires nothing but the members of the body is more secure and more fitting to the dignity of a leader.

Al-Uqlidisi book was also the earliest known text to offer treatment of decimal fraction.

A difference should be made between the Numerals, the symbols themselves, and their use in methods of calculations or arithmetics. The Arabs praised the Indian symbols, however, Saidan writes in his The Arithmetic of Al-Uqlîdisî, p. 486.

Whatever the case may be, it should be pointed out that Arabic works give no reference whatsoever to any Sanskrit text or Hindu arithmetician, nor do they quote any Sanskrit term or statement.

Furthermore, Professor Lam Lay Yon, member of the International Academy of the History of Science, writes in her below cited 1996 paper titled "The Development of Hindu-Arabic and Traditional Chinese Arithmetic":

There are no descriptions of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system and the fundamental operations of arithmetic among the early Hindu treatises. With the exception of the Bakhshali Manuscript, whose date is controversial, the treatises do not use the Hindu-Arabic numerals to represent numbers.

Also, Of prime importance in the Hindu-Arabic Numeral system is the use of 0 (zero). There are two different concepts here, the first is the use of zero as a place holder (a mathematical punctioan mark), and then as a number.

It should not be assumed that 0 was the invention of the Hindu-Arabic Numeral system. The Babyloniann and then the Greek astronomers were the first known to use it. The 0 is thought to come from O, which is omicron, the first letter in the Greek word for nothing, namely "ouden". An alternative theory is that it stood for "obol", a coin of almost no value, and that it arose when counters were used on sand board, so that a removed coin would leave a depression in the sand that looked like an O. Ptolemy, writing in 130 AD in his work the Almagest, used the Babylonian system with the empty place holder O.

In fact, the first record of the Indian use of zero which is dated and agreed by all to be genuine was written in 876 on a tablet stone found in Gwalior, near Delhi. For example, In around 500AD the Indian mathematician Aryabhata devised a number system which has no zero yet was a positional system. The Gwalior tablet stone is generally considered the first appearance of zero as a number in India. Many scholars believe its use in India was evolved from the Mesopotamian and Greek origin.

By that time, Indian and Arabic mathematician were using zero as a number, though it took until the 1600 for the West to do the same.

Though the 9 numerals originated in India, the contribution of Islamic and Arabic scholars to their development and adoption should not be underestimated. Further advances by Islamic and Arabic mathematicians to the practical use and methods of calculation ensured that the numerals became the standard system within the Islamic-Arabic world and then transmitted to the West and the rest of the World.

Also, Islamic and Arabic scholars, just as they did for the Greeks, chronicled the Indian mathematicians and their contributions, so much so that even some of their errors persisted until the twentieth century; for example, Al-Biruni, 973-1048, wrote under the impression that there were two different Indian mathematicians called Aryabhata living at the same time, a confusion that was not resolved until 1926 when they were shown by B Datta to be one and the same person.

There are two misconception or myths worthy of mention, the first is that the Numerals used in the West, and the Western parts of the Arab world are different from those used in the Eastern part of the Arab world. They are the same in essence. The main difference is a 90 degree rotation due to the way the scribes rolled the scroll as they sat cross-legged and wrote, later on rerotating the scroll to read it, though this practice was not universal, hence the current difference. This is evidence by the change from The numerals from al-Sizji’s treatise of 969 and the numerals from al-Biruni’s treatise copied in 1082, which is in line with the begining of adapting Indian symbols for pen and paper by the Arabs instead of the sand board it had until then required.

The other miconception or myth is that Indian-Arabic Numerals weren't in widespread use in the Islamic world and were only known by Arab mathematicians interested in Indian mathematics. There is widespread evidence that this is not the case. One of which is the example of Ibn Sina, known in the West as Avicenna, who in his autobiography wrote that, as a gifted child under the age of ten, he learnt the Indian numerals and methods of calculation from an ordinary vegetable trader. Avicenna also writes that a group of scholars from Egypt who visited his father in 997 taught him more Indian arithmetics.

This is well detailed in these page http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Arabic_numerals.html http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Zero.html http://bohm.fy.chalmers.se:8000/ostlund/WWW/ffp2004/prehistory/arabsiffror.pdf http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/sinologie/eastm/back/cs13/cs13-3-lam.pdf

Unfortunately your points are mostly original research which you have repeatedly attempted to insert in this article numerous times. You may want to consult this page Wikipedia:No original research before making further edits on this page. --Astriolok 05:40, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

The section on the possible Chinese origin of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system is very poorly documented, and certainly does not deserve an entire section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 14.97.127.11 (talk) 18:07, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Nonsense[edit]

"Unfortunately your points are mostly original research which you have repeatedly attempted to insert in this article numerous times. You may want to consult this page Wikipedia:No original research before making further edits on this page. --Astriolok 05:40, 2 December 2005 (UTC)"

Astriolok, sorry, your claim is nonsense. Perhaps you would like to read the page that you linked to Wikipedia:No original research.

Original research refers to original research by editors of Wikipedia. It does not refer to original research that is published or available elsewhere (although such research may be excluded if editors consider the source to be disreputable or otherwise inappropriate). The phrase "original research" in this context refers to untested theories; data, statements, concepts and ideas that have not been published in a reputable publication; or any new interpretation, analysis, or synthesis of published data, statements, concepts or ideas.

How ironic, this exactly describes how the page was before I edited it, full of nonsense that's no where to be found in the scientific literature. I have written what was wrong with it in detail. I have edited it to be in line with the scientific consensus; there is no scientific dispute on these points I mentioned above, they're widely agreed upon amongst scientists and historians. I have linked to professors and experts in the field and relevant papers and texts published in reputable academic publications and sites rather than the unsupported rants that filled up the page and links to blogs.

If you have a disagreement perhaps you would like to outline your points in detail and provide reputable (ie, scientific, academic) evidence for your claims.

The content of new edits do not enjoy consensus of a wide community of scholars, and is just POV of a few professors. deeptrivia (talk) 13:28, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
It would be great if you prove your claim that "The content of new edits do not enjoy consensus of a wide community of scholars, and is just POV of a few professors." I have provided ample evidence, From Western and Chinese scientific sources, and even from Indian scientific institutions. I expect at least the same from you. I have *no* reason to accept your claim as fact without requiring enough evidence to support it.
It would be great if you can point out a single modification that the system underwent through the Arabs. (The shapes of the symbols doesn't count, otherwise we can call these symbols Hindi-Bengali-Punjabi-Kannada-Tamil-...-... numerals.) deeptrivia (talk) 13:38, 2 December 2005 (UTC)
I have pointed out plenty more than "a single modification" that the system underwent through the Arabs, you know where to find them; in the lengthy notes I made above on this page and in the article itself. In addition to that, the shape *does* count; the Indian Numerals, whether ancient or modern, are not recognizable to non-Indians. They would look foreign on an English or otherwise Latin page. The shape of the Arabic (Western) Numerals is recognizable to most people. That's what the West, and much of the World uses; it uses the Arabic (Western) Numerals. Yes, derived from the Indian Numerals, but nonetheless they *are* the Arabic (Western) Numerals.
Indian Numerals in the 1st century all have the basic structure of the numbers which we use today throughout the world. (comment by User:72.144.17.235)
This is refuted by the evidence above from scientific authorities and scientific consensus. I must require scientific evidence for any countering claim, and can not accept a statement like that as fact without enough proof.

Redirect[edit]

This article should redirect to Hindu Arabic numerals (or Hindu numerals). Arabic numerals as a term is now only of colloqiual significance, and has more or less been abandoned by the historian community. It was, anyway, a European POV, since even Arabs called their numerals as Indian numerals. deeptrivia (talk) 13:53, 2 December 2005 (UTC)

Disagreed. Please read what exactly wikipedia:NPOV. It is not European POV, it is a European term. You will hardly succeed in replacing it by Arabic or Indian, so please don't start wars here. mikka (t) 09:59, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry if you think my intention is to start any wars. Certainly it is not so. Looking at the general mood on this page,I won't be making any further comments here. The term Arabic numerals has already been replaced by Hindu Arabic numerals in academic circles. I understand that laymen will take some time to get adjusted to it. It's normal. I don't have any problem. Thanks, and I'll just let this article be the way it is. deeptrivia (talk) 12:54, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Parting remarks[edit]

I request you to please read articles on the same subject on reputable encyclopedias, like MSN Encarta instead of research papers, and it would be only nice if you could specify on this page what exactly you found incorrect or POV in the previous edition of the article. Research papers with all kinds of speculations get published. They cannot be made evidences to support our POVs, and I still think encyclopedia articles should be based on well established theories. I have a lot of constructive work to do at wikipedia, and won't bother myself with this any more. deeptrivia (talk) 13:16, 3 December 2005 (UTC)

Deeptrivia, I really would like to ask that you rethink your request; you're asking me to "read articles on the same subject on reputable encyclopedias, like MSN Encarta", which anyone can edit, including you, instead of peer-reviewed "research papers" by professors and experts on the topic that I linked to, including those from the International Academy of the History of Science, from the Indian National Science Academy, the Bulletin of the National Institute of Sciences of India, and many, many others. I'm sorry, I don't find this a reasonable request.
I also would like you to reflect on how ironic what you're saying sounds. You're asking me to forget about the evidence-based scientific literature written by well-respected, dedicated, neutral and peer-reveiwed experts because their stuff is "speculations" and instead accept the content of a wikipedia article written by what it seems, from what's written, nationalist idiots that links to nothing reputable to support its claims, that are wrong, and accept their rants as fact. Sorry, that's bullshit! Your stuff is not just "speculation", it's worse than "speculation", it's flat out bullshit! Can't you friggin' see that?!
Then, you're saying "it would be only nice if you could specify on this page what exactly you found incorrect or POV in the previous edition of the article". Are you blind?! Can't you see that I already did that, at length?!?! You're not blind, and you know too well that I did, because I did so, at length, with tedious evidence, and you replied to it with a one line rant. And then you dare to complain about the "mood on this page", well, what do you expect when you infuriate people and waste their time with shenanigans like that?
This shouldn't be a nationalist issue. It's a simple, scientific one. Your editing summary "2 December 2005 Deeptrivia (atleast on wikipedia, we can remove the "Arabic" POV)" makes it clear what your intent is.
Your last "remarks": "I have a lot of constructive work to do at wikipedia, and won't bother myself with this any more." makes me cringe; "constructive", huh? Judging by the poor quality of your contributions above, your dismissal of science, your obvious bias, your one line rants, your evasiveness, and your refusal to be corrected, I cringe at the thought of you having "a lot of work to do at wikipedia". Please, leave wikipedia alone, I find it hard to imagine your stuff being "constructive". You're only wasting the time of people like me who have to deal with the mess you make. csssclll

Please do not delete existing sources for this article[edit]

A number of editors have taken it upon themselves to delete citations and sources causing the article to go off on a tangent of speculation , revisionism and original research. I have had to revert back to an earlier clean version, so that this article continues to make sense.--Astriolok 05:36, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

You are welcome to rewrite the history section if you think it's misleading, just make sure to agree with other authors. But please leave the intro and the page structure as it is, this version is much better in that. Zocky 22:18, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Astriolok, it's your stuff that's "speculation, revisionism, and original research". In fact, as I've pointed out above, it's worse, it's flat out bullshit. Please stop being disrespectful, stop reverting the article, and support all your points with scientific and academic evidence. Without evidence, nothing you say on this topic has any validity. You're welcome to help us, but you must be helpful if you do so. As for your "citations and sources" that were deleted, I will only accept scientific and academic "citations and sources". I will *not* accept any links to Hindu Nationalist, Anti-Arab, other nationalist or political-religious websites, and I will *not* accept personal blogs. csssclll
You on the other hand have been lurking in this page for months now under many sockpuppet identities trying to insert your arabic revisionist history into this article. What you will or won't accept is totally irrelevant to Wikipedia , it is all based on Wikipedia editing rules .--Vertaloni 23:26, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Shut up you liar. Why aren't you abiding by wikipedia policies that "content must be based on verifiable sources"; Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:No original research, Wikipedia: Cite sources, Wikipedia:Verifiability, and Wikipedia:Reliable sources? I have outlined in detail your errors and demanded that you cite verifiable and reliable sources for your claims. csssclll 051211.

What this page is about[edit]

We don't seem to agree on what Arabic numerals are. Some people seem to think that Arabic numerals are the same thing as Indian numerals. Well, that view is mistaken. Numerals are not a numeral system, as the series box somewhat incorrectly implies. They are a set of glyphs that represent numbers in some way. In fact, there are two kinds of Arabic decimal numerals, and maybe each of them should have its own page. There are many kinds of Indian numerals, each of which should get its own page, with Indian numerals as an overview page.

OTOH, two out of three kinds of "Arabic" numerals and many kinds of Indian systems use the same numeric system that Indians invented. This system is discussed at decimal and its history should probably be on that page, rather than on this one. This article should be primarily about the evolution of the glyphs and typografic matters. Zocky 22:18, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Thank you very much but Wikipedia is not interested in your original research Wikipedia:No original research--Vertaloni 23:15, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Vertaloni; it's your stuff that's "original research", in fact, it's worse! You keep reverting from a version that makes an effort at being neutral and diligent at supporting its material by unbiased, scientific evidence to a version that is in contradiction with science and looks like a bullshit pamphlet from nationalist nucases. I have cited even the Indian National Science Academy and the Bulletin of the National Institute of Sciences of India. This page still needs work, you're welcome to help, but you *must* support your material with unbiased scientific evidence, or understand that it's your stuff that's "original research". If your revert the page one more time I will seek further action against you with the wikipedia administration.
It has nothing to do with being neutral , it has to do with historical fact. Yes I see how much you would want to rewrite history in your version. The facts however do not support your version. The numerals cames from India ------> Persia --------> Europe, The path has been explicitely stated in the article. So do not go around trying to talk about the arabs modifying the symbols when the arab symbols do not look as near to the Western numeral system as the Indian numerals did. Don't go saying that the Arabs widely used the numerals when they did not, and don't go blanking out the 1st century Indian numerals chart either.--Vertaloni 23:46, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
That's it. I had enough of your bullshit; "So do not go around trying to talk about the arabs modifying the symbols when the arab symbols do not look as near to the Western numeral system as the Indian numerals did.", and the rest of the above. Are you on crack?! The "arab symbols" *ARE* the Western numeral system! You're the one who's rewriting history and the facts do *not* support your lies and nonsense. I put much effort into verifying my input and basing it on citations Wikipedia:Cite sources, and I'm fed up of wasting my time dealing with your nonsense, a time that I'd rather devote to the tedious work of due diligence. I've made it clear to you, either support your input with Wikipedia:Reliable sources, or stop wasting our time dealing with your nonsense. What you're doing here is pure vandalism. I'll be seeking action against you from wikipedia administration, you're a vandalist. csssclll 08:30, 8 December 2005 (UTC).
I'm not sure what you are talking about. My suggestiom that Arabic numerals are not the same thing as the decimal system? Sure, I'll admit, I have no specific sources to cite, but you can try any dictionary, to begin with. As for the history section, it's quite clear that it shouldn't be in this article because it's a history of more than Arabic numbers. Just like History of Barcelona doesn't include the complete History of Spain, see? OTOH, if you have problems with the centuries I cited in the intro, I took them out of the history section. You are welcome to correct them, as far as anybody's concerned, but again, make sure to agree with other editors about changes. Zocky 23:39, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
I am talking about your paragraphs in this section where you are presenting originial research.--Vertaloni 23:49, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
Zocky, no original research please. Vertaloni, you too, no original research. I have gone over the history section in the Arabic Numerals page and provided a reliable source for every item. Please understand that unless you do the same - provide a reliable source for every nonconsensual item you insert - then your edits are original research and are unwelcome. If you persist at violating Wikipedia policies Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:No original research, Wikipedia: Cite sources, Wikipedia:Verifiability, and Wikipedia:Reliable sources then you're proving yourself a vandalist. csssclll 14:13, 8 December 2005 (UTC).

Suggested outline, please consider and discuss[edit]

  • Summary paragraph (its content should summarise what follows below, and, if need be, should be changed to reflect its changes)
  • Definition of terms.
    • differentiate a specific numeral script (eg, Arabic Western, Arabic Eastern, Devanagari) from the numeral system (ie, Indian-Arabic, which includes many numerals scripts), the rest of the article should maintain this, it should also keep in mind what the readers may have searched for when looking up this article and cater for those needs (eg, is the reader looking up the Arabic Western numerals script or the Indian-Arabic Numeral system?)
    • differentiate the numeral system or script from systematic methods of computation (eg, there was a strongly implied and sometimes explicit assertion in previous versions of this article that since the Arabs used Numerals of Indian origin then the methods of computation they used were all of Indian origin - as such, not only that this is false, but it also ignores the Babylonian, Greek and possibly Chinese too heritages that they drew from and also several centuries to a millenium of significant scientific and mathematical advancement by Arab mathematicians and then Western ones. It also contradicts a consensus that the pre-Arab Indians were astronomers and not mathematicians, and their computations, unlike the Greeks, were not systematic. This article though, should make this clear, but still focus on the numerals themselves and not on methods of computations, for which other articles would be more suitable)
    • The 0 symbol. Keep in mind Severus Sebokht's quote of 662 AD in which he refered to the Indian "9 signs"; he said "9 signs", not ten, which is in line with the scientific literature that the 0 symbol arrived to the Arabs from the Greeks (Omicron, Ouden, Obol, so on); it's also in line with the scientific evidence that "Later (after 500AD) Indian mathematicians had names for zero in positional numbers yet had no symbol for it. The first record of the Indian use of zero which is dated and agreed by all to be genuine was written in 876." From O'Connor and E F Robertson . And 876 is more than a century and a half after the Arab conquest of the Indus Delta Region, and more than a half century after Al-Khwarizmi. Also, differentiate between zero as a placeholder and zero as a number. The scientific consensus is that zero as a placeholder or punctuation mark is ancient (Babylonian) but as a number was much more recent. I feel that this page should concern itself with zero as a 0, as it appears in the Arabic Numerals, and refer to zero for zero as a number. It's also in line with "We should emphasise that the translations into Arabic at this time were made by scientists and mathematicians such as those named above, not by language experts ignorant of mathematics, and the need for the translations was stimulated by the most advanced research of the time. It is important to realise that the translating was not done for its own sake, but was done as part of the current research effort." J J O'Connor and E F Robertson, and also see my note suggesting we avoid the fallacious mindset of assuming a one-way of transmission (from India to all others).
  • Pre-Indian History (Babylonian, Greek, Chinese)
  • History of the numerals in India before the Arabs (before Arab conquest of Indus Delta region in 711 - must be accurate, supported by scientific evidence, and free from Hindu nationalist activism that had distorted previous versions of this article)
  • History with Arabs (before Khwarizmi (825), and then From Khwarizmi and after - must be accurate, supported by scientific evidence, and free from anti-Arab activism that distorted previous versions of this article. It goes without saying that it should be free from Arab nationalist activism, except that I hadn't witnessed any on this page, and no, I'm pro-science, not pro-Arab)
  • History with West (Before Fibbonaci, then from Fibbonaci and after)

Please note the following:

  • Please, as much as possible, support your stuff with evidence, especially if it contradicts other editors of this article.
  • I will *not* tolerate links to nationalist, political, or religious websites, and I will *not* accept personal weblogs as evidence. All links must be to reputable scientific and academic sources.
  • The article should not assume a one-way mode of transmission (Indian to Arabic or Indian to all others), but should consult scientific consensus, evidence and expertise, which so far from my reading suggest multiple modes of transmission (the Indians got from the others - Babylonian, Greeks, Chinese, Arabs - as well as given to them). This article should be about the history of the numerals widely known as "Arabic Numerals", not a "weren't/aren't Indians great!" nationalist advocacy as it had been in previous versions.
  • As such, I suggest we avoid using "first developed", "originated", or "invented" without scientific evidence of actual "invention", and instead use "earlist known history". The preceding unsigned comment was added by Csssclll (talk • contribs) .

Sounds reasonable to me, although I still think it should be done on a separate page, it's not just the history of Arabic numerals.

OTOH, it would be very helpful if you could edit this outline to remove references to editors, nationalism, etc, as well as specific information that needs to go in. Provide just a simple bulleted list of issues that need to be covered and links to sources, which other people can add to. Zocky 00:54, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

The real origin of the Arabic numbers[edit]

You see, how it happened was that a horizontal line represented 1, a cross represented 4, a vertical line represented 5, and a circle represented 0. This is how the numbers originally looked:

 _          ___    ___           _         ___   ___   
/ \   ___          ___    \/   |/ \    |   _|_   _|_   |\/
\_/         ___    ___    /\   |\_/   _|_   |    _|_   |/\
  
 0     1     2      3      4     5     6    7     8     9

Then, some of them got rotated (1,4, 5 and 9) and they developed loops to make them easier to write, thus changing them into the familiar form we have today. The only weakness of this theory is that I made it up on the spot.

The point of this little story is that you can't decide which theory is right simply by looking at the shapes of numbers and deciding which transitions make most sense. It takes serious historical study. Zocky 00:24, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Not really clear! Can you explain better what the point is? Cheers -- Svest 00:30, 8 December 2005 (UTC)  Wiki me up™
Well, one consequence is that replacing the table which represents actual arabic numerals with a table that shows the hand-picked version of XY numerals which most closely resemble modern western numerals is both bad for the article and useless for proving anything about the history.</assuming serious question> Zocky 00:37, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Zocky, I'm not sure I follow what you're saying, but note though that the difference between the Arabic Eastern Numerals and the Arabic Western Numerals is a 90 degree rotation due to the way some scribes turned the scroll when they wrote sitting cross-legged. See this page and find (ctrl-f) the word "rotated". csssclll 09:10, 8 December 2005 (UTC).
It's possible that I wasn't clear enough. The above is an intentionally false "theory" which I invented to illustrate that it's not enough for a theory to be plausible (as the above would seem to someone who knew nothing about the matter), it has to be documented. Zocky 02:35, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Everyone, please, all edits must have "Reliable sources"[edit]

Everyone, please keep in mind that when you click "edit this page" it's made clear - underneath the editing box - that "Content must not violate any copyright and must be based on verifiable sources. By editing here, you agree to license your contributions under the GFDL". Note, "Content... must be based on verifiable sources." I request everyone to have a look at Wikipedia: Cite sources, Wikipedia:Verifiability, and Wikipedia:Reliable sources. Supporting content with reliable sources is tedious work, but it's worthwhile, and it's easier for you to do so than it is for another to verify your work. So please, be courteous, and support your content additions with reliable sources, otherwise refrain from editing this article, and make your comments in the talk page if you won't cite a source. csssclll 051208

Regarding the earliest Indian use of zero[edit]

Thanks to those who added the information I copy and paste below, which I had to remove from the article. I especially thank you because you have been diligent enough to provide a verifiable source, so eventhough I find a problem with it, I praise you, and here's the problem: the source is weak, and it contradicts stronger sources.

Please note the following: we here have two versions of events.

One is verifiable by reference to Professor EF Robertson and Dr JJ O'Connor, "The first record of the Indian use of zero which is dated and agreed by all to be genuine was written in 876" on the Gwalior tablet stone[1]. This is also verified by reference Professor Lam Lay Yong, an Effective Member of the International Academy of the History of Science "the earliest appearance in India of a symbol for zero in the Hindu-Arabic numeral system is found in an inscription at Gwalior which is dated 870 AD".[2]

The other version of events is verifiable by reference to Ian G Pearce's Indian Mathematics: Redressing the balance whom according to his page he wrote while an undergraduate. And here it is as it was put into the article, which I had removed but retain here for reference and discussion: "The first written record of the Indian use of zero (denoted by a dot) is dated to the 5th-3rd century BC in the Chhandah-shastra written by Indian mathematician Pingala as part of his binary number system. There were also other Indian texts dated between the 6th-3rd century BC that used the Sanskrit word Shunya to refer to zero, which suggests that such a symbol was in existence by 500 BC. The first documented evidence of the use of zero for mathematical purposes is presented in the Bakhshali manuscript written by Indian Jaina mathematicians between the 2nd century BC and 2nd century CE but most agree on it being written in the 2nd century CE. [3] At around 500 however, the Indian mathematician Aryabhata devised a number system which apparently had no zero yet was a positional notation numeral system (there are some historians who contest this view however). The first documented use of zero in a positional notation numeral system is presented in the Brahma-sphuta-siddhanta written by Brahmagupta in 628."

So here we have a version of event by two Professors, one of whom is an Effective Member of the International Academy of the History of Science, and a Doctor, and we have another version of events written by an undergraduate. Guess which we should consider more reliable?

I have therefore had to remove the version based on Ian G Pearce's work, and I find myself obliged to request stronger evidence to warrant contradicting the stronger sources. csssclll 11:30, 8 December 2005.

Regarding the Charles Seife quote[edit]

"Charles Seife writes in the book "Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea" writes that Our numbers evolved from the symbols that the Indians used; by rights they should be called Indian numerals, rather than Arabic numerals."

Though Charles Seife is a respectable source, and the quote above can be traced to him, though I would like to see the full context, I find a serious problem with its placement in the article, especially within the first paragraph of history. It's inappropriate, or it's at least ill-placed.

Here's the reason.

The keyword here is "should"; the quote follows the following form: 'factual description; counterfactual prescription', or 'a description of a fact, a prescription counter to it', and as such it is 'a verifiable fact; a debatable opinion'.

I therefore find this unacceptable, at least with such prominence. If this quote is to be used, then it should be much later on, at the very end, and balanced by opinions counter to it in the debate. The article, and good writing in general, should give early prominence to what's factual, verifiable, and consensual, and defer what's debatable opinion till later on and balance it with with opinions counter to it in the debate.

Perhaps we should put a revisionism section at the end to include such material. I think for the time being though we better focus on the facts, as they deserve out attention more, and this article still needs considerable work. I therefore would request the person who wants it included to also balance it with opinion counter to it, ie, why they should be called Arabic numerals, rather than Indian numerals. csssclll 12:13, 8 December 2005.


I will quickly weigh in with support for csssclll's reasonable suggestion above.
RomaC 16:19, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Added a section for Revisionism[edit]

I just added a section for revisinism. Vertaloni, perhaps you can help us with this section since you seem quite motivated about it. Please mention as many main revisionist POVs out there as you can, not just the one you want, and balance them with arguments and counterarguments. If a piece of information has a neutral and reliable scientific source and is well-cited then I'll accept its promotion to the History section, if it doesn't, then it belongs to the Revisionism section. Please note though, the Revisionism section should not be used for original research; its content must describe and cite actual revisionist arguments and efforts out there that have already been made and it must reference them. csssclll 8 December 2005

To the Revisionists editors who are trying to insert ethno-centric changes[edit]

All the sources are already in the article that some editors like (csssclll) keep deleting. These editors are trying to insert a version based on revisionist sources, a sad practice that is way too common these days on some web sites.

How ironic, the content of your edits is *not* based on the reliable sources you claim; it contradicts it in many points. In fact, I am using some of those same sources and quoting them to correct your nonsense!
And as I said above, I will not accept nationalist, political-religious or personal weblogs as reliable sources. csssclll 9 December 2005

I am sorry if historical facts do not support how some editors wish it was . Wikipedia is not a place to invent history. You can't change history by quoting some revisionist professor as a source.

And who are you quoting?! I demand that you quote someone reliable. If you claim those are revisionist professors - and I have quoted professors that are Western, Chinese, and even Indian - then I demand that you quote professors who aren't "revisionist". Why aren't you doing this? It should be easy to do if what you claim is true! csssclll 9 December 2005
I have challenged you many times to cite reliable sources on a point-by-point for every "fact" you claim, as I have done. You have *not* yet done so. I still challenge you to do so. I have no reason to accept your claims as "historical facts", without you presenting the required proof, and according to the Wikipedia policies I cited above, you are in violation of many of them. When you edit a page it clearly states "Content must be based on verifiable sources".

Even Al-Khwarizmi had the intellectual honesty to title his book On Indian Numerals. Even the common arab has the intellectual honesty to call those numerals Indian Numerals. --Vertaloni 01:39, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

How ironic; and yet you claim we are the "Revisionists editors who are trying to insert ethno-centric changes"! csssclll 9 December 2005

Vertaloni, examples of errors in your version[edit]

These are examples, not a comprehensive list. While typing it I had the very off-putting feeling that I had already done this several times, evidenced above. It hasn't worked with you, you're still unreasaonble, but I do it anyway for emphasis, and for the benefit of others.


  • "The term "Arabic numerals" is actually a misnomer"
    • This smacks of political revisionism of the worst kind; what is known in English as the Arabic Numerals are the Arabic Western Numerals, not even the Arabic Eastern Numerals. Yes, they are derived from ancient Indian numerals but nonetheless they are the Arabic Numerals. Look here, the norm is that when people in English say Arabic Numerals they are referring to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, those are the Arabic (Western) Numerals, they are not referring to १, २, ३, ४, ५, ६, ७, ८, ९, and other varities of Indian numerals, modern or ancient. They are known in English as the Arabic Numerals, that's a fact, I will not accept a revisionist statement that counters a fact so early on in the text the article, the article must start with the factual. I'll accept it under a revisionism section much later on, but it must be balanced there with opinions counter to it (counter to the counterfactual).
  • "... what are known in English as "Arabic numerals" were neither invented nor widely used by the Arabs.", "In the Arab World—until modern times—the Arabic numeral system was used only by mathematicians. Muslim scientists used the Babylonian numeral system, and merchants used a numeral system similar to the Greek numeral system and the Hebrew numeral system. Therefore, it was not until Fibonacci that the Arabic numeral system was used by a large population."
    • What reliable sources do you have that they were not widely used by the Arabs? Why don't you cite reliable sources? Here's evidence that they were : The numerals though were already in wide use throughout the Arab empire, as Avicenna who was born in 980 tells in his autobiography that he learnt them, as a child, from a humble vegetable seller. He also tells that when his father, in Bukhara, was visited by scholars from Egypt in 997, including Abu Abdullah al-Natili, they taught him more about them. J J O'Connor and E F Robertson point out: He also tells of being taught Indian calculation and algebra by a seller of vegetables. All this shows that by the beginning of the eleventh century calculation with the Indian symbols was fairly widespread and, quite significantly, was known to a vegetable trader.[4]
  • "The first inscriptions using 0 in India have been traced to approximately 200 CE."
    • Why don't you cite reliable sources?! Here, I'll cite some: According to Professor EF Robertson and DR JJ O'Connor, "The first record of the Indian use of zero which is dated and agreed by all to be genuine was written in 876" on the Gwalior tablet stone[5]. This is also verified by Professor Lam Lay Yong, an an Effective Member of the International Academy of the History of Science "the earliest appearance in India of a symbol for zero in the Hindu-Arabic numeral system is found in an inscription at Gwalior which is dated 870 AD".[6] According to Menninger (p. 400): "This long journey begins with the Indian inscription which contains the earliest true zero known thus far (Fig. 226). This famous text, inscribed on the wall of a small temple in the vicinity of Gvalior (near Lashkar in Central India) first gives the date 933 (A.D. 870 in our reckoning) in words and in Brahmi numerals. Then it goes on to list four gifts to a temple, including a tract of land "270 royal hastas long and 187 wide, for a flower-garden." Here, in the number 270 the zero first appears as a small circle (fourth line in the Figure); in the twentieth line of the inscription it appears once more in the expression "50 wreaths of flowers" which the gardeners promise to give in perpetuity to honor the divinity." The Encyclopaedia Britannica says, "Hindu literature gives evidence that the zero may have been known before the birth of Christ, but no inscription has been found with such a symbol before the 9th century."[7] I'll accept mention prior to the Gwalior tablet, in fact, the article needs it and I'm planning on doing it once I'm no longer distracted by your nonsense, but such mention must be well-phrased so as not to mislead and contradict scientific consensus, and the phrasing must be limited to the exact intent of verifiable and reliable sources.
  • "However, it is possible that the invention of the zero sign took place some time in the 1st century when the Buddhist philosophy of shunyata (zero-ness) gained ascendancy.", "This book, which the Indian scholar presented from, was probably Brahmasphutasiddhanta..."
    • It is "possible"? It "probably" was? And you accuse us of speculation?! Anyhow, why aren't you citing reliable sources?! And you accuse us of original research?! How ironic!
  • "How the numbers came to the Arabs can be read in the work of al-Qifti's "Chronology of the scholars", which was written around the end the 12th century but quoted earlier sources : :... a person from India presented himself before the Caliph al-Mansur in the year 776 who was well versed in the siddhanta method of calculation related to the movement of the heavenly bodies, and having ways of calculating equations based on the half-chord [essentially the sine] calculated in half-degrees ... Al-Mansur ordered this book to be translated into Arabic, and a work to be written, based on the translation, to give the Arabs a solid base for calculating the movements of the planets ...
    • How do you know that's "how"?! Why aren't you citing reliable sources to verify this "how"?! Why are you leaping to overreaching conclusions to support your biases?! Here's what a Professor from The International Academy of the History of Science had to say about this : "Saidan states that his study was unable to answer in full how Hindu arithmetic reached the Arabic-speaking world. He goes on to say, “It seems plausible that it drifted gradually, probably before the seventh century, through two channels, one starting from Sind, undergoing Persian filtration and spreading in what is now known as the Middle East, and the other starting from the coasts of the Indian Ocean and extending to the southern coasts of the Mediterranean.” He continues, “Whatever the case may be, it should be pointed out that Arabic works give no reference whatsoever to any Sanskrit text or Hindu arithmetician, nor do they quote any Sanskrit term or statement.”" And Saidan is a widely-cited and authoritative expert on the topic. csssclll 9 December 2005
Do you even know what a misnomer is? Does not sound like it based on what you are writing. I suspect you do not fully understand the text in the article and you are mis-reading what it says. --Vertaloni 23:42, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
Why aren't you discussing this point-by-point like I did? That's what someone with an honest content dispute would do. Why aren't you citing reliable sources for your points, point-by-point, like I did? I am sick of your one-liners and lies. Why aren't you abiding by wikipedia policies that "content must be based on verifiable sources"; Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:No original research, Wikipedia: Cite sources, Wikipedia:Verifiability, and Wikipedia:Reliable sources? I have gone to dispropotionate lengths to point out to you the errors of your ways. That's it. I gave you more than enough chance to get reasonable. I won't be wasting time on you anymore. csssclll 00:01, 9 December 2005 (UTC).

"Vandalism"[edit]

I have removed this page from the "vandalism in progress" listing, because what is going on here is not vandalism. I think all parties involved believe they are exercising "good faith" and just happen to be butting heads doing so. Take this to RfC if you need to, but it's not vandalism. Peyna 02:29, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Peyna, I do not believe that they are acting in "good faith", and here's why; I have demanded many times that they abide by Wikipedia policies that "content must be based on verifiable sources"; Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:No original research, Wikipedia: Cite sources, Wikipedia:Verifiability, and Wikipedia:Reliable sources, they have not done so. I have outlined at length and in detail their errors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:History_of_Indian_and_Arabic_numerals#Vertaloni.2C_examples_of_errors_in_your_version, and elsewhere on that page. Had they been acting in "good faith" they would've abided by Wikipedia policies and provided verifiable, reliable sources for every claim in dispute. They sure seem to have plenty of time given how dedicated they are to a revert war. csssclll 051211.

History is now in its own article[edit]

I split out the history section into History of Indian and Arabic numerals. Please move any useful bits of discussion to that article's talk page and continue this debate there. Zocky 02:45, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Absolutely not , you do not take actions like that without significant consensus. --Astriolok 04:08, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Astriolok, please use the edit summary properly. You just marked it with a minor. Cheers -- Svest 04:13, 11 December 2005 (UTC)  Wiki me up&#153;

Please stop altering this article[edit]

The article has been stable as it is for nearly year, it does not need a bunch of editorial surgery by POV driven editors. So enough already. And on top of that the text that had been inserted is poorly written , confusing and difficult to understand. What seems to be happening is that a number of editors are attempting to insert a fanciful arabized version of the history of the numerals. They seem to focus on deleting the existing sources and evidence in the article and replacing it with their own charlatanism. --Astriolok 04:16, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

You liar! What sources and evidence?!?! See the talk above where I have demanded many times that you provide "sources and evidence" on a point-by-point basis like I did, such as this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:History_of_Indian_and_Arabic_numerals#Vertaloni.2C_examples_of_errors_in_your_version. csssclll 15:59 11, December 2005 (UTC).


I suspect that most editors here don't really care about the origin of the Arabic numerals one way or the other. But this article must describe and illustrate what today in the English language are called Arabic numerals, regardless of why historically they are so called. According to dictionaries, Arabic numerals as a fixed expression refer to 0123456789. The expression also means "numerals used by Arabs", meaning that the article should either include the Eastern Arabic numerals, or point to a separate page for them.

The problems with the version which I do not prefer include:

  • The claim that Arabic numerals are the same thing as Indian numerals is patently false
  • The leading graphical elemend does not illustrate both kinds of Arabic numerals but rather ancient Indian numerals that are secondary to the topic of this article
  • Since Arabic and Indian numerals share common origin and history, that history should be described in the separate article and summarised here with at most a paragraph.

Zocky 05:30, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

I support Zocky's actions with this article and do not think it was unreasonable for him to be bold in this sitaution. Peyna 05:40, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Same comment. Cheers -- Svest 05:42, 11 December 2005 (UTC)  Wiki me up&#153;

Additional comment I have not studied the history of Arabic numbers and I have no position on which version is more correct. If editors think that the two sentences in the intro that summarise the history are wrong, then please edit them accordingly. Zocky 05:55, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Look , you seem rather out of the loop as regard the history of Arabic Numerals, you even delete images which show the history of the numerals , why ? You do not seem to know this subject and are inserting nonsense.I think it would be preferable if you refrained from making any further edits to this page. --Vertaloni 06:44, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Look here you liar, you're the one out of loop and inserting nonsense, you're worse, you're a liar, and you know you are, because I have spent too much of my precious time educating you and detailing your errors, as above. Why aren't you abiding by wikipedia policies that "content must be based on verifiable sources"; Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:No original research, Wikipedia: Cite sources, Wikipedia:Verifiability, and Wikipedia:Reliable sources? I have demanded many times that you provide verifiable and reliable source on a point-by-point basis like I did. csssclll 16:16 11, December 2005 (UTC).
Actually, I inserted very little into this article, and I repeatedly told you that you are welcome to edit what little I added. I mostly moved off-topic content to appropriate pages and added a table to illustrate what are undeniably Arabic numerals, the subject of the article. Please stop reverting to the version favored by a couple of editors with no history of edits to other articles but this one. Zocky 06:59, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Slashdotted[edit]

I don't agree or disagree with the user's actual claims, but csssclll has brought up this whole thing in a slashdot comment, which has received a high rating. --Random|[[User talk:Random832|832]] 03:53, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes I did, if Wikipedia can not be trusted with something as simple as, quite literally, 1, 2, 3, then it has a very serious problem, and the slashdot article happened to be just about this. I do not give importance to a comment receiving a high or low rating on slashdot as that can too often be just a measure of the biases of some modders. I think I have abided by wikipedia policies that content must be based on verifiable sources and the others who caused me much inconvenience haven't. Wikipedia is a public resource and I see no reason why I should shy from making this issue public when it's ontopic on another site and a poignant example of a problem. (20:39, 12 December 2005 (UTC))

The following is more discussion moved from Talk:Arabic numerals Zocky 22:40, 13 December 2005 (UTC)


Examples of errors in this version[edit]

These are examples, not a comprehensive list. While typing it I had the very off-putting feeling that I had already done this several times, evidenced here. It hasn't worked with you, you're still unreasaonble, but I do it anyway for emphasis, and for the benefit of others.


  • "The term "Arabic numerals" is actually a misnomer"
    • This smacks of political revisionism of the worst kind; what is known in English as the Arabic Numerals are the Arabic Western Numerals, not even the Arabic Eastern Numerals. Yes, they are derived from ancient Indian numerals but nonetheless they are the Arabic Numerals. Look here, the norm is that when people in English say Arabic Numerals they are referring to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, those are the Arabic (Western) Numerals, they are not referring to १, २, ३, ४, ५, ६, ७, ८, ९, and other varities of Indian numerals, modern or ancient. They are known in English as the Arabic Numerals, that's a fact, I will not accept a revisionist statement that counters a fact so early on in the text the article, the article must start with the factual. I'll accept it under a revisionism section much later on, but it must be balanced there with opinions counter to it (counter to the counterfactual).
  • "... what are known in English as "Arabic numerals" were neither invented nor widely used by the Arabs.", "In the Arab World—until modern times—the Arabic numeral system was used only by mathematicians. Muslim scientists used the Babylonian numeral system, and merchants used a numeral system similar to the Greek numeral system and the Hebrew numeral system. Therefore, it was not until Fibonacci that the Arabic numeral system was used by a large population."
    • What reliable sources do you have that they were not widely used by the Arabs? Why don't you cite reliable sources? Here's evidence that they were : The numerals though were already in wide use throughout the Arab empire, as Avicenna who was born in 980 tells in his autobiography that he learnt them, as a child, from a humble vegetable seller. He also tells that when his father, in Bukhara, was visited by scholars from Egypt in 997, including Abu Abdullah al-Natili, they taught him more about them. J J O'Connor and E F Robertson point out: He also tells of being taught Indian calculation and algebra by a seller of vegetables. All this shows that by the beginning of the eleventh century calculation with the Indian symbols was fairly widespread and, quite significantly, was known to a vegetable trader.[8]
  • "The first inscriptions using 0 in India have been traced to approximately 200 CE."
    • Why don't you cite reliable sources?! Here, I'll cite some: According to Professor EF Robertson and DR JJ O'Connor, "The first record of the Indian use of zero which is dated and agreed by all to be genuine was written in 876" on the Gwalior tablet stone[9]. This is also verified by Professor Lam Lay Yong, an an Effective Member of the International Academy of the History of Science "the earliest appearance in India of a symbol for zero in the Hindu-Arabic numeral system is found in an inscription at Gwalior which is dated 870 AD".[10] According to Menninger (p. 400): "This long journey begins with the Indian inscription which contains the earliest true zero known thus far (Fig. 226). This famous text, inscribed on the wall of a small temple in the vicinity of Gvalior (near Lashkar in Central India) first gives the date 933 (A.D. 870 in our reckoning) in words and in Brahmi numerals. Then it goes on to list four gifts to a temple, including a tract of land "270 royal hastas long and 187 wide, for a flower-garden." Here, in the number 270 the zero first appears as a small circle (fourth line in the Figure); in the twentieth line of the inscription it appears once more in the expression "50 wreaths of flowers" which the gardeners promise to give in perpetuity to honor the divinity." The Encyclopaedia Britannica says, "Hindu literature gives evidence that the zero may have been known before the birth of Christ, but no inscription has been found with such a symbol before the 9th century."[11] I'll accept mention prior to the Gwalior tablet, in fact, the article needs it and I'm planning on doing it once I'm no longer distracted by your nonsense, but such mention must be well-phrased so as not to mislead and contradict scientific consensus, and the phrasing must be limited to the exact intent of verifiable and reliable sources.
  • "However, it is possible that the invention of the zero sign took place some time in the 1st century when the Buddhist philosophy of shunyata (zero-ness) gained ascendancy.", "This book, which the Indian scholar presented from, was probably Brahmasphutasiddhanta..."
    • It is "possible"? It "probably" was? And you accuse us of speculation?! Anyhow, why aren't you citing reliable sources?! And you accuse us of original research?! How ironic!
  • "How the numbers came to the Arabs can be read in the work of al-Qifti's "Chronology of the scholars", which was written around the end the 12th century but quoted earlier sources : :... a person from India presented himself before the Caliph al-Mansur in the year 776 who was well versed in the siddhanta method of calculation related to the movement of the heavenly bodies, and having ways of calculating equations based on the half-chord [essentially the sine] calculated in half-degrees ... Al-Mansur ordered this book to be translated into Arabic, and a work to be written, based on the translation, to give the Arabs a solid base for calculating the movements of the planets ...
    • How do you know that's "how"?! Why aren't you citing reliable sources to verify this "how"?! Why are you leaping to overreaching conclusions to support your biases?! Here's what a Professor from The International Academy of the History of Science had to say about this : "Saidan states that his study was unable to answer in full how Hindu arithmetic reached the Arabic-speaking world. He goes on to say, “It seems plausible that it drifted gradually, probably before the seventh century, through two channels, one starting from Sind, undergoing Persian filtration and spreading in what is now known as the Middle East, and the other starting from the coasts of the Indian Ocean and extending to the southern coasts of the Mediterranean.” He continues, “Whatever the case may be, it should be pointed out that Arabic works give no reference whatsoever to any Sanskrit text or Hindu arithmetician, nor do they quote any Sanskrit term or statement.”" And Saidan is a widely-cited and authoritative expert on the topic. csssclll (20:47, 12 December 2005 (UTC))

Re.[edit]

csssclll, unless you finally decide to read what others say, there's no point replying to any of this. Also please READ my reply at Wikipedia:Wikiquette_alerts#December_8. deeptrivia (talk) 21:05, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

What are you talking about when you say "unless you finally decide to read what others say, there's no point replying to any of this"?! I request that you be specific, please. As for your reply there, I had already responded to it before you wrote the above. csssclll (21:49, 12 December 2005 (UTC))
  1. Please reply to my comment at Wikipedia:Wikiquette_alerts#December_8.
  2. The article here was not about the symbols (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9). Now it is. Again it is about (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9) and not about East Arabic numerals or Standard Arabic numerals, so please keep them out of here. You can create these articles if you want.
This is the English version of Wikipedia, ie, Wikipedia for the English language. And if you look at the English dictionary http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=arabic+numerals it clearly defines Arabic numerals as "1 entry found for arabic numerals. arabic numerals Arabic \Ar"a*bic\, a. [L. Arabicus, fr. Arabia.] Of or pertaining to Arabia or the Arabians. Arabic numerals or figures, the nine digits, 1, 2, 3, etc., and the cipher 0". I have no problem with the fact that they are based on Indian numerals, but I refuse the claim that Arabic numerals and Indian numerals are just the same. They are different. The article should focus on Arabic Western Numerals (1, 2, 3, 4) as those are what's familiar to an English speaker, and I have already made this clear many times: "the norm is that when people in English say Arabic Numerals they are referring to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, those are the Arabic (Western) Numerals, they are not referring to १, २, ३, ४, ५, ६, ७, ८, ९, and other varities of Indian numerals, modern or ancient." Talk:History_of_Indian_and_Arabic_numerals#Vertaloni.2C_examples_of_errors_in_your_version. csssclll (01:11, 13 December 2005 (UTC))
  1. Please quote references in context, and do not choose your favorite lines from them and ignore the rest.
How ironic, you advising me on quoting references! csssclll (01:11, 13 December 2005 (UTC))
  1. Please don't make any major changes without consensus.
Applies to you too. csssclll (01:11, 13 December 2005 (UTC))
  1. Kindly stop accusing people of being "liars", "Hindu nationalists" etc. It won't serve your purpose, but would only make you liable to further blocking.
Kindly please stop lying if you wish me to stop pointing out your lies. It's very rude and disrespectful when I spend my time citing verifiable and reliable sources and you just lie outright, nevermind content, but even on just simply what's happening here, and here's an example of just how you just now did it before requesting that I stop calling you "liars"; from "Wikipedia:Wikiquette_alerts#December_8", I quote your statement and my reply to it:
QUOTED: "I hope that now since all editors have reached a consensus on the article, and have tried to explain you in clearest possible words the difference between numeral symbols and numeral system, you would play a more constructive role. Thanks. deeptrivia (talk) 21:00, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
QUOTED: Why are you lying again here? yes, lying! As you had been doing for quite some time now and as I have pointed out. The dictionary defines a lie as "1. A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood. 2. Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression." First of all, "all editors have reached a consensus on the article" is a demonstrable false statement that you should know is not true and that we're having this exchange here is evidence enough that it isn't, nevermind others. Second, here's your other BIG lie, you say others "have tried to explain you in clearest possible words the difference between numeral symbols and numeral system", Oh really? why don't you tell everyone here that it is I who made the clearest distinction and as far as I remember and see on the page I was the first to make it between numeral symbols and numeral system, and you should know because you have been around. I clearly distinguished in my first post between the Arabic Numerals (1, 2, 3, 4...) and the Hindu-Arabic Numeral system in a paraphragh that begins with "- For a start," Talk:History_of_Indian_and_Arabic_numerals#RFC_2 and you should especially know, not just because youhave been around, but also because what you quoted above happens to be just the paragraph under it! And again I made the distinction in "the clearest possible words" when I proposed here, as my first(!) point in an suggested outline, Talk:History_of_Indian_and_Arabic_numerals#Suggested_outline.2C_please_consider_and_discuss "differentiate a specific numeral script (eg, Arabic Western, Arabic Eastern, Devanagari) from the numeral system (ie, Indian-Arabic, which includes many numerals scripts), the rest of the article should maintain this, it should also keep in mind what the readers may have searched for when looking up this article and cater for those needs (eg, is the reader looking up the Arabic Western numerals script or the Indian-Arabic Numeral system?)", and then again zocky, who prefers my version and is against yours, made the same disctinction Talk:History_of_Indian_and_Arabic_numerals#What_this_page_is_about. The dictionary defines a liar as "One that tells lies" and "a person who has lied or who lies repeatedly", if you want me to stop calling pointing out your lies stop lying! csssclll (23:38, 12 December 2005 (UTC))"
As for blocking, kindly please stop threatening me! Wikipedia makes it clear what how "personal attacks" as per the blocking policy are defined Blocking_policy#Personal_attacks_which_place_users_in_danger. I'm entitled to identify your "lies" as defined in the dictionary and entitled to characterise your evident and demonstrable biases, all of which are of high relevance to the content of this article. csssclll

I hope you will be more constructive in future. deeptrivia (talk) 22:08, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

PS: No you have not replied to my comment. Thanks. deeptrivia (talk) 22:10, 12 December 2005 (UTC)


Please understand that it's useless to try all these things here, I request you to kindly not waste everyone's time. I asked you to reply at 22:08. At 22:09 you said you had already replied. I said you haven't at 22:10. You replied at 23:38, and then claimed that I was "lying" at 22:10 when I said you haven't replied. Seriously this is getting too much. I see no point in carrying this forward. Thanks. deeptrivia (talk) 00:41, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

You liar! I'll here quote my reply to you from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Gurubrahma#3RR
In addition, you are being misleading and also lying about the following "I replied to his comment at Wikipedia:Wikiquette_alerts#December_8, and at 22:08, asked him on Talk:Arabic numerals to respond to my comment at Wikipedia:Wikiquette_alerts#December_8. At 22:09 he said he had already replied on that page. I replied at 22:10 saying he hasn't. At 23:38 he posted a reply on Wikipedia:Wikiquette_alerts#December_8, and then posted a message on Talk:Arabic numerals claiming that I was blatantly "lying" at 22:10 when I said he had'nt replied. Obviously, anyone who would look at the timings will take a second to figure out the truth."... Why do you not mention that you replied to someone else on Wikipedia:Wikiquette_alerts#December_8 at "deeptrivia (talk) 15:30, 12 December 2005 (UTC)", which I later on found and I replied to you at "csssclll(20:25, 12 December 2005 (UTC))", which you should be aware of because you replied at "Thanks. deeptrivia (talk) 21:00, 12 December 2005 (UTC)" but you don't mention this above!! ~Why don't you mention it?! You came to Talk:Arabic numerals within less than 5 mintutes and you posted at "deeptrivia (talk) 21:05, 12 December 2005 (UTC)" "csssclll, unless you finally decide to read what others say, there's no point replying to any of this." which misled me and gave me the impression that you did not see my reply half an hour before your post, which I told you that I had replied, and then when you insisted that I didn't I went over and replied again, that might've been an honest misunderstanding on both our parts, but here's where you're being not only misleading above but lying yet again; I demand that you prove your following claim above "and then posted a message on Talk:Arabic numerals claiming that I was blatantly "lying" at 22:10 when I said he had'nt replied." Where on Talk:Arabic numerals did I claim that you were blatantly lying at 22:10 when you said I hadn't replied??!?! And again on that page you lied when you said "I asked you to reply at 22:08. At 22:09 you said you had already replied. I said you haven't at 22:10. You replied at 23:38, and then claimed that I was "lying" at 22:10 when I said you haven't replied.", where did I say at 22:09 that I replied? That's a lie. and where did I claim in my 23:38 reply that you were lying at 22:10 when you said I haven't replied?!?! That's another lie.
You're such a liar! csssclll (07:24, 13 December 2005 (UTC))

Let's take a good pause, please[edit]

Let's keep "disputed" tag on both versions of the article as things stand, keep them linking to each other or even both on the same page, let's call it a pause, because this is such a waste of time and I have better things to do with mine. I think before we work on any content we need to work out a method for discussing things between us and coming to agreement over them, or at least accomodating acceptable disgreements and showcasing them where needed. I think it would be better, instead of fighting over two versions and reverting endlessly, that we agree on facts on a point-by-point basis, and discuss the verifiable and reliable sources of each. This is demanded by Wikipedia policies anyhow, that content must be based on verifiable and reliable sources. This would perhaps be my main suggestion, and I request that everyone here please make comment on how we could make this work. No content, not for now, but just process; what process you would suggest and what you would find acceptable procedure. Regards. csssclll (22:11, 12 December 2005 (UTC))

Thanks a lot for the change in attitude. Definitely we must base the article on reliable sources. Can you come up with a point-wise list of statements in the previous article that you disagree with? Please keep your explanations as short as possible. (one point at a time) I am sure there were many statements there which can be better qualified. E.g., it says that inscriptions showing the use of zero "have been traced to approximately 200 CE." We can add that some historians debate the authenticity of these inscriptions. This however, is different from saying that "there is no evidence of use of zero in India before the 9th century." I am sure we can resolve all the differences.

However, please remember that the primary focus of this article is not the history of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. deeptrivia (talk) 22:25, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

One bit about your "misnomer" comment. This term has been included in the list of misnomers in that article, by editors who definitely don't give a damn about history of these numerals. The term is considered a misnomer. deeptrivia (talk) 22:29, 12 December 2005 (UTC)
My attitude has not changed. It is still the same. I will not accept your version as it now stands, which I have pointed out at length what its errors were on a point-by-point basis more than once already, as being featured while ours is not. I will however accept a compromise where they are featured in equitable rotation, linking to each other in bold and in prominence before any content, with disputed tags on each, and they alternate between main and alternative, perhaps once a day, till we resolve our differences and come to a version that we both feel comfortable with. I would suggest that the pages would change status between main and alternative, and that each page would remain featured (as main rather than alternative) at least as long as the other one did (should be easy to tell from history) but *not* less, and perhaps *not* than 24 hours. This could give us an immediate 'solution' to this situation. It should be easy to implement as all it takes is an honest cut and paste twice of whole text of each into each other's edit box. As a gesture of good will, if 24 hours lapses on ours being main and one of us or I happen to be online, we'll change main to your version and alternative to ours, though it would still be the responsibility of the team that 'owns' a version to do so, but if we happen to be not online, and neither do you, or we somehow forget to do so, and ours remains main for, say, 48 hours or more, then once you guys change it over we won't change it back till it stayed featured for at least as long as ours did, 48 hours or more or however long it was. Actually, it may just be simpler if we both regard ourselves equally responsible for featuring both versions, and whomever happens to be online could make the switch by looking at how long a version remains featured in the article's History page, and gives the other equal time.
Now I think we have two options, either we work apart, each team editing their version, while being entitled to use the content of the other that suits them, and at the same could be criticial *in the talk pages* of the other's content as appropriate, but whomever edits one version perhaps should *not* edit another (instead, using talk pages to raise issue with other team, who could fix it if they agree), to avoid needless confrontation. I'm sure outside editors will make occasional small edits, but that shouldn't be a major issue, as they can easily be updated into the other if found suitable. Eventually, who knows, perhaps when our version covers the origin of the numerals in detail, perhaps also mentioning not just the scientific consensus but, if found acceptable, the Hindu literature, and you guys cite sources on a point-by-point basis and to the exact intent of the sources, we'll find that we ended up with more or less a similar text, especially so if we feel free to take what's useful and agreeable from each other, and we'd have less to negotiate over in the end in case we want to merge.
Or we work on the same version, which I feel would be difficult, given how the situation has been so far. I therefore won't elaborate on this option as I don't prefer it.
One other thing, the History_of_Indian_and_Arabic_numerals page is mostly our content, branched out from our version. I therefore would like to merge it back into it so that we can continue working on it while avoiding a needless confrontation of sharing the same History_of_Indian_and_Arabic_numerals page. This is especially the case since your version contains its own 'History' section.
I hope you find this acceptable, and I welcome your comments. Regards. csssclll (00:44, 13 December 2005 (UTC))


LOL! That's a remarkably innovative idea! I appreciate your creativity. But instead of this I would prefer that you do whatever you like with the article, as long as you keep the disputed tag on the top of it, and leave other articles alone. From the disputed tag, the reader would know she got to look somewhere else for trustable information. Goodbye! deeptrivia (talk) 00:56, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
You're one of the most evasive characters I ever met online! You know exactly what I would like to do with the article! I'll take up your suggestion and see where this leads us! csssclll (01:36, 13 December 2005 (UTC))
Why don't both of you csssclll and deeptrivia focus on those other articles you want to work on and leave this one alone , because as far as I can see you have done nothing but mess this one up.--Astriolok 04:06, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Enough[edit]

Jesus H. Christ!!! Take the name calling and all of this other crap non-related to the article somewhere else. We were moving towards a workable solution when all of a sudden one or two people decided they'd drive any consensus we might have reached back into the ground and go their own way again.

If you want to discuss the merits of this article, fine. If you want to call each other liars all day, do it through e-mail. Peyna 13:13, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

If we do not want to keep repeating this debacle then we will be more discriminate in the information we add to wikipedia and will not let irresponsible editors insert their fabrications into the encyclopedia.--Astriolok 21:26, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Deeptrivia, great work[edit]

I commend you on the great work you did on this page, without reading it in detail or implying agreement with every point, but I'm quite pleased that you have cited a source for what it seems every nugget of information. That's wonderful, makes it much easier to discuss things point-by-point when we know where things came from. Plenty of thanks and regards. (also, please see below where I start the point-by-point discussion). user:csssclll:csssclll (00:27, 15 December 2005 (UTC))FUCK!!!!

Deeptrivia, the Greek 0 and the Gwalior tablet[edit]

Deeptrivia, there's important content that you removed from the page. It's verifiable and based on many scientific sources. I assume you don't like it but I don't 'think it's reasonable to remove content we don't like when it's based on good evidence. Please discuss as I would like it back into the page. Regards csssclll (00:32, 15 December 2005 (UTC))

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=History_of_the_Hindu-Arabic_numeral_system&diff=31378770&oldid=31152867

Here it is:


Of prime importance in the Hindu-Arabic Numeral system is the use of 0 (zero). There are two different concepts here, the first is the use of zero as a place holder (a mathematical punctuation mark), and then as a number.

It should not be assumed that 0 was the invention of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system however, since the Babylonians were in fact the first known to use it. The 0 is thought by some to have come from O, which is omicron, the first letter in the Greek word for nothing, namely "ouden". An alternative theory is that it stood for "obol", a coin of almost no value, and that it arose when counters were used on sand board, so that a removed coin would leave a depression in the sand that looked like an O. Ptolemy, writing in 130 AD in his work the Almagest, used the Babylonian system with the empty place holder O, and "many historians of mathematics believe that the Indian use of zero evolved from its use by Greek astronomers".[12]

According to Professor EF Robertson and DR JJ O'Connor, "The first record of the Indian use of zero which is dated and agreed by all to be genuine was written in 876" on the Gwalior tablet stone[13]. This is also verified by Professor Lam Lay Yong, an an Effective Member of the International Academy of the History of Science "the earliest appearance in India of a symbol for zero in the Hindu-Arabic numeral system is found in an inscription at Gwalior which is dated 870 AD".[14]. According to Menninger (p. 400): "This long journey begins with the Indian inscription which contains the earliest true zero known thus far (Fig. 226). This famous text, inscribed on the wall of a small temple in the vicinity of Gvalior (near Lashkar in Central India) first gives the date 933 (A.D. 870 in our reckoning) in words and in Brahmi numerals. Then it goes on to list four gifts to a temple, including a tract of land "270 royal hastas long and 187 wide, for a flower-garden." Here, in the number 270 the zero first appears as a small circle (fourth line in the Figure); in the twentieth line of the inscription it appears once more in the expression "50 wreaths of flowers" which the gardeners promise to give in perpetuity to honor the divinity." The Encyclopaedia Britannica says, "Hindu literature gives evidence that the zero may have been known before the birth of Christ, but no inscription has been found with such a symbol before the 9th century."[15]. That's more than a century and a half after the Arab conquest of the Indus Delta region in 711.

Spread of the numeral system to the West[edit]

Interesting. I would say it's somewhat Indocentric that the spread of the numerals to the Arabs is under "Spread of the numeral system to the West". It's perhaps justified in that the numerals originated in India; the Arabs are west of India. It's also justified in that, while many lay Westerners can't seem to tell the difference between an Arab and an Indian, the medieval Arab-Islamic civilisation is widely considered a "Western" one by scholars, being essentially biblical and Greek. Examples that immediately come to my mind from recent memory are this course titled Foundations of Western Civilization[16] by Professor Thomas F. X. Noble[17] that includes mention of Islam. Another is one titled World Philosophy[18] by Professor Kathleen Higgins[19] that explicitly states that Islamic civilisation is a "Western" one and hence omits discussion of it. Also, many of those Arabs were Latinised such as Avicenna and Averroes, the latter appearing in Raphael's School of Athens painting[20].

I must admit though I wouldn't have thought of that, and my suggested outline from many days ago clearly differentiated between the spread to the Arabs and the spread to the "West".

What does everyone think about this?

It is obvious that "Spread of the numeral system to the West" means "Spread of the numeral system to the West of the point of origin", which includes both Arabia and Europe. The direction West has nothing to do with the fact that some Europeans are unable to recognise differences between Indians and Arabs. You're most welcome to make subsections or even full sections "spread to Arabs", and "spread from Arabs to Europe" if you feel appropriate. deeptrivia (talk) 07:49, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

Deeptrivia, be careful with copyright issues[edit]

Deeptrivia, I have noticed that some of the text you put on the page comes word-by-word from J J O'Connor and E F Robertson but you don't put "" around it. Please be careful as while I commend you for using verifiable sources, Wikipedia clearly states that "Content must not violate any copyright". I have seen no indication that this content is in the public domain, so please have a look at this Handout on Citation, Paraphrasing and Plagiarism, go over your content again, and make sure it's safe for inclusion. Please note that the paraphrasing needs to be "substantially different", otherwise you would quote. Also note that, if you can, it's better to use as many different sources as possible. Thanks and regards. csssclll (06:12, 16 December 2005 (UTC))

I am planning to rephrase everything. Thanks. I hope you don't consider it a good excuse to put in your absurd speculations. deeptrivia (talk) 08:01, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Zero: What is relevant here.[edit]

This article is about a numeral system, and is only supposed to talk about Zero as a decimal digit. A good place to put the history of the concept of zero will be the article on zero. Here, we can mention one line saying the concept of zero existed in Greece in XX century, and then go on talking about the history of the digit zero. I think it is common sense to understand that this article is about a numeral system, and that limits its scope on what can be discussed here about zero. If you have any justification for your lengthy discussion of history of concept of zero (which I welcome you to put in the article zero), please mention it here. deeptrivia (talk) 08:33, 16 December 2005 (UTC)

Deeptrivia, why did you remove this verifiable content?![edit]

"Until Al-Uglidisi's work, the Indian numerals and arithmetics required the use of a sand board, which was an obstacle to their use in official manuscripts. As-Suli in the first half of the tenth Century: HHHHHHHHHAAAAADDDDDOOOOUUKKKKEEEENNN!!!!!!!

Official scribes nevertheless avoid using [the Indian system] because it requires equipment [like a dust board] and they consider that a system that requires nothing but the members of the body is more secure and more fitting to the dignity of a leader.[21]

In his work cited above, Al-Uglidisi showed required modification to the numerals and arithmetics to make them suitable for use by pen and paper, which was a major improvement.

Al-Uqlidisi book was also the earliest known text to offer treatment of decimal fraction.[22][23]"

Also, why do you give primacy to Hindu literature over statements of scientific consensus regarding the zero, and then again remove this verifiable content that's based on reliable sources, now for the second time?

"Babylonian and Greek astronomers were known to have used zero as a place holder, and "many historians of mathematics believe that the Indian use of zero evolved from its use by Greek astronomers"[24]. The 0 is thought by some to have come from O, which is omicron, the first letter in the Greek word for nothing, namely "ouden". An alternative theory is that it stood for "obol", a coin of almost no value, and that it arose when counters were used on sand board, so that a removed coin would leave a depression in the sand that looked like an O. Ptolemy, writing in 130 AD in his work the Almagest, used the Babylonian system with the empty place holder O.

According to Professor EF Robertson and DR JJ O'Connor, "The first record of the Indian use of zero which is dated and agreed by all to be genuine was written in 876" on the Gwalior tablet stone[25]. This is also verified by Professor Lam Lay Yong, an an Effective Member of the International Academy of the History of Science "the earliest appearance in India of a symbol for zero in the Hindu-Arabic numeral system is found in an inscription at Gwalior which is dated 870 AD".[26]. According to Menninger (p. 400): "This long journey begins with the Indian inscription which contains the earliest true zero known thus far (Fig. 226). This famous text, inscribed on the wall of a small temple in the vicinity of Gvalior (near Lashkar in Central India) first gives the date 933 (A.D. 870 in our reckoning) in words and in Brahmi numerals. Then it goes on to list four gifts to a temple, including a tract of land "270 royal hastas long and 187 wide, for a flower-garden." Here, in the number 270 the zero first appears as a small circle (fourth line in the Figure); in the twentieth line of the inscription it appears once more in the expression "50 wreaths of flowers" which the gardeners promise to give in perpetuity to honor the divinity." The Encyclopaedia Britannica says, "Hindu literature gives evidence that the zero may have been known before the birth of Christ, but no inscription has been found with such a symbol before the 9th century."[27]."

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=History_of_the_Hindu-Arabic_numeral_system&diff=31618865&oldid=31587064

Re:[edit]

I clearly mentioned all my reasons in the edit summary. Here they are repeated:

  1. As agreed my mutual consent, this article is about history of the "numeral system." Information about the "numerals", like Al-Uglidisi's modifications of the numerals are supposed to go on the "Hindu-Arabic numerals" page.
  2. Since this page is about history of Hindu-Arabic numerals, its scope on history of zero is limited to history of zero as a decimal digit. We can give brief introduction of zero as a place holder, as I did in the very first line of the section, acknowledging the Greeks and the Babylonians for it. You have great information on history of zero as a placeholder, which I encourage you to add in the article on zero
  3. Regarding the Gwalior inscription in 876, we need to mention only once in crisp language that this was "the first inscription that everyone agrees to be genuine, which I did." I don't see much point in copying and pasting text from all sources that say this, and a complete description of all professors and their viewpoints, nor a lengthy description for the inscription itself. In my opinion, such text doesn't look very encyclopedic.

Thanks. deeptrivia (talk) 15:28, 17 December 2005 (UTC)


I spent a lot of effort to clean up the article. Why do you want to mention the Gwalior inscription more than once in this article? Any why do you want such a huge description of the invention of the "concept" of zero by Babylonians and Greeks (This article is about the "history of Hindu-Arabic numeral system").This article is not about what some professors think zero was not invented in India. deeptrivia (talk) 18:35, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
"Clean up" your material, please! I have serious objections to the selective and very biased pattern of your "cleaning up". You want to devote the bulk of the article to disputable Hindu literature and persistently try to remove content based on verifiable, reliable and scientific sources that states the scientific consensus, thereby drastically reducing it in significance and even phrasing it in misleading way, as well as Babylonian, Greek, and Arab contributions. Leave it to the reader to decide, you have no right to censor what's verifiable and valid. csssclll (19:21, 17 December 2005 (UTC))

I find myself fully justified again in saying that you're one of the most evasive people I met online; you use whatever inconsistent excuses to support your biases and actions. As an example, the information about the Uqlidisi modifying the "numeral system"(!) so that it could be used with pen and paper instead of the sandboard that hampered its adoption was very significant for the section "Spread of the numeral system to the West". Do you think had the numerals continued to require a sandboard they would've spread as they did?! csssclll (16:37, 17 December 2005 (UTC))
Also, the section that you removed clearly stated "numerals and arithmetics", twice, which means a "numeral system". csssclll (16:43, 17 December 2005 (UTC))
"Numerals+Arithmetic" is not numeral system. I request you to please do me a big favor, and read the definition of a numeral system. Thanks. deeptrivia (talk) 16:48, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
Could you explain that better please? I didn't understand how it is a modification of the "numeral system"? Cheers! deeptrivia (talk) 16:39, 17 December 2005 (UTC)


Look, you clearly don't care about facts, otherwise you would've checked them, and you would've easily found this from a source used numerous times on this page and clearly cited "At first the Indian methods were used by the Arabs with a dust board..."[28], and you would've known to cite factual reasons for whether Al-Khwarizmi was Arab or not, instead of the racial prejudice of your "Aryan" friends. csssclll (16:52, 17 December 2005 (UTC))
I have read it many times over (I know this particular reference, which is excellent, for over four years), but I don't realize how changing the way numerals are written constitutes a change in the numeral system. I wikify "numeral system" every time with the hope that some day you will click it and read the definition of a numeral system. deeptrivia (talk) 16:59, 17 December 2005 (UTC)


If you "don't understand" then you should abstain from destructive editing. How is that you chose to delete those paragraphs about Al-Uqlidisi's modification and yet chose to keep "Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician who had studied in Bejaia (Bougie), Algeria, promoted the Arabic numeral system in Europe with his book Liber Abaci, which was published in 1202. The system did not come into wide use in Europe, however, until the invention of printing (See, for example, the 1482 Ptolemaeus map of the world printed by Lienhart Holle in Ulm, and other examples in the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany.)"? How does this paragraph constitute a change in the numeral system?!?! csssclll (18:10, 17 December 2005 (UTC))

Deeptrivia, did you make a racist slur?![edit]

Is this a racist slur?! What's insulting about calling someone "arab"?! Why did you capitalise "Aryan" but not "arab?! What makes you entitled to speak for "Iranians" who "will consider it an insult to call an Aryan arab"?! What makes you entitled to speak for "Iranians"?!

"(cur) (last) 15:53, 16 December 2005 Deeptrivia (→Spread of the numeral system to the West - Iranians will consider it an insult to call an Aryan arab)"

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=History_of_the_Hindu-Arabic_numeral_system&action=history

Hi. I'm sorry you found it racist slur. I hear this all the time in my lab, which has two Iranians, and I was just echoing what they say, thinking how they might feel when they hear that Al Khwarizmi was an Arab. Apologies again. deeptrivia (talk) 15:15, 17 December 2005 (UTC)
What on Earth gives you the idea that the "feelings" of two "Aryans" who "will be disgusted" and "will consider it an insult to call an Aryan arab" (ie, racists) have any relevance to the epistemological method of this article?!?! And why are you associating with such racist "friends" and then again "echoing what they say"?! I find it quite unreasonable, given your persistent, manifest bias thus far and your careless "echoing" of such unambiguous racist slurs from your "friends" to "assume good faith" in you. csssclll (18:44, 17 December 2005 (UTC))

I again apologise, and feel we can work together constructively! Cheers :) deeptrivia (talk) 00:45, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Actions speak louder than words. You choose to work destructively towards verifiable content that doesn't suit your strong biases Talk:History_of_the_Hindu-Arabic_numeral_system#Deeptrivia.2C_why_did_you_remove_this_verifiable_content.3F.21 csssclll (02:41, 19 December 2005 (UTC))
I am sorry if you feel I have any bias. I have repeatedly appreciated Arabic contributions to numerals. We can work on it. I have stopped modifying your content since many days (unlike some others, as you know), and am just trying to convince you to clean it up. I also supported "your" version (version 2, as it was called) for the numerals article. I gave you reasons for removing this material earlier, and accepted your criticsm. I apologised for stating that Iranians might be offended to read that Al Khwarizmi was an Arab, which offended you. I understand that it was a big mistake, and I apologise yet again. I request you to please forgive me, and I won't repeat this mistake again. Cheers :) deeptrivia (talk) 02:53, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
I'll accept that. I have no interest in animosities. I have not hesitated from praising you in the past as evidenced by this page. Please keep your biases in check. I'll remove request for comment on your conduct. Regards. csssclll (03:17, 19 December 2005 (UTC))
I appreciate that! deeptrivia (talk) 03:20, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

zero[edit]

please be careful in making a difference between zero as a positional sign in decimal notation, and zero as a number. Brahmagupta and his grasp of operations involving zero belong on zero, and are independent of notation. What we want in this article is the development of the zero sign (kha, bindu, etc), and earliest evidence of positional notation involving zero. This appears to be the case from the 9th century only, with possible forerunners from ca. AD 500. The text needs much cleanup, the same thing is being stated over and over again. dab () 18:10, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Two quotations[edit]

I have added two quotations at the bottom of the article, in a section titled Impact on Mathematics. I think its important to mention the importance of this development, especially with regards to modern algebra and number theory. These two quotes are from "Discovery of India" by Pandit Nehru. I have chosen to use these quotes rather than my own description mainly because of the words of two great mathematicians are more humbling than anything I can write. Feel free to make changes, but please do not remove without discussing it here.

Coincidence?[edit]

I saw many ressemblances from letters lamedh to resh from the phoenician alphabet to numbers in various forms of the Hindu arabic numeral system.

It is OF COURSE a pure coincidence because numbers come from Brahmi_numerals which don't have any links with Phoenician_alphabet, however I noticed it right away while looking at the phoenician alphabet


Lamedh lāmedh ۱
Mem mēm ۲
Nun nun ۳
Samekh sāmekh ۴
Ayin ʼayin ٥
Pe ٦
Sade ṣādē ۷ 7
Qoph qōph 8
Res rēš ۹

The Small Abacus of Al-Khwarizmi[edit]

Al Khwarizmi Numerals.PNG

This figure explain a “New Theory On The Graphical Roots Of The Modern European Numbers”.

Each number we use today should be read as a numeric ideogram and the numbers were defined using simple arithmetic: a) The numbers 1 (one), 2 (two), 3 (three) and 4 (four), were based on additives angles. b) The numbers 5 (five), 6 (six), 7 (seven), 8 (eight), 9 (nine), and o (ten) were defined using the knowledge about the abacus manuscript notations. The especial abacus used had a base-five/ten like the human hands.Roberto Lyra (talk) 23:47, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

Requested move 17 January 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved. Unopposed and (partially) undoing a recent undiscussed move. Jenks24 (talk) 04:34, 25 January 2016 (UTC)



History of Hindu-Arabic numeral systemHistory of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system@Kautilya3: You moved the page from History of the Hindu–Arabic numeral system, replacing the dash with a hyphen, but also removed the word "the", probably because the title with "the" and a hyphen has more than 1 edit, requiring an administrator to complete the move. GeoffreyT2000 (talk) 17:19, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Comment - I deliberately removed "the" as per WP:DEFINITE. But I am ok if "the" is added back. - Kautilya3 (talk) 17:25, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Requested move 23 April 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Moved. No objections, and uncontroversial. —  — Amakuru (talk) 11:57, 1 May 2016 (UTC)



History of the Hindu-Arabic numeral systemHistory of the Hindu–Arabic numeral system – Per MOS:DASH, an en dash should be used rather than a hyphen. See also Talk:Hindu–Arabic numeral system#Requested move 16 March 2016. GeoffreyT2000 (talk) 23:37, 23 April 2016 (UTC)


The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

What about Babolonian system[edit]

Base 60, but key idea there. Do we know if it influenced other systems? Even if we do not, a note would be helpful. Tuntable (talk) 09:38, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Yeah, good point. We should investigate what influences there were. -- Kautilya3 (talk) 11:35, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

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