I found this read absolutely fascinating. I had known that Babylonian mathematics was actually quite advanced, but the method described here is analogous to doing a Riemann sum of the velocity in...

I found this read absolutely fascinating. I had known that Babylonian mathematics was actually quite advanced, but the method described here is analogous to doing a Riemann sum of the velocity in order to estimate the total displacement over a certain amount of time. The conclusion of the paper nicely highlights what is so impressive about this calculation:

Ancient Greek astronomers ... also used geometrical methods ( 12), while arithmetical methods are attested in the Antikythera mechanism (14) and in Greco-Roman astronomical papyri from Egypt (15). However, the Babylonian trapezoid procedures are geometrical in a different sense than the methods of the mentioned Greek astronomers, since the geometrical figures describe configurations not in physical space but in an abstract mathematical space defined by time and velocity (daily displacement).

This perhaps shouldn't be surprising since I know that the ancients weren't dumb by any stretch, but it is still quite impressive to know they were doing these calculations ~2500 years ago.

I found this read absolutely fascinating. I had known that Babylonian mathematics was actually quite advanced, but the method described here is analogous to doing a Riemann sum of the velocity in order to estimate the total displacement over a certain amount of time. The conclusion of the paper nicely highlights what is so impressive about this calculation:

This perhaps shouldn't be surprising since I know that the ancients weren't dumb by any stretch, but it is still quite impressive to know they were doing these calculations ~2500 years ago.