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Topic: History Of "Arabic" numerals
Replies: 4   Last Post: Nov 22, 2003 11:56 PM

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Sally Brown

Posts: 1
Registered: 12/20/04
History Of "Arabic" numerals
Posted: Nov 2, 1999 10:19 PM
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While in Israel this summer I copied the license plate number of a car
that had sideswiped our bus. In the ensuing conversation with the
driver I mentioned something about Arabic as opposed to Roman
numerals. He was perturbed, insisting that the conventional numerals
were NOT Arabic! When we stopped in Jericho he asked an Arab sales
clerk to write the traditional arabic numbers for me. They were
similar to, but not identical with the the conventional American
numerals that we call "Arabic." I've been searching the WEB for the
reasoning behind our acceptance of the numerals as Arabic, to no
avail. One discussion, from several years ago, suggests that the
system was Akkadian and/or derived from the Sumerian. So why do we
call it Arabic? If anyone can give me a simple explanation, I'd
appreciate hearing from you. Sincerely, Sally B, a retired 2nd grade

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