Writing in Graeco-Roman Egypt

Greek Multiplication Table
2nd - 3rd Century AD
Karanis, Egypt

P.Mich.inv 5663

This multiplication table illustrates how the Greeks used letters to represent numbers. The first complete line reads ε ς λ (Epsilon, Stigma, Lambda), which translates to "5, 6, 30". The second line reads ε ζ λε (Epsilon, Zeta, Lambda-Epsilon), or "5, 7, 35". The first two numbers are multiplied together to give the third number, and this formula was repeated in the complete papyrus for numbers into the thousands. This text also included fractions, which would be useful when calculating monetary values. More information on Greek numbers.

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