Many people are familiar with hieroglyphics. They are pictures that were drawn to represent things. Instead of writing out a word, a symbol is drawn. Ancient Egypt’s hieroglyphic system is extensive. Hieroglyphics were often carved into walls or painted onto pots.
Egypt’s mathematics system used a base-10 number system because that was the number of fingers people had. As they used symbols to represent numbers, they had special symbols for each factor of 10 – 1, 10, 100, 1,000, etc – and each symbol was based off of something. Number one was an upraised finger, number 10 was a curved horseshoe, 100 was a curved rope, and 1,000 was a lotus flower.
Ancient Egypt Links: A compilation of trusted links with a section devoted to hieroglyphics.
Ancient Egyptian Mathematics: An explanation of ancient Egyptian math as well as a demonstration to explain it.
Hieroglyphic Numbers Example: Images of hieroglyphic numbers and translations of those numbers.
Simple Number Examples: Images and translations of a few of the most common hieroglyphic numbers.
Ancient Egyptian Numeration: Explains how the Egyptian mathematics system, which used hieroglyphics, worked.
Egyptian Mathematics: Breaks down and explains Egyptian number hieroglyphics.
Egyptian Numerals: Many examples of Egyptian numerals and other mathematic information.
Egyptian Hieroglyphics: A few more examples of Egyptian mathematic numerals.
Oldest Known Numerals: Has pictures of Egypt’s oldest numerical symbols.
Egyptian Numerals for Integer Values: Examples of Egyptian numerals including higher numbers like 9,000.
Egyptian Number System: Examples of Egypt’s hieroglyphic number system with explanation about how it was used.
Complex Egyptian Numbers: Explains complex numbers by using Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Egyptian Math Facts: Explains how the Egyptian math system, including hieroglyphics, worked.
Background on Number Systems: Explains the background of multiple number systems, including the ancient Egyptian numeral system.
Egyptian Mathematics: Explains the basics of Egyptian mathematics and symbols.
Egyptian hieroglyphic numbers aren’t all that different from regular numbers. They were just symbols that represented numbers too large to count on one’s own fingers.