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IMC 2023: Sessions

Session 337: From I to 1: Using Hindu-Arabic Instead of Roman Numerals - A Cultural Shift and its Influence on Scholarly and Economic Networks in 14th- and 15th-Century Vienna

Monday 3 July 2023, 16.30-18.00

Organiser:Michaela Wiesinger, Institut für Germanistik, Universität Wien
Moderator/Chair:Julia Bruch, Historisches Institut, Universität Köln
Paper 337-a1, 2, 3: Finger, Crutch, and Pig Tail - A Late Medieval Mnemonic Verse on the Form of the Hindu-Arabic Numerals
(Language: English)
Christina Jackel, Institut für Germanistik, Universität Wien
Index terms: Education, Language and Literature - German, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Science
Paper 337-bV, 6, Siben: The Usage of Latin and Arabic Numerals within the Klosterneuburg Abbey Account Books
(Language: English)
Sarah Deichstetter, Institut für Mittelalterforschung / Abteilung Schrift- und Buchwesen, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Index terms: Manuscripts and Palaeography, Monasticism
Paper 337-c9, X, 11: Numeratio and the Difficulty of Using Hindu-Arabic Numerals
(Language: English)
Michaela Wiesinger, Institut für Germanistik, Universität Wien
Index terms: Education, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Science

Learning how to calculate with Hindu-Arabic numerals was not an easy feat. It took roughly 450 years from the earliest emergence of this cultural technique in Europe around 1000 AD until we can observe a confident use of pen and paper as mathematical tools. This session aims at observing this shift in Vienna and its surrounding areas in the Late Middle Ages and wants to understand how this continual change from one cultural technique to another affects the dissemination and connectedness of knowledge in scholarly, economic, and monastic milieus. The goal is to show that there was a difference between how intensely and from how early onwards the use of Hindu-Arabic numerals differs between theoretical and practical mathematical knowledge, the former being a part of the academic and monastic sphere which struggle with the new numbers, the latter being represented by merchants who embrace the new system and their accounting books.